Did Pope John Paul II Bless Pokemon?

BG writes: “Recently we noticed that several boys in our homeschooling group play with Pokemon and have dozens of card files of these characters . . . . I read your blog post about Pokemon and agree.  However, I also found an article on the internet saying that the wonderful Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to Pokemon saying it was nothing more than fodder for a child’s imagination.  So now I am confused.  Do you have any more information on John Paul’s approval of these toys?  Could the article have been wrong?  Or a fake?  I had an interesting conversation with another homeschooling mom who approves of these toys, and I would like to get my ducks in a row on these issues.”

Thus far, I have been unable to find any quote attributable to Pope John Paul II in which he blessed the game in the year 2000.

However, this article says that the Vatican-based satellite TV station declared that Pokemon trading cards and the computer game is “full of inventive imagination,” has no “harmful moral side effects” and is based on the notion of “intense friendship.”

First of all, the TV station mentioned was actually run by the Italian Bishops’ Conference at the time.

Second, the article clearly states the fact that spokesmen for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops both said they did not receive any information that the Vatican officially endorsed the game.

Unless someone can come up with evidence that Pope John Paul II personally blessed this game, then the assertion that JPII approved of it should be relegated to the “just another Internet rumor” category.

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