Catholic Bishops support Aussie R18+ guidelines

Australian Catholic Bishops "welcome" proposed guidelines for adult rating for video games; Australian Christian Lobby describes changes as "frightening."


Australia's federal government finally released the long-awaited draft guidelines for the possible introduction of an adult rating for games in Australia yesterday, with the proposed changes outlining what type of content would be allowed under an R18+ rating Down Under. While the games industry has welcomed the proposals, another group came out today in support--the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

In a press statement, the Conference--which represents the official views of the Catholic church in Australia--outlined that while its preference would be the banning of R18+ games, it acknowledged that such an outcome was not "achievable."

"In an ideal world, the sort of material that is included in R18+ or higher classification films and computer games would never be seen in a civilized democracy. However, it is not an ideal world and, in the real world in which we live, such material unfortunately is produced and is available, sometimes legally and often illegally, within our society," the press statement said. "The preferred position of the Catholic Church is that R18+ material should not be available. But if such an outcome is not achievable then the Australian National Classification Scheme should include an R18+ classification category for computer games."

This is not the first time the Conference has come out in support of the introduction of an R18+ rating Down Under. In its submission to last year's federal government inquiry into the topic, the Catholic Bishops also stated their preference for an R18+ rating to better control game content in Australia.

Not all Christian groups are on this side, however. Vocal minority group, the Australian Christian Lobby, has lambasted the proposed guidelines, describing them as contrary to the interests of parents and children.

"Not only is this proposal contrary to the claim that the introduction of an R18+ category for computer games would protect children by merely relocating existing MA15+ games to a new R18+ category, it would inevitably open the Australian hire and sale markets to a higher level of graphically violent and sexually explicit interactive games," ACL's chief of staff Lyle Shelton said in a press statement.

The draft guidelines, which were released by the office of the Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor, show that the proposed R18+ rating for games would be applied to titles deemed to feature high-impact classifiable elements. The proposals have already been sighted by Australia's state and territory attorneys-general, who will review the guidelines before making a decision on the introduction of an R18+ rating for games at the next SCAG meeting in early July.

Stay tuned to GameSpot AU as we bring you more R18+ news. For more on the issue, visit GameSpot AU's previous coverage.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 86 comments about this story
86 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
  • 86 results
  • 1
  • 2
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for kevmanNZ

this vocal minority christian group needs to read all the facts before making a judgment based on assumptions. READ between the lines.

Avatar image for hannify

Ahahah Catholic Bishops and they are the ideal people to take advice from. Reminds me of a south park episode with the KKK, maybe they are purposefully changing sides because people hate them?

Avatar image for BARBECUEDBABIES

@Eugen-male WRONG!!! Christians are stuck in a police state mentallity, They are extremely judgemental and are the biggest hypocrites on this planet, just look at the bible it contradicts itself all the way through. oh yeah and the world didn't end so F@#$ the pope

Avatar image for GoldMineUK

I'm a baptist from Northern Ireland and I'm feeling quite happy for Australian gamers right now. Maybe they finally get to taste some of the harder stuff ;)

Avatar image for weezergeezer

Another example of people letting the "righteous and holy" do their thinking for them. This same mentality gave rise to the 21st amendment of the US constitution which forbade the manufacture and sale of alcohol in 1919. This amendment was the creation of self righteous Christian fundamentalists and their pandering politician toadies. It took 14 years (1933) for it to be repealed and in that time it made millionaires of criminals. Guess what? People still drank and sometimes they died or went blind from bad bootleg whiskey or beer. When are people going to wake up and stop listening to these agents of invisible beings who think they know best what you should be doing with you life. I am not in a position to know whether God (Gods) exist but I do believe he she or they really couldn't care less what kind of games you play or who plays them. Take some responsibility for your own life and that of your children and stop sanctimonious fools from trying to control you.

Avatar image for Eugen-male

and because it felt good... Thats i still enjoy some of the first playstation games more than i enjoy the best game of the year these days...

Avatar image for Eugen-male

the true reason why ppl hate religion is because its teaching disaprooves their filthy lifestyles, that pisses them off and put themselves into a defense stance, desperately trying to find ways to fight or ridculize their teachings. We do infact live in the XXI era and yet after more than 2000 years ppl are still behaving like animals, in this generation we are again looping through ancient greece lifestyle: doing whatever makes u feel good regardless if its wrong or not with absolute liberty and no one to have the right tell u that what you are doing is wrong or protest against such wrong deeds. Whatever comes in your way... fight it, ignore it and continue your pathetic lifestyle of which you are having right now, i can hardly find proper movies or proper games these days which dont have: a 15 years old highschool vocabulary with eff this and that, pornography scenes and now heading more to gay pornography scenes Awzome gore and violence and i could go on... This society instead of going forward, improve their morality, start to use their brain instead of their penises, is reverting back to that simple society where animals followed their instinct because they knew no better.

Avatar image for Sepewrath

Outright ban is the preferred outcome huh? I guess for the Australian Catholic Church, your never old enough to actually think for yourself.

Avatar image for ilidiandemon

Wtf is this all about? Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, really? Anyone still buys this religion thing? Its the XXI century, u know?

Avatar image for alcalde

"Video games don't make people bad people. Media doesn't make people bad people. " As has been said, "Good people will do good things. Bad people will do bad things. But to make good people do bad things, you need religion."

Avatar image for Rixtake

Here in America Catholic Priests should have been R18+. Would have avoided those lawsuits. Rules grinders, check out Numbers and Deuteronomy. It's a sin to eat shellfish, or to wear clothes of more than one fabric. In an Ideal world we wouldn't have to follow rules cobbled up by a primitive tribe of nomads 4000 years ago. Then rewritten by the Romans when the Empire switched from Legions to Christian soldiers.

Avatar image for xtimxsmithx

Video games dont make people bad people. Media doesnt make people bad people. Even the bible has alot of graphic content. Gonna put a rating on that to? A new higher rating at this point is just one step closer to an all out ban, just wait a few years.

Avatar image for xtimxsmithx

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for Xbox360Gamer15

Who cares about cathloc bishops, most are fake christians anyway..only in it for the money

Avatar image for parrot_of_adun

@Spahettificator A bit late, but GS's new notification thing doesn't seem to work too well... Anyway, I meant the official stance of the catholic church was one of neutrality, in that they didn't officially oppose the holocaust. To be fair, unofficially, they did help some Jews find refuge. I guess it was a poor example to list the holocaust... But you get the idea, they tend to align themselves against good, inevitable things, or at least don't support such things.

Avatar image for Ladiesman17

They should stay at church :P they better protests against prostitution, serial killer and porn movies rather than bothering video games community. they sure has a lot of free time

Avatar image for bandtnt

I am a Christian but i do not like Religion be the dominant factor to any side of any civilized Society because there is several people with other beliefs,besides the religion teachings are aiming for the individual not for the society mannars.

Avatar image for Jaga_Telesin

Who gives a crap what religious leaders think about the entertainment industry. Blind faith (read: ignorance) is their bread and butter, and as a whole religion is fading a little bit every day due to education and rational thought prevailing. True humor here would be a game having a flat world in it, and religious leaders saying "See - we knew it was true all along! We fully support this game!"

Avatar image for shibby69r

"In an ideal world, the sort of material that is included in R18+ or higher classification films and computer games would never be seen in a civilized democracy." So because I like to play video games I am uncivilised? Well in my opinion religion has no place in civilised democracy but hey thats the way of the world i guess..

Avatar image for syafiqjabar

Man all you haters are talking in Martian jive (mirror universe version) or something? English, melonfarmer. Do you speak it?

Avatar image for Infinity_Gauntl

Where do they get off being so high and mighty...If we look into thier past and present I think we can see a lot worse things than you can see in a video game. Mabey the Catholic church should have a rating.

Avatar image for Death_Masta187

@killa32130 My first commit was censored by GS. My original post did not say all priest are rapists. I said anyone who protects or allows that crap from going on are just as bad IMO. If some one says they believe they can fly then I would this "yes that person believes they can fly" but does that mean they can actually fly. no. you seem to associate belief = truth. Just like if some one was to say they believe big foot exist. That does not mean big foot automatically exist because they believe in it. But it does not mean their belief in big foot is not real. And to say "they don't really believe in big foot" now that is arrogant. Just like its arrogant of you to say they don't believe in a god. Please tell me what makes you think they don't believe in a god? Agreed the Catholic church messed up big time sweeping it under the rug. But what reassurance do we have new kids are not going to get raped by the same people that did it the first time? Their word? The same word that denied that was ever going on in the first place? Not good enough for me and id hope everyone else. I was not being anti-religious. I was being anti-child rape and against anyone and every one that funds/helps/ignores/denies/protects...etc those responsible for it. That just happens to be Catholic. Yes until anyone can prove that that god exist I have no reason to believe it is real. I actually require evidence before believing in something. Because at this point in time their god can not be differentiated from make believe. Are you serious? You think this article has nothing to do with religion? Its all about religions trying to deny content most adults can make up their own mind on whither or not they want to support it. I was just pointing that I find it confusing that people would take moral guidance from an institution that allows child rape to go on(among other things). It would be like someone taking moral guidance from Jeffrey Dahmer. They need to keep their religion out of my government. Other then that they can believe what ever crazy thing they want as long as it does not harm anyone physically or mentally. But that in no way means they will be immune to being called out when they say or do crazy things.

Avatar image for thuban

jono_51 quotes "I thought that the separation of church and state meant that political views/opinions should not be influenced by religious views" that is the political view keeping government free from religious view. my comment on catholic hypocrisy was based on -John 17:15-16. saying that as a religious group, true followers of christ will stay seperate from worldly politics and opinion. and the catholic church ARE an active part of politics/government and other worldy blessing in war etc. im not refering to Christianity (i am one also) only catholicism itself

Avatar image for jono_51

@Squirrel Your example is flawed. If I choose to start smoking it not only effects me, it effects all people around me and all people in the country. Playing R18+ video games doesn't degrade the health of people around me like smoking does. By smoking I would have a higher chance of having lung cancer and many other diseases and therefore have a higher chance of needing to use hospital services. Smoking costs a lot of money to the government in the form of hospital bills. This money is being spent on smoking related diseases instead of being spent elsewhere. A person playing R18+ games does not effect the community and therefore should be at the discretion of the player whether we play them of not. I thought that the separation of church and state meant that political views/opinions should not be influenced by religious views. So whatever some bishop or priest said should not make any difference.

Avatar image for mushroommanic

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for -Squirrel-

@ thuban And such is the way of the internet I suppose, or at least for the idiots who pervade it. I am not here to blindly defend a religion to oppose those who blindly hate it. The Church has a stance which is more than expected, but they choose to recognize that we live in a realistic and free society and we should live and be governed as such. Their view isn't hypocritical at all, its open minded to others. Example: I hate smoking, and I mean really hate it. Raised in a house with 2 parents that smoke and had a grandmother die from lung cancer due to it, and I think its a terrible deadly habit that no one should pursue. But I think positively in our free society that adults should have the right to make up there own minds, and I believe they should even have the right to slowly kill themselves with cigarettes if they wish. Am I a hypocrite for wanting something I think is wrong to be legal? Or am I open minded about it and want freedom? Does the Catholic Church open themselves to comment by adding their 2 cents? Absolutely. But buffoons yelling pedophile or ignorants hating on religion for no decent reason deserves to be rightly criticized.

Avatar image for thuban

@squirrel. its the way of the fanboi im sorry to say. they scour the forums looking for something they dont argee with, then slam it in any way shape or form.. relevance to the topic is merely an obstacle in there LOUD NOISES that being said, ur concept is hypocritical at the least... Christian beliefs mandate that they are "no part of the world" therefore, catholic leaders shouldn't be EVEN COMMENTING on there view (which is obviously against video game violence, and as a religious spokesman, rightly so) but to openly side with PRO R18+ is effectively adding themselves into political debate. and being of political opinion also contradicts there own beliefs - by contradicting SOO many of there own teachings(not including the less obvious mentioned above), do u really believe catholic leaders shouldnt have a finger or 2 pointed at them when they publicly take a side?.. also theres a big difference between the Christian belief and Catholicism "Faith"

Avatar image for -Squirrel-

Wow almost all the comments I've read are just a bunch close-minded anti-Catholic/religion bashing. Priests are not pedophiles and the Church has a right to have an opinion. Religion isn't the great evil some of you see it to be, and some of these rants show how absolutely little some people know about Catholicism or religion in general. Of course the Church isn't for graphic content and we all know that, but it's sure nice and open-minded of them to support the 18+ rating publicly. This is a positive story! But for some reason some ignorant mongrels who blindly hate the Church had to make this negative. Unless a bishop comes to your house and steals your copy of Doom, shut the hell up.

Avatar image for thuban

the whole thing is quite obvious to any person with common sense. game development has come a long way in the last 20 years since a games rating system was first introduced. its reason for introduction was to give a clear guideline of what games are suited to what age group. at the time, gamin was widely know as a "children's" form of entertainment. times have changed and there are clearly games developed and play by a pure adult market. in these cases, (as mentioned above) its an obvious case of where r18 classification is needed. these jokers-(ACL) are saying that by making all ma15+ games R18+ it will be bad for those children who already have them.... so we should leave the system as it is for them to play them as MA15+, ---cause thats ok?, since kids can play M games, but not R--. plz clearly the opposing groups have dug themselves a hole, and are desperately digging further to try and get out. the more this debate continues the stupider the argument becomes. when are they gonna take the hint, and except that an R18+ classification is essential for the now and future

Avatar image for Vanyelk

I think many of you are missing the obvious: 'The preferred position of the Catholic Church is that R18+ material should not be available. But if such an outcome is not achievable...' This is their way of saying to Politicians that they don't want R+ games. Only if the pollies can't stop us getting them only THEN will they accept there is nothing to be done but to release the r+ rating. So they are grudgingly accepting it as inevitable. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Avatar image for killa32130

@Death_Masta187 Why did you take your comment down? Anyway, Your original comment DID say all Priest are rapists, How? because you never excluded the ones that didn't. If you actually think they believe in god then you're sadly mistaken. "they say they do so they do" So if i say i can fly does that mean i can? No, If i think Vulcans exists does that mean it's true? No. + i said it was a mistake (a bad one) that the Catholic church did. Your comment was Arrogant because you said something stupid, you start up on Anti-religious talk which has nothing to do with this article. Heres your quotes again "the god they made up" "The Bible, Curing people of Christianity since the age of reason"

Avatar image for Helium_3

I agree with a lot of what you guys are saying like if you can't handle it, don't buy it; not all priests are like this; they should mind their own business... I'm not to keen on banning things. Of course, if it's something that'll kill you INSTANTLY then by all means, take it away. But banning +18 games? What's wrong them lot? I say just put a higher restriction to it that's all if you're so concerned about us gamers. Banning it would probably just make things worse. People would want it more and would do anything to get to it. And a long side to that, there may be a higher form of punishment... just for a game :| Plus, just because a few kids on the news were reported of being violent/sexual due to violent/sexual/gory games, doesn't mean we ALL will be the same. I hate that stereotype...

Avatar image for Revoth

These pedophiles are just pissed off that kids are staying home on Sundays to play video games instead of becoming alter boys.

Avatar image for Death_Masta187

@killa32130 How is my Comment arrogant? because I think raping kids is wrong? and I feel I have the right to stand up and call people out when they do and say crazy things? Did I say every priest rape kids? no. but The Catholic church shuffles those priest around so it keeps them out of legal trouble. that is just as bad because what's to stop those same priest from raping more kids. its called an accessory to the crime. but do I actually think they believe the Christian god? Yes, they say they do so they do. its the "no true Scotsman fallacy" if you saying those child rapist are not a "true Christians". Unless you or they can prove other wise yes their god is just made up. until they stop raping kids and trying to pass legislation that is only motivated by their belief's in this made up deity. then that is when ill let up on them.

Avatar image for DeadrisingX1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for killa32130

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for killa32130

@Death_Masta187 Your comment is pure arrogance. Yes it was a mistake for the Catholic church to not acknowledge priest rapists, but do you actually believe those "priests" believed in God or the Bible? No way in hell, they're disgusting human beings. If you had morals like you said, you would respect others beliefs which you haven't "the god they made up" "The Bible, Curing people of Christianity since the age of reason"

Avatar image for holtrocks

No one is forcing them to play them whats the problem.

Avatar image for -HaloHitman-

Ok I'm catholic, and all I'm saying is the Bishop's need to cool their stuff, they're always interfering with other people's business.

Avatar image for Spahettificator

@parrot_of_adun "Kinda surprised here. The catholic church, in my opinion, always seems to have been on the wrong side of things (censorship, the holocaust, even polyphony was heretical for a time)." Sorry, what? How was the Catholic church involved in the Holocaust? It was not sanctioned by the Pope and many Catholic priests ended up in concentration camps for speaking out against the Nazi government. In other news, hooray for the Aussies finally seeing the possibility of getting an R18+!

Avatar image for BlazeKingz

psh dont lie ! priest love them some fatality's :P

Avatar image for johnnyauau

Catholic Bishops and Christian Lobby Groups are sure at odds with each other. I mean what's the point that as adults, we're allowed to have violence and sex in movies but the same can't be said about videogames? No matter the good news coming out the Christian Lobby is trying to scare us that it's a bad idea. Really, there's been phony disputes that could've been easily resolved but this having religion as some sort protection policy doesn't really ring a bell. Like gay/lesbian issues, abortion, child molestation and even being sexist with women is something they shouldn't be contentious about. Christian Lobby Groups support of a broken double standard system, adamant that you can't fix what they thought it works because it protects children is nothing short of a fear campaign. The ACL really needs to accept everyone but their own perspective on what the community wants and don't always put your faith on religion when it comes to videogames.

Avatar image for Kenshiro_Kenoh

these guys should just stick to predicating when the world is gonna end they seem to be doing a great job at it lol

Avatar image for anthonycg

@sequekhan +18 is the seal of death. When's the last time you saw an AO game in a store? Exactly.

Avatar image for anthonycg

See how much their getting paid - erm I mean "donated" for this...

Avatar image for spoonybard-hahs

"In an ideal world, the sort of material that is included in R18+ or higher classification films and computer games would never be seen in a civilised democracy." Wait, what? This kind of censorship - especially when it's endorsed by a church - is not tantamount to anything having to do with democracy. @ Strider_Nemesis An astute point. However, since it's about Christ, it's considered a learning tool for the faith.

  • 86 results
  • 1
  • 2