Pope decries video games, films that exalt violence, trivialize sexuality
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) – Video games, animated films and other media that exalt violence and trivialize sexuality is a perversion, especially when directed at young people, said Pope Benedict XVI.
In a message released Jan. 24 for the 41st World Communications Day, to be observed May 20, the pope called upon media leaders, parents, Catholic parishes and schools to work to expose children to what is “aesthetically and morally excellent” and to help them acquire “skills of discernment.”
Parents and teachers have a responsibility “to educate children in the ways of beauty, truth and goodness,” the pope said, adding that effort “can be supported by the media industry only to the extent that it promotes fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life and the positive achievements and goals of humanity.”
“Any trend to produce programs and products – including animated films and video games – which in the name of entertainment exalt violence and portray anti-social behavior or the trivialization of human sexuality is a perversion, all the more repulsive when these programs are directed at children and adolescents,” Pope Benedict said.
He decried such “entertainment” directed to adolescents as an affront “to the countless innocent young people who actually suffer violence, exploitation and abuse.”
The message, directed to the World Communications Day 2007 theme of “Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education,” pointed to the dramatic impact of media on education of young people, its shaping of the cultural landscape and its facilitation by globalization and the “rapid development of technology.”
“Indeed,” the pope said, “some claim that the formative influence of the media rivals that of the school, the church and maybe even the home.”
In this environment, “training in the proper use of the media is essential for the cultural, moral and spiritual development of children,” the pope said.
He pointed to the education of “children to be discriminating” consumers to be responsibility of parents, the church, schools and the wider community.
The role of parents in forming children is primary, he said. “They have a right and duty to ensure the prudent use of the media by training the conscience of their children to express sound and objective judgments which will then guide them in choosing or rejecting programs available.”
Children, he stressed, should be “exposed to what is aesthetically and morally excellent,” including “children’s classics in literature, to the fine arts and to uplifting music.”
"Beauty, a kind of mirror of the divine, inspires and vivifies young hearts and minds, while ugliness and coarseness have a depressing impact on attitudes and behavior," Pope Benedict said.
In acknowledging that “popular literature will always have its place in culture,” the pope warned of “the temptation to sensationalize” in the choice of content in schools.
“So often freedom is presented as a relentless search for pleasure or new experiences,” the pope said. “Yet this is a condemnation, not a liberation! True freedom could never condemn the individual – especially a child – to an insatiable quest for novelty.”
“Parents,” he added, are “guardians of that freedom” who, “while gradually giving their children greater freedom, introduce them to the profound joy of life.”
He called upon the media industry “to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and to promote respect for the needs of the family.”
Catholic parishes and schools should offer support to parents and young people in promoting media education, he said.
“The church,” he said, “desires to share a vision of human dignity that is central to all worthy human communication.”
In his homily for Christmas Midnight Mass Dec. 25 in St. Peter’s Basilica here, the pope said the Christ child born in Bethlehem is crying out to the world appealing to respect children and to protect them from the many ways they are abused today,
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Europe News
- Pope Francis: Open the Door to Faith and Do Not Try to Control
- Evil Face of Jihad in London Suburb: Muslim Attackers Hack a Young Soldier to Death and Behead Him
- 'World's oldest profession' suffers downturn in U.K.; food, mortgage more important than sex
- Businesses, not employees to foot 75 percent tax increase in France
- Undeterred by terrorists, mother and daughter comfort dying British soldier in London
- Flight diverted above United Kingdom after two passengers make bomb threats
- Priest Tells of Being Whipped by the Devil in the Land of Missions
- Pope Francis Calls Italian Bishops to a Renewed Pastoral Vision
- British soldier hacked to death in brazen attack by Islamic terrorists, stopped by prayerful, courageous women
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?