updated 1/24/2007 11:57:09 AM ET 2007-01-24T16:57:09

Pope Benedict said on Wednesday that the media were “perverse” and harmed children when they exalted violence and trivialized human sexuality in the name of entertainment.

The Pope made his comments in a message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Communications, whose theme this year is “Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education”.

While recognizing that many people involved in social communications wanted to do what is right, commercial competitiveness often meant lower standards, he said.

“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,” he said. He said this was “all the more repulsive” when programs were directed at children and adolescents.

“How could one explain this ’entertainment’ to the countless innocent young people who actually suffer violence, exploitation and abuse?” he said.

Globalization had led to an even more pervasive effect of the media over children and their influence was rivaling those of school, church and home, the Pope said.

“I appeal to the leaders of the media industry to educate and encourage producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family,” he said.

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