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Pope has pop at videogames

Violent ones "a perversion".

Pope Benedict XVI has described videogames that "exalt violence and portray anti-social behaviour" as "a perversion".

"Wacky Ben" - as it's probably illegal to refer to him - was delivering his annual message on World Communications Day, with the chosen theme of "Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education".

The basic point of his address, which you can read in English thanks to the Internet, was that the media has a big influence these days and it's up to parents - with help from schools and the church - to make sure their kids are instilled with the necessary conscience to become discerning consumers.

Whatever you make of the elements specific to Catholicism (particularly the bit about the media needing to promote "fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievements and goals of humanity" - 4/10), it's not an unreasonable point.

And although some will probably slag him off because he invoked the evils of videogames to support it, the fact he has a moral objection to things that exalt violence and so on isn't remotely surprising or contemptible, and his subsequent point is one that nobody around here has a problem with; that it's "all the more repulsive when these programmes are directed at children and adolescents". This is the saner half of mad Jack Thompson's usual argument.

"How could one explain this 'entertainment' to the countless innocent young people who actually suffer violence, exploitation and abuse?" the pontiff continued.

"Again 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."

We doubt they'll listen, but you never know. What do you make of the Pope's argument, readers?

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Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.