In a message
to mark the Roman Catholic Church's World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI focused on "Children and the Media," criticizing, among other things, certain forms of exploitative video games. Pope Benedict XVI called violent and sexually explicit games a "perversion," adding that they were "all the more repulsive when ... directed at children and adolescents." The Pope called upon entertainment industry leaders to rethink strategies and products that could be endangering wholesome family life, and encouraged parents to turn their kids onto "children's classics in literature."
Pope Benedict XVI did not specify which literary works had been Church-approved, but surely the collection of fairly tales published by the Brothers Grimm (who hailed from Benedict's homeland of Germany) ought to be considered "children's classics." Even in their edited forms, many of these tales retain some horrific themes; like Hansel and Gretel
, where a witch attempts to bake two children alive, but is instead cooked herself.
Children's stories and adolescent novels seem to be less scrutinized than games (at least, in contemporary times), but no one's been able to prove which, if either, has a greater affect on the human condition. While we agree that children should be protected from adult-themed games (enforcement of the ratings system and active parenting does a good job of this), we would have liked to have heard His Holiness add that there are many industry efforts to produce games that are suitable and stimulating for children and young people.