The pope made his remarks to an audience of thousands as he celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Piazza di Spagna, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The historic square contains a statue of the Virgin Mary erected in 1854 when Pope Pius IX proclaimed the doctrine of the immaculate conception.
''It recounts, repeats and amplifies evil, making us accustomed to horrendous acts, desensitizing us and, in some ways, poisoning us,'' he said. ''This poison makes our faces darker and makes us smile less, stopping us from greeting one another or making eye contact.
Benedict also accused the media of exploiting the desperate while failing to celebrate everyday goodness.
''Every now and again, people who are usually invisible end up on front page or on our television screens, and they are wrung for every last drop, until the news and their image no longer attracts attention,'' he said.