VATICAN CITY, MAY 8, 2005 ( Benedict XVI appealed to communicators to help bring down walls of hostility, and to overcome prejudices and contempt for individuals and nations.

The Holy Father dedicated his address, delivered from the window of his study today before praying the Regina Caeli, to the World Communications Day. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had chosen this year's theme: "The Media at the Service of Understanding Among Peoples."

Addressing thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI said: "In the present age of the image, the media effectively constitute extraordinary resources to promote the solidarity and understanding of the human family."

As proof of this, he mentioned the worldwide coverage of John Paul II's death and burial.

Benedict XVI cautioned, however: "These important instruments of communication can favor reciprocal knowledge and dialogue or, on the contrary, fuel prejudice and contempt among individuals and peoples; they can contribute to spread peace or to foment violence.

"For this reason, people must always be reminded of their responsibilities; it is necessary that all do what corresponds to them to ensure objectivity, respect for human dignity and attention to the common good."

"In this way a contribution is made to bring down the walls of hostility that still divide humanity and to consolidate bonds of friendship and love which are signs of the kingdom of God in history," the Pope said.

Benedict XVI decided to grant one of his first audiences as Pope to journalists, on April 23, to thank them for their service and to continue the "fruitful dialogue" his predecessor had between the media and the Church during his 26-year pontificate.

In some countries, including Italy, the solemnity of Ascension was celebrated today, which offers the opportunity "to renew our faith in Jesus, only true anchor of salvation for all men," said the Holy Father.

Benedict XVI concluded by inviting the whole Church to prepare itself, as the apostles, for the solemnity of Pentecost, which this year will be observed on May 15, in prayer "with the Mother of Jesus."

As he did last Sunday, the Holy Father sang the Marian prayer Regina Caeli today in Latin.