20 November 2009 4:16 AM, PST | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The Roman Catholic Church has expressed concerns over the growing popularity of the Twilight movies - Vatican officials have called the vampire franchise a "moral vacuum with a deviant message".

The second film in the series, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, hit cinemas this week and the movie's stars, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, have been travelling the world to promote the release.

But the worldwide hype, along with masses of hysterical teenage fans, has drawn criticism from the Vatican, with officials urging parents to be more vigilant about the type of films their children are watching.

Monsignor Franco Perazzolo, of the Pontifical Council of Culture, says, "The theme of vampires in Twilight combines a mixture of excesses that as ever is aimed at young people and gives a heavy ­esoteric element. It is once again that age-old trick or ideal formula of using extremes to make an impact at the box office. This film is nothing more than a moral vacuum with a deviant message and as such should be of concern."

Vatican officials previously criticised the Harry Potter film franchise for its themes of magic and wizardry, as well as Dan Brown adaptations The Da Vinci Code, and Angels and Demons for their depiction of the Catholic Church.

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