Rome: Pope Francis has attacked the ”dictatorship” of the global financial system and warned that the ”cult of money” is making life a misery for millions.
He said free market capitalism had created a ”tyranny” and that people were being judged purely by their ability to consume goods.
Money should be made to ”serve” people, not to ”rule” them, he said on Thursday, calling for a more ethical banking system and curbs on financial speculation. Countries should impose more control over their economies and not allow ”absolute autonomy”, in order to provide ”for the common good”.
Gift of flight: Pope Francis frees a dove at the Vatican. Photo: Reuters
The gap between rich and poor was growing and the ”joy of life” was diminishing in many developed countries, the Pope said. ”While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling,” said the pontiff who, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, visited slums, opted to lived in a modest flat rather than an opulent church residence and went to work by bus. In poorer countries, people’s lives were becoming ”undignified” and marked by violence and desperation, he said.
The Pope, who was elected two months ago, made the remarks in his first substantial speech on finance and the economy, during an address to foreign ambassadors in the Vatican. It underlined his reputation for showing deep concern for the plight of the poor and vulnerable.
”The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal,” he told the ambassadors.
As the Catholic leader in Argentina, he often spoke out about the plight of the poor during the country’s economic crisis. Unchecked capitalism had created ”a new, invisible, and at times virtual, tyranny”, he said.
”The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them,” he said.
Pope Francis will make the first foreign trip of his papacy to Brazil in July. He will visit a Rio de Janeiro slum, meet young prison inmates and attend World Youth Day, a week-long event expected to attract more than 2 million people.