Pope calls for end to 'cult of money'

By Europe correspondent Barbara Miller, wires
Pope Francis has told foreign ambassadors the world is suffering from a "cult of money"

Photo: Pope Francis has warned that there is too much worship of the "golden calf" - money.

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Map: Holy See (Vatican City State)

Pope Francis has called on world leaders to reform the global financial system and put an end to the "cult of money".

The Pope made his first major comments on the global financial crisis while speaking to foreign ambassadors in Vatican City.

He said money should serve people, not rule them, and added that people are struggling to live under an economic dictatorship.

"We have created new idols," he said.

"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 humane goal."

The reference was to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, when the Israelites worshipped a golden calf while Moses was at the top of Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments.

The Pope said selfish fiscal evasion and corruption had taken on worldwide dimensions.

He called for financial reforms "along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone".

Speaking of financial markets he said: "A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules."

In many cases, the value of people was judged by their ability to consume, he added.

The Pope's comments add to growing expressions of concern about a global economic malaise that has left millions out of work or hanging on to insecure, short-term jobs.

Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, said his pontificate would side with the poor on social and economic issues.

"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.

The Pope, who will visit a slum during his trip to Brazil in July, urged "those in power to be truly at the service of the common good of their peoples" and urged financial leaders "to take account of ethics and solidarity".

Meanwhile, the Vatican has announced that its own famously secretive bank will start publishing an annual report on a new website.

The Institute is also to hire external consultants to ensure its procedures satisfy international standards against money laundering.



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