Cash cult alarms Pope

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 people were being judged purely by their ability to consume goods.

Money should be made to "serve" people, not to "rule" them, he said yesterday, 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".

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."

In poorer countries, people's lives were becoming "undignified" and marked by violence and desperation, he said.

The Pope, who was elected as the successor to Benedict XVI two months ago, made the remarks in his first major speech on finance and the economy, during an address to foreign ambassadors in the Vatican.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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