Pope decries capitalism in call for sweeping reforms

By Nick Squires in Rome

Pope Francis issued a bold mission statement for his papacy, outlining reforms to create a more missionary and merciful church.

In the first major document of his papacy, he said his vision for the church was one that should be "bruised, hurting and dirty" from its work on the streets. But he ruled out any doctrinal change on abortion, gay marriage and women in the priesthood.

Francis attacked global capitalism, saying rising levels of inequality and poverty could "explode" into conflict unless addressed by world leaders. "The poor are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode." The poor were the victims of an unjust global economic system that regards profit as being more important than people. "Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

The Pope laid out his vision in an 85-page document that Vatican observers described as a "Magna Carta" for his papacy. He called for power to be decentralised away from Rome and towards bishops and priests working in Catholic dioceses. "I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," he wrote.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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