VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Francis on Thursday called on world leaders to put an end to the "cult of money" and to do more to help the poor, warning that insecurity was rising in many regions of the world and the "joy of life" was diminishing in developed countries.
"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," Francis said in an address to ambassadors to the Vatican.
The Argentine pope, formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became a powerful voice on the side of the dispossessed during his homeland's devastating economic crisis.
Francis said that radical free-market ideologies had created "a new, invisible, and at times virtual, tyranny" and human beings "considered as consumer goods" and called for global financial reform that would benefit everyone.
"Solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a majority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling," he said.
The pope's predecessor Benedict XVI was also an advocate of ethical financial reform and denounced freewheeling capitalism as one of the reasons behind the global financial and economic crisis.
"I encourage the financial exports and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of St John Chrysostom 'Not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them'", he said.