Speaking to newly accredited ambassadors to the Vatican, the pope said money "has to serve, not to rule," Catholic News Service reported. He told his audience humanity has "created new idols" and said growing social and economic troubles result from "our relationship with money and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society."
The pope said 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 Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said the speech was intended to draw the world's attention to social justice and the needs of the poor amid the financial crises.
In the speech, the pope singled out for criticism policies and based on a "gravely deficient human perspective, which reduces man to one of his needs alone, namely, consumption."
"We have begun this culture of disposal," he said, in which people themselves are "considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away," while a minority of people accumulate "exponentially" increasing wealth while income "is crumbling" for the majority.
The pope blamed that on "ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to states, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good." He said inadequate regulation has resulted in "a new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny ... one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules."
"Not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life," he said, quoting St. John Chrysostom. "It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs."