In his first major speech on the financial crisis, Pope Francis has called on world leaders to end the “cult of money” and to do more for the poor.
Free market economics had created a tyranny, in which people were valued only by their ability to consume, the pontiff told diplomats in the Vatican.
“Money has to serve, not to rule,” he said, urging ethical financial reforms.
Meanwhile, the Vatican’s own bank announced it would publish its annual report for the first time.
The Institute for Works of Religion, which has been at the centre of various financial scandals in recent years, is to hire an external accountancy firm to ensure it meets international standards against money laundering.
The bank would launch a website and publish its annual report in an effort to increase transparency, new president Ernst Freyberg said.
The institute is considered one of the world’s most secretive banks.
In his first major speech on the financial crisis, Pope Francis has called on world leaders to end the “cult of money” and to do more for the poor
Pope Francis said life had become worse for people in both rich and poor countries.
In a biblical reference, the pontiff said the “worship of the golden calf” of old had found a new and heartless image in the current cult of money.
He added that reforms were urgently needed as poverty was becoming more and more evident.
People struggled to live, and frequently in an undignified way, under the dictatorship of an economy which lacked any real human goal, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis made his remarks during an address to newly accredited ambassadors to the Holy See.
The new pontiff, who took over from Benedict XVI in March, is renowned for his efforts of tackling poverty in his native Argentina.
The pontiff has previously said that the Church has a special duty to defend the poor.
“I would like a Church that is poor and is for the poor,” he said following his election as head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics two months ago.
The Pope said he had chosen the name Francis in a direct reference to St Francis of Assisi, the Italian founder of the Franciscan Order who was devoted to the poor.
Pope Francis I has said he wants “a poor Church, for the poor” following his election as the next pontiff.
The Pope said he chose the name Francis after 12-13th Century St Francis of Assisi, who represented “poverty and peace”.
The pontiff urged journalists to get to know the Church with its “virtues and sins” and to share its focus on “truth, goodness and beauty”.
Pope Francis takes over from Benedict XVI, who abdicated last month.
The former Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was the surprise choice of cardinals meeting in Rome to choose a new head of the Catholic Church.
In his first audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis said Jesus Christ and not the Pope was the centre of the Church, which he stressed was “spiritual not political” in nature.
Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit had inspired the resignation of Benedict XVI and guided the cardinals choosing him as the next pontiff.
The Pope said he chose the name Francis after 12-13th Century St Francis of Assisi, who represented poverty and peace
The Pope said he had been inspired to take the name Francis by a Brazilian colleague who embraced him and whispered “don’t forget the poor” when it was announced that he had been elected Pope.He said he immediately thought of St Francis of Assisi, the Italian founder of the Franciscan Order who was devoted to the poor.
As well as representing poverty and peace, the Pope said St Francis “loved and looked after” creation – and he noted that humanity was “not having a good relationship with nature at the moment”.
St Francis of Assisi is said to have loved animals as his “brothers and sisters” and even to have preached to birds.
There had been speculation that Pope Francis – who was a member of the Jesuit order – had chosen his name in honor of St Francis Xavier, a 16th Century Jesuit missionary in Asia. But he said this was not the case.
The new Pope’s style is very different to that of his predecessor.
He talks in simple, easy to understand terms about ethical values and shows a remarkable sense of humor.
Earlier, the Vatican said Pope Francis would visit his predecessor Pope emeritus Benedict next week.