Pope Francis: Money Must Serve the World, Not Rule It

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014  |  Updated 4:12 AM PDT
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FILE - Pope Francis — seen her celebrating a Mass in St. Peter's to mark Epiphany on Jan. 6 — has urged world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to keep the poor in mind.

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Pope Francis has urged the world's political and financial elite attending the Davos forum to put their expertise and ingenuity at the service of the poor to move beyond a welfare mentality for dealing with hunger and poverty.

In a message to the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Francis said Tuesday: "I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it."

He praised the "fundamental role" modern business has played in helping improve health care, education and communications. But he said that progress has often been achieved alongside widespread social exclusion of the poor.

"The growth of equality demands something more than economic growth, even though it presupposes it," Francis wrote. "It also calls for decisions, mechanisms and processes directed to a better distribution of wealth, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality."

Leaders like those attending the Davos forum have, he said, "a precise responsibility towards others, particularly those who are most frail, weak and vulnerable."

The overall message was similar to one in Francis' first major policy statement but appeared softer in tone, following criticism of his denunciation of trickle-down economics.

Last month, in the wake of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh's suggestion that the pope's economic views were tantamount to Marxism, Francis' reply was sanguine.

"Marxist ideology is wrong. But in my life I have known many Marxists who are good people, so I don't feel offended," he told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

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