Pope urges rich to turn from Satan and help the poor

POPE Benedict XVI denounced what he called the world's "profit mind-set" yesterday, warning that money can turn people into "blind egoists" as he urged the wealthy to share their riches with the poor.

Benedict said life was about making choices between good and bad, between altruism and egoism, honesty and dishonesty.

Ultimately, he said, it was about making the choice between God and Satan.

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Pope Benedict said that the modern, capitalist economy had some positive aspects to it, but added that he thought "capitalism shouldn't be considered the only valid model of economic organisation".

He continued: "The world's hunger and ecological emergencies are denouncing with increasing evidence the profit mind-set, which if allowed to prevail, increases the disproportionality of rich and poor and a ruinous exploitation of the planet.

"On the other hand, when the mind-set of sharing and solidarity prevails, you can correct your course and change it to a sustainable and equal development.

"Money in itself isn't dishonest, but more than any other thing it can close man off into a blind egoism."

The pope called for a "conversion" of economic goods. "Rather than using them for self-interest, we should also think about the needs of the poor, imitating Christ," he said.

Benedict made the comments in two separate appearances yesterday, during a morning parish visit to the diocese of Velletri and later to the faithful gathered for his traditional Sunday blessing at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

The topic of social and economic justice is expected to be explored further by Benedict in his second encyclical, which Vatican officials have confirmed will deal with social themes.

Pope John Paul II reflected on such issues in his 1991 encyclical, Centesiumus Annus.

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