Pope Francis Denounces Global ‘Cult Of Money’

Pope Francis Denounces Global 'Cult Of Money'Pope Francis has called on world leaders to end the “cult of money” and to do more for the poor, in his first major speech on the financial crisis. 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.

‘Increase transparency’

“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.


‘Worship of the golden calf’

Pope Francis said life had become worse for people in both rich and poor countries, the BBC’s David Willey in Rome reports. 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. He made his remarks during an address to newly accredited ambassadors to the Holy See.

Do you agree with Pope Francis’ view on money? And do you approve of the Vatican bank’s move for more transparency?

Source: BBC News

Image: Al Jazeera

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies At 58

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies At 58Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has died aged 58, after 14 years in power. Mr Chavez had been seriously ill with cancer for more than a year, undergoing several operations in Cuba, and had not been seen in public for several months. Foreign Minister Elias Jose Jaua Milano declared seven days of mourning and said Mr Chavez’s body would lie in state until his funeral on Friday.

‘Interim president’

Vice-President Nicolas Maduro would assume the presidency until an election was called within 30 days, he added. It was not immediately clear when the election would take place.

Mr Chavez’s illness prevented him from taking the oath of office after he was re-elected for a third term in October and the President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, had been expected by some to take over as interim president in the event of his death. However, he was not among the political and military leaders who flanked the vice-president when he announced Mr Chavez’s death.

‘Vocal and controversial’

Analysts say Mr Chavez’s death could alter the political balance in Latin America – dealing a blow to leftist states while favouring more centrist countries. There could also be an economic impact given that Venezuela sells oil at below market prices to some neighbouring countries, especially in the Caribbean.

One of the most visible, vocal and controversial leaders in Latin America, Hugo Chavez won the presidency in 1998 and had most recently won another six-year presidential term in October 2012. His government has implemented a number of “missions” or social programmes, including education and health services for all. But poverty and unemployment are still widespread, despite the country’s oil wealth.

Who do you think will take the place of Hugo Chavez as Venezuela’s new President? And what major changes could take place as a result of this sad happening?

Source: BBC News

Image: The Washington Times