Pope warns against uncaring capitalism

ROME Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:50pm BST

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ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Sunday warned that unbridled capitalism is widening the gap between the world's rich and poor and threatening the future of the planet.

Addressing the faithful at his weekly Angelus blessing at his summer residence outside Rome, Benedict said capitalism and a fair distribution of wealth were not contradictory, but the search for profit must not be allowed to go unchecked.

"The emergencies of famine and the environment demonstrate with growing clarity that the logic of profit, if predominant, increases the disproportion between the rich and the poor and leads to a ruinous exploitation of the planet," he said.

"Capitalism should not be considered the only valid model of economic organisation," Benedict said, citing the words of his predecessor John Paul II.

Catholic doctrine has always given priority to the fair distribution of resources, the Pope said, adding that it is not too late to rein in the excesses of capitalism.

"When the logic of sharing and solidarity prevail, it is possible to correct our route and point it towards fair and sustainable development," he said.

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