Pope Francis on economic inequality: 'Such an economy kills'

Pope Francis attends his Wednesday general audience, Nov. 6, 2013.
Pope Francis attends his Wednesday general audience, Nov. 6, 2013.

Pope Francis called rampant capitalism "a new tyranny" in his first major document released as head of the Catholic church on Tuesday.

"In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," Francis wrote. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."

Francis also called on the rich to share their wealth, arguing that there should be a commandment that guides humans to be inclusive of all people and eliminate economic inequality from society.

"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality," he wrote. "Such an economy kills."

Along with his forthright criticism of capitalism, the pope also called the obsession with wealth a “new and ruthless” form of worshiping a false idol, and argued it reduces humans to creatures of consumption.

The document, known as an apostolic exhortation, covers a wide range of topics and can been viewed as an official platform for his papacy. In the document, Francis continued to build upon the teachings and remarks he's given since first being chosen to lead the Roman Catholic Church earlier this year.

Francis has already made headlines for his breaks from tradition--including traveling in a Ford Focus rather than the custom luxury vehicles Pope Benedict XVI used and living in the Vatican guest house rather than the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace.

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," Francis wrote.