VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis attacked mega-salaries and big bonuses on Thursday, saying in the first peace message of his pontificate that they are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality.
In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace, marked by the Church around the world on Jan. 1, he also called for more sharing of wealth among people and nations to narrow the gap between the rich and poor. "The grave financial and economic crises of the present time ... have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy," he said. "The succession of economic crises should lead too a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles," he said.
Francis, who was named Time magazine's Person of the Year on Wednesday, has urged his own Church to be more fair, frugal and less pompous and to be closer to the poor and suffering.
His message will be sent to national leaders, international organisations such as the United Nations, and NGO's.
Titled "Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace", the message also attacked injustice, human trafficking, organised crime and the weapons trade as obstacles to peace.
The new pope's style is characterised by frugality. He shunned the spacious papal apartment in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to live in a small suite in a Vatican guest house, and he prefers a Ford Focus to the traditional pope's Mercedes.
A champion of the downtrodden, he visited the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy in July to pay tribute to hundreds of migrants who had died crossing the sea from North Africa.