Pope Francis launched a sweeping attack on the world's economic system in an interview released Friday, saying it discards the young, puts money ahead of people and survives on the profits of war.
The 77-year-old leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics said some countries had a youth unemployment rate of more than 50 percent, with many millions in Europe seeking work in vain.
"It's madness," the pope said in an interview with the Barcelona-based Vanguardia daily's Vatican correspondent Henrique Cymerman.
"We discard a whole generation to maintain an economic system that no longer endures, a system that to survive has to make war, as the big empires have always done," Francis said.
"But since we cannot wage the Third World War, we make regional wars. And what does that mean? That we make and sell arms. And with that the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies -- the big world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money -- are obviously cleanedup."
The pope said there was enough food to feed all the world's hungry.
"When you see photographs of malnourished children you put your head in your hands, you cannot understand it," Francis said.
"I think we are in a global economic system that is not good," he said.
People's needs should be at the heart of the economic system, the pope said.
"But we have placed money in the centre, the god of money. We have fallen into the sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money. The economy moves by the desire to have more and paradoxically it feeds a disposable culture."
The pontiff said the young were discarded when "the birth rate is limited" and the old were discarded when they no longer were considered productive.
"By discarding children and the old, we discard the future of a people because the young will pull us strongly forward and the old will give us wisdom," he said.