Pope says economy for people, not profit

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Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday the economy must work for people, not for profit, as he arrived in crisis-torn Spain where protesters have decried the cost of his visit.

"The economy cannot function as a self-regulated economy," he told journalists accompanying him in the papal plane from Rome.

"Man must be at the economy's centre, which is not profit but solidarity."

The 84-year-old pontiff will lead more than a million pilgrims in World Youth Day celebrations during his four-day visit to the Spanish capital.

On the night before his arrival, protesters angry about the expense of the pope's visit in the midst of a biting economic crisis had clashed with pilgrims and riot police in Madrid.

"In the current crisis the ethical dimension is not exterior but interior," said the leader of the world's estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

"The economy cannot be measured by maximum profits," he said. "It has to be placed at the service of the protection of work for all."

Spain has an unemployment rate of more than 20 percent, and under-25s suffer from a jobless rate of than 45 percent.

"We have to protect our planet," the pope said on the plane.

World Youth Day celebrations "are a cascade of light to give visibility to the presence of God in the world," he said.

"Truth is only accessible in freedom," the pontiff added. "It is true that there have been abuses in history to impose a concept of truth and monotheism (belief in one God)."

© 2011 AFP

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