Pope Francis has launched a scathing attack on the global economic system, warning it is near collapse because of a 'throwaway culture' of greed and the 'atrocity' of youth unemployment.
The Catholic leader openly blasted the 'idolatrous' economy for disregarding the young, which he says has led to shocking levels of youth unemployment and will lead to a lost generation.
The 77-year-old also criticised the economy - which he said had 'fallen into a sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money' - for surviving on the profits of war.
The Pope's damning message came amid comments he made about the break-up of countries such as Scotland and Catalonia, which came as a huge blow to the Scottish Yes campaign.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, he said: 'Our world cannot take it anymore. Our global economic system can't take any more.
'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.
'The economy is moved by the ambition of having more and, paradoxically, it feeds a throwaway culture.'
The pontiff expressed particular concern over the 'worrisome' statistics of youth unemployment.
He said: 'The rate of unemployment is very worrisome to me, which in some countries is over 50 percent. That is an atrocity.
'Young people are thrown away when their natality is limited. The elderly are also discarded because they don't serve any use anymore.
'In throwing away the kids and elderly, the future of a people is thrown away because the young people are going to push forcefully forward and because the elderly give us wisdom.'
During the interview, Pope Francis - who has not shied away from speaking out since he took over as the head of the church - denounced the influence of war and the military on the global economy.
He said: '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 sorted.
'This unique thought takes away the wealth of diversity of thought and therefore the wealth of a dialogue between peoples.'
The Pope said the economy's flaws had stemmed from humankind's obsession with money.
He said: 'At the centre of all economic systems must be man, man and woman, and everything else must be in service of this man.
'But we have put money at the centre, the god of money. We have fallen into a sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money.'
Pope Francis, who was elected in March 2013 after the resignation of former Pope Benedict, has been trying to reform the finances of the Vatican for the past year.
Earlier this month, he sacked the five-man board of the Vatican's financial watchdog, the Financial Information Authority, to pave the way for drastic change.
In the past, he has also made several public comments about the economy, most notably in November last year when he denounced 'the new idolatry of money' in a screed.
He has also faulted the Catholic church for its negative obsession with homosexuals and birth control and has spoken out about climate change.
In the same interview with the Spanish newspaper, he also touched on the issue of Scottish Independence.
He said: 'Independence of people through secession is a dismembering. Obviously, there are peoples with cultures so diverse that they cannot be connected. The Yugoslav case is very clear, but I wonder if it's so clear in other cases, with other peoples who have been united up until now.'
Original headline: Pope Francis claims global economy is close to collapse and describes youth unemployment rates as an 'atrocity'
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