Pope Francis calls for new economic order, criticises capitalism

Pope Francis blesses a woman as Bolivian President Evo Morales (R) looks on, during a World Meeting of Popular Movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on July 9.

In Bolivia during his tour of South America, Pope Francis on Thursday urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a "new colonialism" by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the "sacred rights" of labour, lodging and land.

In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope also asked forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic Church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the "so-called conquest of America".

Quoting a 4th century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil", and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries.

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