Vatican City: Pope Francis today urged governments around the world to show more solidarity and strive for equality following a period of economic crisis, a day after being declared "Person of the Year" by Time magazine.
"The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles," Francis said in his message for New Year`s Day, which is World Peace Day.
"Effective policies are needed to promote the principle of fraternity, securing for people... Access to capital, services, educational resources, healthcare and technology," he said in a written text.
Governments have a "duty of solidarity" towards poorer nations and a "duty of social justice" towards their citizens, while individuals should also practice fraternity by "sharing their wealth", he said.
Francis called for "a culture of solidarity" and said the biblical story of Cain and Abel showed "the difficult task to which all men and women are called, to live as one, taking care of each other."
"Rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fuelling that `throw away` mentality which leads to a contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest," he said.
He also reiterated his critique of financial speculators saying they were often "both predatory and harmful for entire economic and social systems, exposing millions of men and women to poverty".