* Annual message sent to heads of state, world organisations
* Pope says food insecurity growing threat
* Repeats stands against abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY, Dec 14 Pope Benedict on Friday
called for a new economic model and ethical regulations for
markets, saying the global financial crisis was proof that
capitalism does not protect the weakest members of society.
In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of
Peace, which is marked on Jan. 1, Benedict also warned that a
food insecurity was a threat to peace in some parts of the
He also strongly reaffirmed the Church's opposition to gay
marriage, saying heterosexual marriage had an indispensable role
The annual message, which traditionally centres on how to
promote peace and how to reduce threats to peace, is sent to
heads of state, government and institutions such as the United
Nations and non-governmental organisations.
In it the pope said economic models that seek maximum profit
and consumption and encourage competition at all costs had
failed to look after the basic needs of many and could sow
"It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict
caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor,
by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which
also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,"
The pope said people, groups and institutions were needed to
foster human creativity, to draw lessons from the crisis and to
create a new economic model.
The message had echoes of his 2009 encyclical Caritas in
Veritate (Charity in Truth), in which he called for a world
political authority to manage the global economy and for more
government regulation of national economies.
"The creation of ethical structures for currency, financial
and commercial markets is also fundamental and indispensable,"
the pope said in Friday's message. "These must be stabilised and
better coordinated and controlled so as not to prove harmful to
the very poor."
He said food insecurity was becoming an ever-increasing
threat to peace and social stability, calling the food crisis
even greater than the financial crisis.
Ensuring people have access to sufficient nutrition should
be central to the international political agenda because of
inter-related crises, sudden shifts in prices of basic
foodstuffs, and unethical practices, he said.
There had been insufficient control of food security by
governments and the international community and he called for
more help for poor rural farmers.
In a report in October, the United Nations food agencies
said one out of every eight people in the world is chronically
In his message, the pope also attacked moves to liberalise
abortion and euthanasia, saying they posed a threat to the
fundamental right to life and again denounced gay marriage.
The Vatican has recently stepped up its attack against moves
to make gay marriage legal following gains in the United States,
France and Spain.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella. Editing by Jane Merriman)