* Pope makes "state of the world" speech to diplomats
* Calls for ethics in world economy
* Supports democracy in "Arab Spring" countries
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY, Jan 9 The global crisis
shows that the world needs economic ethics and new rules so the
financial system benefits all humanity, Pope Benedict said on
Monday in his keynote speech for the New Year.
In a wide-ranging address, the pontiff also called for the
end of violence across North Africa and the Middle East, and
denounced attacks against religious freedom.
"The present moment is sadly marked by a profound disquiet
and the various crises - economic, political and social - are a
dramatic expression of this," he told diplomats in what has come
to be known as his yearly "state of the world" speech.
He said the "grave and disturbing developments of the global
economic and financial crisis" that had started in
industrialised countries were now infecting the world and
leaving many, particularly the young, disoriented and
Adding a personal touch to appeals that have been made in
recent Vatican documents, Benedict called for an injection of
ethics in the way the world economy is run.
"The crisis can and must be an incentive to reflect on human
existence and on the importance of its ethical dimension," he
said, addressing diplomats from nearly 180 countries in French.
Changes in the economy should not only be "an
effort to stem private losses or to shore up national economies,
but to give ourselves new rules that ensure that all can lead a
dignified life and develop their abilities for the benefit of
the community as a whole".
Since the downturn began, Benedict has often said the lack
of sufficient ethics in the world of finance could not be
overlooked, and that economic decisions should be based on what
advances the common good rather than individual gain.
A major document issued in October by the Vatican's justice
and peace department called for sweeping reforms of the world
economy and the creation of an ethical global authority to
regulate financial markets.
In other parts of his speech to the diplomats accredited to
the Holy See, Benedict spoke of the "Arab Spring" uprisings and
threw his weight behind calls for democratic and peaceful change
in the region.
He called for "the recognition of the inalienable dignity of
each human person and of his or her fundamental rights" in
countries in that region. He said respect for the person "must
lead to the end of all violence."
Benedict said he hoped that the presence of Arab League
observers in Syria would help to end the bloodshed there, and
urged the international community to do more to bring about
peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
He said religious freedom was under threat in various places
in Africa and Asia and again denounced attacks against
Christians such as those in Nigeria, where Christmas Day
bombings against churches killed at least 27 people.
The pope, who visited Africa last year, called such attacks
"religiously motivated terrorism", and said they were "the
antithesis of religion" and contributed to its destruction.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)