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Pope Says Worldwide Gap Between Rich, Poor Has Grown

Pope Benedict XVI said the current global financial crisis is the result of individuals seeking short-term monetary gains at the expense of the common good.

In his annual message published Thursday ahead of the Roman Catholic Church's annual World Day of Peace on January 1, the pope said the world is seeing a greater gap between the rich and poor.

He said the international financial system must be a stimulus for long-term growth and job development.

Pope Benedict also condemned international campaigns to reduce birth rates in poorer countries.

He said methods such as abortion do not fight poverty or help a country's development but actually constitute "the destruction of the poorest of all human beings."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.