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Pope calls for social solidarity

Pope Francis

Vatican City (AFP) — Pope Francis on Thursday 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 which will be read out in Catholic churches on January 1.

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.

He also said disarmament accords were not “sufficient to protect humanity from the risk of armed conflict”.

“A conversion of hearts is needed which would permit everyone to recognise in the other a brother or sister,” he said.