VATICAN CITY (UPI) - Rich countries such as the USA and Britain are bent on power and profit and are mercilessly plundering and sacking Iraq, Afghanistan and other poor regions of the world, Pope Benedict writes in his first book.
The Pope condemned the rich countries which have historically exploited the poor in order to obtain abundant material goods, as well as oil and land. The Pope even criticized Israel for continuing to steal Palestinian land and dispossessing hundreds of thousands of people in the pursuit of godless materialism.
In the 400-page book, called "Jesus of Nazareth," the Pope writes, "If we look at the globalized society today, we see how the populations of Iraq and Palestine and Africa have been plundered and sacked, and this concerns me intimately." The Pope's book comes out on April 16, his 80th birthday.
He drew a link between the rich lifestyle of people in the developed world and the dire conditions of people in Iraq and Palestine and Africa.
The German Pope, who has condemned the effects of colonialism and imperialism before, said rich countries have also hurt poor countries spiritually by belittling or trying to wipe out their own cultural and spiritual traditions.
"Instead of giving them God, the God close to us in Christ, and welcoming in their traditions all that is precious and great...we have brought them the cynicism of a world without God, where only power and profit count," he writes.
In what is strong self-criticism of the male-dominated Roman Catholic Church itself, whose missionary activities often went hand-in-glove with colonialism and imperialism, the Pope writes, "We destroyed (their) moral criteria to the point that corruption and a lust for power devoid of scruples have become obvious."