Pope Francis has spoken out against the global financial system, saying that deregulation of financial markets has created a "cult of money" and blamed it for causing growing inequality across the world.

In his first major speech on the six-year-old financial crisis, Francis told ambassadors at the Vatican that a culture of greed was the reason for the widening gap between a rich minority and a poor majority.

"One of the causes of this situation, in my opinion, is in our relationship with money, in accepting its power over us and over our society. Thus, the financial crisis that we are going through makes us forget its primary cause, which is rooted in a deep anthropological crisis, in the denial of the primacy of the human being. We have created new idols. The adoration of the ancient golden calf found a new and merciless image in the cult of money and in the dictatorship of an economy with no human face and no really human aim."

The Pope's comments come as the Vatican Bank, a source of scandals for decades, announced that it will launch its own website and publish its annual report in an effort to increase transparency.

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner