March 2, 2016 / 10:50 AM / 2 years ago

Pope says Church does not want 'dirty money'

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Catholic Church does not want people to donate “dirty money” earned by abusing low-paid workers, Pope Francis said on Wednesday.

Pope Francis leads his weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

“Some donors come to the Church offering profits from the blood of people who have been exploited, mistreated, enslaved with badly paid work,” Francis said during his regular weekly audience with pilgrims at the Vatican.

“I will say to them: ‘Please take your money away, burn it’,” said Francis, who has made safeguarding the poor and cleaning up Vatican finances central tenets of his papacy.

“The people of God... do not need dirty money, they need hearts that are open to God’s mercy,” he said.

The pope has branded money “the dung of the devil” and condemned the evils of unbridled capitalism, prompting criticism from some U.S. business leaders.

Francis has increased the power of the Vatican’s financial intelligence authority (AIF) but the European finance watchdog Moneyval said last year the Holy See still needed to be much more aggressive in prosecuting financial crimes.

Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Jon Boyle

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