Pope Benedict XVI has highlighted unregulated financial capitalism as a major source of tension and confrontation in the world.
In his New Year's message, the Pope said other threats included a growing gap between rich and poor, terrorism and crime.
He deplored "hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor".
Those "hotbeds" also grew out of "the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism", as well as "various forms of terrorism and crime", he said.
Pope Benedict celebrated mass in St Peter's Basilica in Rome using a mobile platform to conserve his strength.
"The peacemakers are many, but they are not loud. As leaven in dough, they raise humanity according to God's plan," he said.