During a speech Thursday, Pope Francis blasted the “cult of money” that he says is tyrannizing the poor and turning humans into expendable consumer goods. These comments were particularly important, because they marked the first time the pontiff has spoken out about the subject (as pope, that is).

It’s no secret that Pope Francis is frugal. Stories about his penchant for a simple life are now widely-known since he rose to the top of the Catholic Church. While many of the questions surrounding the faith leader’s views on poverty and finances have dissipated, his denunciation on Thursday of the global financial system is capturing quite a bit of attention.

Pope Francis Blasts Cult of Money That Harms the Poor: Money Has to Serve, Not to Rule!

In this photo provided Thursday, May 16, 2013 by the Vatican newspaper l’Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis is greeted by Argentine tennis player Juan Martin del Potro, who gave him his tennis racket, at the end of the pontiff’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Credit: AP

In addition to decrying the overall obsession with money, Francis demanded Thursday that financial and political leaders reform the global financial system to make it more ethical and concerned for the common good. He said: “Money has to serve, not to rule!”

It’s a message Francis delivered on many occasions when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, and it’s one that was frequently stressed by retired Pope Benedict XVI. Francis, who has made clear the poor are his priority, made the comments as he greeted his first group of new ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.

Pope Francis Blasts Cult of Money That Harms the Poor: Money Has to Serve, Not to Rule!

Pope Francis kisses a child from the Popemobile at the end of a canonisation mass in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican on May 12, 2013. The Pope led a mass on Sunday for candidates to sainthood Antonio Primaldo, Mother Laura Montoya and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Previously, TheBlaze explored Francis’ views on the poor in detail, tackling a question some critics have posed and feared: Is Pope Francis (formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio) a socialist who will allow liberation theology to infiltrate the Catholic Church?

As we noted back in March, while it is true that poverty is close to Francis’ heart, there’s no indication that he’s a socialist and it’s on record that he combated liberation theology as a result of its Marxist roots.

It will be interesting to see how Francis will continue to speak about the issue of poverty in the coming months and years.

For a full analysis of the pope’s past and present views on morality and the economy, read our previous coverage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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