Pope: It's Time to Fix the Wealth Gap Also calls for end to Syria violence in New Year's address By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Jan 7, 2013 2:07 PM CST 80 comments Comments Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing as he leaves at the end of an Epiphany mass he celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI used his New Year's speech today to urge world leaders to address the growing wealth gap between rich and poor, the AP reports. And he got quite technical in his calling for that. As reported by Bloomberg: "If the differential index between financial rates represents a source of concern, the increasing differences between those few who grow ever richer and the many who grow hopelessly poorer should be a cause for dismay," he said. "It is a question of refusing to be resigned to a ‘spread’ in social well-being, while at the same time fighting one in the financial sector." His words were particularly directed at Europe as it deals with its financial crisis. He called on the European Union to make "far-sighted" and "difficult" decisions about policies that will help the entire region to grow, as opposed to "short-term interests." He also called for an end to the violence in Syria during the speech, which Reuters calls his "state of the world" address.