Pope Francis has urged the world's political and financial elite attending the Davos forum to put their expertise and ingenuity at the service of the poor to move beyond a welfare mentality for dealing with hunger and poverty.

In a message to the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Francis said Tuesday: "I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it."

He praised the "fundamental role" modern business has played in helping improve health care, education and communications. But he said that progress has often been achieved alongside widespread social exclusion of the poor.

The overall message was similar to one in Francis' first major policy statement but appeared softer in tone following criticism of his denunciation of trickle-down economics.