The Vatican Science Academy has challenged politicians to end their "infatuation" with a form of economic growth that is ruining the Earth.
The academy said that nations were measuring their wealth by GDP (Gross Domestic Product), taking no account of the harm caused by business practises.
It urged countries to act as stewards of God's creation.
The statements are likely to influence the Pope's coming Encyclical on climate change.
An Cambridge Economics professor, Partha Dasgupta, told the academy's climate conference in the Vatican: "GDP is a disgraceful index because it does not count depreciation of our assets - including damage to Mother Nature, the most fundamental asset we have."