Pope: I’m not a Marxist

Posted on: 4:59 pm, December 15, 2013, by , updated on: 04:58pm, December 15, 2013

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(CNN) In a new interview, Pope Francis responded to critics who call his stance on capitalism “Marxist,” saying that the political and economic philosophy is flat “wrong.”

“Marxist ideology is wrong,” the Pope told the Italian newspaper La Stampa in an interview published on Saturday. “But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

Earlier this month, the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted the pontiff, calling his latest major writing, an apostolic exhortation called Evangelii Gaudium, “pure Marxism.”

“It’s sad because this Pope makes it very clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth,” Limbaugh said.

READ MORE: Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching ‘pure Marxism’

Pope Francis told La Stampa that, “there is nothing in the Exhortation that cannot be found in the social Doctrine of the Church.” The 50,000-word statement calls for church reform and castigates elements of modern capitalism.

Francis — the first pope ever to hail from Latin America, where he worked on behalf of the poor in his native Argentina — warned in “Evangelii” that the “idolatry of money” would lead to a “new tyranny.”

The Pope also blasted “trickle-down economics,” saying the theory “expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.”

The Pope’s critique of capitalism thrilled many liberal Catholics, who have long called on church leaders to spend more time and energy on protecting the poor from economic inequalities.

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor