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Pope Francis: 'Marxist Ideology Is Wrong, But I Know Many Marxist Who Are Good People'

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In a new interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Pope Francis responded to allegations that he is a Marxist, after he recently criticized 'unfettered capitalism.'

The Pope told La Stampa that “Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended ... there is nothing in the exhortation that cannot be found in the social doctrine of the church.”

He was referring to an apostolic exhortation from November, in which he wrote, "As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems."

Another passage read, ""Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills."

The Pope's words received harsh criticism from American conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, who told his audience that ""this is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. Unfettered capitalism? That doesn't exist anywhere. Unfettered capitalism is a liberal socialist phrase to describe the United States. Unfettered, unregulated."

As well as addressing the controversy, Pope Francis shared with La Stampa his thoughts as he approaches his first Christmas as head of the Catholic Church:. “Christmas is God’s meeting with his people," he said. "It is also a consolation, a mystery of consolation.. After the midnight mass I have often spent an hour or so alone in the chapel before celebrating the dawn mass. I felt a profound feeling of consolation and peace.”

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Filed by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush