In a recent interview, Pope Francis said he is not a Marxist but that even Marxists can be good people.
Pope Francis was responding to conservative criticisms that his economic and social ideas smack of communism.
He also denied reports that he would name a woman cardinal, said there was good progress in cleaning up Vatican finances and confirmed that he would visit Israel and the Palestinian territories next year, Italian newspaper La Stampa reported.
Last month, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who has a huge following in the US, railed against Pope Francis for written comments made on the world economy.
Rush Limbaugh, who is not Catholic, said that parts of the document were “pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope” and suggested that someone else had written the papal document for him. He also accused the Pope of going “beyond Catholicism” and being “purely political”.
Asked about the accusations, which sparked a debate in the media and blogosphere last month, Pope Francis, a member of the all-male Jesuit order associated with progressive social policies, said: “Marxist ideology is wrong. But in my life I have known many Marxists who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”
He has also been criticized by other conservatives.
Rush Limbaugh railed against Pope Francis for written comments made on the world economy
In last month’s document, seen as a platform for his papacy, Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny” said an “economy of exclusion and inequality” had proven to be deadly for many people around the world.
In his response to the critics, Pope Francis said he was not speaking “as a technician but according to the social doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, and this does not mean being Marxist”. He said he was just trying to present a “snapshot of what is happening” in the world today.
In another document last week, Pope Francis said huge salaries and bonuses were symptoms of an economy based on greed and called again for nations to narrow the wealth gap.
Conservatives in the 1.2 billion member Church have expressed concern and disappointment about some of the pope’s pronouncements, such as when he said he was not in a position to judge gays who are people of good will sincerely seeking God.
Asked about speculation that a woman could be among the new cardinals he will appoint early next year, Pope Francis said: “I don’t know where that idea comes from. Women in the Church should be valued, not <<clericalized>>.”
In other parts of the interview, Francis also said a committee of eight cardinals from around the world who are advising him on changes to the Vatican structure would make its first formal recommendations to him in February but that reform would be a “lengthy task”.
He said that reform of the Vatican’s sometimes murky finances was “on the right path” and expressed satisfaction that last week a Council of Europe committee called Moneyval gave the Vatican a good evaluation of its efforts to abide by international financial standards.
Pope Francis said he had not yet decided what to do about the Vatican bank, which has been touched by scandals over the decades. In the past he has not ruled out closing it.
He said he was “getting ready” to go to the Holy Land next year to mark the 50th anniversary of when Pope Paul VI became the first pope in modern times to visit there.
Pope Francis has been invited by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to make a visit, which is expected to take place in May or June.
Pietro Parolin has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new prime minister of Vatican.
Veteran diplomat Pietro Parolin is replacing Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone as part of Pope Francis’ initiative to reform the Vatican.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, had been widely criticized over last year’s so-called “Vatileaks” scandals.
Leaked documents revealed corruption and infighting at the Vatican.
In September Tarcisio Bertone said he had been the victim of “moles and vipers”.
Pietro Parolin is replacing Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone as part of Pope Francis’ initiative to reform the Vatican
“Of course there were a lot of problems, particularly in the last two years, and some accusations were levied against me,” he said.
“But this should not darken what I see as a positive overall result. We missed some things, also because problems were kept locked away by some people who did not contact the Secretariat of State,” Tarcisio Bertone added.
Cardinals welcomed the choice of Pietro Parolin who is seen as a reformer and known for his efforts to improve relations with China and Israel.
The French cardinal, Jean-Louis Tauran, told Vatican radio that Pietro Parolin was “an excellent choice, an efficient man, a good negotiator, very balanced.”
Pope Francis has already set in motion the reform of the Vatican Bank which has allegedly been turning a blind eye to money-laundering by some of its clients. He has also appointed a committee of Catholic economists to advise him on improving accounting methods and financial transparency.
The appointment of Pope Francis’ new secretary of state is seen by Vatican watchers as the most important single administrative act carried out by the new Pope since his election last March.
Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin as new secretary of state.
The move is seen as the Pope’s most significant appointment since he became leader of the Catholic Church in March.
Archbishop Pietro Parolin, a 58-year-old Vatican diplomat, replaced Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 79, who is retiring.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, appointed by Francis’ predecessor Pope Benedict, had been widely criticized over last year’s so-called “Vatileaks” scandals.
Leaked documents revealed corruption and infighting at the Vatican.
The secretary of state heads the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church, and is the Pope’s chief adviser.
Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin as new secretary of state
Archbishop Parolin, an Italian, is currently the Vatican’s nuncio – or ambassador – in Venezuela.
In a statement, he said he would give the Pope his “completely availability to work with him and under his guidance for the greater glory of God, the good of the holy Church and the progress and peace”.
Pope Francis’ appointment marks the beginning of the replacement or dismissal of several former key members of Benedict’s administrative team.
The Pope has also promised to stamp out abuses at the Vatican bank – officially known as the Institute for Religious Works.
Shortly after his appointment, he set up a commission to investigate the bank and report back to him personally.
He later issued a decree to combat money-laundering.
The Vatileaks scandals erupted in 2012, when former Pope Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, published confidential documents from Vatican offices alleging widespread corruption and mismanagement.
Paolo Gabriele was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in jail for stealing the papers, but he was subsequently pardoned by Pope Benedict.