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Pope rejects Marxist criticism

Sun 11 Jan 2015
By Antony Bushfield

Pope Francis has said his care and concern for poor people is a 'touchstone' of his Christian faith and not some communist-inspired ideology.

The Holy Father has been accused by some U.S. conservatives of being a Marxist for his constant criticism of consumerism and lack of care for the world's poor.

But in a new interview he said his message comes from the Gospel and is not part of his own political ideology.

"The Gospel does not condemn the wealthy, but the idolatry of wealth, the idolatry that makes people indifferent to the call of the poor," the Pope said.

He's made the comments in a new book, "This Economy Kills", which has been seen by the Associated Press.

Francis specifically mentioned a verse from the Gospel of Matthew to back up his point: "I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me, clothed me, visited me, took care of me.

"Caring for our neighbour, for those who are poor, who suffer in body and soul, for those who are in need: this is the touchstone. Is it pauperism? No. It is the Gospel."

He added: "As we can see, this concern for the poor is in the Gospel, it is within the tradition of the church, it is not an invention of communism and it must not be turned into some ideology, as has sometimes happened before in the course of history."

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