Pope Francis: Communists Hijacked Church's Ideas
And women are 'taken from a rib,' he jokes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2014 1:47 AM CDT
Pope Francis hoists the Gospel book during a Vatican mass yesterday.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
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(Newser) – Pope Francis has excommunicated the Mafia, will bankers be next? Asked by an interviewer about the criticisms of capitalism that have led some to suggest he has communist leanings, the pontiff said the church was helping the poor long before Marxist ideology existed, Reuters reports. "I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel," he said, referring to Bible verses including the Sermon on the Mount. "The communists say that all this is communism. Yeah, right, 20 centuries later," he said, laughing. "So one can say to them: 'but then you are Christian.'"

But while the pontiff is seen as progressive on economic matters, there was some old-fashioned sexism in the same interview, his first with a female journalist, the Guardian finds. Asked about misogny in the church and whether he intended to give women higher status, he said women had been "taken from a rib," adding "I'm joking. That was a joke." He called women "the most beautiful thing God has made" before acknowledging that the "issue of women needs to be gone into in more depth, otherwise you can't understand the church itself." Asked whether a woman could head a Vatican department, he quipped, "Priests often end up under the sway of their housekeepers."