Pope Francis denounced Marxism, but said he knew a lot of “good” people who adhere to the political ideology, in an interview published Sunday.

In an interview with Italian publication La Stampa, the pope dismissed allegations from some conservatives that he is sympathetic to such views, saying “the Marxist ideology is wrong.”

“Marxist ideology is wrong.”
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“But in my life I have met a lot of Marxists who are good people, so I do not feel offended,” the Pope, who was just named TIME’s “person of the year,” added.

Pope Francis Responds to Marxism Allegations

Pope Francis smiles as he arrives at an audience with beneficiaries and volunteers of the Santa Marta pediatric dispensary in Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican on December 14, 2013. (AFP Photo/Alberto Pizzoli)

“The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the ‘trickle-down theories’ which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world,” the Pope added.

“The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor,” he continued. “But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory. I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the Church’s social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist.”

Late last month, Pope Francis addressed what he said were some of the downfalls of “unfettered capitalism. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh responded, saying he was “befuddled” by the “pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope.”

This post has been updated.

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