RELIGION

Pope acknowledges US critics of anti-capitalism stance, downplays his role in US-Cuba thaw

Pope Francis leaves after paying a visit to the St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, Monday, July 13, 2015. Pope Francis landed in Rome Monday after a week-long trip to South America, including Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Pope Francis leaves after paying a visit to the St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, Monday, July 13, 2015. Pope Francis landed in Rome Monday after a week-long trip to South America, including Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis is acknowledging criticism in the United States of his anti-capitalist stance and is calling for dialogue before his high-profile trip in September. He's also downplaying his role in the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement.

Francis spent much of the past week in South America railing against the injustices of today's "structurally perverse" global economic system that puts profit ahead of people. U.S. conservatives have called his attacks on fossil fuels and the free-market economy flawed and irresponsible, given that many millions of people have been lifted out of poverty thanks to capitalism.

Francis told reporters en route home to Rome on Sunday that he had heard about the criticisms in the U.S., but hadn't had a chance to read up on it given he was preparing for his South America trip.