WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Ahead of Pope Francis' historic trip to the United States, the pontiff rejected assertions he's a liberal due to certain views he holds considered as "leftist."
Francis has been criticized over some of his views, seen by some as "leftist," including his recognition of climate change. While answering journalists' questions en route to Washington, D.C., about whether he is liberal, the pope said that claim would be an interpretive "mistake."
"Some people might say some things sounded slightly more left-ish, but that would be a mistake of interpretation," Francis said before landing in the United States. "If you want me to pray the creed, I'm willing to do it."
Conservative Republicans criticizing the pope include Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar who said he will boycott Francis' scheduled speech at a joint session of Congress on Thursday because of expected comments on climate change.
Gosar said Francis is acting like "a leftist politician."
Among acts potentially considered "leftist," the pope recently apologized for the church's historical involvement in capitalism and imperialism which have led to poverty throughout South America.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said the pope's views on capitalism were "pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope."
Prior to his trip this week, a Gallup poll showed the Pope's favorability rating among Americans dropped from 76 percent in early 2014 to the current 59 percent in July 2015. Among American conservatives, 45 percent viewed him favorably in July, down from 72 percent in 2014.
The criticism the pope receives can be traced to his roots as a Jesuit, members of the Society of Jesus.
The Society of Jesus was established in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish soldier and aristocrat, who urged fellow Jesuits to "find God in all things." Jesuits advocate for social justice, including immigration reform, poverty relief and criminal justice reform.
Jesuits are often seen as a progressive order because of their close ties to science and social advocacy. The pope's appointment brought progressive changes to the Catholic Church.
More recently, Francis said priests can forgive women who have had an abortion if they seek forgiveness during an upcoming extraordinary jubilee and he also announced changes to the Catholic marriage annulment process, making it cheaper and faster.
Although some of Francis' views are against conservative tradition, the pope is officially against same-sex marriage and abortions -- siding with conservative ideology.