By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – Pope Francis: Successor to St. Peter ... the people's pontiff ... Marxist?
That's what conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh suggests, calling the Pope's latest document "pure Marxism."
Limbaugh blasted the pontiff on Wednesday, a day after Francis released "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), a 50,000-word statement that calls for church reform and castigates elements of modern capitalism.
Limbaugh's segment, now online and entitled "It's Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is (Unless It's a Deliberate Mistranslation By Leftists)," takes direct aim at the pope's economic views, calling them "dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong."
The Vatican issued the English translation of "Evangelii," which is known officially as an apostolic exhortation and unofficially as a pep talk to the worlds 1.5 billion Catholics.
Francis – the first pope ever to hail from Latin America, where he worked on behalf of the poor in his native Argentina – warned in "Evangelii" that the "idolatry of money" would lead to a "new tyranny."
The Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
READ MORE: Pope Francis: No more business as usual
The Pope's critique of capitalism thrilled many liberal Catholics, who have long called on church leaders to spend more time and energy on protecting the poor from economic inequalities.
But Limbaugh, whose program is estimated to reach 15 million listeners, called the Pope's comments "sad" and "unbelievable."
"It's sad because this pope makes it very clear he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth."
In fact, Argentina was a battlefield between leftist socialists and right-wing security forces during much of Francis' early career in the country, where he was a Jesuit priest and later archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Limbaugh, who is not Catholic, said he admires the faith "profoundly." He admired Pope Francis as well, "up until this," Limbaugh said.
The talk show host also said that he has made numerous visits to the Vatican, which he said "wouldn't exist without tons of money."
"But regardless, what this is, somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him," Limbaugh added. "This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope."
Limbaugh took particular issue with the Pope's criticism of the "culture of prosperity," which the pontiff called a "mere spectacle" for the many people who can't afford to participate.
"This is almost a statement about who should control financial markets," Limbaugh said. "He says that the global economy needs government control."
"I'm not Catholic, but I know enough to know that this would have been unthinkable for a pope to believe or say just a few years ago," Limbaugh continued.
In fact, Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, now pope emeritus, could be just as strong a critic of capitalism.
In 2009, Benedict, in an official church document called an encyclical, said there was an urgent need for "a political, juridical and economic order" that would "manage the global economy."
As Limbaugh notes, Benedict's predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, was a noted foe of communism, after living under its oppressions in his native Poland. But even John Paul thought that unregulated capitalism could have negative consequences.
In "Evangelii," Francis called for more of a spiritual and ethical revolution than a regulatory one.
"I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: `Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs,'" said Francis, quoting the fifth-century St. John Chrysostom.
Liberal Catholics defended Pope Francis on Monday, calling on Limbaugh to apologize and retract his remarks.
"To call the Holy Father a proponent 'pure Marxism' is both mean-spirited and naive," said Christopher Hale of the Washington-based Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. "Francis's critique of unrestrained capitalism is in line with the Church's social teaching."
Limbaugh is not the only conservative commentator to take issue with the Pope's views on capitalism.
READ MORE: Sarah Palin 'taken aback' by Pope Francis's 'liberal' statements
“I go to church to save my soul," said Fox News' Stuart Varney, who is an Episcopalian. "It’s got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics.”
It doesn't sound like the criticism is slowing Francis down, however. He's started sending a Vatican contingent, including the Papal Swiss Guards, into Rome to deliver food and charity.
I'm no believer, but I wonder what Limbaugh would say about their imaginary friend Jesus telling the rich guy to sell all he has and give it to the poor.
I'm guessing he'd have to say that Jesus was/is a Marxist, too. But then, he didn't really think this one through before he blasted vitriol. We've seen this many times before, and unfortunately, we'll see it again. That man would try the patience of Job.
Marx was a Jew who rejected his own religion and the concept of a Creator who's gift to man was life and free will in favor of a forced political morality enforced by an all powerful government of men.
He would say that that was a test of faith for that one rich man. Other rich people aren't included in that. At least that is the excuse I have heard from other rich Christians posed the same question. That has probably been the answer of popes and bishops in the past too.
you really are a very, very stupid person aren't u?
Insults with no substance. Very mature.
Limbaugh would not exist without moneyed interests.
Sure he would. He'd be that guy on the corner lot selling the same 6 used cars to the desperate.
Nah, he'd have died long ago from artery failure. His money keeps him fat and well doctored.
Limbaugh, as all conservatives are just laughable. If it didn't come from their mouths it can't be true. I'm sure Limbaugh would also challenge Christ if he were on earth today.
Most definitely true. IF Jesus were real and stepped onto earth today, they'd call him the antichrist for not approving of their agenda. LOL
That's where faith comes in. You too would probably deny his messianic dignity. But don't worry too much. Even Peter denied knowing Him 3 times. We're all in the same boat.
Notice that Rush is wearing a hearing aid; too many drugs causes that.
I need a hearing aid too and I don't do drugs ever dummy!
No, but that is the reason he does.
Limbaugh needs hearing aids because he has cochlear implants as a result of long term Oxycontin abuse. The surgery was done a few years ago and was well covered in all the media, both conservative and liberal media outlets. He's been in trouble with the authorities numerous times for doctor shopping to get his Hillbilly Heroin fix. I mean, who needs to be in possession of over 300 Oxycontin pills at any given time. This, too, was well covered in the media. He's no more than a drug addled bully with powerful political connections who has no problem exploiting them and placing them at his call whenever he wants to. It's high time that Limbaugh be pulled down from his lofty perch and made to answer for the hatred he has spewed for way too many years.
Amen to that! You are right on. He is a drug addict blowhard-ignore his caustic bantering.
So now Rush is going to get the Christian Faithful battling between themselves. Conservatives using any Religion as a cover to attack women, blacks, poor and anyone that they choose to be a target are no better than the Greedy Media Hounds that bait these Low Information / Ability Individuals. Rush for all the money you make it will burn in hell with you.
Both sides are cherry picking what pieces of the bible they wield. The difference is that Francis is focusing on the part that better our humanity and Limbaugh and his ilk have long focused on the bits that better their wallets...
to what part of scripture does rush point? 'the turner diaries,' i suppose.
Unless there is a Rush Limbaugh version of the bible I don't think any part of it fattens wallets for anyone.
Rush will say anything for a dollar. He's the fat kid screaming "look at me" repeatedly in the grocery store.
It's not the stupid things that he says, it's the millions of stupid people who listen and believe what he says as the truth.
I whole heartedly agree with the last part of your post. Who are the 15 million poor, ignorant, individuals who follow this hate spewing bigot? I still get a good laugh when I watch the news that rush predicts Romney by a landslide. Where the hell did he get this information? After the election he denied he ever said this. He said it on the radio and on TV. He needs to change his medication, seriously. When I need a laugh I listen to him for 5 minutes, he should have his own comedy channel, I guess in a way he already does.
Not a Rush fan, but just curious what you have ever accomplished in your life? I mean, you like to toss around insults, so what do you have to show? A book? A patent? Anything?
If the question from Bob was for me, Alfredo, you wanted to know what I have accomplished, not much. I have an AA, BA, & MS, along with California Secondary Teaching Credential. I was also a California Highway Patrol Sergeant, 15 years. I also happen to be fluent in 2 languages and am an expert marksman with the AR-15 and knowledge of KRAV MAGA,(Israeli Self-defense). I have one son pitching in college with a possible pro baseball career as an option and another waiting to be accepted to UCLA, Stanford, or Cal Berkley. Hope that allows me to have an opinion on the viagra smuggler.
(Picture the Dos Equis man...) I don't always (ever!) listen to Rush Limbaugh, but when I do, it's on the (John Stewart) Daily Show. Where his (Rush's) stupidity is exposed for all the world to see.
This is hilarious. Here we have a Pope pushing all the tenants of the Bible, not just the cherry picked parts to fit the conservative GOP worldview. The Pope is calling it like it is.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the Pope has a better grasp of what it really means to be Christian than Rush does. I'm not religious in the slightest and I'm certainly not an enslaved liberal, but I'm also not an enslaved conservative.
Exactly. Rush needs to shut his mouth about things he has no knowledge of.
I agree, but if he shut his mouth on subjects he knows nothing about, all he would ever talk about is drug abuse and porking out on food.
If you knew your history, you would know that the Popes of Rome for centuries have been the greatest oppressors of personal liberty, religious freedom – and the greatest defenders of hypocrisy and corruption, as well as false spiritual teaching. Ever heard of the Spanish Inquisition? Or the Dark Ages? The new world (America) was founded by people looking for freedom from Popes and kings. Don't forget that.
Get real..you talking over 200 years for one and longer for the other
You are absolutely right. That is why Martin Luther left the Catholic Church and penned the 95 thesis to the church door. He realized the works system of Catholicism is not Christianity because "...the just shall live by faith ..."
Truth...and most recently their passive defense of the child molester priests they have shuffled around the world to avoid further controversy.
That's not just limited to the catholic priest more and more pedophiles are being found in other religions.
Perhaps we could live in the present. The Pope is espousing the teachings of Christ. What a shocker.
There is no perfect ISM when a few can "MONOPOLIZE" the masses.
The Pope is not calling for the end of Capitalism – he's merely pointing out that it is time to recalibrate the "MONOPOLIZATION" of resources by a few. Truly "free" Capitalism – with little or no regulations has shown time and time again that it will manifest itself into Communism – those with all will dictate to those without.
I'm not claiming that we've reached that tipping point – but we are well on our way.
GMO's, CO2, health care costs, energy costs, a few banks, telecommunications – each one of these industry practices collusion on price setting – not supply demand – how do you know – supply side economics...
The point is this, when all decisions are being made because of margins, situations arise when what's best for humanity and what's best for margins come to an impasse – which side wins – why does humanity ever lose? Is it the current ISM gone wild?
this is the most intelligent thing I've heard in this blog so far, well said
The same can be said about white men in this country, remember slavery and the annihilation of the Native Americans?
If you think that is something, you should check out the preachings of Martin Luther that labelled the Jews as "Christ KIllers" and laid the groundwork " for the holocaust.
As for guilt by association, that IS a Republican trick. Profiling is a current example. Let us jusge each person by his own merits and his own statements.
Some of the greatest religious persecution was carried out by the Puritans. They did not believe in religious tolerance or religious freedom for anyone except themselves. Read your History about Roger Williams and Ann Hathaway. Ever hear of the Salem Witch Trials? YOUR ignorance is astounding!
Rush is a bag of hot air, a blowhard with nothing really to back up the mouth. He has no education to speak of.. Im not fan of the catholic church.. but Im less a fan of Rush..
Limbaugh makes his money by doing this...saying utterly ridiculous things to people who don't know any better (but all nod in agreement with him because he says it forcefully enough) and gets free publicity for his poorly worded diatribes about how the world works. When he gets press like this, he, and the terrible human beings who are his fans, win. I know, I know, it's REALLY hard to not say "did you HEAR what Rush Limbaugh..or Sarah Palin...or Glenn Beck said this time?!" But just stop it. These people are vampires sucking the life-force and intellect right out of the world. These people NEED it to survive, because without it, they'd all commit suicide. We should all help expedite that end by not listening to anything they have to say.
The exact same thing happens with Liberals and other media outlets. Don't think it doesn't, that's very naive.
So you agree with Limabaugh that pope should drop uplifting the poor and focuss on Reagan brand of trickle down economics so rich can get richer and from the goodness of their heart take care of the less fortunate? If you don't then say so without changing discussion.
If you can't see there is no comparison, it's easy to see why you are so clueless. You fell "hook line and sinker" for Rush's evil. Conservatives, like Rush, have hatred and evil in their hearts. Anyone with their eyes open can see the truth. Of course, the Bible explains, some will not be able to see the Truth. I think that's you.
It may be a desperation move to shore up his falling ratings.
Jesus, Rush. Is there ANYTHING that doesn't get your little girl panties in a bunch?
We have a pope who is actually following the teachings of Christ, and look at the reactions of the extreme right. They are void of compassion and caring, what a sad bunch.
How did Bill Maher put it a few months ago? The Pope's words are welcome because they'll "make Rush Limbaugh explode like a bag of meat dropped from a helicopter. Because they'll make Sarah Palin go rogue in her pants."
You are seeing it played out. He was being humorously realistic not preaching liberal policy. Limbaugh is preaching GOP version of capitalism.
Take another pain pill Rush.
and Liimbaugh and his supporters are Godless Nazis...
First, as far as any can show, all people are godless, as far as them being Nazi's, where is any evidence of that?
Limbaugh proves he doesn't understand Christianity.
40,000 versions of "christianity"....clearly the christians don't understand it either..
There is only 1 Christianity - the one followed by Orthodox and Catholics. The theology is same in both. There are approx 35000 protestant churches, which started off 500 years ago, changed the bible, removed Jesus in Eucharist, removed Tradition of apostles on interpretation of scriptures, and ended up having multiple and individual interpretations and scattered. Jesus said to Peter, On him, He would build his church. And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. Catholic Church follows Peter's apostleship, and in discussion on merging Orthodox Churches, which split off a 1000 years back on one theological and many administrative grounds. The theological issue is resolved centuries back. Administrative issues are being sorted out.
That is the most ridiculous post I've seen all week. Thank you for that.
What is sad is that Rush Limbaugh thinks that the term "Marxist" is still relevant.
And while we're on the subject of terms, someone should tell Mr. Varney that capitalism is an economic system not a political one.
limbaff is a idiot. just saying. people that listen to him should be neutered.
Saying they were more popular than Jesus is what got the Beatles disliked in America.
Now it's Rush's turn . . . .
Rush deserves the reaction more.
you equate the Pope with Jesus. How? Why?
The Pope is simply following the teachings of Jesus.
While a few records may have gotten burned, it's ludicrous to suggest the Beatles were loved in the US. (And how can you possibly put Limbaugh anywhere near the level of the Beatles??)
Yeah, the Beatles are so unliked in America you NEVER hear any of their music being played.
Lennon's comment about that was taken the wrong way by many christians. What he meant was that they reach more people in their time than Jesus reached in his.
Like u no
The Beatles were disliked by WHOM? The Xtians. Who freakin' cares? They continue to be the biggest thing in music to this day. The Xtians have to have someone to hate. Always.
And this has to do with WHAT, exactly?
Perhaps, but then, Limbaugh is a fascist.
And for you reincarnation enthusiasts, Rush was born several years after the death of Joseph Goebbels.
This really shows the true color of Limbaugh.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.