home
RSS
December 14th, 2013
08:30 PM ET

Pope: Marxist ideology is 'wrong'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– Pope Francis responded to critics who call his stance on capitalism Marxist, saying in a new interview that the political and economic philosophy is flat "wrong."

"Marxist ideology is wrong," the Pope told the Italian newspaper La Stampa in an interview published on Saturday. "But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

Earlier this month, the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted the pontiff, calling his latest major writing, an apostolic exhortation called Evangelii Gaudium, "pure Marxism."

"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," Limbaugh said.

READ MORE: Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'

Pope Francis told La Stampa that, “there is nothing in the Exhortation that cannot be found in the social Doctrine of the Church.” The 50,000-word statement calls for church reform and castigates elements of modern capitalism.

"I wasn’t speaking from a technical point of view, what I was trying to do was to give a picture of what is going on," the Pope said of Evangelii Gaudium.

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."

"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 said in the new interview on Saturday.

"The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. 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.”

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.

READ MORE: Pope Francis: No more business as usual

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,371 Responses)
  1. wehadrons

    Republicans all over the web are upset that this "Marxist" Pope is 'Person of the Year', how dare he talk about income inequality. Republicans have created their own way to square the Gospel of Jesus with their policies. They just made up a false Ayn Randian theology that makes it ok to spit on the poor in disgust while blaming them for the nations debt, which is in reality caused by outsourcing the American manufacturing base, undermining workers rights, the cost of two unfunded wars, corporate tax loopholes, off shore corporate accounts, and record low tax rates for the ultra wealthy.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiRJXlYK7G0&w=640&h=360]

    December 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Hit the nail squarely on the head!

      December 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  2. gtbdave

    Even the Pope has his economics straight. It's hard to imagine that there are many who still don't understand that trickle down does not work, it never has, even back into ancient history. Even after the largest recession in World history, and huge division of wealth, there are stil those who swear adamantly that supply side economics, or reagonomics, works. It may work for the filthy rich, but for the rest it just means mass poverty. The results of the next election will determine how many still believe in voodoo economics, the numbers will be huge, millions, but hopefully not enough to continue the proven failed economic policies of supply side economics. That's all the elections will be about, supply side economics vs. Keynes economic policies, plain and simple, those that vote for republcans will be supply siders, many of them voting against their own economic interests, the others, who vote for democrats, will advocate Keynes economic policies. Keynes has a huge record of success, our entire economic success is based upon Keynes, whie supply side has a complete record of absolute failure, on almost all fronts of the economy, except making the rich more filthy rich, while creating mass poor, and huge division of wealth.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  3. str8whtguy

    I'm shocked that the pope feels he needs to answer to Rush Limbaugh.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Deus Ibi Est

      Why SHOULDN'T he respond to comments from a half-wit? The Holy Father has the SAME right to defend himself as you or I.
      Catholics "turn the other cheek" ONLY in defence of their faith.
      We believe we are all made in God's image therefore we have a duty to respect ourselves and not offer our services as 'convenient doormats!'
      There is a difference.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • lean6

      Actually, it's a pretty gangster move. He's gonna dare Limbaugh to foam at the mouth and show his ignorance to the entire world. Limbaugh is going to end up positioning a bullseye upon his own back for zealots all over the planet.

      December 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  4. Shadow

    I'm an Atheist and an Independent, so I stand by neither the religion or the politics of this situation. That said, I find the Pope sticks to what the good parts of the Bible teach..much more so than past Popes and most people who call themselves "Christians".
    Labeling what the Pope is doing as Marxism is ridiculous, as he is living the pronciples of his Bible, which was around long before Marxism.
    Then again, if you are listening to and buying into much that the likes of Rush Limbaugh has to say...you're prettty clueless in the first place, as Rush serves Rush and could care less about others. All he cares about is shock jocking to sell his show and his books.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Dennis

      Kudos!

      December 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • madrogio

      And [pun intended] DITTO!

      December 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  5. Susan

    I have no problem with him giving some of the Church's money away. As a Catholic, I believe it's the right thing to do. However, as long as they're sitting on billions, I will not ever be compelled to contribute as I did in the past, until they give until it hurts. They expect us to sacrifice, yet the bishops, etc., never have to do without. They need to walk the walk.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Akira

      You know that Catholic Charities give more away than any other charity, right?

      December 15, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Akira

    I totally agree.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  7. Edward

    This Pope totally rocks.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  8. tony

    Matthew 20:1-16

    New International Version (NIV)
    The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

    20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

    3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

    “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

    7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

    “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

    8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

    9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

    13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

    16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

    December 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  9. BeverlyNC

    I do not hear one person speaking to the reality and message of what the Pope was speaking. He was reminding the world of the teachings of Jesus. He had no political or monetary system agenda as those who do idolize money want to pretend.
    The Pope was telling this "what do I get out of it?" society who self-righteously proclaim to be "Christians" they have lost their way and the true teachings of Jesus. It is about time a powerful religious leader stood up for morality, humanity, and truth.
    Jesus was poor. He lived among the poor, the sick, the homeless, the outcasts of society. He reached out and helped them and he instructed us to do the same. He told us very plainly to treat these people as we would Him.
    In the U.S. Republican Party who claims to be the Party of "values" and sole "Christians", they degrade and humiliate the poor. They call them "takers" yet these same Republicans hand out absurd amounts of corporate welfare not one of these industries need. They work hard to reduce aid to the poor, to kill healthcare for everyone, to re-tell ugly myths of the path of who is poor and they are "lazy", worthless non-human beings. Republicans have destroyed education funding which is the primary took for people to climb out of poverty.
    The poor in America are majority white, work full time jobs but at an unlivable minimum wage (Republicans also fight to keep as it is), are mostly children, the elderly, and even a growing number of our own just returning veterans. Nearly 1M need government assistance. While the poor suffer, starve, have no decent housing if any, and have no hope for no one wants to be poor; these Republicans stand in their churches on Sunday morning and pretend what godly people they are. They use populist phrases like "WWJD" – what would Jesus do? and then ignore the teachings of Jesus and do the opposite of what Jesus would do and clearly instructed us to do.
    The Pope is the first in a long time to stand up for all the People and especially those who suffer the most. As Jesus did, he condemns the love of money as evil and what has led to the downfall of morality and humanity especially in America.
    The Pope is nothing but a good and decent man who is being condemned, as was Jesus, for telling the truth and calling for acts of true Christianity. Those exposed for their hypocrisy are screaming the loudest against this Pope.
    Again, it has nothing to do with economic theory. It is completely about humanity and bringing People back to the Truth of what Christianity used to and should again stand for.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Skarphace

      Well said.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • oo oo

      george wallace, a democrat, preached hatred for blacks

      nixon started head start to help poor of all colors

      obama bailed out gm, chyrsler

      romney wrote an op-ed saying let detroit go

      December 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • oo oo

      nice, but typical ineffective, inaccurate try, dodo

      December 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • madrogio

      Well said indeed. The issues matter, not argumentum ad hominem posturing? What a concept. THANK YOU!

      December 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  10. Dr Tod Policandriotes

    I feel sorry for all the people that think that pure Capitalism is the ONLY way the world can work and be healthy. If you call what the US is going through with GREED, healthy, then you are totally wrong. I believe systems must be diverse to cover all people and if you think only a few should be the leaders and have most of the worlds financial wealth, then you are wrong, ..... again.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  11. oo OO

    Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    professor christ, a.d. 31 or so

    December 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  12. Carl Christopherson

    The transfer of money from "Those with means" to "those in need" using the full force and power of the central government is most certainly Marxist.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • igaftr

      No...if it were truly Marxist, he would advocate away from religious beliefs.
      Just because ONE aspect of what one says coincides with a known doctrine, does not make all aspects the same doctrine.

      There is no such thing as pure capitalism, nor communism, and there is absolutely no pure marxism...the ideas attributed to being Marxist now often conflict with each other....the base idea has been altered by many....just like religion...it is different for each iindividual.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Dr Tod Policandriotes

      It should not take a government to transfer wealth, the people that have that financial wealth should be less greedy and pay people properly for the work they do instead of believing they deserve it all because they are so awesome or a better human for some reason.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Skarphace

      Then what would you call the transfer of money from "those in need" to "the wealthy"? I ask because over the last 60 years, the US has had an extreme shift in this direction. Currently, the wage gap between the wealthy and the poor is the largest it has ever been. It seems to me that many Republicans advocate for this agenda to continue.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Foo

      It's most certainly not marxism. Your problem – and that of many other people in this debate – is that you have no idea what marxism really is. You use that word, but it's not what you think it is.

      Taxation isn't marxism. Social programs paid for with taxes isn't marxism. They aren't even socialism and definitely not marxism.

      Just to summarize this for you: A marxist would advocate the abolishment of money and all private property, the collectivization of the means of production and so on.

      Most of those people you call 'marxist' most definitely are not. You are listening to too much talk radio, it appears.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • marsilius

      False. There is absolutely nothing in the concept of tax-funded government assistance to the needy that is distinctively marxist. Any reformer having a social conscience could advocate doing that, without making even the slightest commitment to marxism.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  13. Julia

    I believe Marxism was a deceitful invention of a couple of men Lenin and Marx (fallen Christians) who basically APED Christianity. And proceeded to sell their so called belief system as nothing short of a religion.

    There is a very BIG difference between Christianity and Marxism. It is called freedom of choice.

    A Christian may choose how much and how often they wish to Give, Share, Accept what comes their way with regard to every aspect of life. Their choices are judged by God at the end of their lives.

    A Communist MUST Give, Share, Accept what comes with regard to everything dictated by their Marxist masters, or pay with their lives, Communist masters perceive themselves as no less than gods with total power over the lives of their enslaved citizens.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • igaftr

      And they believed that your Christianity is a corruption on mankind. At least their thoughts on the matter were well thought out.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • G to the T

      So either God judges you or the state does. Don't see much difference – lose your life, go to hell, etc.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  14. exodus84

    If the Pope is a Marxist you would all REALLY hate that Jesus guy. I love how the Pope is basically pointing out the reality of the situation but cons still cant accept it. 30+ years of conservative policies and Reganomics doing exactly as was intended: flow all the money to the top. Supply side. Well there it is. All the money is there. Now they say it's the "free market" which is rigged and was never free. They count on fools to believe their lies and it works all the time. So here comes the Pope to point that out and say how it's entirely against the teachings of Jesus which if you've read the bible even a little you would know is 100% true. You can be a conservative or you can be a Christian but you can't be both. Unfortunately cons are used to being hypocrites so they are anyway. But He knows...

    December 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • JR

      Yes. This.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  15. Julia

    I believe, Marxism was created by a couple of very clever men by APING

    December 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  16. JAMES OLIVER

    "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," Limbaugh said."

    So, you are similar to the Pope then – well except for having a heart of stone and a few drug issues.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  17. Julia Rutherford

    Catholicism and Marxism were always closely related. The Catholic Church has always advocated for full control of our lives just as Marx did. If you read into the history of the Catholic Church and the rise of Marxism, you will find that the connections between the two false doctrines is shocking. The truth is through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. The truth will set you free.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Foo

      Your level of ignorance is astounding, indeed. Maybe actually learning about marxism, rather than just believing what you hear on talk radio might help?

      December 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  18. onealydragon

    But Limbaugh is a terrorist, in-sighting hate and violence daily, one day the government will stop this hate mongeror

    December 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  19. Guest

    Christ, not one time, advocated taking from one worker to give to someone who will not work. Even the widows were expected to work-glean, sew, cook. The Christian's responsibility to give is through the church or individual. From the beginning of time, gov't control never ends up good. Our gov't today is greedy, ineffective, and dishonest, especially, Obama.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • tony

      "cos he's black – that's the only major difference between present an past governments.
      Now go put your pointy white hood back on.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Anonymous

        To be honest, many countries have always had dishonest leaders. When one seems clean, many feel a odd sense of security, like the silence before the storm-that's a small (if not tiny) part of the reason people are wrongly criticizing Pope Francis.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • exodus84

      Then you are a complete moron. And why is it you idiots cant understand no one is talking about taking money from people like you and giving it to someone else? They're talking about taking from the rich who have been stealing our money at an even greater rate than usual for the last 30 years! We've been giving them all of our wealth and the stats back that up. So, yes, redistribute their wealth back to the middle class where it was originally stolen from. Republicans get into power because of small minded people like you.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Eric

      Yes – this is the problem with all of the pro-socialism anti-free market people on this site. Their logic is faulty: they try to claim that Christianity calls for giving away your possessions, helping the poor, etc. They then advocate taxing others to give their money away. What they forgot was that Christ promoted free will giving. I can't find anywhere in the bible where Christ said, go send your brother out into the field, then when he is paid, take half of his money, and give it to someone who doesn't work.

      If someone is called to help the poor let them do it with their own financial resources, but taking from one person to give to another is not much different than theft. One of the ten commandments: "thou shalt not steal". I see no qualifier that says, "thou shalt not steal, unless you are stealing to give to the poor."

      December 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Julia Rutherford

        Thank you Eric for a voice of reason in this sea of madness! It sickens me how leftists twist scripture to suit their own agenda.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • JR

          And it sickens me how you twist everybody's words, even Jesus's, to keep your stinginess and small-minded hate in tow with far right wing ideology that basically says, "I got mine, GFY." Trickle down economics dies not work, the Pope is correct, and you, my dear, are a mean-spirited Christian wannabe.

          December 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • tony

        But Jesus DOES say that in the bible !!!

        Matthew 20:1-16 (New International Version)

        Matthew 20:1-16

        New International Version (NIV)
        The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

        20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

        3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

        “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

        7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

        “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

        8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

        9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

        13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

        16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

        December 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
      • madrogio

        "...go send your brother out into the field, then when he is paid, take half of his money, and give it to someone who doesn't work." But, Eric, this is exactly what the capitalists do!

        December 16, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • OO OO

      i prefer to eat food inspected by the u.s.d.a. there is a roll for government and jesus was friends with sinners and tax collectors.

      being born from above, we have new hearts. we understand w/o the written word, god's heart. he puts his heart in us and all things r become new. that is the testimony of those to whom he's given his spirit. his heart belongs to the lowly, the poor, they who mourn.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • lean6

      There are extremists on both sides of the debate, painting each other and labeling each other, effectively making it so that the poor do ultimately suffer. So, if you have to pick an extreme, ask yourself "what would your Jesus do?" If the answer is "who cares?," stop hiding behind religion. Let it go.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
      • OO OO

        so, where is your jesus?

        December 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Advertisement
About this blog

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.