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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. Mona

    Why does Pope Francis even defend himself against that fat rat b_ _ _ _ _ _!!! This Pope is a breath of fresh air in my opinion....hope he lives and long happy.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  2. Ray

    The Pope is not saying that all governments and people should be forced to give up their assets to equalize their wealth with the poor. He is just advocating that we as God-believing people should be more generous and do what we can to help those truly in need in their quest to survive. I am willing to give more to the needy. Are you?

    December 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  3. jame

    No you are. You just don't know it. Rush said it so it must be true.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  4. Mark Peterson

    ."...but, like Marxists, I too have a religion".

    December 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  5. Helivet

    "It's sad because this Pope makes it very clear he doesn't know what he's talking about ..." Limbaugh said.

    Look who's talking!

    December 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  6. Katie

    May you all have a good night! Please Be safe if you're getting hit with the snow storm.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  7. your to phunny

    Even the author of trickle down economics has publicly admitted it was a failure. Republifail.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Wow! Rush Limbaugh was wrong about something. What are the chances?

    December 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  9. Trent

    Lambaugh is a fool.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • skytag

      Hardly. He's despicable, but he's good at what he does, which is keeping people who actually are fools constantly ginned up at liberals and other imagined enemies so Rush can make tens of millions of dollars a year.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  10. James Bell

    What, the Pope reaches out across the world to different views, beliefs, and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds,.... and THAT makes him a marxist?? What in god's name is wrong with people???

    December 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  11. Jeff6187

    The Pope has to defend himself against a Marxist label? Obama has to defend his birthplace despite proof? People just need to grow up. I guess it's easier to bash world figures for imaginary crap than to actually get out and DO something to make yourself great. It's a loser strategy but seems to be very popular here.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Rovian politics at their finest: Division and disinformation. They've made some individuals (like Rush Limbaugh) personally wealthy, but weakened our nation to the point that we may never recover.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  12. bostontola

    The head catholic doesn't understand economics, not infallible there. That shouldn't be surprising since the bible is poor at math. It mischaracterized the number Pi. One of many errors.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Harvey

      And Now Rush Limbaugh is an expert on capitalism? LOL!

      December 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
      • bostontola

        Who said that?

        Limbaugh is a media who.re that says what sells to his audience. That doesn't mean the pope understands Econ 101.

        December 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
        • Harvey

          Who are you to say that he doesn’t understand Econ 101?

          December 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
        • bostontola

          Because his description of the "wrongs" of capitalism are not true. Some policies are poor, not capitalism.

          December 14, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
        • Harvey

          His description is true but you don't like. Capitalism is a great asset for all of us but like every other economic theory it has boundaries/limitation. When you break those boundaries, it doesn't produce the intended results. I am a big believer of capitalism. I owned businesses but the capitalism we see today is not real capitalism, it is crony capitalism.

          December 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
        • Harvey

          Good Night to you all. Long live Pope :).

          December 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • DickPerry

      He isn't talking about economics. He's talking about humanity and little of it you find in capitalism unlike socialism.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
      • bostontola

        There is no humanity in capitalism or socialism. They are economic systems.

        December 14, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  13. Allison

    Feeling very inspired by Pope Francis and I'm not even Catholic.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      What does that make you want to do?

      December 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
      • Allison

        Be a better person, increase the time that I volunteer at my local school, look inward and examine what I can do to make the world a better place.

        December 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
        • Harvey

          My good wishes with you Allison. I am trying to the same as well and I am not even a christian by religion.

          December 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • OO oO

        hoping that cnn will encourage Sam Bo to b more perverted than usual. she just can't make converts 2 worship her 2 good like she's been a doin.

        December 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  14. Katie

    Mr. Bill,hope that you're going to have a sweet, Calm Christmas and Merry!

    December 14, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  15. slothalot

    All this because of that fat headed drug addict Rush ......what an idiot.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  16. Pondering

    Interesting that the supposedly religious get quite hostile to religious figures when their greed is somehow threatened.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • mickey1313

      That's because if you make 6 figures and call yourself Christian, then they haven't read the bible. The rich don't give crap one about the lesser among us, as Jesus preeched.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
      • Pondering

        Okay, I'm with you so far. So what about the owners of businesses like Chik-fil-a or the Joel Osteens of the world, who pose Christianity but are in direct violation of that camel-through-the-eye-of-the-needle/sell your goods and give it to the poor thing? A great many Christian spokespeople have gotten quite rich doing it.

        December 14, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
        • OO Oo

          on target babe. u a bible scholar, i can tell.

          where do the camel story say rich ain't permitted?

          December 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
      • oo OO

        excellent point.

        where do da lord say dat exactly?

        December 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • Jules

          Jesus tells us that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Matthew 19: 23,24. These are the words of Jesus. My lowly guess would be that gaining wealth is often put before God and what is asked of us as followers of Christ.

          December 15, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  17. Katie

    You All have a Beautiful Smile!!
    A smile that shines from there to here!

    December 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Happy bunnies, happy bunnies, happy happy happy bunnies

      Ease up on the anti-depressants, girl! You are way off in happybunnyland.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  18. CBP

    Here we go again. We just have to place everyone in little boxes. We cannot accept people for who they are because we have to find something which leads us to dislike a person. The Pope represents the Catholics of the World. Look for the good in people even if they do not always agree with you.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
  19. fedupwithla

    Gosh, and I thought we were going to get some change here. Isn't that what everyone wanted? There must be someone out there who is a gay Marxist but not a pedophile for Pope. Keep looking!

    December 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
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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.