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December 2nd, 2013
11:29 AM ET

Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(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.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Ethics • Media • Money & Faith • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis

soundoff (6,695 Responses)
  1. Barbara Sheridan

    Who cares – no one nder 65 listens to him anyway.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  2. guest

    Hey, I’m not a prophet, just relaying what I have heard and believe. Did I not say several weeks ago that this pope is just a con-man? Have I not said on several occasions that the Papacy/Vatican wants to control the world; both politically and religiously? And as the old cliché says: “He, who controls the purse strings, controls the household!”
    The Vatican is not just a religious system; it is also a political system and so many of the politicians of the political systems of this world are corrupt—including the hierarchy of the R.C.C.
    Don’t misunderstand me, there are many, many good devout Christian Catholics in this world, including priests and nuns, but the Vatican is not the whole of the R.C.C.
    By the way, I’m not defending Rush Limbaugh either, I can’t tolerate the man; he is too arrogant. I want to bash him every time he says: “[he] is …on loan from God…” as if God ‘needs’ him! And as somebody has already said, I believe: he wants to defend his wealth.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • RestonJeff

      Swill some more a Rush tea, boyo.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Matt

      It's all myth and fantasy. Why get so worked up?

      December 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  3. Anna

    o
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ
    .

    December 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  4. Dr.Tesla

    God will send anybody to hell who does not like the movie Brokeback Mountain.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • RestonJeff

      Come out, already. Maybe someone will finally live you.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  5. sikesm

    What would Jesus do, Rush?

    December 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Matt

      cram more pills into his fat gullet?

      December 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Dr.Tesla

      have abortions and be gay and invade syria and force people to pay more for healthcare and lie about stuff? Lol

      December 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
      • Dr. Tesla

        Even though I know Christian women get more abortions than any other group combined and most gays are Christian... But I like repeating lies. It makes me funnier.

        December 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Phil R

      Limbaugh is a big fat joke and everyone knows it. His words are worthless and it's all about ratings. A shock jock.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Jesus would send them to an eternity of fiery torture because his father only wants US to love our enemies. He's not going to do what he commands, because he just has to be a hypocrite. It's the only way he knows to be.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  6. Kate Gallagher

    Why would CNN even give Limbaugh the time with this article, the man is utter filth, and certainly could never call himself Christian. He is not educated either and really can't speak intelligently on any subject except perhaps opiate use.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Phil R

      well said...

      December 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  7. George

    Please can THIS be the straw that breaks Rush's contract with Clear Channels?? They pay him $80 million a year with little ad revenue since his Sandra Fluke comments. So why? Why does he get $80 million a year??? (I know Bain bought Clear Channels right after Romney lost the Republican nomination to McCain in '08. But what good did it do him? And why oh why did they just renew his contract???)

    December 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • RestonJeff

      Because hate sells.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Tali3

      $80 million? Damn!

      December 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  8. Ulysses Thunderhawk

    True, the pope's comments are rife with Marxist elements... but given the recent political history of his home country, Argentina... understandable. At least, by all accounts, he has practiced what he preaches... a frugal path often less-travelled by leaders who espouse Marxist and Socialist dogma.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  9. Dr.Tesla

    This CNN comments section is about as functional as Obama's website. lol

    December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • RestonJeff

      Lol. Lol. Lol. Die.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  10. Edwin

    Why are people still listening to the drug-fueled ramblings of this pill popper?

    December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  11. southerngent

    If Rush is wrong prove it or stfu.
    Capitalism has done all of you well enough to criticize on this venue.
    A very caring and generous (real man) just FUNDED AND OPENED a large cancer center in my city that will save the lives of many poor, middle class, and rich, which WILL provide jobs to many people and not just doctors. This will also TRICKLE DOWN, to many satellite jobs. WHAT THE @#$% HAVE YOU DONE.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Phil R

      Limbaugh continues with his big fat mouth so he can gain ratings. That's all this is.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Completely missed the point.

      It's not about Rush being "right," it's about him thinking that Pope should change Jesus' message just because it's too liberal for his taste. Too bad. The pope is simply using Jesus' own words and philosophy-–exactly what the faithful (myth believers) should want. But the truth is that many Christians have put "mammon" over god; they want survival of the fittest and only the strong (wealthy and intelligent) to "win." How darwinistic of him and his minions. How unchristlike.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
      • southerngent

        That made no sense, using your logic both Russ the Pope are wrong. No society can fulfill every need of every person. You are just as un Christ like in you statement.

        I am weak in my religion but I know right from wrong, the Popes idea of helping all people tho admiral, is in obtainable because of human moral rejection. In other words, like what we with obamacare ( you owe poor me).

        December 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • southerngent

          Too many fat fingers!

          December 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
      • southerngent

        Since you don't believe, what the h do you care. You have no need for moral compass ( meaning something to guide your actions ). Also, tho you certainly have the right to comment, you aren't smart enough to do so with respect.

        If you respond, disregard the religious aspect and use your brainless logic. What did Russ say that is wrong?

        Russ was responding to the pope's ideology which goes against our founding principle of Capitalism.

        Prove him wrong or stfu you p o (stomped) s. Like I said i 'm weak in religion, but God will judge me not you.

        December 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • John Silvis

      You don't know Capitalism from a tree stump. What you want is criminal mindset. Al Capone is the new hero for contemporary Capitalism. As a Capitalist I know you are ignorant of all economics. And I am a Capitalist....you Rush supporters just support crooks.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
      • southerngent

        My last reply to you didn't go through so I will just say if that your best argument your ignorance is showing!

        December 2, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Arglebargle

      No matter what Rush says...it's wrong. Even if it's right, it's wrong when coming from him.
      He's nothing more than a fear mongering lapdog for the weasels who control him.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • southerngent

        Intelligence left you behind. If you can't contribute to the conversation stay off the comment section.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • weazelface

      All the Pope is saying that people should come first before money. He suggests that God should come before money. I help the less fortunate every year during the Holidays so that is what I have done. Rush needs to say stuff like that because he is a talk show host. He has to have new listeners and this is a great way to bring them in. I will not listen to him. I have better things to do.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • southerngent

        If the only time you help people then you are a hypocrite. Just because you hate Bush ( You liberals are to stupid to know your stupid you all still think he still in office) and isn't this really what this is about. You are really afraid Russ is right and that throws the screws to your rant without merit. Your a joke just like you master obama.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  12. John Silvis

    Adam Smith would pulverize Rush as lying about his theories and beliefs. Rush thinks the TV series Breaking Bas was about a humble Capitalist fighting against Obama's Marxist government. Rush is ignorant and deluded, and I as a Capitalist, know he's full of .....

    December 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Dr.Tesla

      Do you reallyb elieve your own BS? Yeah Adam Smith would hate Rush. lol

      December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • Matt

        You're really the last person who should criticize someone for "believing their own BS."

        December 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • Mrs. Travis

        Its slowly dying... I hope.

        December 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
      • John Silvis

        Do you know anything about Adam Smith? Ignorant, ignorant, stop your idiotic running off at the mouth. Get off
        this site if you don't have anything rational to say. You give Capitalism a bad name. Your like a mindless ranting Moslem terrorist except you really think you are defending Conservative principals. The founders, like Adam Smith would find you obnoxious, ignorant and supporting untruths and half truths. Get a life, get and education.

        December 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  13. Dr.Tesla

    We would be at war with Syria if not for Rush and other pundits driving opoinion against it.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Matt

      No we wouldn't, and you're running out of steam.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • John Silvis

      Such baloney, take your meds.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • Dr.Tesla

        I thoguht it was hilariou that Obama was supporting war in Syria after he was so strident about Bush and the IRaq war. Pretty hypocritical.

        December 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • Dr.Tesla

          but i'm soo stoopid i forgot there was a reason for syria

          December 2, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  14. Dr.Tesla

    GOP campaign slogan 2016: Yes We Can Design a Functional Website

    December 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Dr.Tesla

      Limbaugh campaign: yes i can obtain drugs illegally

      December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • Dr.Tesla

        Obama is his hookup for crack cocaine.

        December 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Didn't work out so well for Part D did it?

      December 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  15. Dr.Tesla

    God was angry about Iraq. God wanted war in Syria.

    God wanted us to allow our embassy in Libya to get overrun by terrorists and he wanted Obama to lie about it not being terrorism.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaGXVU2CbNs

      December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  16. VelveteenLady

    There are only three things, at which Limpballs is good: bloviating, being an irrelevant boil on the bum of humanity, and pontificating (no pun intended). In his latest attack on the Pope, he has shown that he has fully developed all three skills. He certainly has achieved "expert" status. Judge Judy says, "Beauty fades, but stupid is forever." In Limpballs' case, there was/is no beauty, it's all just stupid: huge multiple doses of stupid.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • andrew

      Amen, sister.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • belinda

      I think it's a new trend on the part of conservatives, to attack our Pope. With nuns on the bus and the Pope on our side, the GOP, has to find another way to appear they have GOD on their side, because their appearance of having religion on their side, is no longer there. They are foolish to think, this will not influence the Hispanic vote in the upcoming elections. As someone who registers people to vote , I can assure you this will help. This will work to our advantage. Thank you Palin and Rush, for attacking Catholics, it shows your true colors and sick agenda.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  17. KAREN

    Such envy of the rich in this country anymore. If there were no more rich, who would take care of the poor. Would ya'll have us all equally poor?

    December 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • belinda

      It's not the rich covering the poor in this country , it's the middle class. GE didn't pay a penny in taxes and actually got a substantial refund. I didn't. People, need to understand, all of this drama in Washington, is to basically do everything you can to create a smokescreen, to avoid discussing changing the tax code. Corporations, companies, business's are not paying their fair share of taxes in comparison to what the middle class pay. Read the 1st page on the IRS website, where they state that the rich are not paying their fair share and it's because we keep voting for the ones (GOP) who want to keep it the way. it is. They know exactly what the deal is. Con job.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  18. Dr.Tesla

    God expects conservatives to give the Pope a BJ....can't disagree with the Pope. lol

    December 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Dr.Tesla

      Unless you are a liberal. lol

      December 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
      • Matt

        The pope is the voice of god on earth.... so.... technically disagreeing with him is tantamount to disagreeing with god. If you believe in myth and fantasy.

        December 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • RestonJeff

      Laughing at your own posts doesn't make them funny. It makes you look sad.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  19. Dr.Tesla

    God wants Rush to advocate drugs on his radio show so he is not a hypocrite.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • RestonJeff

      Rush wants you to kill yourself. Be a good little advocate and take his advice.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
      • Matt

        The sooner the better I say.

        December 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  20. lean6

    There is absolutely nothing sacred or off-limits to the GOP and Tea Party in their pursuit of riches and political influence. I don't care if you're Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or whatever, there are some things that are just off-limits. In the Conservative mind, it seems that the only being that approaches the concept of respect or reverence is Ronald Reagan...and he would be nailed to a cross by conservatives if he were alive and practicing his brand of politics in this era.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
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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.