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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. Steve

    The names Pope Francis and Rush Limbaugh should never ever be used in the same paragraph.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  2. Dr.Tesla

    Racism is ok if you are Jeramiah Wright or his best friend Obama. lol

    December 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Or Dr Tesla 🙂

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

        why can't I call Obama a "little black boy". You guys treat him like a little kid who can't handle criticism. lol

        December 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Racism is dark age crap and immoral but then again you do support Rush, so immorality is your friend.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • Dr.Tesla

          If Racism was a problem for Obama, he would never had any relationship with J. Wright who clearly is a racist. O went to that guy';s church for 20 years and then lies and says he never heard Wright say racist things. lol

          December 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Observer

      Dr. Tesla,

      Show any proof that Rev. Wright's best friend is President Obama.

      Oooooops!

      December 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
      • Dr.Tesla

        you guys are never going to admit that. for obvious reasons.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • Observer

          Dr. Tesla,

          Yep. We all KNEW you had no proof to support your THOUGHTLESS claim. Oooops.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • henrywester

      racism is never ok, but it is live and well in this country.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:16 am |
  3. Well...

    If you think about it, dumb dumb, it's better than the Satanism you preach!

    December 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  4. Tom

    Rush doesn't seem to understand that true Christianity, not this garbage sometimes passed off as Christianity, is socialism. Socialism is the very foundation of society. I'm not talking about giving things to people who just don't want to work, but helping those who actually need help, which is why people formed communities in the first place.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Dr.Tesla

      Socialist doesn't seem to be working out in America under Obama. I kinow I was better off under Bush plus I could keep my doctor. lol

      December 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
      • Matt

        Which is the problem with Americans. All they think about is themselves. Why do you think the rest of the world hates you so much?

        December 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • Dr.Tesla

          Jealousy plus they are militant atheists and socialists in comparison.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • Matt

          You're a moron. Anyway I have no more time to waste on your sub-par trolling. When you get to be as clever as I am maybe we'll talk again. It won't hold my breath for that to happen though. I'd have a better chance of finding proof your imaginary friend in the sky exists.

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

          ok, you continue advocating vvarious conservatives be murdered because that is THOUHTFUL and of God.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
        • mac

          are you not American ?

          December 2, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
      • Dr.Tesla

        Psychiatrist that is, cuz I is a doctor.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
      • Smart

        You know you are dealing with a moron when they think obama is a socialist.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • mac

          Obama is not a socialist. he is the puppet of socialists

          December 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • henrywester

          i don't thinnk the president should be pulled into limbaugh fight with the pope. limbaugh only has power because you give him power.

          December 3, 2013 at 12:05 am |
  5. Dr.Tesla

    Isn't the anti-drug message a good one even if Rush is a hypcrite? Does Jesus want us on drugs?

    December 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Would you take it as far as the Mormons – no alcohol, no caffeine?

      December 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
      • Dr.Tesla

        lol Rush drinks and he lives the good life. You guys trying to make him out as some kind of moralizer. He isn't like that.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • henrywester

          you are up his ass, need a flash light

          December 3, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Bush

      I want to snort some coke and dodge military service. Daddy will help. lol

      December 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Are you going through withdrawal? Need a fix, do you?
      What exactly is your fixation with drugs and Obama? Why so much hate?

      December 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  6. Dr.Tesla

    According to libs, Rush should tell kids on the radio to do drugs. So then he isn't a hypocrite. lol

    December 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • I AM

      You left your crayons at school.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • cmo

      wasn't your boy Rush busted for drug abuse? yes. guess it's ok if you like the guy. since you like him I guess he can murder also, you'll let it slide.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  7. Jay

    That means that God is a Marxist, so Rush had better get in line, and start seeing Red.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  8. Dr.Tesla

    War is cool if Obama calls for it.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Bush

      War is cool if I can lie about the reasons.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • Dr.Tesla

        lol, well Bush was right about the reasons. Saddam was a bad guy and he was at the very least financing terrorism.

        Obama never made clear who was the good guy in the Syrian conflict. It is basically a Saddam type of government vs terrrorists

        December 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • Matt

          Bush invaded Iraq because Saddam tried to kill his daddy. That's the only reason and he still managed to screw that up.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
        • Dr.Tesla

          you only opposed that war because of Bush. But in 1998 Democrats gave Clinton the power to go to war with Iraq for same reasons Bush gave.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • Matt

          Clinton didn't try to lie to the UN to get backing to do it. Bush did.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  9. Ted52

    It seems to me that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, two of the ultimate capitalists, are living by the Pope's edicts. Rush doesn't seem to get it that capitalism and caring for your fellow man can coexist.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  10. T. Hunt

    It is so easy for Limbaugh to sit on his high pedestal (puns intended) and say those things when he makes so much money for himself whilst brainwashing his listeners into believing that they will one day too be as rich as he is; something we all know to be false. The very people that believe everything he spews vote the way he tells them to and he benefits by things staying as the status quo. If people started to change things in order to better protect and improve their real economic situation, and not the economic situation they think they might one day have, Limbaugh would definitely stand to lose. So, of course he will speak out against changing the status quo by calling the Pope names. That should keep the masses convinced that Limbaugh's materialistic ways are good and how we all should act. That way, Limbaugh's economic situation will remain the same or improve, i.e. he will continue to get richer while his followers continue to struggle economically speaking, but continue to try to "keep up with the Jones" by buying things to keep up appearances. Limbaugh's teachings are selfish and terrible. His greed apparent in his belly and drug history. People should not follow his example.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  11. Renny

    It took you guys five days to mention this? Rush said it sounded Marxist, but that he wasn't Catholic so he may be misunderstanding something. Geez. Anything to pull attention away from Obama who wants to force Catholics to pay for abortion and birth control coverage.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  12. Dr.Tesla

    Obama just looks like a president of a 3rd world socialist country.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Your racism and lack of intelligence is showing through...please get an education, this article is about Rush and the Pope not your fixation on Obama.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
      • Dr.Tesla

        nah your guys point is Obbama is essentially what a Christian should be. Apparently guiding the economy into the toilet and lying about legislation is godly.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  13. w

    So I guess according to Limbaugh and his ilk's way of thinking The Christ was REALLY just a raving socialist/communist/marxist h$ll bent on destroying the capitalistic, wildly unequal, and therefore "just", Roman Empire and the entire wealthy, powerful, and thus "successful", Jewish hierarchy because he was "jealous" of them and their "success" and so actually deserved to be put to death for it. How DO they live in such a world of such pure, unadulterated, hypocrisy and YET REMAIN oblivious to it? Or is it that they KNOW it is pure, unadulterated, hypocrisy and in SPITE of that knowledge they could. not. care. less.
    I'm going with both.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  14. iRex

    If Rush thinks the Pope is a Marxist, just wait until he finds out about Jesus!

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

    I wonder how many republican like myslef would want to change party just to be not on the same side as the extreme right wing Limbaugh.

    Really sad to see people becoming so polarized that they have become extreme. We dont want to be radicalized like
    SOME of the Muslim.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  16. JW

    What does the bible say about Christmas?

    The Bible does not give the date of Jesus’ birth, nor does it say that we should celebrate his birthday. As McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia states: “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of NT [New Testament] origin.”

    Instead, an examination of the history of Christmas exposes its roots in pagan religious rites. The Bible shows that we offend God if we try to worship him in a way that he does not approve of.—Exodus 32:5-7.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  17. fire.camp

    ...the pope advocates marxism FOR OTHERS! I do not recall hearing anything that indicates the pope will redistribute the wealth of the church.................

    December 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  18. Luis R.

    Well, as a liberal Catholic, but specially as an observer of today's issues I do agree with the Pope in that capitalism has brought many of today's social problems. It is as bad as marxism in that it looks good on paper but differently once put into practice. I have worked with the economically unfortunate and I have seen their struggles which are the effect of an imbalance in this system. Take a look at the U.S, the world's most powerful country and the hige disperaties that exist among the social classes. Also along with this comes the lack of moral values that have been lost due to today's work crazy society, extreme interest on financial well being and the lack of moral and religious principles. I guess the church has been capitalism's enemy ever since revelation theology came into existence.

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

    "umn, ah, eh, um, um, um, eh, ah, um, ah" Obama, the voice of God and bad website design

    December 2, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Matt

      "I like pills!" – Rush Limbaugh, the voice of pedophiles, racists, and bigots everywhere. Also he hasn't seen his genitalia since the Carter administration.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • doobzz

        It probably rotted off like Tarantino's in Planet Terror.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
      • Dr.Tesla

        i'd rather look like Rush than Obama weird gumbo face and big ears. lol Looks at his dog wife then Look at rush's babe

        December 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • Matt

          Racist and bigoted comments don't bother me when the offender is so dimwitted. Try again buttercup.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
        • Dr.Tesla

          lol you libs think everything is racist except Jeramiah Wright

          December 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • Matt

          No. Just things that are racist. I can't help it if it allows me to insult cowards like yourself.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • John Silvis

      Dr Telsa you are an embarrassment to all Capitalist and all conservatives. Get off this site and keep your psychotic ranting's to yourself....brainwash retard!!! I know propaganda based garbage when I see it.

      December 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  20. luke,AZ

    What do you expect from a college drop-out.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:58 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.