home
RSS
December 2nd, 2013
11:29 AM ET

Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'

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.

- 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. Jeff6187

    Leave it to Limbaugh. The Pope is a man of Compassion, Integrity and Wisdom. Limbaugh can't grasp any of those. They're not in the same league. They're not even the same species.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  2. drdata921

    This is to be expected from the political right. I was labeled a Socialist/communist/maxist when I posted a comment in a letter to the editor in support of the $15 minimum wage. Another person commented that fast food worked deserved to be paid very little – they are all high school dropouts, right? Pope Francis is right – capitalism is not working for a large portion of the population – label me however you wish, but this society will not survive if it about nothing but pandering to the rich and no one else counts. Rush Limbaugh is just being his usual moronic self.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  3. jo2

    That big blubber finally said something that got him on the front page of CNN. He and his staff are toasting each other.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  4. DaTrufHurts

    Regardless of what you think of Limbaugh, his comments on Francis are dead on.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bruce

      Tell me what has Mr. Limbaugh ever done to help the poor? I'm sure he is the most charitable man God ever created. If the Pope is so wrong then was Jesus wrong?

      Matthew 21:12-13

      New International Version (NIV)

      Jesus at the Temple

      12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.

      Seems as though Pope Francis is only concerned about his house (mankind).

      December 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • letstalkfacts

      Well, then, you would think Jesus Christ was a Marxist also

      December 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Paul

      Don't you mean DOA – dead on arrival?

      December 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  5. Allaneddie

    I think both the Pope and Limbaugh are correct. The church should have two things in mind: 1. Love of God, 2. Love of others. The others around us with less need help. The Christian churches and their members should be doing that. Limbaugh is also right. Real progress and wealth comes only through capitalism. Sure it needs regulation, but systems (Marxism/Leninism) that eliminate the idea of private profit never work.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bruce

      Limbaugh doesn't seem to believe in a social safety net, that even Ronald Reagan was for. Private charity can't do it all.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Jack M

    Why does Rush merit a top headline on CNN.com? He is just starved for attention and will say anything to get it. Please don't give him any more publicity.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Josh

      Because CNN has no moral compass. They care about the all mighty "click", nothing more and noting less.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  7. Be

    boger – well put. Sums up what they are all about.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  8. Johnjon

    does this "man" have no shame?

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    One irrelevant person criticizing another irrelevant person and we read about it. *sigh*

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Dave

      One evil man with a huge following hating on a good man with an even larger following.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • CosmicC

        All of the evidence I've seen so far is that this Pope IS a good man. In fact, that's what sets him apart from so many of his predecessors.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  10. Dave

    Wow. The Grand Hypocrisy Party just can't stand it. Even the CHURCH is against you guys! Maybe you should all do some serious soul searching. Before you end up ostracized by society forever.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  11. JT

    Rush hasn't read the Bible apparently. Jesus Christ was a Socialist.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  12. Lagos

    Dear media:
    If you're sick of hearing the Limbaughs, Becks, Palins, and Hannitys of the world spout what you perceive to be nonsense, stop giving them front-page coverage everytime they say something outrageous.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  13. Jeff6187

    Leave it to Limbaugh. The Pope is a man of Compassion, Integrity and Wisdom. Limbaugh can't grasp any of those. They're not in the same league ... they're not even the same species.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  14. amazed2

    No Rush the Pope is preaching Christianity. Read a Bible, without the GOP footnotes, and you'll learn all about it. A poor man today is the same as a poor man 2000 years ago. Absolutely no difference and Jesus commanded we help him. A very simple concept. Without asking questions nor judging. That's why I find comical the term religious right which should more correctly be classified as non-Christian religious wrong. Peace and God Bless.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Agaur

      Hallelujah!

      December 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Who's to say

      Thank you, amazed2! You hit the nail on the head. Limbaugh will be absolutely dumbfounded when he meets his Creator and finds an all-merciful, all-loving, and all-forgiving Creator – SURPRISE!

      December 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Christine Holmes

      YOU ARE SO CORRECT. THIS IS WHY I LEFT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND IT'S TEACHINGS. THIS IS WHY LUTHER LEFT. THE VATICAN FORGOT THAT JESUS CHRIST WAS A SIMPLE MAN AND EXPECTS US TO FOLLOW THE 8 BEAITUDES. HE PREACH THIS FROM A MOUNTAIN AND NOT SOME TEMPLE. CHRISTIANITY IS AN EXPRESSION OF PEOPLE LIVING AND HELPING OTHERS NOT ONE FOR ALL AND THE HELL WITH THE INDIVIDUAL.. AS I TOLD THE PASTOR OF MY CHURCH THAT HE FORGOT ABOUT THE LORD AND A SHEEP. HE TOLD ME THAT HE WAS TO BUSY TO FIND OUT THAT MY MOTHER WAS DYING OF CANCER AND WANTED $500.00 TO GIVE THE LAST RIGHTS. THIS POPE FINALLY IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    This idiot is under drugs, he better see psychiatrist, FOX, you are going to take him to good psychiatrist. I entrust this on you, please take other rethuglicans too.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  16. Kat

    Mr. Limbaugh's remarks is an inappropriate attack on Catholicism. The Pope is chosen by God to be the voice of God for all Catholics. Either one is a Catholic or not. IF one is Catholic, THEN he/she acts according to the Pope. The Pope IS the Catholic religion. There is no separation between the Pope and Catholicism. The Catholic religion is not a democracy that can be influenced by U.S. political with false membership to religion.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Actually, the Pope is chosen by the College of Cardinals in a highly political democratic process, but that's neither here nor there. Yes, Rush is attacking the Catholic Church. In the hierarchy of hatred in much of this country, Catholics usually fall just behind Blacks and Jews, and, yes, the KKK lynched Catholics, too.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  17. amy

    LOL at the GOP all sad face at the idea of religion mixing with politics.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  18. Danomite

    Pope: "Limbaugh is a pig".

    December 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • darth cheney

      How dare you insult the friendly (not to mention yummy) swines and sows of this world?

      December 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  19. Sal Martorano

    I am Obama and I say rush limburger is a freaking idiot and should be dispatched as soon as possible. 

    December 2, 2013 at 12:44 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 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169
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.