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. truth

    both are 1d1ots

    December 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  2. Don

    Try the second Commandment, think you will find that works

    December 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  3. AmericaFirst

    Rush more resembles the Romans who Jesus harkened to greed while the poor, disabled, elderly, infirmed, went to want. Rush is the anti-christ, just as the Romans were the opposite of Christ-like.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  4. pdxdave

    Why is it that Capitalist countries produce the free democracies and Marxist countries create murderous dictatorships?

    It can't be a coincidence that the two diametrically opposed ideologies produce such diametrically opposed societies.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Cathy

      Aw, another sweetie who thinks that what was said was Marxist. You little teapots are so CUTE!

      December 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • pdxdave

        Awwww... a liberal who ignores the topic and resorts to adhominem attacks because she has nothing intelligent to contribute.... how CUTE!!

        December 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • wombattesting

      Of course that is true, and the Pope certainly knows this, having grown up in Latin America. But the Pope's statement has nothing to do with what is portrayed in Rush's fervent imagination

      December 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  5. Carole

    KJV, Matthew 26,verses34-46:

    34:Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    35: For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
    36: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
    37: Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty and gave thee drink?
    38: When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee.
    39: Or when we saw thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
    40: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    41: Then he shall say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
    42: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
    43: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
    44: Then they shall also answer him saying, Lord, when we saw thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
    45: Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did iit not to me.

    So said Jesus.

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

      Somebody needs to show this to Fat Limbaugh.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Emma Morrow

      You've made a public statement in the name of Jesus Christ.

      If you are just a hypocrite, and don't give freely of your OWN money and time, I wouldn't want to try bragging to the Lord.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • Cathy

        She quoted directly from the Bible. No one asked you for a damned penny.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
        • Emma Morrow

          I gave her a warning. She would be smart to put her heart in the right place.

          December 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
      • Steve

        Emma, that is the statement of Jesus Christ himself, according to Matthew, as HE spake the words in the sermon on the mount. It is not heresy to repeat them, even if the repeater is imperfect. For even Almighty God recognizes human imperfection. He GAVE his only begotten Son as sacrifice so that the imperfect might ascend to Him.

        Rush Limbaugh is a joke. The Pope speaks the truth. Matthew, Chapter 24, speaks the truth. Luke, Chapter 6, the message of CARITAS, speaks the truth. And I am not even a Christian. I am Jew. Just like Jesus was.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Bill


      December 2, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  6. apple pie

    he is crazy, delusional and so wrong on every level possible. he needs to shut up just once and convert his hatred to something nice like helping poor kids or animals.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  7. michael mckinley

    How can ANYONE listen to this person? Really, if you think he is the center of truth and intelligence in this country - you have major intellectual problems and serious ability to understand ANYTHING!

    December 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  8. AU

    He has become worse than Sarah Palin.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Monk

      Time to Flee From False Religion
      10 What does the Bible foretell will be the final destiny of this globe-encircling harlot? In symbolic language, the book of Revelation describes her destruction at the hands of political elements. These are symbolized by “ten horns” that support the United Nations, “a scarlet-colored wild beast” that is the image of Satan’s bloodstained political system.—Revelation 16:2; 17:3-16.
      11 This destruction of Satan’s world empire of false religion will be the result of God’s adverse judgment of these religions. They will have been found guilty of spiritual fornication because of complicity with their oppressive political paramours and their support of them. False religion has stained its skirts with innocent blood as it has patriotically played along with the elite ruling class of each nation in its wars. Therefore, Jehovah puts it into the hearts of the political elements to perform his will against Babylon the Great and devastate her.—Revelation 17:16-18.
      12 With such a future staring world religions in the face, what should you do? The answer is in what John heard a voice out of heaven saying: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.” Therefore, now is the time to obey the angel’s injunction to get out of Satan’s empire of false religion and join in Jehovah’s true worship. (See box, page 377.)—Revelation 17:17; 18:4, 5; compare Jeremiah 2:34; 51:12, 13.
      Armageddon Near
      13 Revelation states that “in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire.” By all the Bible’s prophetic indications, that “one day,” or short time of swift execution, is now near. In fact, the destruction of Babylon the Great will usher in a period of “great tribulation” that culminates in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty . . . Har–Magedon.” That war, or battle, of Armageddon will lead to defeat for Satan’s political system and to his being abyssed. A righteous new world will dawn!—Revelation 16:14-16; 18:7, 8; 21:1-4; Matthew 24:20-22.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  9. Emma Morrow

    Folks, in recent weeks I have endeavored to try to make you understand how it is that people like modern-age Democrats look at small business and business at large. They do not, in the terms of small business, understand how fragile it is. Their view of business is that people who own them or run them cheat their customers, abuse their employees, hoard all the money, and have tons of it. They take it and keep it for themselves. They deny their employees a livable wage. They deny them health care. They deny them benefits. They produce products that kill and maim and sicken, or they produce products that destroy the planet, destroy the environment, or what have you.

    I mean, it's a litany. This is their view and it is why they claim that they must take it over and control it, because it's inherently unfair that a select few capitalists rip everybody off. Rip off their employees, rip off their customers, and that's how you have unequal incomes, and this vast gap between wealth and poverty. It's all because of capitalism. They claim that as socialists or reformers or progressives, that they are fair and compassionate, and they will make that gap between the wealthy and the poor narrower, and they will make life more equitable, and they will engage in equality of outcomes and so forth, and wherever they've tried, they've failed.

    Wherever socialists have gained power, they have done nothing but spread poverty. They cannot and do not produce wealth. They do not understand it. All they can do is destroy it. They are not compassionate; they coerce. And to hear the pope regurgitating this stuff, I was profoundly disappointed.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • HW

      Thank you.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Cathy

      Aw, poor sweetie. Doesn't know the difference between a democrat and a socialist. Precious.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • James L.

      Excuse me, but the CBO and OMB historical economic records say you are out of your mind!!
      Democrats grow the economy and job growth three times that of Republicans. Republicans outspend, raise more debt and deficits than Democrats, every time. Your concern for small business, has been undermined , as has the middle-class, by Republican policies for over 40 years!! Don't know how you came to the lame position you suggest, but there is no credible evidence to support it.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • 111Dave111

      Huh, This is about Rush Limbaugh's attack on the Pope (not an American).
      Why are you blaming Democrats?
      Who cares: "in recent weeks I have endeavored to try to make you understand"?
      FYI: "Income inequality in the United States has grown significantly since the early 1970s, after several decades of stability" -Wikipedea

      December 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Steve

      Explain this. I am a Democrat, a socialist and a small business man. I don't believe any of the things you ascribe to me. What, pray tell, makes you believe you understand any of this, because it is eminently clear you don't?

      December 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Steve

      Socialism is the most successful form of societal organization known to man. Two-thirds of Europe operates on socialistic principles and they have both the highest standards of living in the world, as well as the highest level of personal satisfaction with their lives in the world. Denmark, the most socialist of all, is the absolute happiest place on earth.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  10. Suzy Mack

    Everyone is just attacking Limbaugh. So what ! Answer the question. What and who is the pope? Is he a Marxist ? Yes. Is he "other" things ? Probably.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • HW

      It's the same Rush Limbaugh insults over and over and over and over. Nobody actually discusses the issue.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • James L.

      He is a Marxist because he actually follows the teachings of Jesus? Real Christians are supposed to throw all their wealth at the poor. Limpballs wouldn't get through that eye of the needle even if he was poor. Besides, he going to a much, much warmer climate anyway.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  11. Anna


    December 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • Maddy

      OMG! Thank you did posting this for the 4,964th time! My brain hasn't quite exploded yet!

      December 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • charles

      I wander how Rush Limbaugh can say anything with his foot in his mouth all the time

      December 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
      • James L.

        You mean hydrcodone don't you?

        December 2, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  12. Tina

    I doubt if Pope Francis is going to change his way of thinking because Rush Limbaugh doesn't like what he has to say. I'm not surprised in the least that Rush disagrees that idolatry of money is a bad idea.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  13. lord toronaga

    If you righteous pope lovers want to help the "poor starving and lonely" masses ... go ahead. But do it without me or any of my wealth. I'm not buying it. Work hard , make money .. and live well. If you feel so inclined...go ahead. Give away your life ! Meh.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • ricardo1968

      Ridiculous.You think you're self sufficient. but not even close.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Teddyg

      Have you ever heard of the phrase 'bad kharma'?

      December 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • BeBoppin

      "It is better to give than to receive"...maybe you will learn that someday...or perhaps not in your case.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • HW

      I give to who I want ... when I want. I don't want a bunch of work slacking good for nothings telling me what I have to do. I pay lots of taxes already. And I know I didn't make it here on my own...some other upper 20%ers helped me.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • lord toronaga

      Lord Toronaga produces way more than he consumes. Way way more. The pope can go back to where-ever....

      December 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  14. Felix Sinclair

    Whereas Rush preaches $h!theadedness.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  15. Ron

    I really believe Rush is losing it. Hopefully, thousands will rally and convey their profound displeasure over Limbaugh's misguided ramblings.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I was hoping for tens of millions.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  16. Jib76

    would Mr. Limbaugh call Jesus the Christ a marxist? Let us look at Holy Scripture: John 21:14-17 New International Version (NIV) 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep!"

    December 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  17. JDL

    Dear Pope: the problem is not the economic system; it's people. To focus on "capitalism" (whatever that means), suggests he has some better economic system that he thinks would work better. Problem is not with the economic system. It's with the human heart.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • BeBoppin

      True. But lack of heart displays itself in greed and power.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  18. JW

    Is the Pope "St.Peter successor?

    One evidence that Peter was not head of the congregation in Rome is that when the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he included an extensive list of Christians there. Yet, he did not mention Peter at all. (Romans 16:1-23) If Peter were head of the congregation, could we imagine that Paul overlooked Peter or snubbed him?

    Note, too, that about the time that Peter wrote his first inspired letter, Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy. In that letter, Paul did not hesitate to mention Rome. Actually, Paul wrote six letters from Rome, all without any mention of Peter.

    Some 30 years after Paul wrote his letters, the apostle John wrote three letters and the book of Revelation. Nowhere in these writings did John mention that the congregation in Rome was the most prominent one, nor did he refer to a leader of the church who held the supreme office of an alleged successor of Peter. Neither the Bible nor the evidence from history supports the claim that Peter established himself as the first bishop of the congregation in Rome.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Well, were he the successor of Peter would that be important to you, JW?

      December 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Maddy

      How nice. Now, how about addressing this article instead of proselytizing for your particular flavor of Christianity?

      December 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • JW

      I'm just making sure if my catholic friends are aware of their faith... Meaning if they follow because of tradition or because of reasoning first on the scriptures before making a decision..

      December 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • Journey

        "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." Mt. 16:18

        Not to mention about 50-60 early Christian martyrs saying around 100 A.D. things like "I command the Church in Rome the way Peter and Paul once did. -Ignatius of Antioch-

        Not to mention the bones of a Jewish man under the Vatican dated from around 70 A.D. With the Greek inscription "here lies Peter" dated from the same time.

        Sola scriptura used to have it's merits but once it started being used by people like Albert Mohler saying "The earth is only 6,000 years old even though it looks 3.5 billion years old." it doesn't hold any water. Sounds plain stupid actually. I'll stick with tradition and "reason the scriptures" through that lens my friend.

        December 2, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  19. ReallyRush?

    Sorry Rush, I don't take world advice from drug addicts.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  20. pdxdave

    It's funny how leftists who are virulently anti-Christian 7 days a week are suddenly declaring that THEY know Christ and can identify His true followers through their political ideology.

    Every other topic they post is about how hateful, bigoted, backwards, flat-earth believing, Darwin denying Christians are the worst thing since Hitler..... until the Pope reveals he's a Marxist. The all of the sudden these same people are preaching about what and who Christ was.

    Jesus had something to say about y'all: "I know ye not."

    December 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Maddy

      Methinks you don't know what leftist means. Methinks you also don't know what Marxist means. You share this with Rush.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • pdxdave

        The Jesuits require all priests in their cult prove themselves to be radical leftist activists. If you are not a Marxist, you simply cannot become a J

        December 2, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
        • BeBoppin

          What makes them "radical leftists"?

          December 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • BeBoppin

      If you met Jesus today, you would consider him to be a far left rabble rouser.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • pdxdave

        Few things are funnier than atheists and leftists who HATE Christ and Christians trying to pretend they know the Bible and the heart of Christ.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:22 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.