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

Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(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. Gene Brady

    Limbaugh preaches pure hypocrisy............. remember prior to his drug arrest he preached severe penalties against drug addicts? THEN the PIG got caught and boy did the story change real fast!!!! He's a low life and an obnoxious pig in human form. USELESS as a member of society

    December 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  2. dj

    Christianity has always been incompatible with capitalism. Rush needs to read his bible.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  3. Lemon Talks

    Evangelii Gaudium talks about FORCED CHARITY, OR TAKING PEOPLES MONEY BY FORCE which i am sure the vatican would love to do.

    and then redistributing the money.

    taking money by force to give to other people is infact a tenet of marxism.

    why is this hard to understand for some?

    please one liberal tell me how rush is wrong

    December 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Gene Brady

      see my post........

      December 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  4. Jean Sartre

    And, we have still more diarrhea coming from the pie hole of Mr. Oxy addict; the only person in America that can eat an entire cow in a single setting and then order Viagra...

    December 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  5. Everett Knight

    I used to think Limbaugh was a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
    Now, I KNOW there are NO fries left in his Happy Meal!

    December 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  6. Lemon Talks

    Evangelii Gaudium talks about FORCED CHARITY, OR TAKING PEOPLES MONEY BY FORCE which i am sure the vatican would love to do.

    and then redistributing the money.

    taking money by force to give to other people is infact a tenet of marxism.

    why is this hard to understand for some?

    liberals who is rush wrong????

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  7. Meloni

    This is a Pope who has made it his platform to advocate for the poor. He shares his feelings with his flock in hopes it will spark a spirit of charity in their hearts. Is RUSH LIMBAUGH really the voice of reason here? Is he even qualified to speak for anyone? His reaction and criticism of the Popes Evangelii just shows he doesn't care to take the entire platform of His papacy into consideration when attacking one publication. Stick to what you know, Mr Limbaugh.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  8. Jerry Maclean

    Religion the opium of the masses! Also since when do WE call a man "holy"?
    I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls.

    – Einstein

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Mitch R.

      Einstein, who recognized the Hand of God in Creation, was ambivalent about a great many things. What thinking man does not vacillate over the deeper things? God's Word states that it was put into man's mind to contemplate eternity. And though we often tired souls may find it more welcoming to contemplate a "forever nap", rather than mull the idea of carrying onward and upward, such does not dispel the prospects of eternal life. IF we are created in God's image.....to be tested as to fitness first before being allowed entry into a Realm high above our own, then the struggles we face here begin to make much more sense than to believe it's all a wildly clever and insanely wise....accident. Would God allow the things that go on down here to go on down here? Valid question! But of course, He did reveal what would happen quite accurately, and well in advance. Net search the term – Two Hands of God and read the article by J. Preston Eby. There is much wisdom to be gleaned from such a vibrant and clear dissemination of God's Word.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  9. batteryinme

    Well, there goes another pew of right wing rich catholics leaving the church. Where do they go? Southern Baptist?

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Edward

      Westboro Baptist Church.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  10. JohnRJohnson

    WHY IS THIS IN THE "RELIGIOUS BLOG" SECTION? IT SHOULD BE IN MAIN NEWS!

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  11. snowyowl

    Score: Rush Limbaugh 15 million followers; Pope 1.2 billion followers. Game over.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  12. JenniferUCD

    What is "sad" and "unbelievable" is that anyone would care what Rush Limbaugh thinks.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • tidho

      More 'said and unbelivable' is that you would dismiss the remarks because Limbaugh said them.

      The story here should be about what the Pope said, not what some radio host said.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • MK237

      Very true

      December 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  13. Lemon Talks

    Evangelii Gaudium talks about FORCED CHARITY, OR TAKING PEOPLES MONEY BY FORCE which i am sure the vatican would love to do.

    and then redistributing the money.

    taking money by force to give to other people is infact a tenet of marxism.

    why is this hard to understand for some?

    liberals refuse to anwer this question for some reason

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • tx

      It's what Jesus taught – give away your worldly possessions and help the poor. Of course this is the message the Pope should have, I don't know why you or Rush are surprised.

      The question is, why do many of the people who claim Christianity most fervently are also the ones who oppose Jesus' message of love and social justice most fervently.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • antdog

      .....stacking the deck with special interests, hijacking law, etc., etc., is the real redistribution; our system requires balance, and casino economics have choked our system into a coma–you don't need consumers in a "consumer-based" economy ?

      December 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • holly

      "Liberals" will tell you that in the end, if the disproportion between CEOs and and factory works becomes so great (one making 35,000 times the salary of the other) then you're endangering the basic assumption of capitalism, and what makes it work: the possibility of getting wealthy through your hard work. If hope and belief in our capitalist system becomes despair and anger, then you're encouraging class warfare and, ultimately, marxist revolution. When people are uncaring or insensitive to the needs of others, then yes society might be forced to take money from you and redistribute it by force. It'll be either that, or your disbelief one day when the have nots will cross into your neighborhood and take it from you and your family through violence and murder.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Purple

      OMG the takers are coming, quick Ma get me my gun, my "Fixed News" and lets go jump in our Doomsday bunker.

      Thankgoodness for Democrats, not all of us can be greedy!

      December 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  14. Yep-Yep

    "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."

    Wait, wait, wait... and you do, Limbaugh?

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • tidho

      First think about the Pope's remarks.....then worry about Limbaugh.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  15. 866bway

    "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.

    Yes Rush, it's called "change" and its what nations, churches and people do over time.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • HM

      Well said!

      December 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  16. Steve Holiday

    It just goes to show you. When American conservative populists talk about "Marxism", they reveal that they wouldn't recognize Marxism if it walked up to them and bit them in the butt. Of course, this has been abundantly apparent since the summer of 2008.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Crop1981

      AMEN!!!

      December 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    Limbaugh is just frothing at the mouth becuase Francis dared to point out the obvious flaw in "Reaganmic" trickle-down theory. The rich didn't get to be that way by sharing their wealth with the little people.
    Rush is perpetuating the McCarthy era conflation of capitalism with Christianity, which is just patently absurd.
    Ironically, Reaganomics and Communism have both failed becuase they both as/sume that those who lust for power and/or wealth with eventually ceded them for the betterment of their fellow men.

    God forbid anyone utter a disparaging word against Saint Reagan of Gipper – patron of afternoon naps and plausible deniability.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  18. mark

    its so cute how rush thinks he is still relevant to anything these days.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • tidho

      ....nice of you to have clicked this link on his behalf.

      Liberal media at its finest on this one though. Hiding the real story behind the disctraction of Limbaugh's fame. Look at the comments, how's comments are the people commenting on?

      December 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  19. Lemon Talks

    Evangelii Gaudium talks about FORCED CHARITY, OR TAKING PEOPLES MONEY BY FORCE which i am sure the vatican would love to do.

    and then redistributing the money.

    taking money by force to give to other people is infact a tenet of marxism.

    why is this hard to understand for some?

    no liberal can answer this question.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Steve Holiday

      So, according to your logic, every US president since G. Washington has been a Marxist.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It is a tenet of all governments that collect taxes.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  20. Richard

    What's sad is that Limburger has absolutely no idea how much nobody cares about his idiot opinions. 15 million listeners? I think not – sounds like this dummy has a very inflated opinion about himself. Limbaugh is a puppet of the corporate world. Period.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:21 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.