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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

(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. JG

    As a Democrat, I love it that buffoons like Limbaugh and Palin are able to hijack the GOP, and people listen to them. By all means, keep it up.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Gene2

      Amen, brother (or sister)! Anytime the bloviating Limbaugh or Palin says something ridiculous, it's like Christmas around my proudly liberal household.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  2. Gia

    Unlike the "Republican hypocrites" such as Limbaugh the Pope actually cares for the poor. Just like Jesus did.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  3. Dona

    Can someone please take this man "OFF THE AIR" I am so tired of this big bag of wind twisting thing's out of context!

    December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Lemon Talks

      liberals are trying it get him of the air by using the FCC.

      they are working on it

      December 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Norm

      Typical liberal. Identify and eliminate people who disagree with you.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
      • Red Light Paradise

        ****
        Norm

        Typical liberal. Identify and eliminate people who disagree with you.

        Republicans have been using this tactic for years.
        don't like it when we "rip" a page from your book ?

        December 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
  4. truthsayer

    rush limbaugh is a beluga whale

    December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  5. Mike

    How many years has this con artist been selling his CONservative BS? It has not worked. Pope Francis keep preaching. Rush go choke on a donut.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Lunchmonkey

      This is nothing more than Limbaugh's pathetic attempt to stay relevant. The typical formula of a has-been celebrity or politician says the dumbest thing possible and rides the wave of outrage and controversy back onto fame's center stage. The fact that anyone is still paying attention to Rush shows the incredible stagnation of ideas and lack of leadership in the American Conservative movement. The more hacks like Limbaugh talk the more people end up voting Democrat. Please go away mr. Limbaugh, surely there is some kind of reality show you can do to feed your ego....

      December 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  6. Sal Martorano

    Yes, some people really do deserve to be eliminated, like limburger, cruz, lee, s. king, paul, end the whole republican party! 

    December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  7. Worrywart51

    Perhaps Mr. Limbaugh should spend a little less time at the mike and a little more time in the Bible. Perhaps he is right where he needs to be since the great deceiver has found a voice in Limbaugh. Anyone ever wonder why the nations of the western hemisphere are not mentioned in Revelations?

    December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  8. paul reynolds

    Insult the Pope and entire Catholic Church..!?

    What give this Arrested, Drug Addict, Messiah "Lush" with a total of ZERO actual Political Education, Credentials, Experience or Result the Right to do this.!???

    December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Lunchmonkey

      Well, the right to free speech gives him the right to say dumb things. The more frightening question is what makes people listen to this guy and give credence to his "thoughts." I guess blindly following the party line of a Limbaugh, Obama, Romney, Bush, or Clinton is easier than thinking for oneself.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  9. Joe the drunk

    Anyone who takes away advice on spirituality or religion or ethics from Rush Limbaugh ... should have the presence of mind of question the source.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  10. Kiska K

    What a laugh. Rush must be really desperate for ratings. The man wouldn't know a Marxist if he met one in the road.
    Haven't you noticed that these people use "communist," "socialist" and "Marxist" interchangeably? Sometimes they'll accuse someone of being all three at the same time!
    Even with all his money, I'm sure Rush will be the first one to start using Medicaid and drawing Social Security the minute he's eligible...that rotten commie!
    I am sure the Pope is absolutely heartbroken over this...NOT.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  11. Peter Murphy

    Rush Limbaugh saying the Pope doesn't know what he's talking about? As my late Dad would say, "hydrant wets dog"!

    December 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • James Bonder

      I agree with Rush Limpbaugh. This Pope is going to ruin the Vatican. I think this Pope would survive another year or so. Stupid Pope always think he's a saint.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Lunchmonkey

        I am not Roman Catholic, ut this Pope seems to act in a pretty humble and thoughtful way. The Roman Church needs some common sense reform and fresh theological thinking. Somehow I doubt that you really care. You seem to have wanted an opportunity to say hateful things. Now you have had it so you can go away and let the adults continue talking.

        December 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  12. Joe The Plumber

    Are we to believe Rush is both a theologian and a political scientist? He is nothing more than a name calling bully who entertains the low information masses for profit.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Nicole Chardenet

      I think it's been pretty clear for years that he's neither.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  13. Big_D

    I think Pope Francis is 100% accurate and Limbaugh is one of the people who glamorize the immorality of the worship of money. Virtually everything Limbaugh does is in the worship of money. Limbaugh is immoral and he is just upset that somebody is calling out the GOP on how vacant of morality the GOP really is. They worship the Koch and Walton money while they allow people that work full time to starve and be a burden on society so they can be richer.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Lemon Talks

      you sound like you are a communist.

      why do you hate successful people so much?

      December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • tlm

        Lemon,

        I find it interesting that you are standing up for a man who now criticizes the Catholic faith. You are the one who is misinformed and unintelligent. It is really sad that you feel the need to stick up for a drug addict!

        December 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
      • Big_D

        A communist? NO! But if you want to know who the biggest welfare recipients are take a look at the Walton family. Their entire business model is based on taxpayers making up the difference for their employees. Is that moral? Seems like theft to me.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Rob

        People that measure success based on what's in their wallet have neither wealth nor success.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Hugh Jass

        "you sound like you are a communist." Really, he doesn't. If he were a communist, which nobody is anymore anyway, he'd be all sayin' stuff about how Rush was an enemy of the people, a running dog for the monied interests, and a tool in the hand of those who fight to keep the workers from controlling the means of production. How about you wise up and quit pretending people today are still commies, or Whigs, or Boston Tea Party Indians? Gonna be 2014 in a few weeks.

        December 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  14. cheech

    oh rush, you poor troubled man. may jesus have mercy on your soul.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  15. paul reynolds

    Who Died and Made Lush Pope..!???

    December 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      I think it may have been Osama bin Laden. But it might have been Prince Rebus.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  16. Harry Cline

    "The Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power"
    ____
    Now that's what God had in mine, if you are going to claim faith in God then stand up for it !
    Stay on their a– Francis..

    December 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  17. Joseph

    The issue of Marxism vs. capitalism is something that shouldn't even concern a Pope at all. Jesus never addressed such issues. The real problem with the world is not the political systems, but sin in the hearts of men and women. The Apostles said that we were dead in our tresspasses and sins, which is why there is so much pain in the world. And because this Pope is addressing social issues rather than sin and the gospel, is not a good sign. I think the College of Cardinals may have made a mistake in electing this man.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      Maxism vs capitalism isnt concerning the pope at all. He never mentioned marxism, limbaugh did.
      And tell me a pope that didnt address social issues? really?

      December 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • James Bonder

      I agree.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • AnotherPerson

      First you make a couple of mistakes. Marxism and capitalism are not political systems, they are economic systems.
      And Jesus did address economics and how to treat the poor. "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?" Matthew 25:35-37.
      And, this wasn't Jesus, but the Bible does describe the economic choices that the early apostles made: "Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need." Acts 4:32-35.
      I think it's disturbing that you are concerned that the Pope is addressing social issues. Jesus did address social issues after all...he fed the hungry (a couple of times) and he healed the sick. Isn't that what Pope Francis is asking us to do? What do you want? You want the Pope to write a 50,000 word statement on which sins the people in the church need to deal with and tell them to focus on themselves, or do you want the Pope to tell people to worry about helping those around them? What does the Bible say will let people know that we are Christians? "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • CJ

      Joseph, this Pope is right in line with Jesus' teachings, something Christianity is losing, particularly the Far Right Christian televangelists who sit on their throne of judgment talking about people's sins, coaxing poor people out of their money and they are the false prophets. Jesus stated ALL of HIS commandments can summed up in ONE COMMANDMENT, To LOVE GOD AND OUR BROTHERS AS OURSELVES and if you do this you are MY DISCIPLES. I believe this is true no matter what your faith is, something we sit amongst ourselves arguing about. GOD IS LOVE. It is very simple, but seems to be the hardest thing, and what this Pope seems to get.

      December 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • CJ

      Joseph, this Pope is right in line with Jesus' teachings, something Christianity is losing, particularly the Far Right Christian televangelists who sit on their throne of judgment talking about people's sins, coaxing poor people out of their money and they are the false prophets. Jesus stated ALL of HIS commandments can summed up in ONE COMMANDMENT, To LOVE GOD AND OUR BROTHERS AS OURSELVES and if you do this you are MY DISCIPLES. I believe this is true no matter what your faith is, something we sit amongst ourselves arguing about. GOD IS LOVE. It is very simple, but seems to be the hardest thing, and what this Pope seems to get. And that means feeding the poor, you are your brother's keeper, etc. We need to show true love in this world and ONLY WHEN WE DO THAT are we God's disciples.

      December 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • pal

      You don't read well do you? If you had bothered to read what the Pope said instead of what Rush Limbaugh "said" the Pope said. You would not have posted your ridiculous statement.

      December 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Lemon Talks

    this article is a good troll by CNN.

    liberals dislike religion and catholics, all religion is a mind controlling scam to them.

    liberals dislike rush limbaugh too.

    so how will the sheep react with an article like this? lets watch....

    December 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " liberals dislike religion and catholics,..."
      Delusional idiocy.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • Lemon Talks

        if this article had not mentioned rush limbaugh all the liberals would of been going ape over the catholic church

        December 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • John

          This doesn't make any sense at all. No wonder, I shouldn't have argue with you.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • John

      Funny because Rush Limbaugh is well known for love to control his listeners' brains, include Justice Antonin Scalia. You pin it all onto Liberals shown your desperate that in fact, its people like you who are failing this country for too long time since Reagan/Ford eras.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Kiska K

      Judging from your post, we've already seen what the sheep think.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Kiska K

        The above comment was directed at Lemon Talks, not you, John.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • John

          I was certain you didn't directed at me. No worries. I know the troll when I see one and Lemon is one of them.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      "liberals dislike religion and catholics" Do you ever wonder why they programmed you to say that?

      December 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Lynnard-FL

      LemonHead: You, like many others (read, especially: Tea Party) who think they speak for "the American people" do not speak for me! (i.e. "liberals dislike religion and catholics, all religion is a mind controlling scam to them.") I don't think you've bothered to get to know anyone who doesn't hold to your narrow viewpoint. As a politically moderate Christian, I want you to know you do NOT speak for me. I dislike "religion" for religion's sake, but have great respect for Catholics, though I'm not one, and I have a mind of my own, which is why I reject and pity Rush and his non-thinking followers. Don't tell me what I think or believe unless you've taken the time to ask. This is what angers me about extremists on the left AND right... you do NOT speak for me. Don't think that you do.

      December 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  19. Chobrut

    And? Why are we still clinging to cold war "us versus them" ideology w.r.t. socialism? It is pretty clear that we've struck a balance between capitalism and socialism, why can't people drop the slippery slope nonsense arguments and move on to realize that we may not have achieved the best form of governance yet.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  20. Sal Martorano

    I really like this Pope. He is trying to bring the church into the modern world. I have more respect for this Pope then I do any politician, or iriots like rush limbaugh and the whole tea party! 

    December 2, 2013 at 12:32 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.