December 14th, 2013
08:30 PM ET

Pope: Marxist ideology is 'wrong'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN)– Pope Francis responded to critics who call his stance on capitalism Marxist, saying in a new interview that the political and economic philosophy is flat "wrong."

"Marxist ideology is wrong," the Pope told the Italian newspaper La Stampa in an interview published on Saturday. "But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

Earlier this month, the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted the pontiff, calling his latest major writing, an apostolic exhortation called Evangelii Gaudium, "pure Marxism."

"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," Limbaugh said.

READ MORE: Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'

Pope Francis told La Stampa that, “there is nothing in the Exhortation that cannot be found in the social Doctrine of the Church.” The 50,000-word statement calls for church reform and castigates elements of modern capitalism.

"I wasn’t speaking from a technical point of view, what I was trying to do was to give a picture of what is going on," the Pope said of Evangelii Gaudium.

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."

"The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the 'trickle-down theories,' which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world," the Pope said in the new interview on Saturday.

"The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory. I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the Church’s social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist.”

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.

READ MORE: Pope Francis: No more business as usual

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,371 Responses)
  1. Name*John

    It sure didn't take long for the vile and vicious liberal commenters to rear their ugly head ( see the 24 comments posted). Obama will fall all over this guy who while condemning capitalism ( a system he clearly doesn't understand ) and welcoming a system (Marxism) that has failed time and time again. Do us a favor, clean up The Vatican first.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Paper Street Soap Company

      ...and yet the Dow and NASDAQ are setting records with record profits.
      Seems investors love Marxism, or more likely you wouldn't know Marxism if it bit you on the behind.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
      • Grendel

        "and yet the Dow and NASDAQ are setting records with record profits"

        First – that IS the rich getting wealthier.

        Second: It is being proped up by a quasi-Governmental agency – The Fed.

        You equate that with the economy doing well and the average person doing better?

        Might want to rethink that...

        December 14, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
        • Observer


          Obama inherited a PLUMMETING stock market. It was wiping out the retirement funds of millions of people.

          YOU might want to rethink that.

          December 15, 2013 at 12:08 am |
        • Geo Bruno

          Well my investments are back in the black

          And I am not rich.

          At all.

          Just like many millions of other

          December 15, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Geo Bruno

      while condemning capitalism

      So You think its good that 45,000 Americans perish each year from a lack of affordable HC?

      Or that we are #34 in infant mortality rate

      December 15, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • Broken

        How about 36th in the world for providing quality health care (according to a UN study).

        But yet we charge far more for medical care than any other country. 1000%+ more over the second place nation.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Geo Bruno

          And the folks like RL want the 30+ million Americans with pre existing conditions to be discriminated against and worse

          December 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Geo Bruno

      while condemning capitalism ( a system he clearly doesn't understand )


      You mean a system that allows the folks who own w mart to amass more wealth that the bottom 40% of all Americans

      While the gov pays for their employees needs to live?

      December 15, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Broken

      John, please tell me how "Trickle Down" economics has any positive effect in the last 30 years it has been used...

      The reality is it has failed and has only increased the profits of the rich on the backs of the poor. So either you are a paid shill meant to spread misinformation. Or the reality is...YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE ABUSES IN OUR ECONOMY. Because you are too blinded by the rhetoric force fed to you every day.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  2. Aerin

    I love this Pope.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  3. Akira

    Rush wouldn't know Marxism is it drove up to him in a Humvee emblazoned with the word Marxism on it, took him out, bought him dinner at Dairy Queen, and had his merry way with him behind Walmart afterwards.

    The Pope shouldn't pay the Great Bloviator any mind.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Even Rush's deformed character doesn't turn this pope away.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • merlemorrigan

      The Pope was NOT replying to Rush Limbaugh. He was responding to a question from an Italian newspaper. Rush is probably where THEY got the idea for the question.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  4. Daily Llama

    But he *is* a liar ..........

    December 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
  5. solowd

    it's a sad day when the pope feels the need to respond to rush limbaugh

    December 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • mike

      he was not

      December 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  6. Smarterest Human

    I can't believe the Pope would waste time responding to a drugged out blowhard.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Grendel

      Why are liberal idots making this about Rush?

      You have people from John Stewart to Catholic economists like Tom Woods reading it exactly the same way.

      Most people who read the Pope's comments seemed to have no trouble understanding that the Pope was calling for more centralized control of the economy. As if that had nothing to with the mess the world is already in!

      December 15, 2013 at 12:01 am |
      • JakeAZ

        yeah the mess we're in had nothing to do with wall street and wealthy banker. conservative mantra: whenever the rich & powerful screw things up – blame the poor.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Mosihasteen

      I didn't know the pope talked to Chris Matthews.

      December 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  7. Steve S

    The more names the GOP call him, the more I realize that he is the RIGHT (pardon the pun) man for the job.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
  8. JJ

    That's one hell of a bong hit that Frank just fired up. He holds it in like a pro too.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  9. bud in NC

    Well if Rush and lunatic Palin don't like him, that's proof that he is right. Golly what evil morons these two are.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Fukowi

      Yes bud – we should all rely on you because you are the Man now – so pure and non evil. Pity Rush and Sarah are so evil because they don't agree with bud.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
      • TomShelton

        Guess the GOPs new winning strategy is an anti-pope platform. Only alienate 1.2 billion Catholic people on that one. And ...

        The Catholic Church in the United States is part of the worldwide Catholic Church. With 78.2 million self-identified members, it is the largest single religious denomination in the United States, comprising 25 percent of the population

        December 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
        • Grendel

          That's a stretch.

          Rush in going over the news items of the day – which he does every day for three hours, spends all of maybe five minutes addressing his opinion of the Pope and you're equating him with GOP's strategy?

          He's a guy on the radio giving his opinion.

          December 15, 2013 at 12:05 am |
        • Dave

          Grendel, he is also the leader of the Republican party.

          December 15, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • Mosihasteen

      Stupid comment. What makes them evil morons? Shovel the leftist lies and don't know why? You sound like one yourself.

      December 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  10. FactCheck

    It's such a shame that the innovative watermelon transplant procedure for Rush went so desperately wrong. Most of it got into his stomach, but some got into his head.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Grendel

      What grade are you in?

      December 15, 2013 at 12:06 am |
      • FactCheck

        Well beyond yours, Beowulf breath.

        December 15, 2013 at 2:47 am |
  11. Keksi

    He is right,Pope is Satanist.

    December 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
  12. Truth

    Who cares what Limbaugh says? Ohh wait, people are dumb. I bet if Limbaugh ran for president he would win. What a backwards society we live in.

    December 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • SPW

      Limbaugh has a clique but it's not enough to win an election lol

      He wouldn't even get close to Romney's numbers

      December 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Mosihasteen

      I would never say in some sweeping overgeneralized statement that people are dumb. But then, look who's in the Oval Office.

      December 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  13. pdxdave

    When someone prefaces a comment by saying, "I am not a racist, but..." you can be assured that what will follow is a racist remark.

    Similarly, when a person says, "I am not a Marxist, but..." you can bet the person owns a Che Guevera t-shirt, a Mao pin, and a lovingly dog-eared copy of Das Kapital.

    December 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Dan

      First, Marxists do not wear those shirts; middle class white teenagers do. Second, you are silly.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
      • Gianni


        December 15, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Pig in a Poke

      LOL.....So the Pope sits around reading a good book in his T-shirt when ones looking?

      December 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • madrogio

      Then you should have prefaced your remark by saying, "I am not an idiot, but...."

      December 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Of course he's not a Marxist. Even Marx was not a Marxist: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

    December 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • David

      That was the funniest comment I've read all year.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  15. Dh

    Love that pope. Even he could see 8 years of "trickle down" did not work.

    December 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Grendel

      "Trickle down" is an absurd phrase. It lends credence to the criticism that the Pope is polemical here and is out of his depth discussing economics.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  16. Vence

    First Sara Palin call him extreme liberal, then Rush Limbaugh call him Marxist. What's next John Boehner will call him Che Guevara!

    December 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Fukowi

      Oh Vence – you're a wild man – you really are.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  17. Matt

    So lets see, whom should I trust and believe. The Pope or Rush Limbaugh? Hmm that sure is a toughie.....

    December 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  18. rl

    If I were the Pope, I would not worry or lose too much sleep about what rush or any of his minions say. I am not Catholic, and Pope Francis impresses me greatly as being a man of the people worldwide.

    December 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  19. Dave

    Republicans are done. Permanently. Pope Francis will lead the way.

    December 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Fukowi

      Thanks Dave – you have obviously thought that through fully like a true Democrat.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  20. Megyn Kelly

    As long as the Pope is white, it's fine with me.

    December 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • rl

      Just as ignorant.

      December 14, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • HenryB

      That comment actually was pretty dumb but hilarious.

      December 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Truth Today

      At least you are honest about your preference for White Popes. Then don't be too hard on others when they prefer a non-White for various reasons.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      Douple plus funny!

      December 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Geo Bruno

      Well there is photoshop

      December 15, 2013 at 11:35 am |
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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.