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. sergo jean

    Jesus said " Behold, I am Jesus Christ whom the prophets testified shall come into this world " And He said" I am the light and the life of the world". I do believe, it is very important for the world to know who you are.

    December 15, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • Chris

      And people recognized him as a delusional crazy man and lynched him, as they should of.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • Realist


      Christianity is built upon a LIE ...

      ................ because ....................

      ..... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he ...

      ............. emanates from the .............

      ...................... http://www.EvilBible.com


      December 15, 2013 at 7:30 am |
  2. J

    Why is anyone even validating a drug addict with a radio talk show?

    December 15, 2013 at 7:18 am |
    • Chris

      Most democrats are drug addicts and they are in the government.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:20 am |
      • middle america man

        And most Republicans are toe tappers with a Wide stance.

        December 15, 2013 at 7:36 am |
  3. John

    Marxism fails because it provides no incentive to work, in fact a DIS-incentive. Since you get the same no matter how hard you work, you do better by slacking off and saving your energy. Only Capitalism can actually GENERATE wealth.

    But what to do with it? Just consume for the sake of consumption? This is the weakness of Capitalism, that it appears wholly self-centered. And while I have no problem with Ayn Rand's 'virtue of selfishness,' most of the people who embrace her just fail to see that our own self-interests are inextricably tied into the lives of all those around us.

    December 15, 2013 at 7:18 am |
  4. Tom

    If anyone really took the teachings and example of Christ seriously, One who knows the world and economic disparity understands why Pope Francis has taken the position he has taken. He started by example. I; for one love and agree what Pope Francis is doing and saying. He is taking a stand for Christ.. I ask ;; WWJD and say? What would you do?? Merry Christmas
    Peace; Tom

    December 15, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • middle america man

      I'm with you – my finger and my phone reported you for abuse accidentally, so I apologize...I do hope that the beating is gentle.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:24 am |
  5. YeahRight

    The Pope IS a Marxist and is nothing more than a community organizer who has never worked a day in his life and has no understanding about the relationship between human nature and economics. This is why he believes communism is the right thing to do.

    December 15, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • Chris

      Yep, spot on.
      It's funny, historically and currently the people with the LEAST connection to society want to do the most radical changes.
      It's always the same, the people who are the most unattached to society become the marxists and communists.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • John

      You know not of what you speak. The Pope says nothing about distribution in pay scales, nothing of economics at all. He speaks only to what we do with what we do have, not how we got it.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • Urnso2

      The Pope was a bouncer, janitor, and lab technician prior to joining the Church. Furthermore, working as a priest is a job similar to a teacher and a counselor. He has written books which qualifies him as an author. He currently is running on if the largest organization known to man, not exactly a vacation.

      December 15, 2013 at 9:03 am |
  6. Peter Q Wolfe

    Is this a new phenomenon that democrats despise the rich? If my memory serves me correctly but John F Kennedy lowered taxes for them. I must also have amnesia because labor unions turned turncoats in 1980-1984 as well. Democrats donate and volunteer less than conservative republicans just saying hypocracy is the nature of politics nobody is moral in that regard.

    December 15, 2013 at 7:13 am |
    • John

      That is strange, Peter. I read a study that said as a proportion of wealth, donating goes down as you go up the economic ladder. And that makes sense, one way to have more money is to not give it away.
      So what is YOUR source, or by what logic do you make claims like yours? Republicans are more generous than Democrats, as a group? Prove that-it smells funny to me.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:23 am |
  7. tet1953

    When America ultimately rejects the Tea Party and its extremes, it will also reject Limbaugh and his ilk. In an effort to stay relevant, they will become ever more extreme and disgusting, thus ensuring their own demise.

    December 15, 2013 at 7:11 am |
    • Chris

      Except America is embracing the tea party, which is very very bad for you and your ilk. You will be terrorized.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:14 am |
      • middle america man

        You jest, your movement of clowns is becoming history as we post.

        December 15, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  8. Sue

    Who cares what Limbaugh says?? He's a addict who only makes sense to the Right. Limbaugh, like most people on the right, is a hypocrite. Limbaugh is a sinner like everyone else.

    December 15, 2013 at 7:05 am |
  9. Peter Q Wolfe

    According to Christian Today Magazine, U.S Catholics donate less than other denominations of faith in this country. Other protesttants donate and vonteer more than do catholics such as Church of Christ, Baptists and mormons ironically. Let's face reality nobody believes in a diety just in their own selfish survival for abundancy. The middle class are cohurts for the rich as they benefit but are deadly adversaries when caught in the poverty trap like the rest of us. Economics isn't moral just like the imagination of God isn't real in my books.

    December 15, 2013 at 6:57 am |
  10. Droppo

    The supporters of the rich really don't like it when the whole scam is under scrutiny. A major figure like the Pope talking about how your scam is not right is going to create some pretty stupid sounding insults from those right wing conservative protectors of the rich. I would like to know how Rush's catholic listeners feel about him calling the Pope names and saying that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    December 15, 2013 at 6:41 am |
    • Chris

      Yeah because making money and saving it is a crime. If that's your idea of a crime, you don't deserve to be breathing.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:48 am |
      • rmtaks


        December 15, 2013 at 7:00 am |
    • Chris

      Oh and the pope is no "major figure", Christianity is dead in the water, nobody practices it anymore. It's a religion in name only.
      Your "pope" has no influence.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:50 am |
  11. james

    Why would the Pope say this? He is only alienating Obama by claiming not to be a Marxist.

    December 15, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • Phil Fugate

      If Obama is a Marxist, he's really bad at it. NYSE is booming.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:45 am |
  12. mattski

    This is one of the first times I've heard a Christian genuinely reflect Jesus' message. If the Pope is a Marxist, then I guess Jesus was too. I'm tired of Christians who profess to believe one thing but preach something entirely different.

    December 15, 2013 at 6:11 am |
    • Chris

      Jesus was a marxist? No wonder he got lynched.
      Marxism is not only oppression for those who make money, not even wealthy people just middle class people, it is a hyper racist ideally against white people.

      I guess the Europeans got tired of his threats and effectively lynched him. I don't blame them.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:43 am |
      • Jim

        You are so pathetically uninformed, you're the typical TEA party nimrod who doesn't know what he's saying. You don't even deserve the benefit if having your ignorance picked apart. Funny you were named after Christ and have so little knowledge of him.

        December 15, 2013 at 7:19 am |
  13. pdxdave

    Other famous people who were not Marxists:
    Karl Marx
    Joseph Engels
    Fidel Castro
    Joseph Stalin
    Chairman Mao
    Pol Pot
    Lee Harvey Oswald
    Jimmy Carter
    Harry Dexter White
    Ho Chi Minh

    December 15, 2013 at 6:03 am |
    • devin

      And lest we forget, POTUS.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:21 am |
  14. Tony

    The Right Wing bat-crap-crazy crew pvoves rhat no one is above their attacks. The Pope v/s Rush Limbaugh, who do you think has more morals.

    December 15, 2013 at 6:03 am |
    • lilyq

      I didn't know it was a contest.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • james

      Judge not lest ye be judged.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:33 am |
    • Chris

      Not the pope, Christianity has broken it's own laws more times than can be counted.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:39 am |
  15. Tutuvabene

    Why did Francis even waste the time responding to the likes of Limbaugh?

    December 15, 2013 at 6:01 am |
    • lilyq

      LOL because Rush hit a nerve.

      December 15, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • Patrick

      He didn't respond to limbaugh alone you muppet.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:04 am |
  16. reldra

    Pope: Old guy that is a scholar and talks about people caring for each other. Limbaugh: Old guy that yells about nonsense all day and will steal your grandma's back medication.

    December 15, 2013 at 5:56 am |
    • Chris

      Prove it, otherwise all I see here is.

      Boo hoo hoo...

      December 15, 2013 at 6:41 am |
      • MX

        No worries. All we see here is


        Boo hoo hoo...

        December 15, 2013 at 6:51 am |
        • Chris

          I'm trolling? You wish kid.
          You're a marxist and a racist and you will be terrorized.

          December 15, 2013 at 6:58 am |
      • Mantismech

        "Rush Limbaugh and prosecutors in the long-running prescription fraud case against him have reached a deal calling for the only charge against the conservative commentator to be dropped without a guilty plea if he continues treatment, his attorney said Friday".

        December 15, 2013 at 6:55 am |
  17. Larry Libater

    You said it exactly right.

    December 15, 2013 at 5:54 am |
  18. Andy

    Wasn't it a previous pope (Leo XIII) who attacked democracy?

    December 15, 2013 at 5:51 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.