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. Reality

    To all the misguided "believers" out there, your salvation is at hand (and it is not Francis or Marx):

    Tis mind boggling that your religions can be brought down to earth in less than ten seconds. With this in mind should not the moderators of this blog and their buddy Stevie P be looking for new jobs?

    Again for the new members:

    To wit:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    December 15, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • honesty first

      already been proven that jesus could not have been let down on the cross. That was against ALL laws. He would have rotted until his bones dropped off the cross.

      No resurrection or christian burial, didn't happen

      December 15, 2013 at 8:38 am |
      • Justifi Black

        By Roman law they couldn't keep the bodies up past dark. That's why they had to break the two thieves legs to keep them from being able to push up and keep breathing. Crucifixion was a torture that could last days if the Romans wanted it to, and at that site far too many people were crucified to keep them up there that long. Jesus did die for sins and he's been risen from the dead.

        December 15, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • honesty first

      Glad to see that some are willing to look reality in the face.. the pope and rush are no different. Both low lives. Pope being worse as he denies children abused

      December 15, 2013 at 8:40 am |
      • Mark

        The church had declined to acknowledge child abuse but this Pope is clearly different and he is giving the church its strongest dose of reality in many generations. He has made quite clear, he does not agree with the church's past stance on child abuse and a great number of other things the church has held positions on. I am Catholic but have left the church many years ago. This Pope, no matter what he changes within the church, will not bring me back. But from this vantage point, it's amazing and exciting to see what good and dramatic changes this Pope is bringing to those that still believe in his church. He is genuine and religion or no, he is definitely leading by example and is worthy of following his lead.

        December 15, 2013 at 9:13 am |
  2. Dennnis

    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

    ― Dom Hélder Câmara

    December 15, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • honesty first

      or Mother theresa to the starving, 'convert to catholic and I'll feed you'

      She was a cash cow for vatican, for sure

      December 15, 2013 at 8:36 am |
      • Dennnis

        I would respectfully disagree and no, I am not Catholic. She was one person who walked away from the trappings of wealth, she owned nothing more that a $2 sari (clothing) and yet was respected by the world where, Kings, Queens, Prime Ministers, Premiers, and Presidents honored her and paid attention. When she spoke it was like an EF Hutton commercial. Even the Pope listened to her.

        As Robert Fulghum (not a Catholic) wrote (paraphrased here) that he kept a picture of somebody he couldn't stand on his mirror. He said it was Mother Teresa because she proved him wrong everyday. He felt that she proved that one person can make a difference.

        December 15, 2013 at 8:51 am |
        • Doug

          I call b*****it on this. Mother Theresa had an obsessive *love* of poverty. She wanted to keep people in it, as she believe that suffering was actually good. She wasn't a friend of the poor, she was a friend of poverty. She also deserves a place in hell (if only it existed) for saying that abortion is the "greatest destroyer of peace." She wouldn't know peace and justice if they both hit her in her face.

          December 15, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • Dennis

          Doug, I would guess she knew peace but as far as justice, I am sure that she didn't see much of it. Why do you attack somebody such Mother Teresa whose behavior was that of a servant. She served the poor. She loved the poor. That is not something that you can say about a lot of people even here in the United States. She did not laud herself, she did not lord it over the poor. And to say that somebody ought to go to hell because of her comment about abortion. Really... Aren't there worse things and you attack that? Or maybe that just hits a sore spot for you?

          December 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  3. jed clampett

    This is one great Pope and this is my first disappointment in him. He has no obligation to address those that are critical of him. It only gives them an unwarranted audience. Viva Pope Francis.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • honesty first

      and this pope refuses to answer to the UN for crimes against children worldwide.

      Then again. when he was a cardinal, it was his job to ensure the bishops delivered effective cover ups.

      What a filthy group.

      December 15, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  4. Reality

    Francis needs to correct his severely flawed religion both theologically and historically before venturing into economic processes.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Alex

      You act as if he is saying his religion is perfect. When he's criticized his religion no one bats an eye but now he criticizes severely morally flawed capitalism and you're losing your mind. I am a non-theist. I don't believe in any deity or many of the teachings or procedures of any church.... what this man is championing is not "God's" work however, it is what humans should do for humans. I can respect the pope. I don't worship him like Catholics do nor do I hold him as a saint, but I do respect the man.

      December 15, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  5. BuckRogere

    What Tundra Gidget – former half-term Gov. of Alaska – doesn't like about this Pope is he is a Christian. She isn't. She's a White Tribalist, a Greedhead and a nitwit. But she calls herself a Christian. I'm no more of a Christian than she is, but at least I understand the term.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:29 am |
  6. Serge Storms

    Limbaugh upset at the Pope? Francis must be doing something right. Something tells me this is one battle Limbaugh can't win. And Limbaugh won't be the last right winger to have issues with Francis, this is just the start.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • honesty first

      actually, the pope is no better than rush and maybe worse a human.

      In fact the pope refuses to answer to the UN for crimes against children worldwide. Makes the pope a bigger sc-umbag

      December 15, 2013 at 8:30 am |
  7. Peter Q Wolfe

    The middle class benefit from the regressive taxation scheme than do much of the poor. Yes, government jobs like teachers and faculty, military contractors or soldiers, welfare workers, foreign affair operatives, economist, etc. The free trade agreements exempt the middle class unions with steel, etc in much of agreements so free trade against the poor not the middle class.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • madrogio

      Hold on, buddy! I've called 911.

      December 15, 2013 at 8:41 am |
  8. Gorsh

    Whether you get there by reading the teachings of Jesus Christ or through simple logic and observation, a society based entirely on greed and jealousy is a sick and corrupt one.

    America used to be capitalism tempered with compassion. Not so much any more.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • Dennnis

      You are absolutely correct. We don't live in a brave new world but in a pretty scary one where people are more about themselves. The whole me generation are the proverbial chicken coming home to roost. So much for the chicken versus the egg debate. It doesn't matter.

      December 15, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  9. Realist

    ,,pope and rush, are the same. Both con men for sure.

    How about the pope act as a responsible human for once and answer to the UN for crimes against children worldwide.

    He ignores the UN's request. Odd since it's the truth that's the greatest healer.

    Again this pope acts as the rest to deny abused children. Then again, when he was cardinal, he followed the vatican orders to cover ups the crimes.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:25 am |
  10. Joao

    On what the pope calls "trickle-down economics": This is not actual economic theory. Capitalists do not speak in these actual terms. The expression is hyperbole put forth by those who look to big government to make a place for them at the bottom, after the government gives their biggest share to their big-business buddies.

    This is the effective end of Democracy when the masses, who cannot fend for themselves, get to vote for who sets policy.

    Jesus said (apparently not church doctrine), "you will always have the poor"

    December 15, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • madrogio

      ?? I'm confused. Bad when the masses get to decide about government, which gives its biggest share to the few?? Say what!

      December 15, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • Optimist

      Yes, Jesus said that about the poor. However, did Jesus mean 1% rich and 99% poor. There are problems with your argument. It attempts to justify massive greed. Wall Street in 2007?

      December 15, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  11. Peter Q Wolfe

    I'm sorry but Jim your philosophy is deeply flawed with economic theory in general. Capitalist nor socialism cares for you're neighbor at all for your prosperity or care. No, there is now two America's the rich and poor just look at the GINI Coefficient for evidence of this fact. Most millionaires who I've known and been around at charities and two mansions don't care about America, you nor me just themselves that is it...

    December 15, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • madrogio

      Bless your heart, I said get back with us AFTER doubling your medication!

      December 15, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  12. Chuck

    Rush? Really? The Pope? Come on! What Rush yells into a microphone of hate does NOT matter. What the Holy Father even whispers in love, DOES. Forgive him Father, he is a fool!

    December 15, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Realist

      pope is a con man too

      December 15, 2013 at 8:20 am |
      • SteveInMN


        Well - bring on the con men, then. They ROCK!

        December 15, 2013 at 8:28 am |
        • honesty first

          like the ones who cover up the child abuses? You are not only strange, but disgusting

          December 15, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  13. opinion8it

    "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 a Pope we can believe in!

    December 15, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • Realist

      after all, the vatican loves its wealth as rush does

      December 15, 2013 at 8:21 am |
  14. Peter Q Wolfe

    I did not contridict what I said earlier and what I am saying now! Alfred its called manufactured jobs with the massive military, prison and correction facilities, supression of minimum wage, lack of regulation and encouraging politicians to outsource with your votes. Yes, the middle class supported Free Trade or the gross generalizations of Welfare Abuse that is the exeption not the rule but hte middle class benefit not the majority. Face the facts the middle class are criminals in cohoots with the rich to screw the majority of Americans for fourty-three years that is the truth.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • madrogio

      Consider doubling your current dosages of medication and then get back with us....

      December 15, 2013 at 8:21 am |
  15. BuckRogere

    If Limpblah would stop taking those Big Blue Pills maybe he wouldn't need those Little Blue Pills. Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect of drug addiction. You never met a junkie who could make it with the ladies.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • David

      That clown, limpbaugh, is a neo-conferderate id iot, nothing more.
      He great claim is alienation of moderates and the election of William Jefferson Clinton, Barrack Hussian Obama, and up next Hillary Rodham Clinton!!!

      December 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  16. Jim

    Wrong. Marxists love an illusion, a pipe dream of a world in which everyone is safe and loved. A world in which everyone is treated equally, they are just treated a little more equally.

    Capitalists love reality, and work within the natural flow of things, striving to be better. A good capitalist should also care about his neighbor, because he would realize that their ultimate failure would likely eventually drag him into the mire as well. Success and stability come easier, and for longer periods, when the majority enjoys relative comfort and safety.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • lejaune

      " a pipe dream of a world in which everyone is safe and loved. A world in which everyone is treated equally, they are just treated a little more equally."

      Doesn't that sound like Christianity?

      December 15, 2013 at 8:20 am |
      • madrogio

        It does. Except Jim has some problems with math: more equally [sic]? Ah, it's probably Intel processor stuff. You know, 2 + 2 ~ 4. I have an illusion (I'm an agnostic) that one day the teachings of Jesus will actually be believed and practiced. In the meantime, there's capitalism. Watch your back!

        December 15, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • opinion8it

      Since you reference a "good capitalist", you concede the fact that there are "bad capitalists" as well. I believe that is the point the Pope is making. Read his paragraph about "trickle down economics" near the end of the article.

      December 15, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Michael B

      Capitalists love social Darwinism

      December 15, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  17. MightyMoo

    If Jesus were alive today Rush would call him a Marxist as well. I think Rush and those like him have lost their touch with reality or Rush is just playing on other peoples ability to lose touch with reality while making coin off their rage.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Realist

      as the pope and vatican do, no diff

      December 15, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • mulwillie

      ".. Rush is just playing on other peoples ability to lose touch with reality while making coin off their rage."

      nailed it MightyMoo!

      Does this sound like anyone you know CNN. Rush should have lost credibility with you long ago. He is nothing more than a shock-jock and now you are giving him your platform to spew his his vile diatribe.

      December 15, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  18. John

    When did conservatism switch from virtues such as a lifetime of faithful behavior to a spouse, raising a family and avoiding things like illicit drug use to endless complaints about taxes and a finger that is quick to point blame at others?

    December 15, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • madrogio

      Switch? Virtue is apolitical. Jesus' teachings are about good and evil, and how to tell the difference. Each of us must decide individually, so there are good people and evil people in all (not both) parties. Leave your party and join the (good) people.

      December 15, 2013 at 8:18 am |
      • John

        Party? I never mentioned party and I do not belong to a party. You are reading something that I did not write.

        December 15, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • madrogio

          No, I am WRITING something you did not write. My earlier post got deleted (censored) so this is abbreviated. Ideologies do not change but people who claim to hold them do. So, avoid conservatism as a party affiliation and keep it as an ideology if you wish. But that could leave others confused. Best to just join those who believe, and leave the labels behind. No offense or judgment of you intended, merely an observation.

          December 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  19. Matthew

    2 Peter 2:16 does the best job of describing the pope.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • Quare Bungle Rye

      That's perfect. Rush has always struck me as a donkey.

      December 15, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Michael B

      That describes "Rush Limbaugh" not the pope!

      December 15, 2013 at 8:25 am |
      • Matthew

        It perfectly describes the pope.

        December 15, 2013 at 8:48 am |
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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.