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. Apple Bush

    Welcome to the disturbing memories of one pope, he of the triple chin and the great gatherer of people in the light of the spirit. He who dreams of fire and damnation yet smiles a happy smile and embraces the physically deformed with his own special brand of charisma and caring.

    Touch his robes and cry into them, soiling them with the true nature of your heart and begging for forgiveness from he who cannot be flawed. Do this with all of your being and say unto yourself save me Lord. Help me Franny.

    Do not however touch the tip of the tip top of his pointy tip top hat or ask to bum a cigarette from the Pope. Even a bar bouncer frowns on such behavior and the confessional can be used for many things.

    If the Pope gives you a smoke, everyone has to get one.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • madrogio


      Good and very witty [honest Injun] copy, and proof that satire lives and is well. The only good Indian is a dead Indian. What did he say? Who cares, crucify him!!!

      December 15, 2013 at 9:00 am |
  2. RL exposed

    Referring to Rush Limbaugh as the devil gives him too much attention. The pope preaches love and tolerance for each other, something the 1% need as much as the other 99. The day is quickly approaching where we will realize what we are really here for. The pope is just trying to lead us there whilst RL is simply saying please don't forget me in the process. Rush may not be poor but spiritually speaking may be more wanting than 99% of the rest of us and might need the pope more than many. His day of enlightenment is sure to also come.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Grendel

      There is alot of good stuff in Evangelii Gaudium. But concerning the statements from it that Rush was commenting on – the Pope was 'preaching' his economics and he was out of depth in doing so.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:14 am |
      • Gianni

        When did rush become an economist?

        December 15, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  3. labman57

    Marxism and organized religion are mutually-exclusive ideological constructs.

    But let's cut Limbaugh and his tea-chugging minions some slack. Rush is well overdue for a colonoscopy, as previous attempts to perform the procedure have been unsuccessful due to a chronic cranial obstruction.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • madrogio


      December 15, 2013 at 9:06 am |
  4. Dr Tom

    Limbaugh says helping anyone is Marxist, except druggies, of course – I wonder why that is.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  5. Bob Laremore

    Pope Francis' advisors should have advised him to not give a druggy like Rush the dignity of an answer.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Grendel

      Rush had back surgery and become addicted to pain pills – which addiction he overcame completely.

      So he should be mocked for this?

      December 15, 2013 at 12:17 am |
      • Observer

        Limbaugh, whose mug shot is in the Palm Beach County files, got caught doctor shopping. So what was his reaction? He wanted the laws changed since they violated his rights to privacy (and law-breaking.) Hypocrite CRIMINAL.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:23 am |
      • madrogio


        Mock a person for his mistakes? Forbid. Mock a person for his sins? Forbid. Mock a person for deception, lies, and hypocrisy? Forbid. Mock a person for being a tedious bore who makes watching paint dry an epiphany? Now THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT!

        December 15, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  6. Puzzled in Peoria

    If Rush Limbaugh knew anything about Catholicism, which he doesn't, he would know about Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement. Unionism, better conditions for workers and the poor is not Marxism. But Limbaugh is never interested in facts, only bombast and ratings. Keep insulting the Pope, Rush. The Democrats thank you for the Catholic votes you're sending their way.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • pope

      actually, the once catholics who knew catholicism well, left. The ones still there are in denial or still don't understand the cult

      December 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
      • madrogio

        actually, blah the blah knew, well, left! The ones still are in denial or absent meds, the cult.

        Rx: I'm thinkin' Aricept and Exelon. But do check with your physician. Be well, or at least get better. And do consider: silence is golden.

        December 15, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • darknesscrown

      This isn't an exaggeration at all when I say that if Rush wasn't doing what he does right now, he'd be working at Walmart...and likely hating his life. The makes his living inciting people. I GUESS that can be considered a skill as long as there are people dumb enough to get excited by what you have to say. But the guy has nothing to offer society apart from shoveling his own personal misery on everyone else. You can tell from looking at him that he's just a shell of a person. Actual people don't think like him.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Tim

      So whenever you read an article and relate what it says, that means you, yourself are saying it? Rush was just relating something he read from a person who translated the Pope's words. I heard him when he said it and was was very clear he was just passing on something that was written, not making a judgement call. He even made clear point that he could not verify the translation has he did not speak the original language the Pope's words were written in.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
  7. john wright

    The pope is from the land of Catholic liberation theology who espouse Marxist doctrine, redistribution of wealth and many communist leanings while teaching the poor. Rush Limbaugh is right.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Will

      How often does a man have to say that Marxism is wrong before you believe him? My guess is that Francis could articulate the deficiencies of Marxism and Capitalism far better than you. Here are a few sentences from the New Testament (James):

      "Come now you rich, weep and howl for the miseries coming upon you. For the wages you withheld from the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you and have reached the ears of God Almighty. You have lived on this earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter."

      I suppose you and Rush think the New Testament was written by Marxists too.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Geo Bruno

      But Jesus said

      Luke 16:19-25. "Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, gaily living in splendor every day. And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs would come and lick his sores.
      Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.
      And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.'
      But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony...'"

      December 15, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • steve

      dishonest at best. Propaganda worthy of Stalin.

      December 15, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • benjamin hartog

      Your reference to Liberation Theology is astute and historically accurate. Pope John Paul denounced LT because like you indicated, it was an attempt to synthesize Marxism and Catholicism. Gustavo Guiterrez, the author of "Liberation Theology" wrote that the poor must always get "preferential treatment" and it is this same doctrine that Francis is articulating. "Evangelii Gaudium" is a post-modern version of LT but avoids making explicit reference to an economic philosophy which is unequivocally atheistic. Francis is certainly not a Marxist. He is a Bibliocentric. He is espousing a redistribution of wealth that is proportionate to the value of the worker as an individual not the system (capitalistic) he labors in. Francis is a pragmatic visionary who sees justice as a virtue that will never be attained as long as long as ownership is limited to the few. He claims that awarding a CEO with a multimillion salary while his employees earn only a fraction of the profits is a form of subjugation that condemns the worker to perpetual impecuniousness, a state which is not viable and will only lead to more suffering. It is his mission, in other words, to relieve suffering and "Evangelii Gauium" is simply another attempt to mitigate the misery caused by greed and exploitation.

      December 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  8. bks

    Capitalism is brutal and does not care for the poor. Pope is poor's man and speaks their language. Ask Rush what he has done for the poor and women and you will be shocked to know that . Except thrashing them . I feel sorry for the people who listen to him and pay his multi pillion $ salary.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • pope

      pope has incredible wealth, denies abused children and continues the cover ups. I don't like Rush,, but I must say, the pope is even a lower form of humanity than Rush

      December 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
      • madrogio

        Rush is not a form of humanity; he is detritus.
        Detestable putrescence.


        December 15, 2013 at 9:30 am |
      • Real Pope

        Good luck getting through the gates. Your posts ha ce put you on the 'do not enter' list.

        December 15, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • darknesscrown

      As do I. As long as Rush's listeners keep their opinions to themselves and don't infringe on my life with their beliefs and views, I don't care that they pay that loser's salary. Rush IS a loser, and so are the people who like him. You have to be a very bad and/or ignorant person to stand up for the kind of crap Limbaugh and other radical right wingers preach. But, as I said, as long as they are aren't acting on it, they may continue to listen to their heart's content.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

      What you mean is: it doesn't care for the poor in a way that is acceptable to liberals who think that government is the answer to everything.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • darknesscrown

        If conservatives are all about personal responsibility and self-reliance above charity, why are more conservatives suckling at the proverbial government teet? The red states are bleeding this country dry while simultaneously chastising everyone else for being bleeding hearts and handout givers. Hello pot, meet kettle.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Government does what most individuals would never do: put the good of society first.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
      • madrogio

        Hey, Edmund,
        Great name, great ancestor. No, government doesn't save us. Especially the current LACK of government! But here's the rub: neither does Greed. Exploitation. Me first, you last. Profit over people. You know, aka capitalism. Been makin' lots of $$ lately? Choke on it!

        December 15, 2013 at 9:40 am |
      • Geo Bruno

        Well if you look at the distribution of fed taxes you will see that the blue states prop up the red ones.

        Why is that?

        In NJ we only see 68 cents of every fed tax $ we pay

        December 15, 2013 at 10:34 am |
      • Geo Bruno

        Just ask the billionaire farmers who will get millions in farm aid

        December 15, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  9. sgt hulka

    lighten up francais

    December 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Grendel

      Nice! Stripes reference!

      December 15, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • Real Pope

      It's Francis

      December 15, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  10. Name*mohammad


    Good read. American trained soldiers of several South American dictatorships waged a cruel war against the Jesuits back in the day. The pope comes from that same fabric, as he was a Jesuit himself. Bottom line, you mess with the select few beneficiaries of capitalism expect to be killed. It happens all over the Middle East and the world for that matter!!!

    December 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  11. frontgate

    Yeah well, so who do we believe Rush Limbaugh or the Pope. Quite a dilemma, eh?

    December 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • ED

      any-day and anytime the Pope

      December 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • madrogio

      I. E., eat s**t or ice cream, respectively?

      December 15, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  12. Louie

    Let's get this straight. Noe-conservatives, who realize that they need the Latino vote in The United States, are attacking a Pope who hails from Latin America, and who just happens to be a very popular pontiff at that. Granted that not every Latino and Spanish American may not be Catholic, but I am willing to guess that a lot of them have relatives who hailed....oh, I don't know....from Latin America who may have different opinions. Nothing is stronger than the family ties that bind, especially from a voting block that doesn't have a short memory.

    Thanks, Rush!

    December 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • pope

      yeah, the pope. The man who won't answer to the UN for crimes against children worldwide

      December 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • ED

        Too bad you seem to be confused with your accusation. Do you know what you are responding to here?

        December 14, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
        • pope

          yep,, and the cover ups continue. the pope is a lower form than rush

          December 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
      • Say it ain't so

        You really are stupid. The man just came in and you're accusing him already. Let the man be, will ya. That's like asking our next prez as soon as he comes in why did he allow the gov't bail out of the banks in previous administrations. Moron.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • pope

          again, he refuses to answer the UN's questions.

          BTW, he was a cardinal. All cardinals take the cardinal oth which statess .. It's OK to lie when protecting the church's reputation.

          The pope, bishops and cardinals aren't mature and decent enough to rule themselves. They need to be monitored by adults

          December 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  13. pope

    Look at meeee!!! I'm humble

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

      I did look at you, and now I'm recommending that you take a BIG enema. You, and we, will feel much better. Oh, BTW, do go by the toxic waste disposal facility and sign up for an EXTRA LARGE deposit.

      December 15, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  14. Prevaricator

    "I am not a Marxist." LIAR! Rush Limbaugh named you, and as all real Americans know, Rush knows more about any subject than anyone else-anywhere!

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

      Dude what are you smoking? Rush is right all the time! "Are you kidding me" Rush the druggie

      December 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • pope

        cardinal oath,, meant

        December 14, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Jimh77

      If you listen to Rush, you have some real issues. I like this Pope and the changes he is bringing.

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

      Methinks sarcasm was being employed here.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • madrogio

      Hey, dude,

      The intelligence of SOME of your audience may not comprehend IRONY [or the significance of your moniker] . Probably the Limbaugh crowd. [Hey, dittoheads: check in for therapy,'cause it was probably the drugs yu momma took that did it to ya].

      December 15, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  15. JayDavid

    Duh! Marxists are atheists and believe in complete government ownership of the economy.

    However, Edward Abbey's observation about Capitalism, that "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell" is still true.

    And the only goal of the church is growth.

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

      vatican is a dictatorship. All about money and power.

      Odd that catholics in a free world want to be dictated.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  16. Ricky Gibson

    "I am not a Marxist.

    "But Rush Limbaugh is an idiot."

    December 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  17. for the children

    The pope isn't.. He's a con man. Ends there

    December 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • madrogio

      You are SO smart. Read an article and got it, first time. Meaning of life? Awaiting reply with bated breath. Ends here.

      December 15, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  18. TomShelton

    Since Mother Teresa is dead, that only leaves the Pope for Rush to duke it out with.
    Rush is the devil reincarnated.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • for the children

      that would make the the satans fighting each other, pope and ruish

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

      mother theresa was a vatican cash cow. Convert to catholic and I'll feed you

      December 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • tedD

      Rush Limbaugh believes he is God's representative on earth, and the whole world must listen to his radio comments.
      Rush is a product of the evil that has seized America decades ago, but thanks to God will not last for very long.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • madrogio

      NO!! I have more respect for the Devil....at least he doesn't bore us to hell.....

      December 15, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  19. Truth Today

    A Pope who is informed and speaks Jesus language is refreshing. Limbaugh appeals to the uninformed and should be shunned.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  20. Lana


    December 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
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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.