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. amanda

    It still amazes me that people think this clown is some special human being...I don't get it. I'm a christian...but they people are fanatical crazy people. Catholic = cult.
    And yes...your ideals are marxist...that makes you a marxist..it's a simple concept.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      You are also ridiculous. You also follow a cult Amanda.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Emma Goldman

      Amanda, the "Christian", (gulp), there is a difference between Marxism and socialism and "your Savior" is a socialist. Now, would be a good time to re-read your Good Book.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Broken

      Amanda, either you are a paid shill. Or just another Right Wing sheep buying into rhetoric and lies over truth.

      Sorry to break it to you. The man is far more Christ-like than you will ever be.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Joan

      The Pope's ideals pre-date marxism. They evolve from the teachings of Christ. That makes him Christian, not Marxist. Though Marxist may have adopted some of his ideas from the Bible, he did not originate them. Heck, even Robin Hood pre-dates Marx. Plenty of people to reference, but Rush went with the archaic "red scare" technique because he lacks an original,critical thought derived in this century.

      Suggesting trickle down theory doesn't work is not Marxist. It is a valid response to an economic theory that is based on the that we give the rich MORE benefits under the guise that the additional savings in taxes and profit will encourage them to re-invest in the economy. The money is, instead, trickling into offshore economies where workers can be more easily exploited.It is not Marxist to question whether the nation who has extended these tax breaks, is getting in return what was planned. It is good common sense to look back on a plan and see if it is effective. Squelching debate on it with labels and fear is far more consistent with communist era tactics than simply questioning the validity of trickle down.

      As to being a cult, Catholicism is less typical of a cult than party membership has become.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  2. Ralph_in_FL

    Rush Limbaugh makes a good living telling a certain type of people exactly what they want to hear. The issue arises when people who are not part of his cult listen in.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      So does the church. But I do like the new pope. If you are going to sell a message at least sell a good one.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  3. Geo Bruno

    Just think of all the painful looks the supports of R will have when this is repeatedly thrown at them

    December 15, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  4. meek

    Rush is right. I think the pope has Marxist views and spreads them around the world.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Emma Goldman

      One can only hope.

      December 15, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Geo Bruno

      Just like Jesus

      December 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Brian

        Nailed it. The last thing Christ would be if her were alive today is a supporter of capitalism. Or a Christian if you want to believe Mark Twain.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • Geo Bruno

          How far would J get through the sermon on the mount before he is booed off the stage

          December 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  5. Lana


    December 15, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      How much is Coldplay paying you to spam their song?

      December 15, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  6. silencedogood20

    Last time I checked rising through the ranks of church politics has nothing to do with understanding economics. Why then should anyone listen to the pope on economic policy?

    December 15, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Emma Goldman

      Maybe you should check again; theology involves economics, philosophy, sociology, psychology, etc. If you prefer to listen to the radio shock jock for your economic advice, it is your right but don't pretend that RL has a grasp on worldview macro- economics.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  7. modernbankfishing

    This guy is probably determinative when it comes to Christianity and wealth.

    Matthew 19:16-24

    New International Version (NIV)
    The Rich and the Kingdom of God

    16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
    17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
    18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
    Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
    20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
    21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
    22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
    23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
    24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

    December 15, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  8. Geo Bruno

    One wonders how often the other side with use this political fodder in the next 2 rounds of elections.

    Should be exciting and telling

    December 15, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  9. Emma Goldman

    Pope Francis I Versus Rush Limbaugh : Golly! So hard to choose! they are both so similar!

    December 15, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  10. Suggarstock

    The Pope sees the crisis and is rushing to put out the fire. Limbaugh is but a curb dog barking at the fire truck.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  11. Emma Goldman

    Conservative Catholics: Are you listening to the Pope?

    December 15, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  12. Ed

    It's sad that people like Limbaugh are even listened to.
    Perhapd HE will listen when he hopefully develops some always fatal disease to go along with his diseased mind.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Bobbyvv

      Very tolerent

      December 15, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • Emma Goldman

        HA! It would take The Pope to be tolerant of the bloated, hateful, gasbag Limbaugh.

        December 15, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  13. Lamb of Dog

    Or what about the time he washed the feet of juvenile delinquents?

    December 15, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  14. Lamb of Dog

    Did any of you see the picture of Rush embracing the disfigured man?

    December 15, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  15. Geo Bruno

    ummm so does RL sneak out of his mansion at night and help the least of us

    December 15, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Sorkin

      Maybe he does.

      December 15, 2013 at 11:51 am |
      • Emma Goldman

        RL sneaks out at night to buy drugs.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  16. yogi

    If Christ would walk around in the Vatican now, he would sell the entire art collection of the museum and transform the building onto a hospital for the poor. Then he would get rid of the Vatican and keep just a small administrative building for the Pope and his staff.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • steve

      Wow, you speak for the risen Christ?

      December 15, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • sam stone

        don't all christians feel they do?

        December 15, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • yogi

        Christianity has become churchianity and even the basics of the teachings of Christ are hidden, the Vatican is one of the best symbols of that.

        December 15, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  17. Nancy M

    So disappointed that the Pope even responded to Rush's comments. He should have just ignore them.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Emma Goldman

      Pope Francis only responded to a reporter's question to him.

      December 15, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  18. Geo Bruno

    And R would think that St Peter would be impressed with his 40 million $ mansion and Mercedes Maybach

    December 15, 2013 at 11:34 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.