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. Balthazaar

    Ha.....Marxists are athiest. rushbo and his imbecile dittoheads forget that. But this Pope answered them, and their general bigotry, in one simple sentence.

    Why is it that when a liberal announcer says something that is essentially correct....like that palin needs a good history lesson.....get fired, but rushbo can spit on women, blacks, gays, and now the Pope and fox keeps him on? And what does it say not only about fox, but about the kind of person who can actually stomach listening to his drivel of a show?

    December 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  2. Cattlelight

    Believe in me and you shall not perish but have eternal life. Christ, I am here and my name is Michael.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  3. Lord Toronaga

    So what is this guy anyways ? He sounds like a socialist and a communist and a gay poofter. He kisses disgusting people's stinky feet like he has a fetish. He doesn't like capitalism. He doesn't want to judge people's strange behaviors... Eh ..
    Go away. I don't need you in my life and I was raised Catholic.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  4. jay

    It's sad that the Pope had to even address something someone like Limbaugh said. Limbaugh is a windbag with no credibility in the world. And, the Pope is right about Trickle-Down...it doesn't work that way.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  5. Chicago

    Capitalism has done more for the poor than Marxism. I applaud this Pope for his focus on the poor but the reality is he is clueless. He probably thinks Obama has helped the poor! Ah. No. The poor have gotten poorer under liberal socialist policies. They always will. The problem is half this country is too stupid to figure that out.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Balthazaar

      From the statements he has made, he said greed based, unfettered market capitalism has the effect of encouraging and making worse inequality. He also said trickle down, or supply side is wrong because it has that same effect of enriching the rich and further impoverishing the poor. That is not against capitalism, it is against a particular economic theory, which is in fact dead wrong. His critique is exactly right, but it is not socialist, marxist, or even anti capitalism. But i do not expect right wingers to understand Econ 101. If they did they would realize paul,ryan does not know his backside from third base when it comes to economics.

      December 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • myschievousme

        Well, he does, It's just that lying furthers his agenda or rather the agenda of those who espouse his economic ideology.

        December 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  6. bailee

    The Pope has answered Rush! Got any more "wind" to blow on the subject?

    December 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  7. Bozo

    If you don't agree with the far right and Tea Party people you are wrong, a marxist, socialist, slacker and they have no use for you. You also must be the right kind of christian.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Balthazaar

      You should be a Pharisee or a Saducee to be a conservative......or a Roman........

      December 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  8. Youtube - "Context!!!!!"

    Of course Americans are pro-communist – look at the proof. We knowingly turn our eyes and minds away from the fact that we have made China what it is by pouring our money into it for business investment, despite human rights atrocities, despite terrible working conditions, despite terrible environmental conditions, etc. What counted is that we get our trinkets cheaply so that we can completely immerse ourselves in our self indulgences.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • oo oo


      u refuse riches and never buy made in china

      December 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • oo oo


      u refuse riches and never buy made in china!

      December 15, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  9. robjh1

    I guess the short lived love affair between the media and the Pope is coming to and end. The same way the love affair with then Senator Barack Obama now President Obama came to an end. Lesson never get in a relationship with the media. Not that the Pope did.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  10. madrogio

    I had a revelation. Jesus came into your room while you were sleeping and crapped on your pillow. And he said, "Verily I say unto you, I have done this to you inasmuch as ye are one of the least of these my brethren."

    December 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  11. Bob R., Maryland

    Hey folks, that Mr. Druggie himself talkin' – who expects anything different?

    December 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  12. Bob R., Maryland

    Hey, it was Mr. Druggie Rush talkin', what do we expect?

    December 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  13. a con

    although I don't like rush.. here's the pope's economics;

    Catholic charities is run by tour tax dollar, grants. Catholic church receives billions in your tax dollar.

    Vatican recently caught money laundering in Italy.

    The catholic church is a big con. No, parishioners are not 'catholics'. Even though they think they are, they are merely customers of the vatican buying the vapor

    December 15, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  14. a con

    coming from a pope who trashes children victims and treats women as 2nd clas-s.

    Sounds like rush and the pope make a good pair

    December 15, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  15. tlb51

    What kind of journalist asks the Pope about a comment from Rush Limbaugh?

    December 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  16. a con

    my bet is that the pope worked this out with rush in advance, Both are liars and con men.

    December 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • hemiola

      Only a con man would think that to begin with....typical American nut

      December 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  17. Bulos Qoqish

    Clearly, the Pope needs to make a pilgrimage on his knees and beg forgiveness from His Holiness, the Right Reverend Limbaugh the First, since Francis is obviously in error on the core teachings of the Bible, and he needs a good talking-to by an American AM talk radio host to set him straight on correct Christian theology.

    Honestly. Where, other than in America, would we be discussing a topic as surreal as this one?

    December 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  18. Phaerisee

    Despite calling themselves the Christian Party, the GOP has strayed so far from Jesus' message that when they hear it now, they do not recognize it and erroneously label it Marxism.

    December 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  19. Geo Bruno

    Well one thing is for sure

    We won't be seeing rl in the kingdom of heaven

    December 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  20. Geo Bruno

    Well some folks seem to think JC said "The rich will get to needle the poor as they ride their wealth laden camels into the kingdom of heaven"

    December 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
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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.