December 14th, 2013
08:30 PM ET

Pope: Marxist ideology is 'wrong'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(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. Abraham Yeshuratnam

    There is nothing to be ashamed of being a Marxist, for Marx got his ideas from Jesus. Jesus attacked priests, capitalists and corrupt rulers in all his speeches. Marx probably would have got ideas for revolutionary socialism from the bold act of Jesus in driving out black marketeers and big business from the Temple premises. The Bible says that Jesus entered into the temple of God, and drove out all of those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the money changers' tables and the seats of those who sold the doves. If Jesus came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse! And how many things daily practiced under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer! In Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, a bishop wants to arrest Jesus for interfering in his nefarious activities. Pope Francis should boldly put into action Christian Marxism. If he fails, Jesus wouldn't recognize him at the time of Last Judgment.
    On the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, the apostle John received an astonishing revelation from Jesus Christ. In John's account, he records a prophecy in which Jesus Christ would reign on this earth for a thousand years. During this time all peoples will finally know true peace and harmony, there will be no wars, disputes and total equality and freedom. Probably Marx would have been inspired by the predicted rule of Jesus when he also envisaged an Utopian, Marxian society.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And now moving into the 21st century:

      The Apostles'/Agnostics’ Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)

      December 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
      • devent

        your story could be a reality but the higher purpose of it is reflected in history willed by God,the achievement of such an event no matter how it is interpreted had accomplished its purpose ,to guide humanity in pre scientific times.When you were still in grade school you were taught the legends of the Seven Dwarfs,You were not required to study algebra or advance literature or complex subjects because you were not intellectually ready for those topics.thousands of years ago ,religions that atheists considered as mythical today had served the purpose of God to provide early civilizations a guide towards survival by inculcating us the right belief and morality for that period.With the advent of advance education due to guided evolution ,we need to upgrade our teaching methods and subject matter to conform to our capabilities and needs.Thats were His Wills are applied.Now at this point of human progress He wants us to play a greater role in global developement in preparation for our future mission of exploring space,first the solar system (moon and Mars missions) and then ,the galaxies and ultimately the universe.The need for a paradigm shift in our faith in Him shall start with the development of our conscience from centrist concern of ourselves in particular to humanity in general.From self centered fulfillment to humanitys betterment even to the extreme altruism.

        December 21, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • neved

      i dont want to hurt the conservatives or orthodox believers of christianity,but we have to be prepared for change ,though it will not happen in our lifetime, but based on the scientific projection in history its coming,The shift in religious belief from punishment in hell and reward in heaven, to historical achievement that will be recognized and appreciated by the future humanty.,thats the reward ,the immortality of our great contribution to the betterment of mankind is the reward similar to our happines in heaven today.I predict that in not so far future immortality of human consiousness can be preserve ,with it the legacy of our lives.

      December 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Avalona22

      Right on. Jesus dined with publicans and sinners, who are we to judge other people. Have you ever heard of Gabriel of Urantia (http://gccalliance.org/resume/) – worth looking into, no one else is doing what he's doing right now – he's ahead of his time and a visionary you might find interesting.

      December 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
      • devent

        Yes Gabriel,is a modern day prophet and theologian,his ideas is the fore runner of the ultimate future religion that will contemplate the process of global faith unification or synthesis of the opposing struggling foces.Panthrotheism is the future unifying religion but its realization is beyond our lifetime.The paradigm shift in our consciousness as willed by Him is necessary for our physical and spiritual survival by the challenges of the future( anachronism and atheism)

        December 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  2. ME II

    How about 'trickle-down salvation'?

    December 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Doris

      alert("LOL"); document.getElementById('LikeButton').click();

      December 18, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

    The Poor have the Good News now!
    No need for marxism, or any other -ism, at all!


    December 18, 2013 at 4:21 am |
  4. Mary

    Why is it wrong to wear the funny glasses with the big plastic nose?

    December 17, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • JR


      December 17, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • mickey1313

        The Marx (groucho) glasses, lol.
        Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

        December 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  5. nevent

    the netizens who post their comments are now exhausted,but deep inside their brains remain the reserves of intelectual powers and insights that someday will spring back into actions because it is suppose to be infinite.God existed even before the big bang.In the equation E=MC squared ,God transformed himself from energy to matter.matter evolved into the universe in what we are now,after 13.7 billion years of evolution we arrived and the threshold of complexity was reach that intellegent conciousness was attained,thats we are,and part of Him,the creation of varied religious belief in the past 10,000 years is just part of the evolutionary process to reach the future critical stage that we will be Him.

    December 17, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • tony

      Golly – Just what everyone else was thinking too – not.

      Proving it is gonna take some interesting experiments 🙂

      December 17, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Santa Claws

      By your definition we are already part of God, no need to wait. Part of God, along with the rest of the universe.

      December 18, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
      • dev

        we connot forever exclude scientific facts away from religious faith because the development of our civilization is anchored in science and technology.Studying and analysing history reveals the growth of knowledge that can be attributed logically and scientifically to God,thats why enlightened gifted individuals are now propagating the concept of a united scientific theology to address the ever growing complexity of the modern and future human conciousness,But traditional religions see this as threat to their survival,so they refuse to think or discuss the scientific doctrines,But the future belongs to the coming generations,the latest historical events including the church leaders concern for change is a sign of His will.

        December 21, 2013 at 6:50 am |
  6. Bozo

    Cause for some to perhaps avoid high thunderstorm areas on this planet.......

    December 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  7. 7

    Everyone is welcome to visit ...


    December 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Bozo

      A true saint you are 7

      December 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  8. Reality # 2

    Again, Francis needs to pay attention to the problems at hand and they don't include R. L.'s inanity. Said problems if not addressed soon will end Catholicism as we know it. Francis' first and foremost problem:

    The Infamous Resurrection Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    December 16, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  9. Lana


    December 16, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  10. OO OO

    can not imagine him
    cannot fathom him
    cannot run from him
    cannot be with him

    December 16, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Snow

    id01ts like Rush and Palin feel threatened when they see someone actually following the rules/laws they oh-so-love to talk about, but never actually follow. They are the disgrace to christianity.

    Why do people even need to pay attention to what those two bit no-bodies with big mouths say, anyway.

    My personal feeling is that one needs to be sufficiently unhinged to even listen to people like Rush, Palin, Rick, etc.

    December 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Youtube - "Context!!!!!"

      Some people like to stay angry all the time, and those bozos given them exactly that, just like fox news.

      December 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  12. CommonSensed

    Hey, Pope. First clue is to not give Rush Limbaugh the time of day, much less respond to anything he has to say.

    December 16, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  13. ddxinet

    ... To read more, please find our site by googling:
    .... clear proof that god doesn't exist

    December 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Hope this helps

      Sorry I tried poorly organized and poorly thought out conclusions.

      December 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  14. ddxinet

    But, according to the evidences, for the Pope it is not wrong to deceive a nation, Mexico to be especific, for nearly half a millenia, conceiling from them that the Virgin of Guadalupe was Spaniard !......

    Yea, this happened..... Proof?.... easy , google these two things:
    ....1....google: "Bajo su advocación se conquistó el Nuevo Mundo"
    ....2...google: "Virgen de Guadalupe" Mexico

    December 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  15. oo oo

    They never knew him

    December 16, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  16. onmedea

    I actually think Pope Francis has jumped the shark...


    December 16, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Sandy


      December 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Sandy

      Besides, everyone knows that the Pope won't officially jump the shark until he's seen with Ted McGinley.

      December 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  17. oo oo

    They criticize rush.

    December 16, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Sandy

      Rush is abominable.

      December 16, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Rush is


      December 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Rush is


      December 16, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Rush is

      The abominable snowman.

      December 16, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Sandy


        December 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • doobzz

      I dunno, I kinda like "La Villa Strangiato".

      December 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Round and round


        December 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  18. guest

    Doc, I agree whole heartily with the quote you have posted. It, to me, is a shame that the public, as a whole, has bought into the ‘niceness’ of this pope. One need to only go online to learn the agenda of the Jesuit Priests, and it is the same today as it has been for centuries. (Why would anyone think that their agenda has changed?) This pope is just a very good con-artist.

    December 16, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  19. Doc Vestibule

    Regarding the problems of current American capitalism, the Pope failed to address that greatest barrier to the hope of trickle-down economics – the ideology of corporatism that quickly devolves into fascism.
    A mere 100 years ago, Germany and Italy experienced a popular movement towards corporatism.
    What the businesses achieved paved the way for those country's subsequent totalitarian regimes.
    The strategies were to move power to economic groups, push entrepeneurship into areas normally reserved for public bodies, a obfuscate the lines between public and private interest, mainly by downplaying public interest (blaming the lower classes for not being savvy enough to get rich).
    To treat a conscienceless enti/ty like a corporation as a human being effectively removes any concept of ethics from business. it allows those in control of the business to defer to the corporations "self-interest" instead of the public's.

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”
    ― Benito Mussolini

    “We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."
    – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    December 16, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • guest

      Sorry Doc I forgot to click the 'Reply' button; I replied to your post on page 27.

      December 16, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Nailed it!

      December 16, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Sandy


      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." – Sinclair Lewis

      December 16, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • mickey1313

        A perfect quote.

        December 16, 2013 at 11:35 am |
      • Bozo

        We're already seeing that.

        December 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
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.