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. skdowd

    Since when does anyone (much less the Pope) have to defend themselves against Rush Limburger? As Bill Maher said, 'We all say crazy sh(+ when we're high.'

    December 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
  2. arman

    Rush calling out the Pope. What a joke . Merica truly is the laughing stock of the workd.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  3. TM

    If I had to choose between following the example of Pope Francis, or the example of Rush Limbaugh, I would chose the path that would not end with becoming an ignorant, oxycontin abusing, racist, gasbag.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • oo oo

      Ur momma

      December 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • Gotoyourroom

        That was such a mature response;-/

        December 15, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  4. copanut

    This is an interesting irony. As an atheist, I find myself more in agreement with the Pope than with Rush, who worships at the feet of Ayn Rand, the queen of unfettered capitalism and a self-proclaimed atheist.

    I suppose the reason is that religion has nothing to do with this little debate, so I can take sides on the basis of facts and ethics. Rush Limbaugh is an ignorant rube masquerading as an intellectual, a description that fits every reactionary right wing talking head (themselves masquerading as conservatives much to the chagrin of more traditional conservatives).

    Il Papa seems like a decent guy who has found himself at the head of a vast organization that has lost its way in recent decades. That's a move in the right direction. Even so, there is the deep irony that the Pope, one of the richest people on the planet (wealth built on the backs of the naive) warns against a "crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power".

    December 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  5. soul68

    He shouldn't even have to make a statement about this. The fascists leveling the criticism upon him have no leg to stand on.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  6. Adam Smith

    When the Pope has to defend himself against rabid American ultraconservative pseudo-Christians, you know that these people must completely lost their mind.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  7. Mr. Duckworth

    The Marxist rant by right wing nut jobs is just an attempt to slow down or silence those who disagree with unbridled capitalist greed. What the Pope is saying here is basically the same thing the great Teddy Roosevelt did when he confronted the hugely wealthy business men who wanted monopolies a hundred years ago – and Teddy said – Nope – if it's not in the best interest of the overall Country you can't monopolize any industry and he stopped them. I guess Rush Limbaugh wants us to think if Rockefeller and Carnegie and others got their way totally a hundred years ago, some how out of the kindness of their hearts they'd spread the wealth all around – Ok Rush, right. Thank God Teddy R and others made Anti – Trust, Anti Monopoly laws to keep the peoples best interest represented. Capitalism works – (when it's strongly regulated to serve the greater good).

    December 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Thezel


      December 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  8. glenn

    JFK wanted to be well liked by creating change

    December 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  9. Lana


    December 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  10. George

    Rush's net worth is close to half a billion $ dollars. Rush has always been in it for the money and not much else. Rush calling this Pope names is not a surprise.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • JW

      Rush is nothing more than a shock jock; an idiot. Any yes, he's all about the money. What sad being.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  11. TomShelton

    Pope is one step away from condemning the republican party as enemies of the poor. If he does that, 100% of the latino vote will go to democrats and republicans will be swept from the senate and the house.

    Run your trap some more Rush !!!!

    December 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  12. klg

    Most regressives have no clue what a Marxist is.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  13. pope

    don't forget,, the vatican is about $$$ and power. They are con men, the pope the leader

    December 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  14. nixonsghost

    I am not a crook.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  15. pope

    we all know Rush loves to make things up.. however the pope and his cardinals are no different than a bunch of kids with tree house rules. They need to be monitored by adults

    December 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  16. Mopery

    Who cares if he's a Marxist or not, at least he's not a fat bigoted oxycontin addicted hypocrite like Limbaugh.

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

      ... or a cocaine addled racist church going liar.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  17. Apple Bush

    Being a piece of the nothing is familiar to us all, because we are-

    We don’t know what came before the nothing.

    A simple educated man would deduce a negative for every positive but why?

    There is a nothing for every nothing-

    It is all but a dream in a make believe sleep.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
  18. Elie Khawand

    The Pope does not call for government sanctioned redistribution of wealth but for a voluntary Christian compassion from those who have to those who have not. He does not call for a political system but for a freely chosen caring for the less fortunate.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  19. ED

    I am glad that the Pope is speaking up about this economic plans that hurt the poor. It is about time that congress vote on jobs bill that will get people working. And this new bill that cuts off unemployment insurance is so bad. The sad thing about it is that while you are working a portion of your deduction goes to unemployment insurance for you. Now the GOP is saying you're lazy for getting your money back. The GOP also refuse to pass any Jobs bill. The GOP and their mouth piece rush L are killing the American economy.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:34 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.