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. religion preaches death for your god

    and that the world is flat and science its a real back seat, so what you get is religious taught idiots in government using gossip to rule with religious connections

    December 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  2. Stubbs

    When the Atheists and Liberals side with the Pope, perhaps it's time for Conservatives (who aren't millionaires) to start doing a little research about the last 30 years of the Republican party. Start with the 1980 Libertarian Party platform and go from there.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  3. chan mac

    ...The pope is right. And I'm no fan.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  4. Publius II

    Well, by definition the Pope cannot be Marxist, because then he'd have to be an atheist. (Religion is the opiate of the people). Fact is, significant portions of the Bible, particularly in the Gospels and Acts, are extremely socialist in their economic and social views. Jesus had very little good to say to the rich.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  5. BuckRogere

    Give all you have to the poor and follow me.

    All power to the proletariat and join the CP.

    Same thing said differently.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  6. BuckRogere

    Marxism is a Christian heresy. Christianity with the supernatural element removed.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
  7. Been There Done That

    Rush Limbaugh, lost all claim to relevance, or sanity,or even any hope for redemption, (in my eye's) by opening his fat mouth once again, to spew that second hand garbled idea, passed to him to mouth off about, by his owners.

    Honest to God on high, to criticize out loud the coolest most real man ever to sit at the helm, hold the Papacy, for stating simple truths that every single child, and adult knows to be truth, is lunacy, or WOULD be lunacy, if he wasn't pulling down millions to say it.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  8. jaawayz

    I truely believe in what the pope is saying. Extreme capitalism is a road map to world tyranny.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Gary Simpson

      Capitalism leads to Tyranny? Surely you must be thinking of North Korea!

      December 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
      • BuckRogere

        Or maybe the Opium Wars?

        December 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  9. Vic

    Ladies and gentlemen, the following story is a prime example of Capitalism vs. Socialism, let alone making a difference. The "$100 handout" represents Socialism while the "offer to code program for computers opportunity" represents Capitalism.


    That story is reminiscent of Ted Williams', the homeless man with a golden voice who was asked to audition and filmed on the spot by a good Samaritan in Columbus, Ohio.

    God bless America, the Land Of Opportunity and God's Country.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • God


      December 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Geo Bruno

      and mittens 35 off shore tax dodges and 15% fed tax rate


      December 15, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  10. Tom

    I'm not Catholic, but capitalism without strong government oversight is by its' very nature evil. Before government got involved workers were little more than serfs for the heads of large corporations, and if the GOP got their way that's the way it would be in the future. Most people don't realize that in the early 1900s large corporations could literally get away with murder.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Gary Simpson

      Obviously you would prefer a dictatorship or communism.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
      • William Jackson

        I see you got your education from watching the Simpsons.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • JS71

      It's still like that...they just make you salaried/exempt and work you to death.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Sorkin

      "Im not Catholic, but capitalism without strong government oversight is by its' very nature evil. Before government got involved workers were little more than serfs for the heads of large corporations."

      What you fail to take into account is that those in government 'oversight' end up GIVING the power to corporations. If the government had no such power to give, the corporations would be themselves subject to market choices. They would have to fend for themselves.

      The 'serfs' working for corporations at that time were doing so by their choice. This was at a time when Western Civ was moving from a pre-capitalist, agrarian economy into a more capitalist society and as bad as things were for them – they were BETTER than if they COULDN'T work in those places. They couldn't be FORCED to work there. Only government FORCES people. They send men with guns to your house and throw you in a cage if you don't do what they say. Corporations can't do that. (Unless GOVERNMENT empowers them that is...)

      Things are WAY better now and it's not because of government. It's because the capitalist economcy had advanced to this point. Productivity is so high that the average Westerner lives better than kings did a few hundred years ago. If the government would stop taking sides with banks over the citizens for example – things would be alot better still!

      How many HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people has authoritarian givernment killed in the twentieth century alone? You want to trust THAT? We should empower that? You think that's never going to happen again?

      Popoe John Paul did all he could to STOP that. This Pope has a lot of people nervous on this point.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  11. Christopher S. Jannette

    Hes not a Marxist, it's just that morality has a well known liberal bias.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  12. Katie

    Thank you! ; ) May God bless you all ; ) and that good things come your way.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  13. mario

    this pope is a saint and shouldn't listen to haters. Jesus had haters and they went to hell.... limbaugh.....

    December 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Johnjon


      December 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  14. neved

    the shift from socialism to capitalism is a cyclic process.Marxism is the philosophy that strengthens and inspires socialistic society and goverments to instill discipline and inspiration to its people by invokeing altruism .once this is achieved a shift back to capitalism is a natural process,The process however in the past like the China experience requires violent revolution,What we want is change that will involve only psychological and religious revolution,this is now the challenge to us and the future.I am suggesting the scientific method based in Memetics.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • devent

      historically therefore Marx had contributed positively to the survival and good of humanity,because God is all knowing,omnipotent or all powerfull and omnipresent that there is no other way to attribute history except that it is His Will.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  15. CW

    "The Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.""

    Unfortunately, many express a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding political/govt power. Difference being, those with economic power don't have guns and prisons to use that political/govt powers can at their whim. I'd rather be at the mercy of the AT&T CEO than the IRS.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Joe

      And who owns the Congress?

      December 14, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
  16. MaryM

    The leader of the GOP, Limbaugh, lost the Catholic vote for the GOP

    December 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • pa jesseson

      no. the gop and its general lack of common good or sense lost the catholic vote, along with all the other votes except the tea heads and other moronic types.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  17. Katie

    I do hope that everyone will have a very happy and joyful Christmas!

    December 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  18. emintey

    Limbaugh isnt going to like this...LOL

    December 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Akira

      He will most likely be thrilled. More grist for his show.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I can't decide if this is more along the lines of:

    "I am not a crook" Richard M. Nixon


    I'm not a witch" Christine O'Donnell

    or perhaps

    "I'm not a witch" Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Scene 5, performed by Connie Booth

    December 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • emintey

      it's more like "sit on this Limbaugh, and spin"

      December 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • JS71

        Limbaugh is a retard...shares the same worthless brain and soulless existence as Pat Robertson...looney tunes all the way.

        December 14, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • pa jesseson

      really? this is a dfficult one for you? well, then, move on and if you have time at the end of the test, come back to it.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • ThomasR

      "If you like your insurance you can keep it" - Obama
      "You have to pass the bill to see what is in the bill" - Nancy Pelosi
      "I voted for it before I voted against it." - John Kerry

      December 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
  20. Katie

    May you all have a very blessed Merry Christmas!! Let there be peace on earth!

    December 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Happy Holidays to you too Katie.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Geo Bruno


      Time to amass worldly things from the communist Chinese to celebrate the b day of the guy who said not to

      December 15, 2013 at 11:25 am |
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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.