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. Mark

    Both men are creations of God..and equal under him.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • bostontola

      What if God is a creation of man?

      December 14, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  2. Alan

    Rush Limbaugh is a horse's rectum (and one that is constipated to the point of distension).

    December 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Hey Take it Easy

      We love Rush! Zip it up!


      Rush's team of butt doctors.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
  3. Roger Mike

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

    what the pope is saying rich people cannot be trusted with money and it needs to removed by the government and given to the poor.

    i am a top dog atheist and i cannot see who anyone can say rush was wrong by calling this guy a marxist.

    liberals hate rush so much even if he tells the truth about something they will go nuts.

    liberals normally hate religion but in this case they hate rush more. if rush would not of been part of the story the liberals would of been sandbaggin the pope like they normally do

    December 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
  4. Joe from Kalispell

    Yes, the Pope is a Marxist and Communist. He's a good man, so that's only a little dangerous.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  5. mickinmd

    ""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."

    The SAD thing is that college-dropout, dope-taking Rush Limbaugh can convince so many American ignoramuses that he knows what he's talking about.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  6. Roger Mike

    the pope in his new booked wrote about forced charity.

    which means taking peoples money by force and giving it to the poor.

    this is wealth redistribution.

    who can anyone say rush was wrong to call this marxism?

    December 14, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • bostontola

      Marxism is not income redistribution. Marxism is government ownership of the means of production with centralized decision making.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
      • Roger Mike

        when you forcefully take peoples money and give it to others what is that called?

        December 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • Adam Caramon


          December 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • bostontola


          December 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • HodaM


          December 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
        • Roger Mike

          i guess that is what they did in communist russia is tax people and gave the money to the less fortuante

          December 14, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
        • bostontola

          Mike, go back and read what I said Marxism is. There is wealth redistribution in almost all modern economies, including the US.

          December 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Dustin.Goldsen@yahoo.com

      Technically speaking, all trade is "wealth redistribution".

      You and I are farmers. I have a wealth of corn, you have a wealth of potatoes. We meet at the fence and agree to a trade. I redistribute some of my wealth of corn to you and you redistribute some wealth of potatoes to me. Wealth redistribution.

      And you call that Marxist?

      December 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
      • Roger Mike

        thats not government wealth redistribution

        December 14, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  7. StormySyndrome

    Too bad....He'd have made a good one.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
  8. Jen

    If he's getting Rush going he's onto something.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Rush thinks the Pope is a Marxist.
    Megyn Kelly assures us Jesus is a white guy (and Santa too!)
    Republicans want to forcibly remove 11 million immigrants – most of them Hispanic.
    Republicans support mandatory "probing" for women in need of an abortion.
    Republicans oppose equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans – even Service Members.
    Republicans propose greatly reducing retirement benefits for retired Service-Members – even those already promised.
    Republicans propose blocking the extension of unemployment benefits – but support corporate subsidies.
    Republicans held America hostage and withheld pay for 800,000 Civil Service workers.
    Republicans blocked legislation supporting reasonable interest rates for federally-insured college loans.
    Republicans oppose the Medicaid expansion – blocking healthcare for about 50 million poor people.

    Oh yeah... The Republican Party is working hard to create a diverse, inclusive political party... They support anybody who isn't African American, Hispanic, gay, Catholic, a retired Veteran, young, old, poor, or a woman.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  10. Joe

    Surely, any time now so called "conservatives" will accuse the Pope of being a tool of Unions.

    Union of Catholic Nuns, that is....

    December 14, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  11. Portland tony

    Marxism was a 19th century philosophy that had roots in workers worth and productivity and has been proven rather parochial and irreverent. What the Pope was discussing was the great disparity of wealth between the very rich and very poor and the fact that money doesn't necessarily trickle from the former to the latter naturally. This is not advocating Marxism. This is disavowing a plutocratic based society.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  12. ThereIsNoSanta

    As an atheist, I'm for pope Francis and against Limbaugh, the m o r o n.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  13. bostontola

    This pope seems like a breath of fresh air for popes, but his naïveté regarding economics should not have been codified in that paper. Limbaugh doesn't know any more, but who cares what he says. The pope wandered onto thin ice with his economic statements unnecessarily.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  14. Woodrow

    The pope is just another person – one with a very specific background that isn't exactly broad. Why do we care what his thoughts are re: different economic systems? Has he done extensive studies, or is he shooting from the hip based on his specific experiences. I don't care whether he's a raging capitalist or a marxist, so long as his comments are kept in perspective.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Joe

      He is a moral authority, which counts vastly more than any paid opinion on economy....

      December 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • Grampa

      "why do we care what his thoughts are..."

      Oh, I don't know ... maybe because more than billion people on this planet do care and are influenced by his thoughts?

      December 14, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
  15. garwin1

    I'm not catholic, but I have nothing against this pope.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  16. Rushisadisease

    It is incredibly sad that the pope is forced to respond to the likes of Rush Limbaugh calling him a Marxist. I just can't imagine how the rest of the world views Americans right now.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Steve - Dallas

      True. The pope should not have dignified Limbaugh's inanity with a response.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • Penyo

      I think the rest of the world realizes Rush Limbaugh doesn't speak for the vast majority of Americans. At least, I hope so.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Joe

      I don't think his response was to rush.

      It is your narrow American perspective...

      December 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • prosanto

      I wonder why would an educated, informed decent American would waste time listening to an ignorant ego maniac.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
  17. vivian

    Hail Pope Francis! A return to the ideals, principles, and values that Christ spoke of. That is revolutionary. Of course Rush Limbaugh hates him, he is championing the interests of the poor. This man is the real deal. I am not a Christian, but I know a real one when I see one and I think this one is a good guy.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  18. Ray

    Christinsanity is just Marxism with a deity. Universalist to the core. Weez all eekwals in Jeebus.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Peter

      No, sorry, you're clearly not my equal. Even in a system where everyone was equal, you'd be a notch below, idiota.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  19. Edo

    He'll, I'm Muslim and I'm thinking about converting to Catholicism. That is how awesome this pope is!!! Plus he has to be a good guy if limbaugh hates him..

    December 14, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • Woodrow

      You'd deny your faith and adopt another based on what a person says about the economy? That's some really weak criteria you have...

      December 14, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
      • TimB

        I highly doubt his impression of the pope is formed around his economic views. Although what the Pope said about capitalism is spot on. Capitalism is not a religion ...but too many folks in this country treat it as if it is one. Way too many.

        December 14, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  20. Joe

    So the Pope slams the rampant greed and, surprise, conservatives are all enraged....

    Aperently they tokk it as a gospel that screwing others is a nobel thing to do...

    December 14, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
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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.