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. Craig

    THe only problem here is that the Pope has openly challenged the people with the money. In short, he's pretty much echoing the piece in the Bible that says something about "....it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven"....and he's touched on the one point that they cannot argue...namely that you can't buy your way in.

    To mix some current situations, the 1% suffer from affluenza, and now there's a leader calling them out...and they don't much like it. Of course, it's not fun to be the 1%....because the thing they really want...respect from the rest of us, is the one thing they cannot buy. Bill Gates has spent his money well, and we respect him for it. JKR has been pulled from the Billionaires Club because she's spent so much of her money helping others. For the bulk of the rest we have little but disdain, and sooner or later that's going to fester to the point of "action." They're not going to like it, and they won't be able to buy their way out of that either. Of course, not many of them should be bothered by what the Pope says, because they worship at the altar of the Almighty Dollar...not their neighborhood parrish.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • dev

      as explained by some brainy analyst,communism was the result of Karl Mark theory of socialism in the 19th century book "das capital" and its manifisto inspired revolutionaries like Linen in Russia and Mao in China,as history had shown this countries was liberated from their tyrannical past and progressed through socialism and now returned to capitalism and is becoming an economic power,but in the process of liberation violent bloody revolution had happened.Now with Gods blessing the historical process will now be again be repeated in the poor world but not through armed struggle but through scientific and religious revolution.The internet which you and I are now in and the Pope through his position

      December 15, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  2. Grendel

    So make up your mind then, you Statists, are things going well or do things totally suck right now economically?

    Because you're saying both here.

    Or does it not matter since you'll slant everything to your political views either way? (YES.)

    BTW: You do realize that we're FIVE YEARS into Obama's presidency don't you? Isn't it about time he imporved something? (I wouldn't hold my breath...)

    December 15, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • Observer


      WAKE UP!

      Bush left us LOSING well over a HALF MILLION jobs each month. We are ADDING jobs now.

      Bush left the stock market PLUMMETING. It's almost DOUBLED.

      Wake up.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  3. A. Darkes

    "For today Rome considers the Fascist regime the nearest to its dogmas and interest. We have not merely the Reverend (Jesuit) Father Coughlin praising Mussolini's Italy as "a Christian Democracy," but Civilita Cattolica, house organ of the Jesuits, says quite frankly "Fascism is the regime that corresponds most closely to the concepts of the Church of Rome."

    – Pierre van Paassen, Days of our Years (New York: Hillman-Curl, 1939): 465.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  4. richie

    Wonder how Ronald Reagan, patron saint of the Tea Party, is doing in hell?

    December 15, 2013 at 12:24 am |
  5. I wonder....

    He seems to making all the right noises, or are they just Populist sentiments?
    Just a real shame that he is choosy about which people have a right to live in peace without being threatened by large neighbours. It would be nice if he could respect the rights of the 3200 people of the Falkland Islands to decide their own future, rather than condemining them in populist speeches in Argentina.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • godswill

      he was not yet Pope at that time,now he is enlightened by God,you expect to be enlightened too in the near future,advance congratulaion

      December 15, 2013 at 12:39 am |
  6. Kinda wondering

    I wonder why the Pope felt he had to answer to Limbaugh. Kinda shows who's the boss, and it isn't the Pope.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • light

      God is the boss,he guides all of history because it is his will,you are also an observer,and as a bit contributor to the process you are also recognised

      December 15, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  7. JJ

    The funny thing is that the Blimpbaugh has openly admitted he doesn't believe in anything he says on the radio. He just mouths off whatever keeps up the ratings, and all the dimwit dittoheads follow like sheep. LOL!

    December 15, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  8. simplyput

    The Pope knows not to *marvel if men hate you.* They hated Jesus first. I don't think politics and religion ever really mix. Pope Francis couldn't be a marxist, because communism does not allow the indiiviual. God wants the individual. It is only by the grace of God that the church is allowed to exist. Maybe it takes many to have a mass, but it only takes two on earth to agree on anything they shall ask, and it shall be done. Unless one is in a bible believing church, secularism can take root and the message can be lost. Marxism or political party should never be a consideration for the leader of the universal church. There shouldn't ever be a division in God's church; the politics of the Vatican are as far as he should go. That's far enough, don't you think? "In the world, not of it", right?

    December 15, 2013 at 12:15 am |
  9. ankenyman

    The Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power." But the pope has an equally naive trust in the goodness of governments to wield the same economic power and socialist programs.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • ankenyman

      Also, they should have asked the pope how his philosophy differs from Marxism.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Mike

      No, he said and implied nothing of the kind and nothing even remotely related to saying that governments were any better. He accurately pointed of that trickle-down economics is based on a fallacy that somehow those wielding economic power would be benevolent – they are not; they are profit maximizing machines that have no conscience other than their own material self-interest. For you to assign some other view to what the pope actually said or meant a typical low-life tactic we have come to expect from those of the same ilk.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:31 am |
      • ankenyman

        Duh. The point was that the pope only points out the evils of capitalism, but never points out the evils of socialism or communism. What socialist or communist system is thriving and eliminating poverty? The pope can't give any examples because there aren't any.

        December 15, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
      • ankenyman

        Mike, if you had a brain and read the piopes statements the last several months, you could understand that the pope is advocating more government control of the economic system to force "income equality" and spreading wealth around even more.

        December 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • William Jackson

      Where did he say that?

      December 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  10. Mercury

    Can't the Pope just perform an exorcism - to cast Limbaugh out of radio?

    December 15, 2013 at 12:10 am |
  11. Ron.

    This Papal denial ranks right up there with the " I am not a crook" denial of President Nixon.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • dev

      the popes denial is a strategy you dont understand,its implication will only be quantified once all the facts shall be presented and digested

      December 15, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  12. Bill Davis

    So the fat drug attics attacks everyone that doesn't agree with his pill popping ED needing ways as bad...

    December 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Bill Davis


      December 14, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  13. Jo blo

    This pope is an amazing human being. Just a decent, down to earth man who there should be more of. It would be a better world with more people like him.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  14. Ademan12

    This pope is such a good man, he makes me want to be a catholic again.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Howard

      So, what's stopping you?

      December 15, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  15. Lou

    As an atheist I am not usually impressed with some things the fear-of-dying crowd's leaders have to say...but this pope has some balls taking on America's RW radicals. The god vote that gave us W may swing left and perhaps we can ditch the T-baggers and their likes. Could lead to peace and a more humanist society, imagine that!

    December 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Daniel

      Wouldn't that just beat all! It will happen one day.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Gene

      "Fear of dying crowd?"... would that be the Catholics to you and if so, how do you make that declaration?.. (I'm not a Catholic, btw). perhaps it was just more atheist sarcasm?.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
      • Lou

        Well it is kinda obvious. What else stops

        December 15, 2013 at 12:10 am |
        • Lou

          Sorry, phucking cell phones....resuming.

          ...people from buying the snake oil? Sorry, I know people love and defend their faith but to me there are two types of people, there are the faithful then there are the sane people.

          December 15, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • dev

      as an atheist you have a role in this historic event,your appreciation to the Popes ideas will help strenghten the dialectical process that will hasten the resolution of this endeavor.talk and discuss this with your peers

      December 15, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • C. Baldwin

      Could not agree with you more!

      December 15, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • Harper

      Coming from one who has the backwards intellect to call Tea Party supports "T-Baggers", your words fall as flat as they are juvenile.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:11 am |
      • Lou

        Ummm, they called themselves that first.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:24 am |
        • Lou

          The T-Party (happy now?) are just pawns (votes) for the 1% who own half of everything. The 1% pay the Limpballs and Roves to promote an agenda using dog-whistle tactics. It'd be amusing if it wern't so sad. How many must suffer to make you guys happy?

          December 15, 2013 at 12:37 am |
  16. dev

    i believe there is no syndicated attempt in th posting of this comments but it gives the individual a pshycological relief from the stress of uncertainty in our status as a faithfull.The easier solution is the simple assumption that faith alone is enough to save ones soul.But that philosophy is very simplistic and self centered tthat it violates the fundamental common sense of reason that we are taught in schools.it is therefore necessary that enlightened individuals now shall rise and manifists their ideas in the net

    December 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Jo blo

      If you are going to pretend to be smart please learn how to spell first.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
      • groinksan

        Argue the issue, and not the person's grammar/spelling. CNN is an international web site, read by many people who speak English as a second or nth language. Pointing out spelling/grammar just puts you lower in the intelligence pool.

        December 14, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
        • TheFred

          Even if I overlook the grammatical errors, I still don't understand what he/she is trying to say! 🙂

          December 15, 2013 at 12:23 am |
      • Another Voice

        Leaving aside the spelling, these sentences don't make any sense. it is not being picky about grammar to say that there are some missing nouns, verbs, etc. Grammar is part of the toolbox of communication; incorrect but close spelling can sometimes be ignored but without adherence to basic grammar rules, there is no thought communicated here.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:33 am |
      • dev

        to jo blow ,thanks for the job,of correcting my spelling,i am an asian and english is only my second language,

        December 15, 2013 at 7:03 am |
  17. Elizabeth Chandler

    Rush Limbaugh is a gasbag that needs to be taken off the air as a public service.I like Pope Francis and if that's being liberal, j so be it.Most of the ones knocking the Popes' stance are those that have only a passing acquaintance with poverty.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Howard

      Ah, but thanks to that same greedy trickle-down capitalism, he won't be taken off the air. He makes other people too much money.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  18. Jane

    Rush and Palin aren't Roman Catholic. Why are they intimidated by this Holy Man?

    December 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • dev

      they are not intimidated ,but they are also enlightened by the potential historic significance of the Popes revolutionary ideas that will change its course.Human destiny and future is now molded in our lifetime. i hope you will understand that too

      December 14, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  19. Joe

    Anyone hated by American conservatives must be a good folk....

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

      I would have to say that it very well seems that way. Rush needs to be eliminated and quickly.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
      • ankenyman

        "Eliminated?" How? Executing him?

        December 15, 2013 at 12:11 am |
        • Orb4

          Just Flush the toilet – Get out the plunger and flush it again – Limbaugh is a very large specimen!

          December 15, 2013 at 12:14 am |
  20. meki60

    but Obama is.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Observer


      You are apparently not too bright.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Robert Constant

      Unlike Mitt Romney President Obama did not inspire the selling of the American Industrial Base to the Communist Chinese by these traitors calling themselves "venture capitalists" Nor did he defend the Tea Party Traitor Edward Snowden as did so many Conservative Republicans. You listen to too much Rush Limbaugh, meki60, and that rots the brain.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Lala

      "but Obama is".... what?

      December 15, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • richie

      Try to express yourself in complete sentences, unlike the Tea Party cult.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:26 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.