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. Dk

    Jesus was a Marxist before Marx. He clearly said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven

    December 15, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  2. Mopery

    There comes a time when no amount of wealth can provide enough protection. There comes a time when the people will be oppressed no more. When income disparity becomes too large, natural selection alone will determine who survives. May you live in interesting times.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:16 am |
    • Chris

      Because being successful means you are oppressing someone else.

      There is no pity for the jealousy of losers, as there shouldn't be.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:20 am |
      • Mopery

        Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:21 am |
  3. Andy

    Its funny how Rush Limbaugh can criticize the pope for his economic stance for helping the underprivileged, when he is so out of touch with how the world is for those of us not making $400 million on an 8 yr contract. I like the perspective of the former bouncer Pope over a windbag who preaches elitism to the top of the pyramid and people who wish they were.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • Chris

      You are a broke loser barely scraping by, that is no one's fault or problem but yours. You are to blame for your problems and no one else. You also deserve no pity.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:18 am |
      • Mopery

        Stop projecting, Chris.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:20 am |
        • modernenglishschool

          Chris makes his living delivering Oxycontin to Rush. Please consider his position.

          December 15, 2013 at 1:29 am |
        • Biffy

          He's really rich if he delivers oxycontin for Rush to rush on.

          December 15, 2013 at 2:05 am |
      • Andy

        Thank you Chris for showing exactly what I expected from Rush viewers, completely ignoring the point of my topic to sling mud and assign blame. Best do that fast so no one looks at the one pointing the finger. My guess is your not on the top of any pyramid but really wish you were.

        December 15, 2013 at 3:11 am |
  4. SickofIt

    LOVE the Pope, and hope he doesn't backpeddle too much on his comments, which were absolutely true. It is the height of hypocritical immorality to have a single homeless child on this planet. And Rush is a disgusting hypocrit who makes me wish Hell were something other than mythology. If anyone deserves to go...blech.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • Dk

      So many Christians, especially 1st world ones, like to ignore what Jesus taught about money.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:15 am |
  5. HenryMiller

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

    As opposed to a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding political power? Or a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding ecclesiastic power? No one wielding power can be trusted. The idolatry of money did indeed lead to tyranny—by the Catholic Church, perhaps reaching its peak in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. And this list of those who've exercised political tyranny is endless.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • modernenglishschool

      You do not have to trust the Catholic Church, but base your comments on the actions of the individual being discussed.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  6. modernenglishschool

    Dear Pope,
    Rush Limbaugh is an idiot. Do not respond to idiots. Do not feed the alligators, they will only bite you...

    December 15, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  7. Karin

    No, you just have a silver tongue. At this point everything this Pope has done has been (talk). Might make people feel good but, it certainly isn't a game changer.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • modernenglishschool

      You obviously know nothing about this Pope. He cooks his own meals, lives frugally, and always has.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:15 am |
  8. Chris

    Limbaugh is right, the pope is a Marxist as well as a liar and a coward. If you have to lie about what you are, you are a coward.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • middle america man

      Rush is a high school educated disc jockey and hillbilly heroin addict. When I care what he thinks about anything, I will let him know.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:06 am |
      • Chris

        You don't know anything and I certainly don't care about you. Move along.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:17 am |
    • D

      If you are a christian, you do realize that jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven? So I guess your calling jesus a marxist then?

      December 15, 2013 at 1:11 am |
      • Chris

        If you believe in a magical man who walked on water and healed diseases with a simple touch, you are not only uneducated you are as dumb as a brick.

        There was no jesus, he was most likely a creation of the Roman empire to control people.

        To argue about what "race" a fictional character who never existed was, shows what kind of intelligence blacks and Marxists have, which is well below 3 digits.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:16 am |
        • modernenglishschool

          I am not a Christian, but I read and I am pretty sure Jesus lived, not the son of a god, but he lived. You, however, sound like you do not have much of an argument from your side.

          December 15, 2013 at 1:24 am |
        • Dk

          Your response is pointless.. since your original post called the man a coward... and i'm telling you that his position is 100% consistent with the original teachings of the religion the pope committed himself too... therefore there is nothing cowardly about it. In fact, it is pretty brave to state that his religion does not support the current religion of love of money, regardless of if you LOVE MONEY or not. Your more likely the coward probably because you have never questioned the love of money.

          December 15, 2013 at 1:24 am |
  9. marcwinger.com

    All the comments change nothing about the content of what the pope said. He's just trying to walk back his foolish words.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • modernenglishschool

      Could you repeat that in English?

      December 15, 2013 at 1:16 am |
  10. Polkovnik

    Rush is out of his tree. Why do people even listen to him?

    December 15, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Chris

      Because he is many times more intelligent and wise than you or your ilk who's IQs are so low, it's literally impossible not to laugh every time you speak.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:03 am |
      • middle america man

        Again, he's a high school educated dope addict. I don't doubt his IQ is higher than yours, but not mine.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:08 am |
      • Anon

        Whose*. Please, continue telling us how much smarter than us you are.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • Mopery

      Hah! Picture that fat hypocrite trying to climb a tree...not gonna happen.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  11. Sane

    Yes I am a real person and once I figure out how wives can't get a hold of the church's Benjamin's I'm gonna let priests marry 😉

    December 15, 2013 at 12:54 am |
  12. Sparky

    Rush lecturing the pope on theology is like the pope lecturing Rush on opiates- that's right your Joseph Goebbels is a junkie!!!

    December 15, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • marcwinger.com

      Goebbels was a National Socialist & since when do Libs lecture people about drugs? Jeez. Learn more about things, in general.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:00 am |
      • Andy

        While you are correct about Goebbels political inclinations, your ignoring the point that they are/were mouthpieces for the propaganda of a small minority's beliefs, whom now that I think about it, both had wealth and use it to influence the government.

        December 15, 2013 at 3:39 am |
  13. jimmy

    Rush is a convicted drug addict talking trash for all of you morons.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:50 am |
  14. JesterJames

    they all say that... burn the commie, burn the heretic. Capitalism is our God.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:45 am |
  15. Dennis

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

    As a Catholic, I am utterly astonished by this statement.. How the Pope, sitting in the Vatican surrounded by opulence and being one of the wealthiest religions in the world could make a statement like this is ...... hypocritical. Perhaps the Pope should look to the financial mismanagement and corruption within the Vatican before he begins casting stones.

    Especially in light of this : "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.”

    Sooooooo Marxists are good people but wealthy people, but saying that those who wield economic power cannot be trusted, are not.. I am pretty sure the two major marxist states in history – China and USSR – were responsible for the most mass executions and general extermination of large portions of their own population of any nations / economic systems in history; on top of causing massive starvation and malnutrition within their populations. I believe the pontiffs teacher said something like "heal thyself"......

    December 15, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Mike

      Religion should have no ties with politics. Perhaps it is time to seek a real religion that is not so consumed in money and power for its leaders, but is more concerned about spreading the truth about God and Jesus Christ that s simply found in the Bible.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Alpinista

      Actually, the Pope is expressing one of the basic principle of the Bible and Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations".

      "Trickle-down" is a deliberate political policy and, therefore, is inherently anti-"free market". It is "economic rent" and a corruption of capitalism - a situation, as Smith notes, that arises from the wealthy controlling the levers of power. He also said it is a symptom of a declining state and loss of democracy.

      Proverbs says it succinctly: "He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.”

      December 15, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • D

      Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. Look it up.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • modernenglishschool

      This pope has rejected the opulence of the Vatican.

      December 15, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • hub

      it is confusing to hear the pope make a direct attack towards the "invisible hand," that moves that greatest economies , but, as a man of god I would not mix politics with faith. I think the pope may have a point of view that is not being understood by the general crowd that spends, consumes and take part of these incredible economies. I would give him the benefit of the doubt, it is him that will bear the cross and will translate in his heart the truth, and in the end it will be the very Lord that will decide the faith of the pope or any of us. The pope is free and can say what he thinks and feels, he is not perfect, are we more perfect? Let time be and let the answers guide the confused...

      December 15, 2013 at 1:31 am |
  16. thenakedpolitico

    there must be somebody else writing this stuff for the pope,because i know as soon as the hurricane hit the phillapines he grabbed some of that vatican money jumped into the pope mobile and paddled over there to create some miracles..no pope of the holy roman empire would be this stupid!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  17. ImvotingforHillary

    Limbaugh will eventually end up in hell.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:36 am |
  18. Rob

    I wish the Pope wouldn't stoop to Rush Limbaugh's level. Why give that blowhard any satisfaction?

    December 15, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • Duff

      My sentiments exactly. He doesn't have to answer to that pill-popping right-wing shill. He's far above that. I wish he hadn't.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • Polkovnik


      December 15, 2013 at 12:59 am |
  19. jlm


    December 15, 2013 at 12:31 am |
    • midwest rail

      Mediocre band at best.

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

        hey hey hey, don't hate on Rush unless your better than them on drum/guitar, they have skill there even if you dislike the style.

        December 15, 2013 at 3:43 am |
    • Observer

      Maybe he can live long enough to get a college education.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:34 am |
      • modernenglishschool

        Probably not...

        December 15, 2013 at 1:26 am |
  20. KEVIN

    God forgive us if we offend the wealthy.

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

      The wealthy live only at the discretion of the masses.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:32 am |
      • SickofIt

        Best comment I've seen in years.

        December 15, 2013 at 12:44 am |
      • middle america man

        I'm sensing distinct rumblings that that discretion is running out.

        December 15, 2013 at 1:10 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.