December 31st, 2013
01:38 PM ET

Are rich Catholics mad at the Pope?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

(CNN) - At least one wealthy donor in New York City is skittish about Pope Francis' comments about capitalism.

Ken Langone, the billionaire Roman Catholic who helped found Home Depot, told CNBC he has heard grumbling about the Pope's comments about the wealthy. Langone is helping to run the New York Archdiocese's $180 million fundraising effort to restore St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.

The billionaire investor and philanthropist, who gave $200 million to New York University's medical center in 2008, told CNBC an anonymous seven-figure donor felt slighted by the pope's recent comments.

Langone has not been shy about sharing those opinions with New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, telling him, "you get more with honey than with vinegar."

Dolan told the financial network in an interview on Monday he has heard from Langone that one wealthy donor got the "sense that the Pope is less than enthusiastic about us."

The Archbishop said he explained to Langone, "'Well, Ken, that would be a misunderstanding of the Holy Father's message. The Pope loves poor people. He also loves rich people.' ... So I said, 'Ken, thanks for bringing it to my attention. We've gotta correct to make sure this gentleman understands the Holy Father's message properly.'"

In his first apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel," the Pope took on capitalism. He criticized an "idolatry of money" and "the inequality that spawns violence."

READ MORE: Pope Francis: No more business as usual

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

“Meanwhile,” Francis added, “the excluded are still waiting.”

Those comments drew the ire of some conservatives, such as talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who called the Pope's statements "sad."

"Somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him," Limbaugh said on his radio program. "This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope."

READ MORE: Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'

The Pope fired back in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa that "Marxist ideology is wrong."

"But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended,” the Pope said of the comparison.

Pope: Marxist ideology is 'wrong'

This latest round of criticism appears to be an outlier, Dolan's office said on Tuesday.  Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the New York Archdiocese, said they "haven’t encountered more resistance – and, to be honest, (are) not sure how much resistance there even was from that one donor."

Zwilling said that because Langone withheld the name of the donor who complained, the Archdiocese cannot confirm whether the person has donated to the restoration project.

Dolan said that in a recent meeting he had with Pope Francis, the pontiff was well aware of American Catholics' financial generosity. "He's aware of our help to the missions, to the poor of the world, to international development, to peace and ... justice," Dolan told CNBC. "So, I know that he's very grateful for the ... legendary generosity of the Catholic Church in the United States."

Zwilling said the cathedral restoration fundraising was on track and "going well, slowly, but better recently." The project has raised between $80 million and $100 million of the $175 million goal, he said.

The last major restoration of St. Patrick's was in 1973 and prior to that 1949, according to the Cathedral, which said this restoration is set to be the most complete since the Cathedral opened its doors in 1879.

Other Catholic organizations and charities have reported a spike in interest and donations.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said she had heard no grumbling about the Pope's comments on money.

"People universally seem delighted at Pope Francis’ clearly addressing the needs of our society, in particular, those in desperate need. His plain speech touches everyone. He challenges people without scaring them off. He emphasizes that we’re all in one family, where we share, rather than compete, with one another," she said.

CNN's Daniel Burke contributed to this report

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • New York • Pope • Pope Francis • United States

soundoff (813 Responses)
  1. know the truth, without blinders

    There are two problems which are quite significant,,

    1) god killed his son, who was really him. Therefore god endorsed suicide. facts. And why didn't they? Because they feared god's anger, like volcanoes and such. Today we would brush it off as 'immature and uneducated'.

    And there you have it, bible by interpretation from interpretation, from interpretation,,, whose roots lay in stories written by men who feared the unknown. Yes, 'kid like stories'

    January 1, 2014 at 10:35 am |
    • know the truth, without blinders

      ..There are two problems which are quite significant,,

      - god killed his son, who was really him. Therefore god endorsed suicide. <- keeping with the standards of bible scholars interpretations.

      - jesus is god and therefore god was killed. Clearly, there would be no god to resurrect jesus, or rather himself.

      January 1, 2014 at 10:39 am |
      • know the truth, without blinders

        Rather complicated isn't it? Yet the christians continue to defy logic, claiming the universe couldn't have be a creation of itself. Go figure.

        Oh WAIT!!! we need to interpret those problems. It know requires a special religious brain that can figure out what the bible was really saying, you know, about god killing himself. And it must be a brain that is smarter than any scientist or any other man.

        Now once the religious brain has interpreted for god, the followers will say 'yep, that's what it was'. The religious then follow the religious brain's statements with blinders. Whew, that was a close one.

        January 1, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • know the truth, without blinders

          Not done yet,, then it requires other religious brains to expand and continue, with twisted logic of course, to prove the first religious brain's statement. That is, now using their own interpretation of the religious brain's interpretation. This had to be done because the first religious brain's, although superior to all of mankind, didn't quite explain it right.

          Layers and layers of interpretations, all expanding on the illogical. No, not from the first point of 'god killed himself and there is no way he could have been dead and resurrected, or he really wasn't dead'. But from the interpretations following, all explaining the previous interpretation.

          OH NO!!! Isn't that how the bible came into being the bible? All interpretations of interpretations while copying stories, old tribal stories stolen from other cultures at that..

          In the end, those who wrote the bible passages, the ones that the roman catholic church decided to keep or otherwise look more foolish than it does now, where no more educated than 6 year old kids with imaginations. Then again, the stories were not well developed at the time since they lacked knowledge on how to establish facts–> facts. And why didn't they? Because they feared god's anger, like volcanoes and such. Today we would brush it off as 'immature and uneducated'.

          And there you have it, bible by interpretation from interpretation, from interpretation,,, whose roots lay in stories written by men who feared the unknown. Yes, 'kid like stories'

          January 1, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Raul Kabinza

          You think too much!

          If we dump religion [which teaches children that 'I am right and everyone else is wrong'] and embrace spirituality, then biblical scholars no longer matter.

          January 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
    • LPS

      Buy a journal.

      January 1, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • know the truth, without blinders

        maybe it will become the NEW bible.. New religion. With new followers.

        January 1, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • LPS

          Good luck with that.

          January 1, 2014 at 11:33 am |
  2. Stephen Kelly

    I got as far as Rush Limbaugh...

    It's an interesting story. I'll see if I can find a serious article on it.

    January 1, 2014 at 5:28 am |
    • PR

      I expect that there is more PR for this pope to follow up with, deflections to what he should be doing -> handle priority #1 – by helping the children with destroyed lives due to the cover ups.

      January 1, 2014 at 11:08 am |
  3. Rodents for Romney

    Jebus was an apocalyptic who thought the end-times were immanent. He taught "Look at the birds of the air, and the lillies of the field .. do they lay up etc". So sad too bad if the richy Christians cannot get through the eye of the needle. Jebus was NO capitalist. The gospels were radical docu'ments. Cardinal Dolan is trying to keep the money flowing in. That's ALL the leaders care about, so they can pay off the pedophile cases.

    January 1, 2014 at 2:43 am |
    • The Squirrel

      About Cardinal Dolan:

      "In July 2013, documents made public during bankruptcy proceedings showed that Dolan had sought permission to move $57 million in church funds to protect the assets from victims of clerical abuse. In a letter to the Vatican requesting permission to move the funds, Dolan wrote "By transferring these assets to the trust, I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” Dolan had previously denied that he tried to conceal assets from child sex abuse victims claiming compensation calling the accusations "old and discredited" and "malarkey." United States law forbids debtors transferring money in ways that protect some creditors against others. The Vatican approved the request in five weeks." – from Wikipedia

      Note also that the Vatican approved the hiding of funds months after the new wonder-pope took office.

      January 1, 2014 at 2:49 am |
  4. topaz

    Without capitalists and their money, don't think we have any beautiful churches, hospitals, other charities or the Vatican itself. God may love the poor and meek and theirs may be the kingdom of heaven, but on earth it takes the rich guys to foot the bills. Thanks rich guys.

    December 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • History Lesson

      Most of those came into being long before capitalism.

      December 31, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  5. Austin

    praying to mary and having a graven image mounted on a crucifix breaks 8 out of 10 of the ten commandments.

    This is a satanic marvel.

    December 31, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Your kindergarten teacher

      That's two, Austin, not eight. And stop saying that wetting your pants is a fulfillment of divine prophecy.

      December 31, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • Austin

        lie, spiritual adultery, theft, idolatry, false god, graven image, dishonor The Father, taking the Lords name in vain.

        December 31, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
      • Austin

        demons taunt the Spirit of Forgiveness

        December 31, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
        • sam stone

          oooh, demons.....must be pretty scary, for the imbeciles that believe in that tripe

          austin.....you lack the courage to subject your "visions" to critical review

          you are as much of a coward as gopher/topher

          jeebus is waiting on you. go meet him, if you have the tes-t-i-t-uclar fort-i-t-ude

          January 1, 2014 at 9:44 am |
      • Your kindergarten teacher

        You have a very original and thoroughly insane reading of the commandments. Would I be wrong in thinking that people have suggested you get psychiatric help?

        December 31, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
  6. tony

    According to the descriptions, Heaven is a totalitarian socialist regime.

    December 31, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  7. Universe

    Verses regarding Mary in Quran (Islamic Scripture)

    “Mention in the scripture Mary. She isolated herself from her family, into an eastern location.” [19:16]

    “While a barrier separated her from them, we sent to her our Spirit. He went to her in the form of a human being.”

    “She said, "I seek refuge in the Most Gracious, that you may be righteous."”

    “He said, "I am the messenger of your Lord, to grant you a pure son."”

    “She said, "How can I have a son, when no man has touched me; I have never been unchaste."”

    “He said, "Thus said your Lord, `It is easy for Me. We will render him a sign for the people, and mercy from us. This is a predestined matter.' "”

    “When she bore him, she isolated herself to a faraway place.”

    “The birth process came to her by the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "(I am so ashamed;) I wish I were dead before this happened, and completely forgotten."”

    “(The infant) called her from beneath her, saying, "Do not grieve. Your Lord has provided you with a stream.”

    "If you shake the trunk of this palm tree, it will drop ripe dates for you.*

    "Eat and drink, and be happy. When you see anyone, say, `I have made a vow of silence, [to the Most Gracious]*; I am not talking today to anyone.' "

    “She came to her family, carrying him. They said, "O Mary, you have committed something that is totally unexpected.”

    "O descendant of Aaron, your father was not a bad man, nor was your mother unchaste."

    “She pointed to him. They said, "How can we talk with an infant in the crib?"”

    (The infant spoke and) said, "I am a servant of God. He has given me the scripture, and has appointed me a prophet.

    "He made me blessed wherever I go, and enjoined me to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat) for as long as I live.

    "I am to honor my mother; He did not make me a disobedient rebel.

    "And peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I get resurrected."

    “That was Jesus, the son of Mary, and this is the truth of this matter, about which they continue to doubt.”

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.”

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    December 31, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Universe

      I would share more but I have to go explode in a crowd somewhere, so peace.

      December 31, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • Rodents for Romney

        I have a stoning to attend, and a beheading to get to after that.
        Busy day in Muslim beligion land.

        January 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
  8. Skinny Pig

    Ken Langone has given many people jobs by creating Home Depot. I think he is one the best people in the U.S.A.

    December 31, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Ken Langone

      We ultra-rich people do appreciate toadies and apologists, so thanks.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  9. Hear The Truth

    Check out the http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com website

    December 31, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Pastor T

      Like the truth, lol! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eighth-Day-Resurrected-Covenant-of-the-Holy-Trinity/186585611356498

      December 31, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Dave

      I don't have qualms with Christians (I am an agnostic). However, that is some impressively crazy crap on that site. So if someone is born into another religion and is not exposed to Christianity they go to hell?!? From what I have read in the bible, Jesus was a lot nicer guy than that

      December 31, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  10. Dave

    Look up Robert Poandl on google

    December 31, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  11. Tracy

    Why don't Catholics eat meat on Fridays?

    I'll tell you why: It's because the Pope owns Long John Silver's.

    December 31, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • PR

      they have stock in that company too. The vatican and pope are the last bunch who should speak out.

      In regard to child abuse cover ups, they are the last group ANYONE should look to for moral compass

      December 31, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • PR

      meant "they have stock in that company too?"

      December 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • Tracy

        He also owns a foxy boxing club near me.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • PR

          I thought he owned the male prost–itute ring at the vatican

          December 31, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Dave

      It actually did have to do with the old even more corrupt Catholic Church making back room deals with fisheries in Europe.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  12. PR

    More PR for the pope. Most businesses are far more ethical than this group. Imagine corporate thrashing around a district manager in the media. Doesn't happen.

    But this pope and vatican will walk over anyone.

    Same thing they do and did to abused children with lost lives.

    December 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  13. sluggocat

    The Pope reflects the current trend in the war between the rich and poor. The Church has traditionally been on the side of the Rich but the Pope (I think) now sees that the Church should align itself with the 99%. This is really smart. In the long term the 1% (the Rich aka Home Depot) will fall. The environmental chaos coming in the next 100 years will sweep away most of our current economic and political systems. The Pope is thinking long-term.


    December 31, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • PR

      all PR,, nothing else. Just a deflection from what a good and decent person would have done which is to take care of the abused children.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  14. Robert Constant

    Every religion has its problems. As for bad priests, Judas was one who betrayed Jesus. The event is significant and teaches a lesson. It would not be surprising to find that one out of ten or a dozen priests is a failed human being. The others are mostly ok. And some of them truly love humanity. I think Pope Francis is one of these. Unlike politicians, he speaks not to forward a personal agenda. but out of a love of humanity and a desire do the will of his God.

    December 31, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • PR

      Without the death penalty and Judas,, there would be no jesus today. Judas was the good guy

      December 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
      • The impossible contradictions of religion

        If there was a God, he had to have made Judas do what he did or the whole guilt-o-rama indebtedness of God's Jesus scheme wouldn't work. So there is no way Judas could be responsible; only God could be.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • PR

          wow! killing your own son. Who is you. Isn't that suicide and against religion's belief?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  15. Richard

    Did "God" really choose this "liberation theologist?" I was hoping the huntas in South America had eradicated them all.

    December 31, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Robert Constant

      You are probably not a Catholic, Richard. From your words, wishing death to others who deviate from unmitigated capitalism, you are not even a Christian. You may think you are, but you are not, In the same way, Pat Robertson, advising the assassination of a democratically elected South American leader because he was a socialist makes it clear that is not a Christian either. What you are is a person who loves money more than anything else, including family country or God.
      To tell you the truth, Richard, I do not believe in Hell, but when I hear opinionated selfish people like you spouting off, I sort of hope I am wrong.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  16. Ted

    Isn't Regis Catholic?

    December 31, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  17. Steve

    I am a Catholic and rich by most standards (though not nearly as Rich as Ken Langone). Regardless of the church's past injustices and cover ups, the Pope is right. I know I should give more (though I consider my very large tax bills a form of charitable giving) but I don't. So I'm a sinner like everyone else. Let's all be honest with ourselves. I think, the Pope is actually a man who practices what he preaches.

    December 31, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Actually

      If it is mandatory, it isn't charity.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Dave

      Real reform is needed. If they just changed the rule about who could be priests, I think the s*x ab*se could be greatly reduced. Why can't women or married men become priests? It is my understanding that in the beginning priests could marry. However, the concern was with inheritance. It is all about the money with the current Catholic Church. They would rather smear victims of abuse and hire lawyers than help them. I am a victim of abuse (google Robert Poandl) and have said from day 1 that I don't want their blood money. The everyone-is-a-sinner mentality and the confessional help people justify the most egregious acts. If you truly believe, do as the New Testament tells you. I am no longer a Christian and understand it is much easier said than done. However, the everyone-is-a-sinner is weak.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
      • Yeah

        Celibacy doesn't work. Not only did the Catholic Church do their little abuse shindig, but Utah consistently has the highest rate of rape in the nation. Doesn't work for the Mormons either, and like the Catholics, the victims are their own children.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
      • LPS

        Actually, I believe the vow of celibacy is supposed to be voluntary.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
        • Greg

          It's voluntary, but you don't get the job if you don't do it. So it's really mandatory.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:21 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.