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. 00 00

    pharisees never no the love of god

    January 3, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
  2. 00 00

    The effects of dark energy are visible and detectable, so we know that it exists, we just don't know what form of energy it is or its method of operation. pharisee

    dark energy exists, according to pharisee, because its effects r visible and detectable. now, now pharisee. your god is invisible ergo your god cannot exist. therefore, dark matter can not exist

    January 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Dark matter makes no claims to the supernatural, all gods do.

      January 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
      • 00 00

        well, that's funny. u just agreed that dark matter don't exist. sorry honey

        January 3, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • ?

          That's not what Charm Quark said at all. He SAID "Dark matter makes no claims to the supernatural, all gods do."

          Where did he say dark matter doesn't exist?

          January 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
      • 00 00

        u don't no what dark matter claims. it don't exist according 2 u

        January 3, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • ?

          According to who?

          January 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
      • 00 00

        u don't no what dark matter claims. it don't exist according 2 u

        "The effects of dark energy are visible and detectable, so we know that it exists..." it exists, period. wait, that's not proof. depends on what it claims!

        like taking candy from a baby

        January 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
      • 00 00

        u don't no what dark matter claims. it don't exist according 2 u
        LAWRI, y do u love jesus?

        "The effects of dark energy are visible and detectable, so we know that it exists..." it exists, period. wait, that's not proof. depends on what it claims!

        like taking candy from a baby

        January 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
      • 00 00

        come on professor, tell me y u love my god.

        January 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
      • 00 00

        come on austin, tell me y u love my god.

        January 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
      • 00 00

        come on any faux xtian, tell me y u love my god. cat got ur tongue?

        if i have not love i am nothing
        saul of tarsus

        January 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
      • 00 00

        come on any faux xtian, tell me y u love my god. cat got ur tongue?

        if i have not love i am nothing
        saul of tarsus


        Don’t need a shot of heroin to kill my disease

        January 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
  3. D

    It is easeir for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to pass through the gates of heaven.

    January 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
    • Theologically speaking

      In Jesus' day, being rich meant having a few more goats than average. So by his standards, you are rich, as are most Americans in this prosperous age. So if that line is true, you are the camel too.

      Oh, have you sold your possessions and given the proceeds to the poor yet? It's in the same section of the Bible. Of course not, because it is really bad advice.

      January 2, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
      • 00 00

        in his time do u no how herod lived?

        January 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
      • 00 00

        jesus didn't give advice.

        u r poor and have nothing to give away and yet he says the same thing to u. whatever ur god is, chuck it 4 me. nothing u worship b4 me compares 2 me. i am god, not tiddly winks, not secks with little boys, ur savings account, ur pretty face, ur hatred 4 hypocrites

        January 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm |

    the pope owes me an order of fries

    January 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
    • tracie

      You weigh 900 lbs you don't need more fries you need more pride

      January 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
      • Theologically speaking

        Are you Christian? What does your Bible say about acting like that? Hint: it's a no-no.

        January 2, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
        • tracie

          I know GAGA GOOPER. You don't.

          January 2, 2014 at 9:15 pm |

    The effects of dark energy are visible and detectable, so we know that it exists, we just don't know what form of energy it is or its method of operation. (ooooops)

    the sun converts 4 million tons of hydrogen into light/heat each second


    January 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
    • 00 00

      pharisees record record speeds fleeing facts

      January 3, 2014 at 4:06 pm |

    The effects of dark energy are visible and detectable, so we know that it exists, we just don't know what form of energy it is or its method of operation. (ooooops)

    the sun converts 4 million tons of hydrogen into light/heat each second

    January 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
  7. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So a guy who made a fortune out of underpaying skilled tradesmen after conning them to come to work for him is mad at the Pope for denouncing materialism. Gee. I wonder why?

    January 2, 2014 at 9:07 am |
    • joe the idiot lieberman

      Cpt. Video

      The effects of dark energy are visible and detectable, so we know that it exists, we just don't know what form of energy it is or its method of operation. (ooooops)

      January 2, 2014 at 9:45 am |
      • hharri faith

        Are you mentally ill? Why can't you address what was posted? He didn't say a damned word about dark energy, moron.

        January 2, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • SAM BO

          havin a tough day, r we?

          poor baby

          talk to 12 gauge lol!

          January 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
        • tracie

          Bet you eat poop SAM BO.

          January 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
        • hharri faith

          My day is going splendidly. I'm sorry you want to blow a 12 gauge. Maybe some comprehensive therapy would help...you seem to have a self identification issue. Along with some massive spelling failures.

          January 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • romnesia

          look at sam bo with his racist handle

          January 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • Observer

          hharri faith SAM BO, fake everybody,

          A medical site says that people who use multiple aliases often have mental problems.

          Please talk to professionals.

          January 2, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
  8. Keith

    the rich do not like real Christians.

    January 1, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
    • Dandintac

      Actually, many Christians believe that wealth is one sign that they are favored by God. The Calvinists were the Christian pioneers of this notion. Since they understood to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, then they did not believe in free-will. They believed in predestination. If such a god really were to exist, I would have to agree.

      Therefore everyone was either doomed to hell at birth, or one of the elect, who were favored by god and would see Heaven. Wealth and success in the existing life were clues that a person was one of the elect.

      The Calvinist influence continues in a streak in modern Conservatism today. Although now they blend the Catholic notion of "free will" with the Calvinist notion that the wealthy are favored by God and that it is a sign of their moral virtue, and if you are poor it is a sign that you are a bad person.

      January 2, 2014 at 2:10 am |
  9. Dandintac

    I have to say, even as an atheist, I kind of like this new pope–or at least much of what he is saying now. Rich neoconservative Catholics in this country are in a quandary though. Which pope is more important to them–Rush Limbaugh or Francis? Naturally they are in a state of dissonance.

    So of course they are putting pressure on him. They've probably also threatened to withhold donations. Limbaugh also helped them out. The "COMMIE" witch cry is still pretty effective. So it was no surprise that Francis had to issue what is in effect a "I'm no commie" statement. Watch his statements now–he's going to back off of the social justice issues and quiet up about inequality.

    But he may have said enough popular things for now about things like poverty and income inequality. Everyone's ready to saint him, and the Vatican's PR blitz has been a huge success. We'll have to see what happens. He may say a few more nice things, but I think the revolution is probably over. Look for him to start gradually saying things more conservative things. You don't get to be a cardinal by being liberal.

    January 1, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
  10. bonnie dilger


    January 1, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
    • Wilson

      Yeah, and if all actors were like Tom Hanks I'd be glad to call myself a fan of Hollywood-land.

      January 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
    • Randy Bugger

      The caps lock button is over on the left, about the shift key. Unless you meant to scream.

      January 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
    • JL

      Pope Rancis? Subliminal message?

      January 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
  11. Reality # 2

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Ken L. and Francis suffer from the Three B Syndrome that is they were Bred, Born and Brainwashed in the RCC. Both obviously take a different approach to serving their god. And both, however, fail to see the obvious as noted in the needs-to-be repeated updated Apostles' Creed:

    The Apostles'Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

    January 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Yo fiction 47, if u want me to read ur silliness, say something I don't no.

      January 3, 2014 at 10:01 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Obviously, you read the updated Creed. What is silly about it?

        January 4, 2014 at 12:24 am |
  12. WOT

    As for the rich, their money is their God, good luck!

    January 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • Joe Dirt

      Money can give you things that God can't, like bigger boobs.

      January 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
    • 00 00

      money may be god to a poor person like u, 2 babe

      January 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
  13. bostontola

    The RCC has been making a number of calculated moves to increase their subscriber base. Starting with the firing of the last Pope and the selection of this one. It has worked as well as when Apple rehired Jobs. In his first apostolic exhortation, the Pope wrote about technical economic issues. This would be like the Pope writing about Quantum Mechanics to describe Genesis. This tells me that the Pope was targeting uneducated people who can't discern the correctness of the writings, just the popular message. They are showing that they are very savvy at business and politics.

    January 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • Dandintac

      Boston, you nailed it as usual. I'm convinced that this is all calculated to rehabilitate the RCC's tarnished image, after the twin disasters of Pope Benedict and the clergy pedophilia scandal and it's cover-up. The pope is saying a lot of nice things–it will be interesting to see if anything–really–will end up getting changed.

      January 4, 2014 at 12:13 am |
  14. Kebos

    To restate.....

    The Pope, leader of Catholicism, Bishop of Rome and a head of state within the wealthy Vatican City, to lay any charge against capitalism is indeed the pot calling the kettle black!

    For the Pope to put his money where his mouth is, dissolve some percentage of capital holdings using those funds to educate the poor and less fortunate. Otherwise, it's all talk and posturing. Nothing more.

    At the very least, make the Catholic Church, and all religions for that matter, pay taxes. No exemptions. Until then, don't tell me greed and the desire for fat bank accounts doesn't permeate all religions because it does.

    January 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • truth exists because we face it

      Agreed. The pope should be caring for the children with destroyed lives from the cover ups, denied help and struggling due to the damage caused.

      But this pope is all about PR. He sure sets the example on how to avoid honesty and deny children, that's for sure.

      January 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Just think of how many people would be taken off the streets if they made better use of the church buildings and turned them in to shelters.

        January 1, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • Raul Kabinza

      The RCC understands the difference between greed and free market capitalism. And so do the groups that control cash flows across the planet. This argument is a product of Marxist propaganda, nothing more, as the ignorant feed at their troughs.

      January 1, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • truth exists because we face it

        vatican has stated in support for one banking system and to include itself in control of it.

        Keep in mind, recently the vatican wass caught for money laundering in Italy. Also in the USA in the late 80's.

        Who knows what they do with money they scam from grants and tax free ride in the USA. They have been leaching off American tax payers long enough. Then they offer watered down cheap services.

        vatican needs to take care of their children victims of the coverups. I won't hold my breath for that, they aren't an honest bunch. Pope included.

        January 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Raul Kabinza

          the theory of entropy, the existence of chaos and the prophesies of the Bible all suggest that the RCC will not heal those wounds. The power of the RCC is such that we shall not know what it does with all of that money. Frankly, it is too remote from my small world to be interested. I used to manage an IRS office and ran a tax office for 14 years. People still ask me for financial advice. Today I tell them the best investments are in three items: guns, ammunition and MREs. This MAY protect us from such groups controlling this money for a few extra weeks once the end comes.

          January 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Hobo Joe

          A Revenooer?

          Guess what - the Revenuers and the Moonshiners were both corrupt. Neither one will get to The Big Rock Candy Mountain!

          Prophecies from The Bible - GMAB.

          January 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • Woof

        The Theory of Entropy? You think that the RCC is a closed thermodynamic system?

        @Raul: "the best investments are in three items: guns, ammunition and MREs" Gotcha. Survivalist former IRS agent. Quality guy. Thanks for clarifying that you are a total kook.

        January 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  15. truth exists because we face it

    If we used religious logic on how to start our cars.. Cars would remain idle in our driveways, never knowing how they worked or even how to start them.

    January 1, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • ven

      you are right ,remember there was no car yet during the founding of christianity only snimal drswn carts, to start you cart you just shout to the horses or tap the rope, Now its simpler ,just turn the key and drive,Same with religion ,just believe that thatbhe is thereband do good things

      January 1, 2014 at 11:56 am |
      • truth exists because we face it

        sorry,, your logic misses the point. I spoke of today,, not primitive times when people created religions to comfort themselves from natural disasters.

        January 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Raul Kabinza

          technology and spirituality can coexist nicely. religion coexists nicely on comprehensive level nowhere with anything.

          January 1, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • Kebos

      Frankly, we'd still be using horse and buggy.

      January 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
  16. boom boom

    pray 4 me that i may be as sullen and disgusted as they demand for membership.

    January 1, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • truth exists because we face it

      The universe is wonderful,, huge. It's refreshing to our curious minds.

      If you really want to be held back in shame and darkness, that's OK. I understand the impact of religious need to call people as sinners. 'Sinner' is the first step to reducing people, a brainwashing technique used by terrorist is to reduce.

      January 1, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • Sean Lynch

        C what I mean?

        January 1, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • Raul Kabinza

        Truth –

        To say that we are all sinners can also level a playing field in order to start afresh and be someone who is part of the solution to problems rather than being part of the problem. I remain open-minded, realizing that the teachings of Jesus as written in the Bible make sense: Love the Creator and love each other.

        January 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
  17. boom boom

    when i was a christian, i thought enjoying god as my father was terrific. athies have spoiled my fun. like they say, be miserable at all costs. never enjoy anything. be negative, bitter, bathe in self-pity and darkness. as a group of believers in no-god, they embrace absolute misery as their sacred dogma. they proselytize unhappiness and joyless living like the great fiery christian preachers of old.

    i spend my days now trying to be as belligerent as they require

    January 1, 2014 at 11:23 am |
    • Peter Pan

      you can still have your favorite stories,,

      Peter Pan

      January 1, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You have a horrible misunderstanding of atheism. As an atheist, I recommend that you stay a christian. To be happy, some people need to believe in invisible and undetectable beings who torture forever people that they claim to love.

      So no worries, just switch back to believing never ending torture is "good," and that an invisible and undetectable being is the reason for your happy existence. It's a better choice for you.

      January 1, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • boom boom

        U prove my point

        January 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • Sean Lynch

          U r an idiot.

          January 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
      • L33ter

        Really? Not there? So what's your problem? Schizo? Or maybe you were molested too? Still angry with daddy after all these years? For someone who doesn't believe that something is there you have sure have a problem with it. Go ahead Oblivious, preach us some good'ol human secularism

        January 2, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      "i spend my days now trying to be as belligerent as they require"

      And in doing so you give a poor vision of anything decent. People like you bury belief system's, so please keep up being belligerent, you do no harm to us by doing so...in fact you help our side.

      January 1, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
      • boom boom

        You prove my point better than I can. R we miserable yet? Poor me!

        January 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
  18. know the truth, without blinders

    Try it again,, without the blog fragmenting it..

    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.

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

    Oh WAIT!!! we need to interpret those problems. It NOW 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.

    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. Requires someome with a good

    imagination. 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's

    thinking abilities, didn't quite explain the interpretation 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'. Yes, all from the interpretations following explaining the previous interpretation.

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

    In the end, those who wrote the bible passages, the ones the roman catholic church decided not to destroy or otherwise look more foolish than it does today, where no more educated than 6 year

    old kids with imaginations by today's standards. Then again, the stories were not well developed at the time since they lacked knowledge on how to establish facts, let alone science. And why

    didn't they? Because they feared god's anger, like volcanoes and such. They did however realized that you can control others with the invisible. I suppose when you are horribly supressed by a

    leader, a hero has always been in man's survival kit – the imagination escape. 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 11:03 am |
    • Raul Kabinza

      You are describing blind Christian religion rather than universal spirituality. Regardless of whether Jesus is the son of God or not, Jesus of Nazareth believed he had a soul that lived beyond his human existence. Perhaps the Creator allowed for the murder of Jesus and to revive faith in spirituality and an eternal soul of God, he allowed Jesus to be seen again after his death.

      Either way, it doesn't matter. What matters is that we love each other, protect children, avoid violence and respect all women as supreme [I love them, myself].

      January 1, 2014 at 2:38 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.