VATICAN CITY (RNS) First, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck labeled Pope Francis a Marxist. Now, The Economist is accusing him of following Vladimir Lenin.

After linking war and capitalism together in remarks made to La Vanguardia in June 2014, The Economist accused Pope Francis of "following Lenin."

After Pope Francis linked war and capitalism together in remarks made to La Vanguardia in June 2014, The Economist accused him of “following Lenin.” Creative Commons image by Catholic Church England and Wales

The respected financial magazine accused the pope of following the founder of Soviet communism in adopting an “ultra radical line” on capitalism.

In a blog entry titled “Francis, capitalism and war: The pope’s divisions,” the British weekly questioned aspects of a wide-ranging interview the pontiff recently gave to the Spanish daily La Vanguardia.

“By positing a link between capitalism and war, he seems to be taking an ultra-radical line: one that consciously or unconsciously follows Vladimir Lenin in his diagnosis of capitalism and imperialism as the main reason why world war broke out a century ago,” The Economist said.

“He observes what he calls the ‘idolatry of money’ in some places and hungry children in others … he concludes that economists must be missing some important point,” the magazine said.

“Francis may not be offering all the right answers, or getting the diagnosis exactly right, but he is asking the right questions,” The Economist said.

The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, on Wednesday (June 25) declined to comment on the nature of the blog but said everyone knew the pope was driven by a strong concern for global poverty.

“The pope is very interested in involving himself with the problems of the poor and social justice,” Lombardi told Religion News Service. “It is part of his nature to speak out about economic and social issues. That is well-known.”

The article is likely to provoke renewed debate about the pope’s social doctrine and his concern that the world’s wealthiest are failing to wipe out poverty and social inequality.

“It is increasingly intolerable that financial markets are shaping the destiny of peoples rather than serving their needs, or that few derive immense wealth from financial speculation while many are deeply burdened by the consequences,” Francis told a Vatican conference on ethical investing last week.

Many times during his papacy, Francis has said he was committed to helping the poor and underprivileged. On Tuesday, the 77-year-old pope tweeted his desire for everyone to have “decent work,” which he said was “essential for human dignity.”

Late last year, Francis brushed off accusations from U.S. critics that he was a Marxist. “Marxist ideology is wrong,” the pope said. “But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

Limbaugh attacked the pope for his apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium,” last November, in which Francis said it would be impossible to overcome global poverty without first addressing the structural causes of inequality and financial speculation.

“This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. Unfettered capitalism? That doesn’t exist anywhere,” Limbaugh told his listeners. “Unfettered capitalism is a liberal socialist phrase to describe the United States. Unfettered, unregulated.”

Glenn Beck, another conservative American commentator, rejected Time magazine’s decision to name Pope Francis “Person of the Year” because of Beck’s concern about what he described as the pontiff’s “Marxist tendencies.”

KRE/MG END McKENNA

36 Comments

      • Actually if everyone who believes in Christ lived like Christ and HIS disciples preached and LIVED the gospel, the world would be a VERY different place for they were probably the first to actually LIVE TRUE COMMUNISM-Acts 4:32,34 -“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had”. “There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Its the ungodly LUSTS & GREED in mankind’s hearts and minds, not just politics that has created our unbalanced world.

  1. Lets face it. Our world runs on money, and our money takes the form of a artificially scarce “commodity” that only a privledged few have the right to create. Thereby, only this small group has the systemic advantage of using this form of money, created with no current or saved labor, to capture a portion of the saved labor of those who need money to transacte the real business of their lives.

    When money is infinitely created credit, and not gold or some other real commodity that has natural scarcity or something a human actually worked to create, free markets cannot result. Nor can a balanced society. See the wealth gap and the ever declining real wage in thr modern world.

    IMO, money itself is the biggest crime and near necromany even forced on humanity as a whole.

    So why are theri poor, and starving people when money is infinitely created? I can’t honestly tell you..other than you as a laborer did not promise a portion of what you produce in exchange for the mere use of money itself….meaning you never agreed to let a banker feed of you.

    Anything that can be done to make this artifical system more balanced should be done.

    • There would be no business without workers producing something for the market. There would be no profit for any business without buyers of the products of business. There would be no buyers of business products without people with income they have earned from working in production.

      It is circular. It has nothing to do with a one-way “trickle-down” notion. Labor is an equal part of every business. Justice demands equal sharing of the profit from products in every business with all the elements of that production.

    • It is apparent that money credit is just another “Cross of Gold.”

      Does “free market” mean a lack of regulation in order to crucify people on the “cross of credit?”

      Gold or money-credit, the masses are still hung upon a “cross of economic death” without regulation to control the selfish greed of Romney and his 53%.

      How can we live without trade? Honesty must be the basis of economy just as it must be the basis of all other aspects of life or the human race becomes miserable, diseased, and headed for extinction.

      Francis is recognizing that Lenin was not all wrong. After all, as a Jesuit, Francis has long lived a community/communist life. There is communism and there is communism.

  2. anna marie iacone

    The problem with the media and people in general is that we tend categorize individuals when we don’t understand a thing. I am guilty of it also. It’s human nature. But let’s ask ourselves, why do we judge? Why do we criticize? Do we really understand? My question is, How can critics of the Pope categorize him as a Marxist when marxism does not incorporate faith in Christ? Do his critics really understand the life of Christ which the Pope, and all Christians are expected to live out? The Pope’s critics are misguided unless they understand what faith means and how that’s incorporated in the Pope’s message on dealing with the poor and poverty. If it’s a radical change in economics, so be it. What we need today is a foundation on faith. So here is a message to all media and commentators – stop with the short-sightedness. If you do not understand the whole then you don’t understand a thing. If we all lived the life of Christ the poor would be taken care of. There would be no need for the study of economics. We are blinded by our own intelligence.

    Our focus should start with understanding the difference between religion and faith. Faith is not the practice of rituals, it’s the practice of selflessness for the love of God. Religion is based on the moral laws of God and Christ while faith is law in action. And remember, Christ said that the poor will always be poor, a harsh realty in this world. But what we can do while we are here on earth is extend a human touch, teach wisdom, teach God’s love with patience that is without judgement but with great love. That’s what Christ did and He died for it. Pope Francis understands this well. And yet, people still criticize and still do not believe.

    • Good points. What a lot of people do not understand is that
      The successor of St Peter is not an American nor a European or any other political or economic persuasion. He is a Christian doing his best to do what Jesus Christ would do.

    • The difference between religion and faith? most interesting point! Religion means bargaining with a God to get what you want. Faith means trusting in God no matter what happens to you.
      There is the reason for injustice, poverty, suffering and oppressive ideologies. M
      If we had faith we would see and react in a different way.

  3. Good points. What a lot of people do not understand is that
    The successor of St Peter is not an American nor a European or any other political or economic persuasion. He is a Christian doing his best to do what Jesus Christ would do.

  4. Naturally the Economist would oppose the justice Francis promotes in business as in everything else. What else would you expect from a profiteering mouthpiece that promotes of the exploitation of workers for the profiteering of a class that presumes it’s better than the workers who do even more than investors and management to make a business successful.

    It has always been the same, royalty and other oligarchs, just as Soviet Communist leaders, entertain the notion that because they may be starters, they are the cog of the wheel and and the wheel has nor needs any other parts. They overlook the fact that wheels aren’t wheels without spokes and rims. And workers are the spokes and rims.

    Nothing trickles down. Everything WORKS its way up. Without workers, there would be no business. There would be no product. There would be no profit. Justice demands an equal sharing of business profits among all the elements of business without which there would be no business.

  5. Lenin was not all wrong. It was the greedy, heartless leaders of Soviet Communism, distorting his ideas, that have given some versions of communism a bad name.

  6. Has anyone witnessed in history a society where there is no inequality! Inequality will exist because different people have different abilities. However, as is humanly possible, everyone should have an opportunity to better oneself and one’s circumstances. Power, beauty, prowess have always ruled the world, and always will.

    • I think rather that inequality exists because some exploit the “different people” with “different abilities.” What of that exploitation by the wealthy of those who by intelligence are less clever?

      What about law and regulation to control what is dishonest, unjust, negative, and harmful among people toward other people? Isn’t that the purpose of law?

      It appears evolution has not been even mentally or ethically any more than it has been even physically.

  7. Darren Szwajkowski

    To be a Catholic is to be called a “liberal” by “conservatives” and “conservative” by “liberals”. So far this has been held true by the social establishment. The Pope is duh, Catholic.
    Liberals don’t want to hear the truth on morality while conservatives don’t want to hear the truth on financial matters.

  8. Joseph Theranger

    First, let’s get the straw man out of the discussion. I think only those on the extreme right would argue for total laissez faire capitalism. No capitalist country in the West has anything near that kind of capitalist system so let’s take that off the table.

    Let’s also now narrow down the discussion by defining goals. If the goal is to maintain people in their poverty, then Pope Francis is on the right track. The systems that Pope Francis supports have done a fairly decent job of keeping people minimally fed, minimally housed and minimally tended to in their health care and education. Cuba comes to mind as a reasonable example of such a system.

    If the goal is to provide a path for people to escape from their poverty, then the systems that Pope Francis seems to support have failed miserably. There are too many examples of such countries (Soviet Union, Cuba, etc.) to mention them all.

    If you examine the history of Christianity since Calvin (I don’t think Luther fits the model), Catholicism seems to be most successful in countries with long histories of poverty. The Catholic response to such situations has been one of solace and care but no real suggested cure. The Calvinist Protestant response to such situations has been one that puts less stress on solace and more stress on cures.

    What saddens me as a Catholic is watching people from so many of the lands south of the U.S. border, lands with which Pope Francis is so familiar, vote with their feet to choose cure over solace. After centuries of solace and care offered by Catholicism, they continue in their poverty. People from these lands are leaving the Church in droves for a form of fundamental Protestantism that at least claims to offer some of the cures suggested by a more Calvinist tradition. Maybe they have looked at Western Europe and noticed that the countries that come from a Protestant tradition have traditionally fared (and continue to fare) much better than those which come from a Catholic tradition.

    It is true that, in a capitalist society, there is inequality. Some people fare less well than others though most capitalist societies do provide a safety net for people in those circumstances. Capitalist societies strive for equal opportunity rather than equal outcomes. Socialist societies strive more for equal outcomes but sadly the most common level of equality is the lowest common denominator. Clearly, more people live in poverty, benign as that poverty may be, in socialist countries than in capitalist countries. And, history seems to be teaching us that, given the choice, most Christians would prefer a path out of even a benign poverty rather than any solace or care that benign poverty might offer them.

    • A social safety net is traditionally socialist in nature. Not capitalist. So I’m not sure we can praise a capitalist country for doing a socialist thing all the the same breath.

      I dont have a problem with the traditional mechanisms of capitalism as long as no one is running a “racket”…meaning voluntary transactions are all that are undertaken between buyer and seller, debtor and creditor. But anywhere a gov mandates a thing by law, it creates a racket. So insurance, healthcare, student loans, and our homes themselves are allnow part of a racket.

      Further, I dont have a problem with usury as long as thr lender is a real person who worked and saved for thr funds being lent. But that is not what we have. I know for a fact that a vehicle of the fed itself holds the note on my mortgage for my personal residence. Now by what right does this entity get to create money to buy my labor using my oath of indebtedness as a passthrough? This is not balanced. They own one third of the debt of thr us gov now. And for what? The privledge they alone have to create money making them thr lender of last resort? There is no way a balanced society can emerge when one side is granted such superhuman social abilites.

  9. Lets see, Pope Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI, John XXIII, Pius XII, Pius XI, Benedict XV, Pius X, Leo XIII, and Pius IX all said the same thing as Pope Francis. Why is there such a surprise? Oh, that’s right, its a sound bite culture so nobody bothers to read nor check facts.

  10. Don´t get confused, The current Pope is part of global ellite, Pope Leo XIII was the first pope of modern era to write and speak about social issues on the world, but from a Christian point of view. Francisco speaks from the school of liberation teology which is very connceted with marxist ideology. Being so, he doesn´t speak on behalf of the poors, both systems are materialist intrinsect, in both systems there is explotation, in one individualism is exalted on the other side an aparently colectivity. One of the task of a Pope is to denounce unjistice without siding marxism. He has made his pontificate a reductionism of a social doctrine in favor of marxism, forgetting what is more important: Jesuschrist. He shows himself as a defender of the cause of the poors, and the media is always there to take “the photo”.
    Why he doesn´t denounce marxism as true evil for mankind, the same way Capitalism has prooved to be. capitalis is a system based on usury undre the mask of democracy, while marxism is based on the struggle of classes under the mask of equality. Francis predeccesosr were vey accurate t denounce unjistice wherever it comes from, they anounced the Gospel not an ideology like he is doing.

    • As we are on the subject of ideology, what does anyone think about the story in the Gospel where the landowner paid the workers the same amount of money whether they had worked one hour or eight? Is this fair?
      Isn’t this against Marxist ideology? Isn’t it exploitation? Yet the Gospel says that the landowner kept his promise to all the workers and no one was cheated.

  11. Francis is not promoting Christianity by dichotomizing the world between the innocent and the guilty. If he understood the Gospels better, he would know that the poor are just as sinful as the rich who are both as sinful as those who fail to understand this.
    Sin is the one and only problem in the world, and no social or economic identifying status determines or confers any greater or lesser likelihood of good or evil in the soul of the individual.

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