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Pope Francis: ‘Embracing the Poor is Church’s Social Doctrine, Not Marxism’

On Sunday, Pope Francis responded to recent claims by Rush Limbaugh and other American conservatives by insisting his teachings are in line with the Catholic Church, not a political ideology.

“The Marxist ideology is wrong,” Francis said in an interview with La Stampa, ending all rumors he may have a Marxist bent.  “But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

The Pope made the comments in defense of his Apostolic Exhortation, a letter addressed to the entire Catholic Church that called for the people of faith to abandon “unfettered capitalism” and embrace the poor.  The letter sparked outrage by Limbaugh and other American conservatives, who felt that the letter smacked of Marxism and ran counter to the teachings of the church.

“This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope,” Limbaugh said in response to the Pope’s letter, which addressed a large range of church matters as well as discussed the need to re-examine economic systems that have created a huge disparity between rich and poor.

Limbaugh further suggested that the Pope’s letter’s view on capitalism “befuddled” him, because they were inconsistent with church teachings. “There has been a longstanding tension between the church and communism,” Limbaugh explained.

The Pope countered that the message of his letter was indeed part of the church’s social doctrine and call to serve the poor.” I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the church’s social doctrine,” Francis clarified, “This does not mean being a Marxist.”

Drawing on the themes of the letter, Pope Francis further explained why trickle-down economics does not work.

“The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor,” Francis explained. “But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. “

Photo Credit: Agencia Brasil via Wikimedia Commons

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Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.