Pope Francis' controversial economic views have startled Republicans who are now having to rethink their relationship with the Catholic church, according to Politico.
The pontiff has recently attacked "trickle-down economics, saying that the theory has never been confirmed by fact," and "that it expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
The pope also criticized "the idolatry of money" and slammed capitalism as a "new tyranny."
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has already called Time's "Person of the Year" a closet Marxist and now Republicans in Washington are taking aim at the pope, who took over the office in March.
New York Rep. Peter King, who went to a Catholic school and graduated from the University of Notre Dame’s law school, told Politico that the pope’s economic statements are demeaning.
King said that Francis uses the phrase “trickle-down” as a “pejorative” term, “like some liberal speechwriter stuck it in.” He said, "I genuinely believe (that) supply-side economics does more to help people come out of poverty, move up in the world."
But King added, "On the other hand, we shouldn’t be dwelling on wealth. The guidance I’d take from this is, when I support conservative economics, I should do it in a way that helps the most people.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain said that, although he was "impressed" with the pope's modern day outlook on social issues and helping the poor, "his economic perspective I’m not particularly enamored with."
The pope maintains that he wants to de-emphasize the church's position on issues like abortion and gay marriage and instead concentrate on more important problems such as helping the poor and the underprivileged.
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, a Catholic who is considered a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said that he did not believe that Francis was a Marxist. But he pointed out in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the pontiff's background is rooted in the Peronist movement in Argentina, where the state took a leading role in the economy.
"The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina,” Ryan said. "They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system."
He added, "What I love about the pope is he is triggering the exact kind of dialogue we ought to be having."
The pope's economic opinions have also annoyed former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a tea party favorite, who said Francis had made "some statements that to me sound kind of liberal." But she later went back on that statement, according to Politico.
The pope, however, is taking all the criticism in his stride, especially from Rush Limbaugh. "The Marxist ideology is wrong," he said. "But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended."
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