Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh says he admired Pope Francis just fine — until he made "unbelievable" comments castigating elements of modern capitalism.
Now he calls the pontiff's 50,000-word statement calling for church reforms "pure Marxism," and said he thinks it's "sad how wrong" Pope Francis is, reports CNN.
Limbaugh took to the airwaves last week, the day after Francis released the "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"), to take aim at the Pope's economic views and to chastise him as being "dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong."
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In Limbaugh's segment
, "It's Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is (Unless It's a Deliberate Mistranslation By Leftists)," the talk-show host told his estimated 15 million listeners the Pope's views are "sad because this Pope makes it very clear he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth."
Francis, who had worked on behalf of the poor in his native Argentina, has refused some of the traditional luxuries that normally accompany the papal office, including choosing to stay in a Vatican guest house as opposed to the papal palace. In addition, this summer, Francis refused the use of the new Mercedes "Popemobile"
in favor of touring the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa in an open-air, 20-year-old Fiat.
In "Evangelii," Francis warns the "idolatry of money"
will lead to a "new tyranny."
He also said trickle-down economics "expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
Liberal Catholics hailed the Pope's critique, saying church leaders should spend more time protecting the poor. And, they are demanding an apology from Limbaugh.
"To call the Holy Father a proponent of 'pure Marxism' is both mean-spirited and naive," said Christopher Hale of the Washington-based Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. "Francis' critique of unrestrained capitalism is in line with the Church's social teaching."
Limbaugh pointed out that he is not a Catholic, but said he "profoundly" admires the faith, and he admired Pope Francis, "up until this."
Further, Limbaugh said he has visited the Vatican, "which wouldn't exist without tons of money," several times.
He further claimed that as far as "Evangelii" is concerned, "somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope."
Limbaugh was also offended by the Pope's criticism of "the culture of prosperity," which he called a "mere spectacle" for the poor of the world.
"This is almost a statement about who should control financial markets," Limbaugh railed.
"He says that the global economy needs government control. I'm not Catholic, but I know enough to know that this would have been unthinkable for a Pope to believe or say just a few years ago."
Limbaugh was not the only conservative commentator to rail about the Pope's views on capitalism.
"I go to church to save my soul," said Fox News' Stuart Varney
, who is an Episcopalian. "It's got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics."
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