Rush Limbaugh: Pope Francis Marxism is befuddling to me. Rush Limbaugh, chief right wing radio bloviator, declared himself befuddled by the Apostolic Exhortation, Joy of the Gospels, by the new Pope, which he calls a Marxist attack on capitalism.
Rush echoes an earlier opinion rendered by Sarah Palin, who said she had been disappointed to find Socialist leanings in some of the Pope's early statements, and is joined by other conservative pundits such as Accuracy in Media director Cliff Kincaid who declared, "Pope Francis' recent publication highlights the "troubling" influence of Marxism within the Catholic Church." Have none of these people actually read the Gospels, the descriptions of the man from whose name the word "Christian" is derived? Nowhere in any of the four gospels, or in any of the New Testament books that carry forward the message of the Gospels is accumulation of personal wealth at the expense of most countrymen espoused as a virtue.
In what some Catholic spokesmen are calling his Manifesto, the Pope attacked trickle-down economics as a "naive" theory that has "never been confirmed by the facts" and warned that unfettered capitalism "tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits." He also expressed his belief that it was essential for elected leaders to become protectors of the poor, and begin working to narrow the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest. This should come as a surprise to no one. This Pope just finished ousting a European bishop from his mansion because of his belief that all priests must be "in service" to their congregants, not in dominion over them. In his own life as Archbishop and Cardinal, Francis was often found among the poorest, the homeless and the least advantaged. His "Manifesto" also says:
"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills."
The "conservative" pundits who are declaring the Pope a Marxist (Um-m-m-m... was it not Marx who called religion "the opiate of the masses?"), have missed the entire point of the message of Jesus of Gallilee. This Pope, however, has not. From his first day he has been adamant that the social ills of the world are exacerbated by "unfettered Capitalism." He has demanded that his priests pay less attention to the strictures of dogma and doctrine and more attention to the people whom they serve... and now he demands it of world leaders and elected officials. There is no surprise here. That Rush Limbaugh insists he is "befuddled" says far, far more about his capacity to understand nuance and read the Bible with comprehension than it says about the Pope.
But there are greater questions to be answered than the pathetic plaints of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Pailin. For instance, why the Pope gets to speak as a Head of State, and why he carries this level of influence in the modern world is beyond understanding. So too is it puzzling that he is perceived as speaking for all Christians, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant in all its variations whenever one of these political church crossfires occurs.