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Our readers asked:

What did Pope Francis say that got Rush Limbaugh to call him a Marxist?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

The Pope just said what the Gospels have been saying since Matthew 25 was written and what Catholic Social Teaching has been saying for centuries. I strongly urge everyone to read the Pope’s exhortation The Joy of the Gospel. Here are some excerpts from the section entitled “The economy and the distribution of income.”

“The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.”

“The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.” …
“We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programs, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded” (#202-204).

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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  • Michael

    As I read Holy Scripture regarding the history of the early Christian Church (I think it is found in the book entitled the Acts of the Apostles but I’m not sure without doing further digging) I noted a cluster of passages wherein St. Peter or St. Paul or some other apostles counseled their disciples and followers to practice an economy as follows, and I paraphrase: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
    Then there is the history behind St. Stephan’s stoning in which he, as a member of a seven man committee, was commissioned by the apostles to adjust the economic inequalities found between Jewish/Christian and Gentile/Christian widows. Scripture tells us that it was his zeal in proclaiming Christian doctrine that offended the Jewish leadership including Saul (who later became St. Paul), but reading between the lines, I have always suspected that it was his appeal for them to correct this matter of the economic distribution of wealth that really got him into trouble with the Jewish authorities.
    Anyway, I find some similarities between the teachings of the early Christian Church and the philosophy of Karl Marx. I hope I’m not being too judgmental when I say that I sometimes ponder what Jesus must think of us greed driven capitalists who so faithfully occupy the pews of His Church in the present day and age.

    • gooder1

      In the Early Church, there was a communal aspect to it in many areas, in which they would live in community, and share all. The instance you reference is Ananias and his wife Sapphira. At the time everyone joining the community gave everything, all of their possessions, to the community, but Sapphira held back part of the money they had, in a sense giving only part, but pretending to give it all. This they did on false pretenses, and Ananias dropped dead when confronted about it by the Apostle Peter (see Acts 5). As for Karl Marx, well, communism is an atheistic form of government that is designed to lavishly provide everything to the “haves” and to throw crumbs to the “have nots.” This entire system is one of false pretense. The people who find themselves under this type of government rule quickly realize that it is one that was designed by the devil himself, as the government either takes over the churches and corrupts them, or throws them out altogether, making it illegal to practice your Faith on Sundays, or any day for that matter. They load you up with either free alcohol, or free drugs, and destroy people in order to contain them. It literally strips the human person of his/her dignity. Whenever you see the works of the devil, they usually have a hint of truth to them, but are always rotten inside. Kind of like the way the leftists in our country try to use the words of Pope Francis to justify their agenda of abortion.

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