“I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel.” ~ Pope Francis (Interview with ‘Il Messagero’ July 2, 2014)
Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and a host of other conservative and libertarian hosts sure love to sound Pope’s alleged Marxist leanings. Limbaugh just repeated it again yesterday. Communism is Marxism; Marxism is communism. The Pope has criticized communists of having stolen “the flag of the poor” which he identifies with Christianity. People need this kind of anti-communist criticism since it’s not always mentioned by anti-communists who are stereotyped as greedy rich people who don’t want to give to the lower class what they own. If the Pope is so Marxist, then why does he criticize Marxism so? Just because he talks about negligence of the poor and inequality does not mean he favors socialism; as I mentioned earlier, he brings his experience as a South American into the equation about how many poor are neglected by the rich; South America is very different from North America in that political corruption is very different and that it shows itself in the starvation of many.
The Pope’s critics also seem to forget previous popes have also called for helping the poor and that other popes have more verbally criticized capitalism than Pope Francis (who himself did not mention capitalism by name). Saint John Paul II mentioned that the Church rejects “the practice of ‘capitalism,’ individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2425). Benedict XVI stated that both capitalism and socialism are “systems that marginalize God” . Yet, we didn’t hear the left sounding their praises or the conservatives calling them Marxists. Perhaps that’s because the liberal media didn’t give them the publicity that they do for Pope Francis, so many don’t know about previous popes’ comments on capitalism.
You can find the whole interview here: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-english-text-of-pope-francis-interview-with-il-messaggero