Pope Francis is making his first visit to the United States this week. Prior to his visit, conservative media figures have attacked him over his efforts to combat climate change and inequality, labeling him a “Marxist” who is a “danger to the world.”
Pope Francis Speaks Out On Climate Change, Inequality
Catholic Church Called For Movement To Combat Climate Change, Denounced Deniers. The Catholic Church released an encyclical calling for an alliance between science and religion to combat climate change:
In the 192-page paper released Thursday, Francis lays out the argument for a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change -- a position bringing him immediately into conflict with skeptics, whom he chides for their “denial.”
Francis urges taking public transit, carpooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, recycling -- and boycotting certain products. He called for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful.
“It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment,” he writes. [Washington Post, 6/18/15]
Pope Francis Criticized The “New Idolatry Of Money,” And “The Denial Of The Primacy Of The Human Person.” Pope Francis released his first papal treatise, Evangelii Gaudium, which criticized the “idolatry of money” and global wealth inequality:
Pope Francis' exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) continues and reinforces a vision of the Church found in the early studies of the future Pope Benedict XVI--a vision that was central to Benedict's teachings as the Successor of St. Peter. In Evangelii Gaudium, Francis draws from his own experiences and in his own way continues his predecessor's vision.
The threats that press upon the Church from without -- threats that hinder the faithful from sincerely and joyfully sharing the Gospel and that prevent others from hearing it -- are likewise diverse and plentiful. Francis admits that he will not be offering a “detailed and complete analysis of contemporary reality” (51) exterior to the Church, but his review is nonetheless thorough.
His list includes: an “economy of exclusion,” where "[h]uman beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded" (53-54); the “new idolatry of money,” which derives from “the denial of the primacy of the human person” (55-56); a “financial system which rules rather than serves” (57-58); rampant “inequality which spawns violence” (59-60); and an array of other cultural concerns (61-67) such as secularism, the breakdown of the family, and the viewing of marriage as a means to “mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will” (66). [The Catholic World Report, 11/27/13]
Conservatives Lash Out At “Marxist” Pope Who Was “Hand-Selected By The New World Order”
Michael Savage: Pope Francis Has Been “Hand-Selected By The New World Order” And Is A “Danger To The World.” After the release of the encyclical, conservative radio host Michael Savage declared the pope has been “hand-selected by the New World Order,” called him a Marxist and an “eco-wolf in pope's clothing,” and compared him to the false prophet in the book of Revelation “directing mankind to worship the Antichrist.” Savage concluded that “we are living in global tyranny right now”:
SAVAGE: He has been selected - hand-selected - by the New World Order. He is the first non-European pope in twelve hundred years. The same people who gave us Obama gave us this pope. The same people who gave us Obama and the pope are giving the world a good beating. He is from an area where Marxist theory was used to rule over the people. The pope is a danger to the world. Yes, I'll be very clear on that. He knows about as much about weather as my -- well, let's put it to you this way. The only thing the pope knows about meteorology is that when it rains his highly-paid aides in the Vatican take out umbrellas and open them for him. The man knows nothing about climate. And for a religious man to do this is incomprehensible. How the Catholic people can put up with this, I don't know. And by the way, if he hates capitalism so much and wealthy people so much, I think the pope ought to begin with an example by selling off some of the great art in the Vatican.
And I think this pope, this deceiver -- what do you think because someone wears a holy robe, they're holy? Are you people nuts? How many imams are terrorists? Oh, you're willing to go along with that, aren't you?
Well, the pope is a Marxist. I stand by those words. He is a wolf in pope's clothing, he is an eco-wolf in pope's clothing. He is a stealth Marxist in religious garb.
The man sounds like the false prophet in Revelation. He sounds just like the false prophet in Revelation -- an ecumenical spiritual figure directing mankind to worship the Antichrist. The man is a false prophet. How could you buy this garbage? How in the world can you buy this? The world is cooling off, and the man is pushing this to attack capitalism?
This is unbelievable to me. We are living in global tyranny right now. We are living in global tyranny where the Big Lie is told over and over again. [Cumulus Media Networks, The Savage Nation, 6/16/15, via RightWingWatch]
Rush Limbaugh: Pope Is “Marxist” For Releasing Climate Change Encyclical. Rush Limbaugh said the release of the encyclical “seems to confirm” Francis “is a Marxist.” Limbaugh's website headlined the transcript of the segment, “The Pope's Leaked Marxist Climate Rant.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/16/15]
Limbaugh: Pope Comments On Poverty Are “Pure Marxism.” Rush Limbaugh described the Pope's critique of “unfettered capitalism” as “pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope”:
LIMBAUGH: I mentioned, last night -- I was doing show prep last night -- usual routine. And I ran across this -- I don't actually know what it's called -- the latest papal offering, statement from Pope Francis. Now, up until this -- I'm not Catholic. Up until this, I have to tell you, I was admiring the man. I thought he was going a little overboard on the “common man” touch, and I thought there might have been a little bit of PR involved there. But nevertheless, I was willing to cut him some slack. I mean, if he wants to portray himself as still from the streets of where he came from and is not anything special, not aristocratic, if he wants to eschew the physical trappings of the Vatican -- OK, cool, fine.
But this that I came across last night -- I mean, it totally befuddled me. If it weren't for capitalism, I don't know where the Catholic Church would be. Now, as I mentioned before, I'm not Catholic. I admire it profoundly, and I've been tempted a number of times to delve deeper into it. But the pope here has now gone beyond Catholicism here, and this is pure political. Now, I want to share with you some of this stuff.
“Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as 'a new tyranny.' He beseeched global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality, in a document on Tuesday setting out a platform for his papacy and calling for a renewal of the Catholic Church. In it, Pope Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the 'idolatry of money.' ”
I've gotta be very caref-- I have been numerous times to the Vatican. It wouldn't exist without tons of money. But, regardless, what this is -- somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. There's no such -- “unfettered capitalism”? That doesn't exist anywhere. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/27/13]
Limbaugh: Pope Supports Leaving “Everybody ... Living Equally In Misery.” Limbaugh accused the pope of aligning himself with those on the left who want to leave “everybody ... living equally in misery.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/17/15]
Alex Jones Believes “Pope Is A Part Of The Globalist Plan To Destroy The World And Usher In A One-World Government.” Radio host Alex Jones' Infowars website issued a “special report” about how the “Pontiff [is] a socialist tool to usher in one-world government” and “how the Pope is a part of the globalist plan to destroy the world and usher in a one-world government.” [Infowars.com, 7/10/15]
George Will: The Pope's Stances On Climate Change And Poverty Are “Demonstrably False And Deeply Reactionary.” In a September 18 column, Will lashed out at Pope Francis, who he claims “embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony”:
Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert's indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak -- if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.
Supporters of Francis have bought newspaper and broadcast advertisements to disseminate some of his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies. One example: “People occasionally forgive, but nature never does.” The Vatican's majesty does not disguise the vacuity of this. Is Francis intimating that environmental damage is irreversible? He neglects what technology has accomplished regarding London's air (see Page 1 of Dickens's “Bleak House”) and other matters.
And the Earth is becoming “an immense pile of filth”? Hyperbole is a predictable precursor of yet another U.N. Climate Change Conference -- the 21st since 1995. Fortunately, rhetorical exhibitionism increases as its effectiveness diminishes. In his June encyclical and elsewhere, Francis lectures about our responsibilities, but neglects the duty to be as intelligent as one can be.This man who says “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions” proceeds as though everything about which he declaims is settled, from imperiled plankton to air conditioning being among humanity's “harmful habits.” The church that thought it was settled science that Galileo was heretical should be attentive to all evidence.
Francis deplores “compulsive consumerism,” a sin to which the 1.3 billion persons without even electricity can only aspire. He leaves the Vatican to jet around praising subsistence farming, a romance best enjoyed from 30,000 feet above the realities that such farmers yearn to escape.
Secular people with anti-Catholic agendas drain his prestige, a dwindling asset, into promotion of policies inimical to the most vulnerable people and unrelated to what once was the papacy's very different salvific mission.
He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation's premises. [Washington Post, 9/18/15]
George Will: Pope Comes Out Of “Anti-Capitalist” Strand Of Catholicism That Is “Confused About How To Help The Poor.” Will said Pope Francis comes out of a Latin American “anti-capitalist” strand of Catholicism. [Fox News, Special Report, 6/18/15]
Fox's Kilmeade: Pope Should “Stay Home” Because He “Doesn't Like Capitalism.” Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade attacked the Pope's visit during his radio show:
KILMEADE: Yeah, I'm Catholic and he could stay home. Some of his comments just have no place. He's in the wrong country. But I tell you what --
CHRIS WALLACE (Fox News Sunday host): What? He's in the wrong country? What does that mean?
KILMEADE: He doesn't like capitalism. He blames us and money for what's going on in the Middle East. He says that global warming -- we've got to do more to have global warming -- we've doing more than anybody else. Get on China, show some courage. He's never visited our country before, now he gets around to it and he's critical going in? I have enough, you know -- take on, take on Islam, then talk to me.
WALLACE: The preceding comments were those, and all emails should be sent to Brian Kilmeade.
WALLACE: Kilmeade, Brian, bashes pope.
KILMEADE: Exactly. Bring it on.
KILMEADE: Tired of the pope. [Fox News Radio, Kilmeade & Friends, 9/17/15]
Fox's Napolitano: Pope Francis A “Communist” And A “Marxist.” Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano called Pope Francis a “communist” and a “Marxist” for linking the European refugee crisis to global poverty.
NAPOLITANO: I am sighing because the Holy Father is a challenge for traditionalist Roman Catholics, of which I am one. Particularly, traditionalists who came of age under John Paul II and then under Benedict XVI. Who, though they had impulses that were not exactly Ayn Rand on capitalism, were far more into philosophy and theology, and far less into the economy ... This particular Pope, who has proclaimed himself a Peronist, is somewhere between a communist with a lowercase “c” and a Marxist with an uppercase “M.” At the same time he is trying to be a Roman Catholic -- uppercase “R,” uppercase “C.”
The Pope is infallible on faith in morals. Thank God it is just limited to faith and morals because he is, he is -- he sounds like a left-wing professor at the London School of Economics when he blames the mass migration on economic inequality. [Fox Business, Varney & Co, 9/15/15]
Napolitano: “He Doesn't Know What He's Talking About...I Wish He Would Stick To Faith And Morals.” During the December 3, 2013, edition of Fox Business' Varney & Company, host Stuart Varney criticized the pope for offering “direct criticism of a specific political system.” Napolitano declared, “the Pope is competent to teach the Church and the world on matters of faith and morals, and he can talk about social justice, but when the Pope says it is the obligation of the government to take from the rich and give to the poor because that's the only way to alleviate poverty, he doesn't know what he's talking about”:
STUART VARNEY: I go to church to save my soul, it's got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He's offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He's characterized, negatively, that system. I think he wants to influence my politics.
VARNEY: Apparently, not everyone liked my take on the Pope from last week, Salon.com calling it “the worst right-wing statement of the week.” Judge Napolitano is still here.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: From this traditionalist, pre-Vatican 2 Roman Catholic to his dear Anglican friend, I am with you 1000 percent. The Pope, the Holy Father, and the mission of the Church is to save my soul, not my pocket book.
VARNEY: Well said. I was making two points. I disagree with the Pope, who doesn't like free market capitalism. I think free market capitalism is a great liberator. Individual liberty is best for us collectively, that was in point one.
NAPOLITANO: And no system has alleviated more poor people into the middle class than free market capitalism. No system in history.
VARNEY: Right, I thought that the Pope was really very much in favor of the European social model, which is neo-Socialism and which fails its own people. And I was -- I just disagreed with the Pope on that basis. And secondly, to your point, I don't want to mix politics with my spiritual life. When I go to church I don't wish to have my vote touted for by the preacher. I don't want it. I don't want any mention of politics whatsoever, and you know I think you and I agree on this. Astonishing.
NAPOLITANO: Yes we do agree on this. Look, the Pope is competent to teach the Church and the world on matters of faith and morals, and he can talk about social justice, but when the Pope says it is the obligation of the government to take from the rich and give to the poor because that's the only way to alleviate poverty, he doesn't know what he's talking about.
VARNEY: Now, you are a Catholic, I am an Anglican. Sitting here with us is I believe a Southern Baptist, “something like that”?
NAPOLITANO: And we all agree!?!
CHARLES PAYNE: My wife is a Catholic too, you know, but this is to me the bigger issue, guys, is this is how you win popularity in the world these days.
PAYNE: This is a Pope who has come in, he's hit the ground running, he's extraordinarily popular. And you know we saw a rejection of capitalism in Chile, we saw a rejection of capitalism in New York City. This is how you become very popular with young people, so I think there is a larger more frightening point out there.
NAPOLITANO: You know, you mention young people. The Pope was asked recently, what is the worst problem in the world. What could it be? War, genocide, starvation, murder, sectarian violence, his answer: youth unemployment. Now that is a problem, but it is hardly the worst problem in the world nor is it a problem that the church is competent to address.
VARNEY: Why does the church stand so much in favor of a failed model?
NAPOLITANO: I don't know.
VARNEY: I mean, Europe has been plunged into despondency, despair, mass unemployment and a total lack of prosperity.
NAPOLITANO: And going in the wrong direction!
VARNEY: Going in the wrong direction. Why would the Pope do that? You're a Catholic, explain yourself.
NAPOLITANO: I can't get into his heart. I wish he would stick to faith and morals, on which he is very sound and traditional. But when he gets into these other things like, which is the worst problem, how many angels are on the head of a pin, he comes up with answers that please the crowd, but do not warm the soul. [Media Matters,12/3/13]
Fox's Gutfeld: Pope Is A “Marxist” Who “Could Be On Occupy Wall Street.” Greg Gutfeld, co-host of The Five, accused Pope Francis of having a “Marxist background.” He added, “He wants to be a modern pope. All he needs is dreadlocks and a dog with a bandana and he could be on Occupy Wall Street.” [Fox News, The Five, 6/16/15]
Powerline: Pope Has “Hostility Towards Free Enterprise.” Conservative blog Powerline claimed that “the Pope has no idea what he is talking about” and said the motive for the encyclical was "hostility toward free enterprise and the prosperity that it creates." [Powerline, 6/16/15]
Breitbart.com: “Marxists, Global Warming Extremists Control Vatican.” In an article headlined “Marxists, Global Warming Extremists Control Vatican,” Breitbart.com promoted the claims of conspiracy theorist Christopher Monckton, who claimed that the Vatican was under the influence of Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, an “out and out marxist who decided that climate change was useful to marxism.” [Breitbart, 6/13/15]
For more conservative attacks on the pope's stance on climate change, click here