Rush Limbaugh Doesn't Get Pope Francis

December 4, 2013 | 41 comments

In a recent segment on his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh talked about the pope’s new apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. I don’t have the space to address everything Limbaugh said, but what struck me was his mischaracterization of Pope Francis's comments about economics.

The fundamental problem was that Limbaugh chose to quote not what Pope Francis wrote but a Washington Post article on the exhortation, which stated:

Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny" and 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, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the "idolatry of money."

Limbaugh responded by saying, “This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. Unfettered capitalism? That doesn't exist anywhere. 'Unfettered capitalism' is a liberal socialist phrase to describe the United States.”

Comrade Francis?

Granted, it takes hours to read this massive document but, for someone whose words are heard by millions of people, before calling the pope a "Marxist" a simple use of the control+F function would have been warranted. If Limbaugh had done that, he would have found that the phrase “unfettered capitalism” does not appear in Evangelii Gaudium.

Neither is the global economy the main theme of this exhortation; rather, it's only one area where Pope Francis is calling on the Church to evangelize the world. He describes specific financial and cultural challenges facing the human community and then addresses the temptations of pastors who must face these challenges. Nowhere does the Pope blame humanity’s woes on the concept of the free market or demand a Marxist government to save mankind.

A Betrayal of John Paul II?

Limbaugh later said, “[J]uxtaposed against the actions of Pope John Paul II, this pope and the things that he released yesterday or recently are really striking.”

No, they aren’t.  In his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II reflected on socialism and capitalism in light of the recent fall of the Soviet Union. Although he acknowledged that profit has a “legitimate role” in the function of a business and that “the Marxist solution” to economic inequality had failed, he also spoke of the “inadequacies of capitalism” and said that profit is the not the only indicator that a business is doing well. The human dignity of workers matter too, and if capitalism is left unchecked it becomes “ruthless” and leads to “inhuman exploitation.” Pope Francis's words are consistent with John Paul's.

Limbaugh continued:

You talk about unfettered, this is an unfettered anti-capitalist dictate from Pope Francis. And listen to this. This is an actual quote from what he wrote. "The culture of prosperity deadens us. We are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime, all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle. They fail to move us." I mean, that's pretty profound. That's going way beyond matters that are ethical. This is almost a statement about who should control financial markets. He says that the global economy needs government control.

But the Pope is not saying that. He is saying that a global economy needs global control, not government control in the form of some creepy one-world government that runs everything. Pope Francis said, “If we really want to achieve a healthy world economy, what is needed at this juncture of history is a more efficient way of interacting which, with due regard for the sovereignty of each nation [emphasis added], ensures the economic well-being of all countries, not just of a few (206).”

A Complex Question

The Church teaches that the dignity of the human person and the management of global economies is more complex than just choosing "capitalism" over "socialism/communism." What is required is an approach that respects individual freedom without allowing that freedom to become some all-consuming monster that tramples the weak and poor.

In Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II was asked if capitalism should be the dominant economic model in light of the fall of the USSR. His answer is insightful, and I think it's an excellent parallel to Pope Francis's attitude on the subject. Pope John Paul II said:

The answer is obviously complex. If by "capitalism" is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a "business economy," "market economy" or simply "free economy." But if by "capitalism" is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality and sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.

The reality is that the Catholic Church, and Pope Francis included, cannot simply say it is for or against capitalism. It’s a complex question. While the Washington Post said Pope Francis issued a “decidedly populist teaching” the Pope said in Evangelii Gaudium that he was not arguing for “an irresponsible populism,” or a solution that naively pits the poor against the rich (204).

On the other hand, while the Pope might agree with Limbaugh that Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” can lift some people out of poverty, it can also strangle the life out of the poor, and so the Pope says in that same paragraph that we can no longer trust the market alone to ensure that all people are treated with dignity.

In closing, I think that the following paragraph from the Pope’s exhortation is something that should be mailed to Limbaugh and maybe we can turn down the heat just a little bit:

If anyone feels offended by my words, I would respond that I speak them with affection and with the best of intentions, quite apart from any personal interest or political ideology. My words are not those of a foe or an opponent. I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth (208).

After his conversion to the Catholic faith, Trent Horn pursued an undergraduate degree in history from Arizona State University.  He then earned a graduate degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy from Holy Apostles College....

Inside The Mind Of Pope Francis
Catholic Answers’ senior apologist Jimmy Akin has just produced a handy new booklet called Inside the Mind of Pope Francis which offers a unique look at our new pope.

Comments by Members

#1  Clinton Ufford - Sweet Home, Oregon

Unfortunately, we ca not expect anything less from Rush Limbaugh. The radical right is no different than the radical left ...Piers Morgan is in the same boat ...

December 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm PST
#2  Ron Arnold - Lexington, South Carolina

I am a Rush fan and have been for over 20 years, I did not hear this show but heard about it. Thanks for the article I knew Rush had it wrong. I would not consider Rush to be Radical at all just a constitutional conservitive.

December 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm PST
#3  Ron Arnold - Lexington, South Carolina

I have only seen clips from Piers Morgan and have seen enough to know that I would not watch his show. I would not go as far as to call anyone a radical that I have not witnessed for a long time, in my time of listening to Rush I have never heard him come out in favor of taking away any of our rights.

December 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm PST
#4  william rhinehart - riverside, California

Cliff, I would beg to differ with you when you say that Rush Limbaugh is just like Piers Morgan. Rush RARELY makes mistakes because he uses facts, not emotions. Morgan? Emotion based tirades are his claim to fame. He's a mouthpiece for everything wrong with America. Rush was wrong here because he jumped to conclusions and was not afforded the time to verify the info himself. I would also beg to differ with you that the Radical Right and Left are the same. The so-called radical right as you call them are actually those who desire less government, lower taxes, and a return of our country to the the Godly principals she was founded upon. The radical left? Comprised of all the most despicable among us. It never ceases to amaze and bewilder me that Catholics vote Democrat.

December 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm PST
#5  Brian Kerzetski - Las Vegas, Nevada

I am a big Rush Limbaugh fan, but my listening to his show has been curtailed ever since Catholic radio came to town (fancy that). I was surprised that Rush only read the Washington Post article and commented on it like it was from the Pope's mouth. He is usually much better at putting things in context. Hopefully, he'll realize his error. Regardless, your article is appreciated, Trent.

P.S. I expect Mr. Ufford has never listened to Rush, otherwise he would realize Rush is rarely inaccurate whether one agrees with his political leanings or not. He provides the facts coupled with his opinion. To lump him into a generalization is unfair to him and to his listeners.

December 4, 2013 at 10:32 pm PST
#6  Terence Launey - Tucson, Arizona

I have read the Pope's exhortation and I agree the press (surprise, surprise) got much of what the Pope said wrong. But I do think there is an element of truth in what Rush says. The Pope is a product of a very left leaning Argentina. It does sometimes seem like our modern church leaders have been more influenced by Sinclair Lewis and John Steinbeck then Saints and Doctors of the Church like St. Robert Bellarmine (whom Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith borrowed heavily from) or St. Peter Damian. Personally I think "unfettered" capitalism has never been tried but it would benefit the poor the most and allow virtue and faith to thrive the most.

December 4, 2013 at 11:33 pm PST
#7  Eric Davenport - Gum Spring, Virginia


December 5, 2013 at 5:54 am PST
#8  Tom McNally - Gilbert, Arizona

Our Pope Francis like all our Popes is motivated by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Limbaugh in contrast is part of the "Have it Now" generation. What would you expect?

December 5, 2013 at 6:27 am PST
#9  Matthew Townsend - Stevenson, Washington

If one wants to understand what the Pope stands for, look at Mother Teresa of Calcutta, read Mother Teresa of Calcutta, reflect on the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and pray for wisdom from the intercession of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Rush stands for all that is "of this world" and does not understand the supernatural; only the natural. Rush does not understand what "is of the next world ... all that is holiness". Rush does not know God spiritually, just with earthly knowledge. Rush is only of this world (at present time).

December 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm PST
#10  Matthew Townsend - Stevenson, Washington

Rush never understood Mother Teresa of Calcutta; only the results that came from Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The same with this Pope. As Mother Teresa was too big for Rush's logic, so is this Pope.

December 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm PST
#11  susan smith - newport, New Hampshire

I am a devout, practicing Catholic and I have regularly listened to Rush Limbaugh since 1989 (he began his radio show in 1988). Over the years I have been struck by Rush's commitment to defend the "truth" at a great cost to his personal life and reputation. I admire his ability to speak and positively influence such a diverse audience about our many complex social issues, I have learned much from him. Rush has truly brought the light of reason, truth and common sense to our present day situations which have forced us, as Americans, to reflect more deeply on who we are and where we are going in a world that has lost its moral compass. I am MOST PROUD of Rush for the many times he has defended with a deep respect, the moral teachings of our Catholic faith, especially in the area of defending the most vulnerable...our unborn children! I have often thought, in his truth seeking, that Rush would inevitably become a Catholic brother since he is so sincere in being open to truth, and, as we believe, the fullness of truth, Jesus Christ, is present in our Holy Catholic Church:) Most people who misunderstand or misrepresent Mr. Limbaugh have never really taken the time to listen to him on a regular basis...I challenge all those who "rush" to judgment (pun intended) to give him the benefit of doubt by getting to know him as a person by listening to radio show more often! Yes...maybe Rush should have been more prudent in researching the original document Pope Francis wrote before commenting on the Washington Post's article...however...I am happy that Rush opened a door for all of us to dialogue about Pope Francis' comments on the poor and our economic policies. Correct me if I am wrong...but I was taught that the Pope only speaks "infallibly", ex cathedra, concerning issues of "faith & morals" in union with the college of bishops:) What scares me more than Rush's misinterpreted comments is the fact that President Obama is now quoting Pope Francis' encyclical and using it to promote his own, failing economic policies....Lord have mercy!

December 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm PST
#12  Marlene June Eissens - Kenosha, Wisconsin

I'm a fan of Rush. I am becoming a Catholic. I was a protestant. I think there needs to be clarification on The Catholic's Church's seemingly veneration of poverty. I think poverty is an evil upon the planet and usually imposed (upon good people) by a terranical dictator. Why is Pope Francis not addressing the evil behind poverty? Look at the many nations who could easily be leaders in the world, but they are held back by the dictates of their governments. Poverty should not be venerated by Catholic leaders. It should be condemned. There is no reason for people to live in poverty. Hard work and the goods from the land and the creativity of people help any nation become prosperous. Why does it seem The Catholic Church loves poverty?

December 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm PST
#13  James Weston - Newark, Delaware

I believe you are confusing the Popes love and practice of "Poverty of Spirit" with the blight of poverty. Poverty of Spirit asks the Christian to seek detachment from material things, so that his/her heart may be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit where his true attachment should lie. The Pope does embrace the blight of poverty in that we should all be reaching out to the homeless, the poor, the prisoner et al. as Christ taught. This mandate to each of us is an individual mandate therefore he and many religious practice it and it was probably best witnessed by St. Francis, Blessed Mother Teresa along with many other Saints. Both of these Saints were tremendous witnesses for Poverty of Spirit as well. I hope this helps. Congratulations on welcome to the Church.

December 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm PST
#14  Bridget Dow - Louisville, Kentucky

This is very sad and sensitive. Our Pope needs prayers. The article is a socialist spin. Many points were not addressed. The author conveniently avoided the comments the Pope made about trickle down or government involvement. Look how much our government got it wrong and polluted our education system with birth control, abortion, and other falsities. And the last quote, if anyone feels offended..etc means absolutely nothing. It's like telling your spouse that you are leaving them for another, but then saying that that your actions are meant with the deepest love and affection. We will pray for all our shepherds. Amen..

December 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm PST
#15  Chris Landreneau - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

I heard all of the comments Rush said on his program. He said nothing disrespectful. He has great respect for the catholic faith. What Pope Francis stated in Evangelii Gaudium, especially in paragraphs 55-58 does mention "financial reform" & other generalizations about the rich & the poor, but it does not give specifics on who is going to do the financial reform. If its redistribution of wealth, that is not charity. That is forcefully taking from those who have worked hard to earn their keep & giving it to others. I do not see how that is christian. To paint those who have more with a broad brush as somehow being an evil & not supporting the poor I respectfully disagree with. I give to the charities of my choice & sponsor a student in Kenya so she can get an education.
So far what I am hearing from this pope is we should be ashamed of the wealth many of us have worked hard to earn. Sounds very much like Obama when he said, "If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Sorry folks, these statements by Pope Francis I do not have to agree with, & I do so in good conscience, & I have, by the grace of God, a well formed catholic conscience.

December 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm PST
#16  Bridget Dow - Louisville, Kentucky

Totally agree with Chris.

December 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm PST
#17  Robert French - Alexandria, Virginia

Well, I guess I need to be educated. I get that the Church and all Christians should be against greed and excessive consumerism. And no, the Pope is not a Marxist. But what exactly does he propose? He's against "trickle down theories" and says that the facts don't prove that this kind of economics works. But what other kind of economic system lifts people out of poverty? Higher taxes and greater restrictions on businesses in this country have led to higher unemployment. Government-run programs do help some people, obviously, but the intent of this administration seems to be to make people completely dependent on government, while redistributing the wealth that others have worked hard for. Obamacare is the prime example. The subprime mortgage crisis was caused in large measure by this kind of thinking, that banks should be "fair" and make bad loans to people who couldn't pay them back. And today Obama was using the Pope's remarks to promote his own anti-capitalist agenda. While Rush went too far in his remarks, I do not believe the Pope is infallible on matters of economics. Am I wrong?

December 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm PST
#18  Terence Launey - Tucson, Arizona

I agree with Susan Smith above, and I would go so far as to say - the times I have listened to Rush he has defended the Catholic faith more forcefully than most of our Bishops. Regarding this non-faith and morals topic the socialists among our clergy are wrong. It is also a false argument to say because Mother Teresa spent her time with the poorest of the poor she was some how a socialist. She was adamantly anti-communist and anti Marxist. Those are the errors spread upon this world that our Blessed Mother warned us about. We could take care of the poor a thousand times better in a free capitalistic society. And more importantly, the poor could take care of themselves better in a free capitalistic society guided by faith in God. That was the experiment this countries founders were hoping for.
So the Pope is a liberal and some unprincipled politicians will try to exploit that for their own gain. It doesn't diminish our Catholic faith to know that it transcends all politics and maybe the Holy Spirit put him in charge to remind us of that.

December 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm PST
#19  Tom McNally - Gilbert, Arizona

Just so you know, I'm a fence rider. I know from common sense that no liberal or conservative is ever always right. Why? Because they are human and because they have personal interests. So for those who say Rush Limbaugh is always truthful and a positive influence, I say, "Hogwash". I have listened to Rush Limbaugh's conservative bias until I could not stand it any longer. But this is not about Limbaugh's credibility. This is about whether he has made an accurate assessment of the Pope's apostolic exhortation. And as usual he has made the assessment to favor his personal agenda and Liberal beat down tactics.

December 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm PST
#20  Ruth Fitzwater - Lincoln, Nebraska

I wish that Rush was wrong. Like others above I have listened to him for more than two decades, logging in probably thousands of hours. Whatever quarrels I may have with him personally, I have to respect his powers of analysis, and as he repeated, he didn't critique Pope Francis without much much in depth consideration of everything he's done from the beginning of his pontificate.

It troubles me too that from the beginning good people have gone out of their way to defend this pope. He's not JPII or Benedict. As someone said in another blog we'd better start fasting and praying and storming heaven because it looks like there are some changes coming, and it could be that good Pope Francis may usher in some chastisements for the Church. Jesus, mercy!

December 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm PST
#21  Kevin Rilott - Rockford, Illinois

When Francis came out last week and said "Jesus just pretented to be angry" in the Gospel I have a hard time believing Jesus lied in that way.

When Francis said the most important problem in the world is "youth unemployment" I just wonder what the thousands of Christians who are murdered by radical Islam every year think about that or the tens of millions who give up the Catholic faith every year will think of that statment on judgment day.

When Francis said we should not judge homosexaulity....and that statment was directly responsible for Illinois Catholic politicians voting for homosexaul marriage I just wonder if that is really what God wants.

And I am very confused with Pope Francis telling us to stop "obsessing" about abortion.......worldwide we have about 40 million abortions per year. Every year 40 million human beings are murdered by abortion.....every year 40 million parents "choose" to slaughter their own daughter or son.....can you or anyone please tell me besides a few pro-lifes who "obsess" about certinaly is not our Pope or bishops who continue to give ALL our pro-abortion politicians communion and as Cardinal Dolad did last Palm Sunday at St. Patricks in New York personally praise and welcome (from the pulpit) pro-abortion Joe Biden to Mass.

I just don't understand all of this (but obama does, he's come out with statments that he loves this pope).....but I know I will stand with the babies who have been murdered by abortion and the mothers who have been lied to by the culture of death......

December 6, 2013 at 1:12 am PST
#22  Sharon Whitlock - Rockford, Illinois

Go Kevin! God bless you, hero!

I'm sure many of you don't realize that Kevin Rilott has spent years battling against one of the most disturbing and evil abortion clinic owners in the U.S. He has been in arrested many times, not for disobedience, but because the abortionist accused him falsely. Finally a few years ago--Praise God! Kevin and many others who faithfully prayed outside the clinic each week prevailed. The clinic failed several inspections--it was a filthy den--and the clinic owner has kept the place closed.

Kevin Rilott has earned the right to speak and be heard by fellow Catholics and non-Catholic Christians. (We were Kevin Rilott admirers before we ever converted to Catholicism!)

Google "Rockford Illinois abortion clinic" and you'll read a tale of terror that rivals anything that Stephen King has ever written.

I realize that Kevin's good works do not make him an expert on papal oratory. But Kevin and many others "in the trenches" have good reason to be concerned.

So far, the good Pope Francis has been CONFUSING, and Christianity is NOT a religion of confusion.

Yes, there were several stories in our Illinois media that our State reps gave Pope Francis credit for influencing their vote in favor of gay marriage. Our state is a mess, and now this.

Rush Limbaugh is normally a radio/media personality who makes sure that his stories are meticulously-researched. He has an entire staff of people who are responsible for vetting his stories and making sure that he has the facts straight They spend hours studying various media, both online, print, and broadcast.

If Limbaugh and his expert staff can't figure out what the Pope is saying, then how on earth are people like ME supposed to decipher his speeches?!!! :(

Some people say, "Just read the Pope's original speeches and it will all be clear to you. NO, it won't be!! I didn't grow up Catholic, and I don't have the understanding of Catholic "economic" theology, and I know very little about politics in South America.

If I honestly thought that Catholicism was opposed in any way to capitalism and the free market, I'm not so sure I would remain in the Church. Thankfully I know from reading the Catechism that Catholicism is NOT "against" capitalism and the free market, but certain people are using Pope Francis's words to denigrate the great U.S. economic system and make those of us who have succeeded in the U.S. feel like evil people.

Pope Francis and his staff need to make sure that whatever he says or writes is crystal clear such that even a child can understand it. He needs to speak and write in such a way that the media or even the POTUS can't possibly distort it.

December 6, 2013 at 5:26 am PST
#23  Benjamin Lovell - Jordan, New York

It's not just Rush jumping on this topic, as I heard Michael Savage voice his opinion on it as well. I have not read the whole exhortation, but the section in question is in complete harmony with the teachings of the church. See CCC paragraphs 2419-2436.

December 6, 2013 at 7:37 am PST
#24  Armindo Gonzalez - Port Saint Lucie, Florida

It doesn't matter how Pope Francis puts it. It will be manipulated at the liking of the manipulator. It's done with the holy scriptures, was done with Christ and will be done for the ages. It's up to you to find the truth not hear it only from a mouth. Remember that the Pope is guided by the holy spirit and it is human to "research" a truth but one must ask the holy spirit for understanding so we can take view of what the holy spirit is working at time.

December 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm PST
#25  James Weston - Newark, Delaware

Having reviewed these comments I feel compelled to say a few things.
1. There is quite a bit of judgement of Pope Francis in light of less than a year of him in his pontificate. We had 7 years of Pope Benedict and 27 years of Blessed John Paul to form our opinions of their pontificates while we in fact were being formed in our Catholic consciences based on their leadership of the Church. Very clearly not enough time has passed to be really informed at all regarding what he has done and by what the Holy Spirit will lead him to do during this time. We must clearly trust that the Holy Spirit chose him specifically for this time and not frame our judgements on any one issue particularly since the media spins as needed, Catholic Doctrine. Conservative Catholic theologians have been calling for a reform of the Church for many years and clearly marked reform is needed. In light of priestly abuse, the centralization of the Curia and the abuse from with in, on top of the social justice issues of abortion, the abject poverty in the world and in this country ,and the general insecurity of Christianity everywhere especially in the middle east.
2. Pope Francis is an order priest and I expect he will act as he knows and as he practiced in South America. He fought very strongly there against an extremely liberal and progressive political culture and fought equally as hard against the heresy of Post Liberation Theology. As I stated before in a previous post he is doing his best to live out his vow of poverty as the Church calls him to in light of his pontificate.
3. Lastly; last I looked, Rush, whom I have also listened to for quite a few years, was not the Pope. He can pick his daily topics as he chooses when he chooses to advance his political thought as he chooses. Pope Francis has no such luxury. If we are truly Roman Catholics with well formed and informed consciences we would do well to exercise the needed humility to allow our judgements to be formed.

December 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm PST
#26  James Mitchell - Washington, District Of Columbia

Sorry. It is as if Francis is doing everything he can to make sure the world knows absolutely beyond a doubt that he's a socialist, but the Catholic press wants to pretend he's saying something else. Stop covering for him, he's not trying to hide his intense left-wing bias so why should you? So what? We have a socialist pope. Yeah, I feel like I've been dragged down miles of rough road while leftists stomped my head (as Rome cheered them on), but the church has suffered much worse. We've had one Christological heretic pope, another who did disgusting pagan rituals in private, and a few with mistresses and children. It isn't the end of the world. So maybe living in Argentina for years and studying as a Jesuit in that political climate pretty much guarantees you'll be some sort of left-wing statist. Fine.

December 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm PST
#27  James Weston - Newark, Delaware

Please take a good look at Post Liberation Theology, it IS unabashedly Marxist and that is what this Pope fought against for almost 20 years. If you read his very direct responses which are referenceable over the years, to the political leaders of Argentina, and referencing post liberation theology specifically he is clearly unwavering for the freedom of the individual.. Even as a Jesuit he was sometimes an outsider in his own order because of his determined positions, which were neither truly progressive or what we describe as liberal today. Because he lives his vow of poverty doesnt make him a socialist, it actually makes him a true Roman Catholic Priest.

December 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm PST
#28  Sharon Whitlock - Rockford, Illinois

I just don't like feeling so confused. Life is confusing enough. I would prefer that my Papa make things less confusing for me, not more.

December 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm PST
#29  Tunga Lergo - Gainesville, Florida

I admire Rush. He has done more to promote Catholic doctrines than many Catholics. Even people of like minds can't agree all the time; this time it is a matter of rhetoric than substance between the Poe and Rush. I can assure you if Rush read the Gospel of Life, and not relying on commentaries about it, he will realize that he and the Holy Father are not even inches apart: Both seek to protect life at all stages and that ethics of free market cannot be decoupled from respect life philosophy.

It took me years to realize that Rush wasn't a Catholic. Catholics should appreciate what he has done for Christianity, than vilify him for one "disagreement".

December 7, 2013 at 7:59 am PST
#30  Clinton Ufford - Sweet Home, Oregon

Brian Kerzetski .. I have followed Rush for a while ... I used to listen to him when I was active duty Marine Corps ... and if he was so good and full of facts, he'd do his homework with our pope and realize pope Francis is the peace this world needs; as far as humans go ... I do appreciate his Christian stance ... but we as Christians, Protestants and Catholics, ned unity, not separation. We are this worlds answer, not misinformed, poorly guided catechesis. My comparison between Piers Morgan and Rush Limbaugh is a secular comparison: they both talk political nonsense more than do ANY good for God. There is no right and wrong side of a secular agenda without God at its core. How can we say the pope is "liberal?" How can we say he's "conservative?" These are terms thrown around from political opinions ... the pope is our earthly leader. His example should be followed, not some president with a right or left agenda. God is our answers and Christ is our path, the pope knows this and proclaims this. Unfortunately, we have Democrat and Republican Catholics, why can't we just stand for Christ? This is what the pope is doing ...

December 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm PST
#31  Steven Nickels - St. Johns, Florida

On his radio show I heard Rush Limbaugh even went as far as saying the pope had a Marxist-thinking writer produce the apostolic exhortation.

December 10, 2013 at 7:42 am PST
#32  Leslie Cheathem - Dalton, Georgia

I will never forget early on how Pope Francis told us to defend the unborn...he said "even if they kill you...". He stated his feelings on abortion very strongly and I thanked God for it! There is no confusion for me on what our Pope means. When he says there is too much focus on the issues, I get it. I know of quite a few Churches where the podium is used for yelling about the issues of today much too often. And I mean consistent yelling. I agree that we do need to hear from our priests on standing up for those who cannot defend themselves, but not so very consistently, nor does the tone have to be so bitter. We also need to hear about the love of God and so many other of Christ's teachings. From what I have read and heard that is what Pope Francis is saying. We need balance. And he does not exclude himself from his teachings. There are some people who are very giving, but can we do more? Surely we can. That's all he meant. I agree he needs to be a bit more concise in regard to some issues he's discussed, but he's human like the rest of us. It's very easy to be misunderstood especially in this day and age. But I, among many, fail to see where the confusion is here. He's saying surely we can do more for the poor, and surely we can and not by forcing someone else to be charitable. I don't hear socialism within his message. He's practicing what he preaches...he's speaking up for the poor. Is there room for improvement within the Pope? Of course...but, I've never seen a modern example of Christ's love quite like him. He has me examining my Christian walk more than I ever have. And just because he's from a place with liberal leanings does not define him. Consideration of everything he says should be exercised and carefully, just as we would appreciate it if others would be careful to judge our words and consider everything we have said, not just bits and pieces. And that, I'm sure, Rush Limbaugh would also appreciate.

December 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm PST
#33  Tom Malinich - Williamsville, NY, New York

Before Limbaugh ever spoke, I have been worried about the slow liberalization of our Church, especially the American Church. I am still fuming over Cardinal Dolan's initial support of Obamacare, and now his sudden opposition. It doesn't help when he adds one of the sticking points is that Obamacare doesn't pay for healthcare of illegal aliens. Sunday after Sunday, I sit at mass and listen to many priests talk about "safe" issues, and almost never defend the Church's teachings about birth control, homosexuality, or abortion. Many priests have taken swipes at capitalism and I have never heard one defend how our country elevated the standard of living for all of our poor. Many "poor" in the US have cars, air conditioning, state of the art cell phones, flat screen TV, free housing, and a host of other goodies that no other poor Catholic in the world has!

Granted, I don't agree with everything Limbaugh said about this issue and understand many of the points of the Pope. I also think he is a wonderful humanitarian and example. Yet, I must applaud Limbaugh for even bringing this up, because I have no idea why Pope Francis feels compelled to bring up this issue as compared to a host of other pressing issues.

As a Catholic, I feel somewhat betrayed and unappreciated by our leadership (mostly American as opposed to Vatican), except when it comes time to donate, and then I am inundated with calls to donate more money. Leave Limbaugh alone, he's not Catholic, not a political or religious leader, and yet has been an outspoken defender of our faith!

December 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm PST
#34  Franklins Tower - west jordan, Utah

Personally I am amazed at the amount of Rush Limbaugh support on this sight. I cant stand to listen to him even when I agree with him. Have we become so blind that we fail to see pure bluster, arrogance, anger, pride, prejudice, and self interest as is demonstrated by Rush Limbaugh. I feel like I am sinning just listening to him go on about anything at all. Rush Limbaugh is poison and if you cant taste that on your lips after listening to him then I think you have become blind or just plain saturated to the point of tolerance. There is no point when he is speaking when I can say he is not bearing false witness and greedily promoting his own world view at the expense and slander of others. Shame on all of you who defend him even if you agree with his politics as I often do.

December 12, 2013 at 11:51 pm PST
#35  Joseph Freeman - St. Louis, Missouri

I think there needs to be some clarification on this. Pope Francis has been working on two different fronts: infallible church teachings and an outreach program to connect with individuals to return to the one holy catholic apostolic church.
If one read his interview which was posted on American magazine, he was regarding the church as a field hospital and we must tend to people's wounds. It makes no sense to explain they have high cholesterol when they are bleeding. Pope Francis is doing just this when he talks about not focusing just on a few items such as abortion, homosexuality, etc. He is reaching out to these individuals to heal them of their sin and help them; then we can talk about the doctrine of our faith as their wounds are healed and we have demonstrated the compassion of Christ to them.
As for politicians taking his words and twisting them for their own devices... Why is that surprising? We have come to expect nothing less from them and the fact that we keep electing people like them over and over exposes our fault in this matter not theirs.
Finally, I will say I am hopeful the hypocrisy such as Cardinal Dolan welcoming and providing the Holy Eucharist to Joe Biden will come to an end under this pope. The idea the healthcare mandate was good until it didn't do the things he wanted it to do is again hypocritical and arrogant. Please show leadership! The leaders of dioceses such as Cardinal Dolan have come to represent more of a political presence than a religious/faithful presence. Think of "I was for it before I was against it".
I for one was a big admirer of the courage and stand of faithfulness St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke took when he publicly stated he would deny the Eucharist to politicians who publicly supported abortion. We need more leaders like this to show us how to stand up for our faith.
Please be patient with Pope Francis and pray for him. We are in difficult times and I'm hopeful he is the Pope to lead his flock back to Christ-like behavior and reform the church to return to the teaching and dispensing of Christ's love and compassion as it should.

December 13, 2013 at 9:04 am PST
#36  Peter Scarpelli - Pleasanton, California

I am with Sharon (comment #28 above), I am so confused! As a cradle Catholic, who got away from the church and decided to create God in my image instead of me in His, I am finally back and am doing all I can to "come up to speed" - reading scripture daily, reading the CCC daily, praying the Rosary daily, reading other books about Catholicism daily, and then I read articles and comments on here and I want to pull my hair out - I am bald so don't worry about that part :-). Is Pope Francis good for the Catholic Church or is he bad for it? Is Pope Francis Marxist or not? Does Pope Francis think "rich" people are good or bad? Is he helping or hurting the Catholic Church. Is he misunderstood because of the language barrier or are Catholics apologizing for him? I do not know but possibly I am too "green" in my knowledge and understanding to even be on this site. Maybe it is best if I just stick to my daily regimen and hope that the path I am on is the right one. I like the people at Catholic Answers (the ones I have heard on the radio at least, and they have helped my growth) however I wonder why they do not look at these posts and answer some of them - maybe they merely feel the dialogue is good and having the post devolve in to a back and forth would be worse. I get that, I just feel overwhelmed right now and the funny thing is I decided to jump onto this site today (Jan 1, 2014) in order to start the new year off with more growth in my Faith and now I am feeling like it was not a good idea! If any of you have any heart felt advice for a person beginning his journey all over again feel free to email me [email protected], I love and enjoy well informed and knowledgeable Catholics who provide info/insight out of love and respect and hope to be in a place where I can return the favor someday.

January 1, 2014 at 7:09 am PST
#37  nino Garofola - Kalamazoo, Michigan

I find it laughable the mental gymnastics that you go through to find fault with Rush's assessment of the Holy Fathers statement on capitalism. First of all Rush is coming at this from a purely capitalists point of view which has the backing of history as being the fairest economic system in a human world affected by original sin. ( It is up to the Church to stimulate charity within the church masses to make up for what is lacking due to human frailty). Second, this is the 7th Holy Father in my lifetime and the first one who has had to have so many of the intelligentsia scrambling to tell us all what he really meant. I would be more concerned with praying for our Holy Father to be able to communicate his ideas better. He deserves the respect of truly listening to his words but we do not need to blindly follow his words and do these "what he really meant to say" girations if he is not addressing faith and morals.

January 17, 2014 at 7:53 pm PST
#38  Philip Boese - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Perhaps Pope Francis is hard to understand because of the way his words are reported to us through the media. I think Francis is probably concerned, as many others are, about the growing inequality of wealth. Capitalism can be many things. Properly regulated by the laws of government, it is likely the best system available. When regulation becomes lax, abuses begin to occur. Monopolies had to be 'busted'. When corruption becomes embedded in the system, when the wealthy can purchase influence with lawmakers through campaign contributions, the abuses multiply. When the tax code so favors the wealthy that their wealth increases rapidly while ordinary peoples' income is flat in the face of rising prices, injustice is happening. When the profits of capitalism for the wealthy are great but there are not jobs for the many, injustice is happening. When the American dream is no longer possible, we must recognize that some of the decisions and actions of our government have brought this about. I believe that well-regulated capitalism will serve Americans well, but crony capitalism soon becomes criminal capitalism that we see operating today. We need reform of free trade policies that have cost millions of American jobs and we especially need reform of campaign finance that has made billionaires' money more important than citizens' votes in elections. We need honesty and fairness restored in our government, but with the amount of misinformation flooding the airways, I doubt that will be able to happen.

January 26, 2014 at 11:55 am PST
#39  Grace Miller - Mesa, Arizona

Trent, why isn't your blog title, "Washington Post" or "Liberal Media doesn't get Pope Francis." Rush is not a Catholic apologist; that's your job. Rush just commented on the media report. According to the AP, Pope Francis is talking more government redistribution again. Providing for those unable to provide for themselves is one thing. Forcefully taking from those who have to give to those who have less to equal out results is something else.

May 10, 2014 at 11:50 am PST
#40  Natalie Kellogg - Ladson, South Carolina

Trent Horn Doesn’t Get Rush Limbaugh

I don’t think that a condescending article about Rush Limbaugh is the best way to evangelize an already extremely divided country. There is nothing wrong with Rush inquiring Pope Francis’s comments on how the economy should function, especially when terms like “inordinate consumption” and “unbridled consumerism” are used in Evangelii Gaudium. I would also like to note that we don’t live in a free market society as it stands now. Your article did not bring any real solutions to the table, just more vague ideas with a pompous attitude.

July 7, 2014 at 10:42 am PST
#41  Michael Rogala - Chicago, Illinois

"I would not consider Rush to be Radical at all just a constitutional conservative"

With that level of diplomacy, I think blogger Ron Arnold should supplant John Kerry for Secretary of State.

Personally, I think Rush is what the Brits would call a "nutter."

August 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm PST

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