In a 15 December 2013 article by Reuters, which was entitled “‘I’m no Marxist’, Pope Francis tells conservative critics“, Reuters correspondent, Giampiero Sposito, wrote (with emaphasis in bold added):
“Pope Francis, responding to conservative criticisms that his economic and social ideas smack of communism, said in an Italian newspaper interview on Sunday that he is not a Marxist but that even Marxists can be good people.”
However, on a careful reading of the article, it seems that the Pope DID NOT say that he is not a Marxist. Rather, this is what Pope Francis was reported to have said:
“Marxist ideology is wrong. But in my life I have known many Marxists who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.“
Indeed, in May this year, the Pope seemed to have broken protocol by inviting Peruvian theologian, Gustavo Gutiérrez, to Rome as a key speaker at a Vatican event.
According to The Guardian, Gutiérrez had for decades been treated with suspicion and even contempt by the Vatican’s hierarchy, which saw him as a dangerous Marxist firebrand who used faith as an instrument of revolution.
Then, just last Wednesday, the Pope raised many eyebrows by accepting a communist crucifix from Bolivian president Evo Morales during his South American pilgrimage.
According to The Guardian, the crucifix was a replica of one designed by a Jesuit priest, the Reverend Luís Espinal, who was tortured and killed by Bolivian paramilitary squads in 1980.
The pope — who incidentally is also a Jesuit — noted that Espinal had sympathies with the Marxist interpretation of Liberation Theology, which at that time was widely popular in South America. However, instead of criticising Espinal for his Marxist leanings, the Pope seemed to emphatise with him by saying: “But, it was his life, it was his thought. He was a special man, with so much human geniality, who fought in good faith, no?”.
As for the communist crucifix, according to Catholic News Agency, the Pope viewed it as “protest art”.
“I understand this work. For me it wasn’t an offense,” he said, and added that he was taking the crucifix back to Rome with him.
So, is Pope Francis marxist?
Capitalist business magazine, Forbes, certainly thinks so and in a 2013 article entitled “Top Ten Reasons Why Rush Limbaugh Is Right: The Pope’s Statement IS Marxist“, the magazine provided ten perspectives which Pope Francis and Marx have in common: