With the measured patience of a true saint, Pope Francis responded to allegations that he was a Marxist, by stating to Italian news outlet La Stampa,
Marxist ideology is wrong, but I know many Marxists who are good people, so I don’t feel offended … there is nothing in the exhortation that cannot be found in the social doctrine of the church.
The statement comes following criticism from conservative pundits, most notably, Rush Limbaugh, who took umbrage with the Pope’s statements which condemned unfettered market capitalism and called for the world to refocus on helping the poor. In what would appear to be an evolving struggle for control of the definition of Christian and Catholic social doctrine, numerous conservative commentators have recently attacked the Pope for his often populist, some-might-say progressive views on social and economic matters.
Recently, former Alaska Governor and one time Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin made headlines when she stated that she was “taken aback” by what she saw as the Pope’s “kind of liberal” statements, such as the importance of equality, fairness and economic security for the vulnerable peoples of the world.
As conservatives continue to pile their criticisms and attacks on the pontiff, many progressives throughout the world are finding him to be (surprisingly, in some cases,) more and more of an ally in the struggles for economic and social justice.
And for others, simply knowing that Rush is upset and Sarah is confused, are reasons enough appreciate this open minded and unabashed spiritual leader.