Marxists, Marxist ideas and Marxist regimes have brought death and destruction to millions. Yet according to Pope Francis, “if anything, the communists think like Christians.” What’s going on here?
Within the first year of his pontificate, Francis’s strong criticisms of economic globalization and capitalism resulted in him being accused of having Marxist sympathies. Such charges, however, are demonstrably false.
For one thing, Francis has specified that Communism is a mistaken idea. Back in a 2013 interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, the pope stated that “Marxist ideology is wrong.” Likewise, the Argentine home-grown “theology of the people” which has influenced Francis’s thought explicitly rejects Marxist philosophy and analysis. Nor has Francis hesitated to canonize Catholics martyred by Communist regimes. He’s even conferred a cardinal’s hat upon an Albanian priest, Father Ernest Troshani Simoni, who was twice sentenced to death by Enver Hoxha’s dictatorship — one of the very worst Communist regimes. These aren’t the words or actions of a Communist fellow-traveler or apologist.
Nevertheless, in the same interview in which Francis described Communism as wrong, he immediately added, “But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people.” One wonders if the pope would say something similar, for example, about Nazis: “But I have met many Nazis in my life who are good people.”
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