HomeWorldPope Francis: Mixing 'Marxist concepts' with the Catholic Church is 'ideological exploitation'

Pope Francis: Mixing ‘Marxist concepts’ with the Catholic Church is ‘ideological exploitation’

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Pope Francis criticized the “ideological exploitation” of the Catholic Church in an interview with the news authority of his native country.

Pope Francisco he made the comment to Argentina’s national news agency Télam in an interview on Friday. Questions and discussion were conducted in Pope Francis’ native language, Spanish.

Asked about the pope’s decade of service in the papacy and his legacy, the interviewer touched on Pope Francis’ roots in Argentina and asked how his Latin American background has affected his reign.

The pontiff praised the history of the church in South America and its unique closeness to the people.


Pope Francis is helped by his aide Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, left, as he walks with a cane to his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on June 1, 2022.
(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

“The Latin American church has a long history of being close to the people. If we review the episcopal conferences —the first in Medellin, then Puebla, Santo Domingo and Aparecida— they were always in dialogue with the people of God”. Pope Francis said. “And that really helped. It’s a popular church in the truest sense of the word. It’s a church of God’s people.”

However, the Pope made a distinction between the proximity of the South American church to the people and the political corruption of the church.

“That was altered when people could not express themselves, and it ended up becoming a church of route leaders, with pastoral agents in charge,” the Pope clarified. “People began to express themselves more and more about their religion, and they ended up becoming the protagonists of their own history.”

Pope Francis specifically mentioned “liberation theology” inspired by Marxism, a socio-religious movement in Latin America that conflates communist belief systems with the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis arrives in a wheelchair for an audience with nuns and religious superiors in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall on May 5, 2022.

Pope Francis arrives in a wheelchair for an audience with nuns and religious superiors in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on May 5, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)


“There have been attempts at ideologization, such as the use of Marxist concepts in the analysis of reality by liberation theology. That was an ideological exploitation, a way of liberation, let’s say, of the Latin American popular church. But there is a difference between the people and populism,” the Pope said.

The pope has walked a long and difficult line with Catholic politics and theology, criticizing both unbridled capitalism and communism as the antithesis of the Christian message.

His sympathies for left-wing populist groups in South America have led to accusations of Marxist beliefs.

Pope Francis delivers the Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on December 25, 2021.

Pope Francis delivers the Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on December 25, 2021.
(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Cardinal Joseph Zen, an anti-communist activist in Hong Kong who was arrested by the Chinese Communist Party, is a devoted supporter of Pope Francis but has openly questioned whether the pope sees the communists as “the good guys.”

“Pope Francis comes from South America, where the communists are the good guys who defend the poor from the oppression of military regimes in collusion with the rich, so that he can have sympathy for them,” Zen speculated. “He has no experience directly from communists in power, oppressors of the peoples”.


The pope has spoken out against liberation theology for decades, criticizing the mixing of church theology with politics.

“After the collapse of ‘real socialism,’ these currents of thought sank into confusion,” the pope wrote at the opening of a 2005 book on the Latin American church. “Incapable of radical reformulation or new creativity, they survived by inertia, although there are still some who, anachronistically, would like to propose it again.”

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