Some think there is a connection, but, as this article from The Wanderer notes, the connection is with Catholicism.

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An excerpt from The Wanderer article.

Is the Pope a Marxist? You are hearing the charge more and more frequently of late, especially in the wake of Pope Francis’ visit to South America in early July. The headline in The New York Times on July 12 read: “In a Fiery Speech, Francis Excoriates Capitalism.” The article went on to quote Francis’ remarks in a speech in Asuncion, Paraguay, where he described the unfettered pursuit of money as “the dung of the devil.” The Times called attention to Francis’ insistence that “poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labor for developed countries.”

Prominent defenders of free market theory, such as Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation and Rush Limbaugh, have responded. Moore, a Catholic, has called the Pope’s “vocal skepticism about capitalism and free enterprise…very troubling.” Limbaugh used the term “pure Marxism” to describe some of Francis’ comments about economic inequality.

Moore’s and Limbaugh’s reactions deserve to be taken seriously. We should listen to the case they make. And respond that they should know better: Not every criticism of global capitalism is motivated by Marxist beliefs.

Moore and Rush should know that the Church’s social teachings have rejected since the 19th century an extreme and doctrinaire form of free-market economics, which the Church has labeled “economic individualism.” Others use the term “social Darwinism,” for this view that the government has no responsibility to provide a safety net for those left behind in a market economy.

It is not a figment of someone’s imagination that there are people who call themselves “capitalists” who seriously think that the world would be a better place if the poor were left to die out, that their plight is “not my problem”; that applying the rule of the survival of the fittest makes sense in the human world, as well as among animals. I have known a few such individuals.

The principle of “subsidiarity” found in the social encyclicals condemns totalitarian socialism, but it also condemns a dog-eat-dog pursuit of profit by private business owners that ignores the legitimate needs of their workers and society as a whole. It calls for government intervention in the economy to protect the private property rights of smaller companies confronting corporate power. You can get the specifics, scripture and verse, if you will, in Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum, Paul VI’s 1967 Populorum Progressio, and John Paul II’s 1991 Centesimus Annus.

There will be no mistaking what you will find in those encyclicals: The Church calls for the state to play a role in the pursuit of social justice on economic matters. The principle of subsidiarity articulated in the Church’s social teachings insists that the state should intervene to regulate private businesses when the “lesser agencies” in society — private charities, trade unions, civic and business associations, and local governments, for example — have proven inadequate to the task at hand. When big government is necessary, it is necessary.

When should the central government step in? When should it not? The social encyclicals do not provide the yardstick for us. Individual Catholics, acting in good faith and with their knowledge of economics and the historical record, are left morally free in the social encyclicals to make the case for a greater or lesser role to be played by the state, to quote economists on both the left and the right all they want in the process.

Some observers make the case that Pope Francis’ Argentine background is responsible for his openness to government regulation of the economy, specifically the legacy of Argentine dictator Juan Peron. Nick Miroff makes this case persuasively in the August 2 edition of The Washington Post. Maybe there is something to that. “Peronism” advocated a strong role for the central government and an identification with the needs of the working class and the trade union movement in Argentina.

But I would argue that the future Pope, as a young Argentinean, was as likely to be influenced by the distributist theories of G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and Heinrich Pesch circulating in Catholic circles at the time. Many observers have argued that “Peronism” in Argentina was an attempt, perhaps a clumsy and questionably motivated attempt, to apply these principles.

Chesterton, Pesch, and Belloc sought to illustrate what the social teachings of the Church would look like if they were put in place in an actual economy; they all called for government intervention to prevent unjust concentrations of economic power and to preserve the private property rights of small businesses. There is nothing “Marxist” about protecting the private property rights of small businesses.

Retrieved September 2, 2015 from