What Do The Catholic Church And Marxism Have In Common?

A man holds a crucifix during a Pentecost vigil prayer lead by Pope Francis at Rome's Circus Maximus, Saturday, June 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A man holds a crucifix during a Pentecost vigil prayer lead by Pope Francis at Rome's Circus Maximus. Andrew Medichini / AP Photo
A man holds a crucifix during a Pentecost vigil prayer lead by Pope Francis at Rome's Circus Maximus, Saturday, June 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A man holds a crucifix during a Pentecost vigil prayer lead by Pope Francis at Rome's Circus Maximus. Andrew Medichini / AP Photo

What Do The Catholic Church And Marxism Have In Common?

The 2016 presidential election had the highest Catholic turnout for a Republican in years, with 60 percent of white Catholics voting for Donald Trump. But months before the election, Pope Francis suggested Trump’s policies were “not Christian.” 

In a 2013 apostolic exhortation largely regarded as anti-capitalist, the Pope says “no to a financial system which rules rather than serves.” Pope Francis is said to have been inspired by Marxist thinkers like Dorothy Day and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez. 

But, particularly in the West, Catholicism and Marxism don’t traditionally intersect, even though they both claim a moral standing against greed and inequality.  

Chase Padusniak is a PhD candidate at Princeton University says a lot of that has to do with how the Soviet Union and other authoritarian Communist countries co-opted Marx to the exclusion of religious people. In an article for Patheos, Padusniak says that Marxism provides “a rigorous framework for understanding current conditions, helping Catholic thinkers approach the problem of governance all the more powerfully.” Padusniak joins Worldview to discuss Catholicism and Marx.