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Pope Francis’ capitalism remarks concern investors of St. Patrick's renovation

An investor of the renovations occurring in St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC is concerned over some of Pope Francis' capitalism remarks.
Deirdre Haggerty

On Tuesday CNBC aired an interview with Cardinal Dolan who deflected a statement made by Ken Langone, billionaire, and organizer of the campaign to raise funds toward the renovation of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Investors of the multi-million dollar project have voiced concerns over Pope Francis’ remarks on capitalism, the poor and the economy as well as the Pontiff’s vociferous critique regarding the wealthy and a throwaway society.

Pope Francis has been a champion of the people, notably the poor, since his election in March and praised by many Catholics as reaching out to the Church and the world on every level. The Pontiff and his “Evangelii Gaudium”, Pope Francis’ first Apostolic Exhortation, was severely criticized by Rush Limbaugh during the latter part of 2013 and in turn Pope Francis labeled a Marxist

In an interview in an Italian paper, Pope Francis defended the Exhortation as relating specifically to the Church’s social doctrine. However, CNBC reported many wealthy capitalists in New York City, specifically those responsible for the funding of the restoration to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, have frowned upon Pope Francis’ remarks.

The project has been estimated at $180 million dollars, of which approximately $100 million has been raised thus far. Kenneth Langone, Home Depot founder and devout Catholic, has spearheaded the crusade to raise funds for St. Pat’s renovation.

According to CNBC, Langone has stated a seven-figure investor voiced alarm over Pope Francis’ economic views, which he expressed to Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

I've told the Cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don't have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don't act the same as rich in another country. We sense the Pope is less enthusiastic about us. We need to correct that.'

CNBC reporter, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, sat down with Cardinal Dolan to discuss the philanthropist’s trepidation, and he made clear that Pope Francis loves all people, regardless of their financial status. Issues arise when money is worshipped.

Ken, that would be a misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s message. You would find Pope Francis saying look, both extremes of the marketplace, in other words, unfettered, cut-throat capitalism on one hand, or total socialism on the other, both of those don't work, both of those are wrong. Somewhere between those two, the via media, prudentially, is where the economy should be. So we (the Catholic Church) get blasted from both sides. We're not economists, we are moralists. If it (money) becomes a god, if it becomes an idol, Pope Francis is saying, then it's wrong, because there is only one God. If we use money for our own selves and our families for a secure and safe present and future, if we use it to reinvest in the community, to help others and share with the poor, then it's morally good. And in general, I find that in the United States.

Cardinal Dolan went on to state if he could explain the above to the concerned investor of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral project, then he could assuage his fear and convince him Pope Francis’ heart is in the right place.

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