ATLANTA – Home Depot founder and lifelong Catholic Ken Langone recently expressed concern over Pope Francis’ criticisms of capitalism and the extremely rich, and said he thought it would be better for everyone if the next Pontiff were an extravagantly wealthy American.
“If the Pope had a lot of money, then He wouldn’t be bad-mouthing the wealthy so much, which would go a long way towards giving rich people a more favorable view of Him. In fact, it’d probably be best if the next Pope were an American,” said Langone. “Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country. [There is a] vast difference between the Pope’s experience in Argentina and how we are in America. There is no nation on earth that is so forthcoming, so giving [than America].”
Langone claimed that the Pope’s constant struggle against income inequality had caused at least one potential seven-figure donor to be wary of donating for the Church’s restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The anonymous donor was especially concerned about His Holiness’ claim that the “culture of prosperity” has led to rich people being “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”
“Frankly, that’s ridiculous,” he said. “I have lots of rich friends who love poor people. I mean we hire poor people to cook our meals, do our laundry, raise our kids. You can’t feel anything but compassion for your live-in staff. If the Pope had servants of his own, he’d understand all this.”
Langone said he’d spoken with Cardinal Timothy Dolan on the subject, and asked if there were any rich Americans who might be in the running for Pope any time soon. Dolan acknowledged that he spoke with Langone, and told him Langone is misunderstanding the message of Pope Francis. “[The Holy Father] loves poor people. He also loves rich people,” said Cardinal Dolan. “We’ve got to correct – to make sure this gentleman [the anonymous donor] understands the Holy Father’s message properly. We also need to make sure he makes that seven-figure donation.”