A group of Catholic theologians and professors backed by Ralph Nader has penned a letter to billionaire Ken Langone criticizing him for comments he made to CNBC about potential church fundraising problems, and asking him to join a campaign to raise the minimum wage.
In a CNBC exclusive the week of New Year's Eve, Langone, who is spearheading fundraising efforts for the $180 million renovation of St. Patrick's Cathedral, said that at least one potential 7-figure donor had expressed concerns about Pope Francis' negative comments about the wealthy. Langone said he had approached Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the New York Archdiocese, to tell him the comments might hurt fundraising efforts.
Ralph Nader (L) and Ken Langone (R)Getty Images (L) | Adam Jeffery | CNBC (R)
In a more than 200-page exhortation in November, the pope criticized the wealthy, what he called "deified markets," and "an economy that kills."
Nader's group, called "Time for a Raise Campaign," wrote in the letter to Langone, "The Pope's statements do not seem excessively negative in tone relative to passages from the Bible itself regarding the rich and the poor." (Click here for the full text of the letter.)
Langone, who is best known for founding Home Depot, was traveling overseas and unavailable for comment.