Bernie Sanders Announces Speech at the Vatican, But Will He Meet Pope Francis?

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Bernie Sanders to speak at the Vatican.

It has not been confirmed whether Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election, would meet with Pope Francis, however, he is slated to give a speech at a conference to be held at the Vatican city.

The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) will host the conference on economic, social, and environmental issues. PASS is a scholarly association in the Vatican City. The late Pope John Paul II established it in 1994.

Initially, there was a confusion regarding who invited Sanders to the conference. The Vatican Press Office said it did not invite Sanders to the conference, nor did they schedule a meeting with Pope Francis. The office said the invitation came from PASS itself. What prompted the Vatican Press Office to clear the air was the fact that Sanders, at first, did not correct the interviewers who suggested a possible meeting with the Pontiff.

Everybody started assuming that Sanders would meet with the Pope. Later, Sanders said that he had not confirmed whether he would be meeting with Pope Francis, which is why he did not say anything when a meeting with the Pope was suggested during the interview.

Margaret Archer, President of PASS, said that it was Sanders himself, who had actively solicited the invitation to the conference, for political gain. She said Sanders is eying the Catholic vote. A meeting with Pope Francis, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, may give Sanders an electoral boost.

However, this was later denied by Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of PASS, and a senior papal official. He said the idea to invite Bernie Sanders was his. Sanders did not invite himself to the conference.

Sanders holds the same view as that of the Pontiff when it comes to the world economy and unemployment. According to Sanders, Pope Francis has succeeded in injecting a moral consequence into today's world economy. He said he has great admiration for the Pope, for speaking openly about income inequality. However, when it comes to issues regarding gay rights and the rights of women, Sanders said he does not agree with the Pope.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 70 percent of Catholic Democrats prefer Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders as the President of the United States. There is no love lost between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. However, Sanders hates the two Republican candidates more than he hates Hillary Clinton.

According to him, “On her worst day, she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates,” in reference to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

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