Sanders makes a speech at the Vatican and visits briefly with Pope Francis.

Ever since Bernie Sanders's campaign announced his trip to Rome to deliver a ten-minute speech at a conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, speculation has been ripe on whether he would meet with the Pope or not. A lot of people called the move political, and there even has been rumors floating around that Sanders himself fished out the invitation to the conference for political gain. Sanders, at that time, rubbished all the rumors, stating that the reason why he accepted the invitation from the Vatican was because of his deepest admiration for Pope Francis, and all the works he has been doing ever since becoming the Pope.

Sanders did deliver his speech at the conference last Friday, however, the Pope was not present in the audience. The Pontiff later sent a handwritten letter to the conference attendees, apologizing for his absence, and telling them that he will keep them all in his prayers and good wishes. Sanders, who has been hoping to meet with Pope Francis, was obviously disappointed. A lot of people, including himself, thought that somehow an opportunity to meet with the Pope would present itself because of two factors. One, his host Bishop Marcelo Sánchez's close friendship with the Pope, and second, the fact that he has been staying close to the Pope's residence.

Resigning to the fact that he may not be able to meet with the Pope, after all, Sanders, after the conference, made an appointment for dinner at the Casa Santa Marta. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Sanders's foreign policy adviser, and his wife joined Sanders and his wife at the dinner. They were then joined by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, the right-hand man of Pope Francis, and Bishop Sanchez Sorondo. While they were discussing the history of the Church, Pope Francis's personal secretary arrived and informed Sanders that the Pope would be able to speak with him briefly the next day at 6 a.m., at the foyer of the Casa Santa Marta, on his way to the airport for his trip to Greece.

As planned, Bernie Sanders met with Pope Francis on Saturday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Vatican did not permit any photography of the meeting. An ecstatic Sanders later told the reporters, on his way back to New York that, he conveyed his great admiration for the Pope and his works, during the brief meeting.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter