June 29, 2017
Bernie Sanders Praises Pope Francis - Denies Inviting Himself To Vatican Just Days Before The New York Primary

Bernie Sanders is headed to Vatican City as soon as he finishes debating Hillary Clinton on April 14. Just days prior to his trip, Sanders opened up about Pope Francis and praised the Catholic leader for the stance he has taken to fight poverty throughout the world. Sanders will leave just days before the prized New York primary, a move some have criticized while others see just how valuable an invite from the pope really can be.

"I must tell you that I am a very great fan of the role that Pope Francis has been playing in talking about inequality in this world," Sanders said during a campaign stop in New York City on Saturday. "He has been out there talking about the need for a moral economy... an economy in which we have a moral responsibility to pay attention to what he calls 'the dispossessed.'"

The Washington Post reported that Sanders gave his praise for Pope Francis just one day after making it known that he would be headed for the Vatican next week. Bernie has been invited to speak at the Vatican about income inequality.

Bernie Sanders has been criticized for his willingness to leave New York and head for the Vatican just days before the very important New York primary. While Bernie's popularity in New York is on the rise, his plan to visit the Vatican is actually great press for the New York primary and could easily boost the numbers of Bernie supporters at the polls on April 19.

Press from an event such as the conference at the Vatican can do wonders for Bernie Sanders' campaign, which is why Bloomberg printed a story claiming that the Vermont senator wasn't invited by Pope Francis after all. "Sanders made the first move, for the obvious reasons," Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "He may be going for the Catholic vote but this is not the Catholic vote and he should remember that and act accordingly -- not that he will."

After accusing Sanders of inviting himself to the summit, Archer then admitted that he never contacted her office. "The president of the academy organizing this event has not been contacted, with monumental discourtesy," Archer said.

Michael Briggs, a spokesperson for Bernie Sanders' campaign, fired back at Margaret Archer, calling her claims "categorically untrue." He continued to argue that an invitation for Bernie to attend was extended to him by the Vatican. Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, also spoke out in Bernie's defense and said that the trip was not planned in order to garner more votes in the New York primary.

After Archer accused Sanders of contacting the Vatican in hopes of getting an invite just "days ago," Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo admitted in a phone interview that he was the one to extend the invitation. "We are interested in having him because we have two presidents coming from Latin America. I thought it would be good to have an authoritative voice from North America," Sanchez Sorondo said.

Since Bernie Sanders was accused of inviting himself to the Vatican, his campaign made a copy of his invitation public. It was dated March 30 and was signed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. Although a meeting with Pope Francis would be amazing for Bernie Sanders, so far that is not in the plan.

[Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images]