"It wasn't a question of, 'Are we Jewish?'" Larry Sanders said. "It was just as uncontested as saying you're an American."
Still, Larry Sanders clarified that Bernie is "quite substantially not religious." Sanders' wife Jane was raised Catholic, but USA Today reported that Jane Sanders no longer actively participates in organized religion either. According to Jane Sanders, Bernie has his own tradition for kicking off winter. Jane Sanders told Mark Halperin on With All Due Respect that for over three decades, Bernie Sanders and one of his friends have thrown a holiday party for low income families in Vermont.
Christmas Day isn't the first time that Sanders has referenced the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
"Bernie Sanders loves to bring up Pope Francis in his campaign speeches," Fusion writer Jennifer C. Martin wrote during the campaign season. "The two share a lot in common: both are beloved figures fighting for seemingly more progressive values for archaic, distrusted institutions."
"I think everyone believes in God in their own ways," Sanders told The Washington Post while campaigning. "To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together."
"For a Jewish guy who isn't into organized religion, Sen. Bernie Sanders spends a lot of time talking about the pope," USA Today's Nicole Gaudiano wrote in 2015, before the first nominating contest was held. "The Vermont independent drops Pope Francis' teachings into conversation and speeches, posts his comments on social media and highlights news stories about him on his website."
"This pope has been extremely articulate in addressing some of the major economic and spiritual crises and environmental crises that our planet is currently facing," Sanders explained at the time. "I get blown away and deeply impressed by a lot of what he says."
Inquisitr reported earlier this year that Bernie Sanders left the campaign trail just before the New York primary after he was invited by The Vatican to participate in a meeting about economic issues and social justice. Sanders and his family stayed the night in the guesthouse where Pope Francis actually lives and Bernie was able to briefly exchange pleasantries with Pope Francis before returning to the campaign trail. No photographs were taken during the that encounter, which led to social media speculation that the encounter did not actually occur. The New York Times reported that photographs are not permitted at the Vatican City guesthouse. Pope Francis confirmed that he spoke with Sanders briefly. An Il Messaggero report stated at that time that that Pope Francis decided to break from an existing rule, which stated that the Holy See should not meet with any candidate. The Pope made an exception in order to meet with Sen. Sanders, the Italian report stated. Pope Francis did not discuss politics with Sen. Sanders.