The Sanders campaign made the announcement on Friday as the senator made the rounds of the morning television news programs. Mr. Sanders will take a break from campaigning in New York, just days ahead of the April 19 primary there, to meet with the pope, then attend a conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on social, economic and environmental issues.
“I am delighted to have been invited by the Vatican to a meeting on restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy,” Mr. Sanders said in a statement. “Pope Francis has made clear that we must overcome ‘the globalization of indifference’ in order to reduce economic inequalities, stop financial corruption and protect the natural environment. That is our challenge in the United States and in the world.”
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, Mr. Sanders explained that while he disagrees with Pope Francis on issues relating to women’s rights or gay rights, he admires the pope for speaking about income inequality and the need for people to help one another.
“He has played an unbelievable role, an unbelievable role of injecting a moral consequence into the economy,” said Mr. Sanders, who would become the first Jewish president in the United States if elected. “He is talking about the idolatry of money, the worship of money, the greed that’s out there, how our whole culture is based on: ‘I need more and more and more. And, I don’t have to worry about veterans sleeping out on the street or elderly people who can’t afford their prescriptions.’”