April 8, 2016

Sanders Claims Invitation from Pope Francis to Meet. Vatican Denies, Accuses Senator of ‘Discourtesy’

Pope Francis & Bernie Sanders

Late last night, news organizations began reporting that Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT] had been invited to the Vatican by none other than Pope Francis himself. When asked about such reports, Sanders said he was invited by the Vatican, was a fan of the pontiff, and looked forward to speaking with Pope Francis during the senator's upcoming visit to Rome.

The Vatican has since denied Sanders' version of events. Bloomberg News reports that:
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ plan to attend a Vatican-sponsored conference put him in the middle of a diplomatic row as a senior Vatican official accused the senator of showing "monumental discourtesy" in angling for an invitation that puts a political cast on the gathering.
Sanders, whose foreign policy experience is under attack by competitor Hillary Clinton, said Friday he was "very excited" about being invited to the conference on economic and social issues hosted by a pontifical academy in Rome on April 15. It will put him at the seat of the Roman Catholic Church four days before the New York primary.
It has also inserted Sanders into a dispute among Vatican officials. The president of the academy said Friday that Sanders didn’t follow proper protocol by failing to contact her office, and that his presence threatens to make the event political. The academy’s chancellor said he arranged the invitation and defended the Vermont senator.
"Sanders made the first move, for the obvious reasons," Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which is hosting the conference, said in a telephone interview. "I think in a sense 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."
The Vatican moved to distance the pontiff from the visit. Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman, said Sanders had been invited "not by the pope but by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences." Lombardi further told the Italian news agency Ansa: "For the moment there is no expectation that there will also be a meeting with the pope."

Breitbart has more on Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who invited Sanders to address the high-level Vatican meeting, contravening Church policy.

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