Pope Francis invited Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Vatican April 15 just ahead of the April 19 make or break New York primary.
Sanders has been invited by the pontiff to a conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The conference will be dealing with “social, economic, and environmental issues.”
Sanders announced the Vatican visit on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Sanders made clear he has some differences with the pope but liked that he is “injecting a moral consequence into the economy.”
Sanders, who is Jewish, is married to Catholic Jane O’Meara Sanders. When announcing the news, Sanders said he, “was very moved by the invitation, which just was made public today.” The senator went on to jokingly say that, “you know, people say Bernie Sanders is radical — read what the pope is writing.”
Sanders was referred to as a “world leader” by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in its press release announcing the conference. If Sanders were elected president, he would be the first president in an interfaith marriage.
The trip could be a political game-changer for Sanders as many pundits increasingly view the New York Democratic primary as the defining moment for his candidacy. The Vermont senator faces an uphill struggle against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton leads Sanders by 11 points in the Real Clear Politics polling average for the New York primary.
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