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Sen. Sanders to join in Vatican conference on economy, just before New York primary vote

April 08, 2016

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont lawmaker and Democratic presidential candidate, has announced that he will fly to Rome next week, to participate in a conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, just days before the New York primary.

Sanders said that the was "very moved by the invitation" to attend the conference, which will discuss economic and political issues. But political analysts quickly noted that the trip could raise his profile with Catholic voters in New York, where polls show him trailing the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

Margaret Archer, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, also saw a political motivation for Sanders' participation, and charged that he was guilty of "monumental discourtesy" in seeking to turn the event to his own political advantage. But the chancellor of the Academy, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, denied that Sanders had sought out an invitation; in fact, the bishop said that he had invited Sanders "quite some time ago."

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, emphasized to reporters that the invitation to Sanders came not from Pope Francis but from the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.

 

 
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