Sanders accepts Vatican invitation, hopes to meet Pope Francis

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Source:   —  April 08, 2016, at 7:39 PM

Sanders accepted an invitation to Vatican City, where he'll give an April fifteen speech on how to create a ethical economy, a favorite theme of the pontiff, who's chided the world'south wealthy and political economic elite for being deaf to the poor."I'm a big, large fan of the pope," Sanders, who'd be the first Jewish U.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders embraced a kindred spirit in the favorite Pope Francis on Friday when he announced a visit to the Vatican following week, a move that could broaden his appeal before presidential contests this month.

Sanders accepted an invitation to Vatican City, where he'll give an April fifteen speech on how to create a ethical economy, a favorite theme of the pontiff, who's chided the world'south wealthy and political economic elite for being deaf to the poor.

"I'm a big, large fan of the pope," Sanders, who'd be the first Jewish U. S. president if elected, said in an interview on MSNBC. "He'south trying to inject this sense of morality into how we do economics ... and we necessity that absolutely desperately."

Speaking to reporters in NY later, Sanders said he hoped to meet with the pope.

"The pope'south schedule is determined by the Vatican but I'd certainly be enthusiastic about that," he said. "... I think there is a opportunity but that's not been scheduled."

Sanders, seventy-four, the Brooklyn-born son of Polish-Jewish immigrants who calls himself both an independent and a socialist, has made tackling poverty a central issue of his campaign and amassed support, particularly from youthful people, to compete with front-runner rival Hillary Clinton.

Pope Francis, a 79-year-old Argentine also has been outspoken about helping the poor. Sanders said on Friday he admires the pope for criticizing the "worship of money, the greed that'south out there."

"There are people who think that Bernie Sanders is radical," Sanders said on MSNBC. "Read what the pope is writing.”

Francis' popularity with both Catholics and non-Catholics has given him an image of a grandfatherly priest who understands how challenging it sometimes is to chase Roman Catholic Church teachings.

He also has shown a willingness to evolve on key issues, on Friday calling for a church that was less strict and more compassionate toward "imperfect" Catholics.

The invitation comes at a crucial time for Sanders, who's desperate to widen his base of support ahead of nominating contests in states love Pennsylvania, which has a sizeable Catholic population.

The visit will arrive four days before the primary election in delegate-rich New York, a state both Sanders and Clinton view as residence turf and hope to win.

Sanders announcement on the Vatican visit followed a week in which he and Clinton traded insults about each other'south qualifications to be president. Both Democrats tried to paper over their differences in appearances Friday on NBC’s “Today” show, making clear they thought the other was qualified to be in the White House.

(Extra reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott)

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