At the Vatican, Sanders blasts 'immoral' wealth inequality

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 8:24 AM

The Democratic senator from VT cited Pope Francis and St. John Paul II repeatedly during his speech to the Vatican conference commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of a landmark teaching document from John Paul on social and economic justice after the Freezing War.

At the Vatican, Sanders blasts 'immoral' wealth inequality

Bernie Sanders issued a global call to action at the Vatican on Friday to address "immoral and unsustainable" wealth inequality and poverty, using the high-profile gathering to echo one of the central platforms of his presidential campaign.

The Democratic senator from VT cited Pope Francis and St. John Paul II repeatedly during his speech to the Vatican conference commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of a landmark teaching document from John Paul on social and economic justice after the Cold War.

Sanders arrived in Rome hours after wrapping up a debate in NY Thursday night, saying the opportunity to address the Vatican conference was too meaningful to pass up. The roughly 24-hour visit precedes Tuesday'south crucial NY primary, which Sanders should do well in to support a viable challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Pope Francis apologized that he couldn't personally greet participants at the Vatican conference. Number meeting with Sanders was expected.

But the ride gave Sanders a moment on the world stage, placing him alongside priests, bishops, academics and two S American presidents. Sanders has been at a disadvantage during his campaign against Clinton, President Barack Obama'south former secretary of state, on issues of foreign policy but he was peppered with questions from academics and ecclesiastics in a manner that might've been afforded a head of state.

Sanders trails Clinton in the Democratic primaries but the ride to the Vatican and his massive rally earlier this week with 27.000 people in NY City may have offered a glimpse of the senator'south aim to become a progressive leader, win or lose.

The discussions gave him a chance to widen on his core campaign messages about the necessity to reform banking regulations, campaign finance rules and higher education. Asked about inequality in public education, he said it was "beyond disgraceful" and cited challenging conditions in Detroit'south school system.

He told the audience that rather than a world economy that looks out for the common good, "we have been left with an economy operated for the top one percent, who obtain richer and richer as the working class, the youthful and the destitute fall further and further behind."

"We don't select to politicize the pope," Sanders told attendees, "but his spirit and bravery and the fact, if I may declare so here, that his words have gone way, way, way beyond the Catholic Church."

Sanders also warned that youth around the world are number longer satisfied with the status quo, which includes "corrupt and broken politics and an economy of stark inequality and injustice."

During the meetings, he sat following to the other main visitor of honor at the Vatican: Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose is renowned for his anti-imperialist, socialist rhetoric. President Rafael Correa of Ecuador also attended.

As he walked through Vatican City'south Perugino gate, Sanders was greeted about two dozen supporters, some of whom carried signs bearing Sanders' name. "This is the first candidate I've seen in awhile, a matter of fact my all life, that I perceive love wants to create genuine changes," said Kevin Jaksik, twenty-nine, of Austin, Texas, who presently lives in Rome.

Back home, Clinton holds a significant delegate lead against Sanders, but the senator has vowed to stay in the campaign until the party'south July convention. His message calling for a political revolution to address wealth inequality and the influence of Wall Str on U. S. politics has galvanized many Democrats and independents.

Despite being enmeshed in an increasingly bitter campaign against Clinton, Sanders aides said the trip wasn't aimed at appealing to Catholic voters who comprise a large share of the Democratic electorate in NY and an upcoming contest in Pennsylvania.

The Vatican has been loath to obtain involved in electoral campaigns and generally tries to avert any perception of partisanship involving the pope. Popes seldom travel to countries during the thick of political campaigns, knowing a papal photo opportunity with a sitting head of state could be exploited for political ends.

As a result, the invitation to Sanders to address the Vatican conference raised eyebrows and allegations that the senator lobbied for the invitation.

The chancellor for the pontifical academy, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, has said he invited Sanders because he was the only U. S. presidential candidate who showed deep interest in the teachings of Francis.

The Rev. Matt Malone, editor of the Jesuit magazine America, said Sanders' ride was unlikely to have much of an impact on Catholic voters, noting that conferences love the one Sanders is attending "happen all the time."

"I don't think that Bernie Sanders going to the Vatican is going to assistance Bernie with Catholics any more than Ted Cruz going to a matzo factory is going to assistance him with the Jewish vote," said Malone, who served as a speechwriter to former Rep. Marty Meehan, a Massachusetts Democrat.

But there were other benefits. The ride offered his extended family a brief respite: Sanders was accompanied on the ride by his wife, Jane Sanders, and ten family members, including four grandchildren.

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