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14 April 2016 | by Christopher Lamb

 

As hard as the Holy See might try to steer Pope Francis clear of American politics, he seems to keep getting drawn into it. The latest rumpus is over Bernie Sanders’ planned visit to a Vatican conference to mark 25 years since John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus on Catholic social teaching.

Sanders, a formerly independent senator currently giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, said last week he was “very excited” to be attending the event run by the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, due to finish today. While Professor Margaret Archer, the organiser of the conference and president of the academy, was kept out of the loop, the invitation to Sanders came from the chancellor of the academy, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, an Argentinian who is close to Francis. Might the Pope have given his approval for the invitation to be issued?

What cannot be denied is that the Jewish senator shares a good deal in common with Francis when it comes to politics: both of them believe the global financial system must do more to serve the poorest in society and both want to tackle climate change. He is someone the Pope could work with if he made it to the White House.





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