Just days before a make-or-break presidential primary in New York, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to travel to Rome for a conference at the Vatican.
Immediately after debating former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Brooklyn next Thursday, he’ll hop off the campaign trail to speak at a conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Sanders’ campaign announced Friday morning. New York’s primary, in which 291 delegates are at stake, is scheduled for the following Tuesday.
“I am delighted to have been invited by the Vatican to a meeting on restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy,” Sanders said in a written statement. “Pope Francis has made clear that we must overcome ‘the globalization of indifference’ in order to reduce economic inequalities, stop financial corruption and protect the natural environment. That is our challenge in the United States and in the world.”
It was not immediately clear Friday whether Sanders would meet with Pope Francis, whom he often praises on the campaign trail, while in Vatican City.
Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy, told CNN Friday that the invitation “does not signify any support of the campaign.”
“We want to establish a dialogue between North America and South America so we thought to invite a [U.S.] politician,” Sorondo said. “The President of Bolivia will also be there. Perhaps the [other candidates] would have been interested but they did not request to come.”