Bernie Sanders just got the invitation of a lifetime. The Vatican has asked him to speak next week at a conference on social, economic and environmental issues, sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
The Invitation From The Vatican Is Yu-u-uge.
Make no mistake: the opportunity is yu-u-uge and yu-u-ge-ly unusual. Pope Francis is quite savvy in promoting the issues he cares about and drawing media attention to them. The unusual part is that the Pope is also drawing attention to a U.S. presidential candidate. Sanders will be speaking on April 19th, just five days before the crucial New York primary.
On Friday’s “Morning Joe” program, Sanders said:
“I think the Vatican has been aware of the fact that, in many respects, the pope’s views and my views are very much related. He has talked in an almost unprecedented way about the need to address income and wealth inequality, poverty and to combat the greed that we’re seeing all over this world, which is doing so much harm to so many people. … For me, it is an extraordinary honor to receive this invitation.”
He added, “I am a big, big fan of the pope.” That comes as no surprise, considering that the senator has often praised the religious leader’s stances on poverty and the environment. Apparently, the feeling is mutual.
Sanders made it clear that one of his top priorities will continue to be an issue when he speaks at the Vatican, even though few other presidential candidates have focused on it:
“I will also in my remarks be addressing the planetary crisis of climate change and the moral imperative to make sure we leave this planet in a way that is healthy and habitable for future generations.”
Climate change is an increasingly urgent problem for American voters. Those most worried about it are the ones who are due to inherit the earth: millennials. As “Science Guy” Bill Nye recently said, “Climate denial is almost entirely generational.” However, both the Pope and Bernie Sanders get it.
If elected, Sanders would be America’s first Jewish president. Both the Jewish and Catholic faiths have a long tradition of putting social justice at the core of their beliefs and action, no matter how far many religious leaders have strayed from that mission.
What Could Be More Important Than Peace?
During his round of Friday talk shows, the candidate also made an attempt to make peace — with opponent Hillary Clinton. He sounded ready to move on from the personal sparring that overtook the campaigns during the last week. He told Savannah Guthrie on the “Today” show:
“Here’s the truth. I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I respect Hillary Clinton. We were colleagues in the Senate, and on her worst day, she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates.”
Maybe world peace is next. With the Pope and Bernie Sanders in league together, anything seems possible.