Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has accepted an invitation to speak at a Vatican conference on socio-economic and environmental issues.
“I’m a big, big fan of the pope,” Sanders told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski. “I was very moved by the invitation,” he added. “[The Pope] has played an unbelievable role—an unbelievable role—in injecting a moral consequence into the economy.”
Vatican officials, however, have their own perception of events. According to a report from Bloomberg, Sanders reached out to obtain his invitation, demonstrating “monumental discourtesy” in the process.
“Sanders made the first move, for the obvious reasons,” Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which is hosting the conference in question, told Bloomberg. “I think in a sense he may be going for the Catholic vote, but this is not the Catholic vote and he should remember that and act accordingly—not that he will.”
There are, however, conflicting reports. Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, who is chancellor of the Academy and senior to Archer, claims it was his idea to invite the candidate. He told Reuters, “This is not true and she knows it. I invited him with [Archer’s] consensus.”
This post has been updated.