Pope discussed moral economy with Bernie Sanders before Greece trip

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Sanders at Vatican: 'Time to Create Moral Economy'

VATICAN CITY, April 16 - Pope Francis met U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the Vatican on Saturday morning and the two discussed the need for morality in the world economy before the pontiff left for a visit to the Greek island of Lesbos.

Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs told Reuters that the meeting took place in the Vatican guesthouse where the pope lives and where Sanders had spent the night after addressing a Vatican conference on social justice.

SEE ALSO: Bernie Sanders is the first presidential candidate to show sympathy for Palestinians

The Vatican had said that a meeting between the two was not planned, and Sanders said he did not expect to meet the pope during his trip.

"He is a beautiful man," Sanders said in an interview with ABC News after the meeting. "I am not a Catholic, but there is a radiance that comes from him."

See Senator Sanders at the Vatican:

9 PHOTOS
Bernie Sanders meets Pope Francis at the Vatican
See Gallery
Pope discussed moral economy with Bernie Sanders before Greece trip
US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders flanked by his wife Jane O'Meara, right, arrive at a hotel near the Vatican Saturday, April 16, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in an interview with The Associated Press that he met with Pope Francis. Sanders says the meeting took place Saturday morning before the pope left for his one-day visit to Greece. He says he was honored by the meeting, and that he told the pope he appreciated the message that he is sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, sitting in the back of the car, is welcomed by supporters upon his arrival at the Vatican to attend a conference, Friday, April 15, 2016. The Vatican conference drawing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders away from the campaign for New York delegates is steeped in his lifelong passions of economic and social justice and reflects his admiration for Pope Francis. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, backdropped by St. Peter's Basilica, leaves after an interview with the Associated Press, at the Vatican Saturday, April 16, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in an interview with The Associated Press that he met with Pope Francis. Sanders says the meeting took place Saturday morning before the pope left for his one-day visit to Greece. He says he was honored by the meeting, and that he told the pope he appreciated the message that he is sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, backdropped by St. Peter's Basilica, talks during an interview with the Associated Press, at the Vatican Saturday, April 16, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in an interview with The Associated Press that he met with Pope Francis. Sanders says the meeting took place Saturday morning before the pope left for his one-day visit to Greece. He says he was honored by the meeting, and that he told the pope he appreciated the message that he is sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, backdropped by the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, leaves after an interview with the Associated Press, at the Vatican Saturday, April 16, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in an interview with The Associated Press that he met with Pope Francis. Sanders says the meeting took place Saturday morning before the pope left for his one-day visit to Greece. He says he was honored by the meeting, and that he told the pope he appreciated the message that he is sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders talks as he meets reporters at the Vatican Saturday, April 16, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in an interview with The Associated Press that he met with Pope Francis. Sanders says the meeting took place Saturday morning before the pope left for his one-day visit to Greece. He says he was honored by the meeting, and that he told the pope he appreciated the message that he is sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, backdropped by St. Peter's Basilica, talks during an interview with the Associated Press, at the Vatican Saturday, April 16, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in an interview with The Associated Press that he met with Pope Francis. Sanders says the meeting took place Saturday morning before the pope left for his one-day visit to Greece. He says he was honored by the meeting, and that he told the pope he appreciated the message that he is sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, backdropped by the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, leaves after an interview with the Associated Press, at the Vatican Saturday, April 16, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in an interview with The Associated Press that he met with Pope Francis. Sanders says the meeting took place Saturday morning before the pope left for his one-day visit to Greece. He says he was honored by the meeting, and that he told the pope he appreciated the message that he is sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Sachs said Sanders, who was accompanied by his wife, spoke with the pope for about five minutes. Sachs, his wife, and Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, were also in the room.

"I just conveyed to him my admiration for the extraordinary work he is doing raising some of the most important issues facing our planet and the billions of people on the planet and injecting the need for morality in the global economy," Sanders told ABC.

The Democratic hopeful from Vermont has campaigned on a promise to rein in corporate power and level the economic playing field for working and lower-income Americans whom he says have been left behind, a message echoing that of the pope.

When Sachs, who has advised the United Nations on climate change, was asked if the meeting could be interpreted as political, he said: "This was absolutely not political. This is a senator who for decades has been speaking about the moral economy."

Bernie Sanders through the years:

48 PHOTOS
Bernie Sanders through the years
See Gallery
Pope discussed moral economy with Bernie Sanders before Greece trip
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during an event in Iowa Falls, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. With a week to go until the Iowa caucuses and the Democratic presidential race there in a virtual dead heat, Hillary Clinton and Sanders are mapping out divergent paths toward winning the first votes of the nomination process. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bernie Sanders takes the oath of office as mayor in Burlington, Vt., April 6, 1981. Now in his eighth term in the U.S. House, the independent socialist who has carved out a career in Congress as a Congress-basher is setting his sights on the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Donna Light, File)
Bernie Sanders holds a rally to kick off his run for U.S. Congress in Burlington, Vt. in this Sept. 16, 1988, file photo. Now in his eighth term in the U.S. House, the independent socialist who has carved out a career in Congress as a Congress-basher is setting his sights on the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Bernie Sanders celebrates his victory in the race for U.S. Congress in Burlington, Vt., in this Nov. 6, 1990 photo. (AP Photo/Rob Swanson)
Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference in Montpelier, Vt., Monday, Dec. 1, 2003. Sanders says Vermonters and all Americans need to know just how bad the new Medicare bill is that just passed Congress. Sanders says that the prescription drug portion of the bill will end up paying only about 20 percent of a senior citizen's drug costs. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, left, takes the stage with Representative Bernie Sanders, I-VT, at the Vermont Democratic party election night headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004, at the Wyndham Hotel in Burlington, Vt., after declaring victory. (AP Photo/Alden Pellett)
Washington, UNITED STATES: Newly-elected senators meet with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (R), D-NV, in Washington, DC 13 November 2006. From left are: Senator-elect James Webb, D-VA, Senator-elect Bernie Sanders, I-VT, Senator-elect Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, and Reid. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Independent candidate for U.S. Senate Bernie Sanders smiles as he campaigns in Burlington, Vt., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
US Congressman Elliot Engel (L) takes pictures next to US Senator Bernie Sanders after being dressed as Bouale leaders by public notaries of the Kouadioyaokro village, 150 km from Abidjan, 09 November 2008. US Senators Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders visit comes ahead of a July 2008 certification deadline to ensure cocoa heading to the United States -- the third largest importer of Ivorian cocoa -- has not been produced with child labour. AFP PHOTO/ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., left, confers with Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., center, and Senate subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Chairman Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, during a joint hearing to discuss Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) progress on implementing the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force recommendations and other safeguards related to nuclear facilities. (AP Photo)
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, second from left, speaks with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., second from right, at Fort Belvoir, Va., Thursday, August 7, 2014, before the arrival of President Barack Obama to sign into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, a $16.3 billion measure allowing the Veterans Affairs Department to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics nationwide. At right is Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama, flanked by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., right, signs H.R. 3230, the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, at the Wallace Theater in Fort Belvoir, Va. on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The bill gives resources to the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve access and quality of care for veterans. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, to discuss Republican efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare and other programs that have an impact on working families. Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, became the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee when the new GOP-controlled Congress began. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a luncheon at the National Press Club on Monday, March 9, 2015 in Washington. Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, is considering running for the 2016 Democratic nomination as a liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton, focusing on income inequality and climate change. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, to discuss the budget. From left are, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., ranking member on the House Budget Committee, Sanders, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
COLUMBIA, SC - APRIL 25: Potential Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (R) (I-VT) delivers remarks at the South Carolina Democratic Party state convention April 25, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Sanders joined former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee in speaking to the convention. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in a 'Don't Trade Our Future' march organized by the group Campaign for America's Future April 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. The event was part of the Populism 2015 Conference which is conducting their conference with the theme 'Building a Movement for People and the Planet.' (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks with reporters after a town hall meeting at the Culinary Workers Union Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks with reporters after a town hall meeting at the Culinary Workers Union Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, greets supporters during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Supporters hold up signs at a campaign rally for Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrives with his wife Jane at a campaign rally, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders greets supporters after speaking in Portland. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Brandon McKenna, of Philadelphia, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waits for the candidate to speak at a Netroots Nation town hall meeting, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Darryl Sullivan shows his support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before a campaign rally, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Anna Sudderth, 18, shows her support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before a campaign rally, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 18: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center July 18, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke on his central issues of income inequality, job creation, controlling climate change, quality affordable education and getting big money out of politics, to more than 11,000 people attending. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. gestures as he speaks during a campaign stop, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Peterborough, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, has a selfie taken with an attendee during a campaign stop at Bedford High School, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Bedford. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures towards Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton during the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds up a fist as he arrives to speak at a veterans forum at the Best Western Regency Inn in Marshalltown, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greats potential supporters during a campaign stop, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, meets students during a campaign stop at the Community College. Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Sanders is scheduled to speak at the Fair Immigration Reform Movement presidential candidate forum on Monday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - October 13: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton pictured at the 2015 CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, NV on October 13, 2015. Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/IPX
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders,of Vermont, speaks during a rally, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, waves during a campaign rally in Springfield, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2105. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a rally at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves as he marches with supporters in the Labor Day parade Monday, Sept. 7, 2015, in Milford, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands with demonstrators who want congressional intervention to stop pension cuts and who support 'Keep Our Pension Promises Act of 2015' Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the opening of his Cedar Rapids field headquarters, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Marion, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greets people in the crowd at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. Two women took over the microphone just after Sanders began to speak and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking further and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders greets local residents while walking in a Fourth of July parade, Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Waukee, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Iowa Falls, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

The meeting came just days before Tuesday's Democratic party primary in New York, where polls say he is trailing Hillary Clinton. After he won seven of the last eight state contests, a loss in Sanders' home state would give front-runner Clinton a boost toward the party's presidential nomination.

Sanders, the Brooklyn-born son of Polish Jewish immigrants, has said the trip was not a pitch for the Catholic vote but a testament to his admiration for the pontiff.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners