After last night's debate, Bernie Sanders flew to Rome to speak at the Vatican about economic and equality issues, which align closely with Pope Francis' writings.
The sweeping remarks were delivered in the shadow of St Peter’s dome, about an hour after the Democratic presidential candidate touched down in Rome for a short stay in the Eternal City to take part in a conference in a Vatican-sponsored academic conference.
Sanders praised the Roman Catholic church for its consistent social teachings on economic matters, saying: “There are few places in modern thought that rival the depth and insight of the church’s moral teachings on the market economy.”
But his most effusive praise was reserved for Pope Francis, whom he heralded for raising the “most profound issues” of the day – from the problems of the dispossessed, to the loneliness of the elderly who cannot afford their medication, to the challenge of climate change – with a “vision and articulateness”, while others chose to ignore the issues.
The pope, he said, had tapped into an “instinctual” belief held by many that there was something “profoundly wrong” with society today.
“I have been enormously impressed with Pope Francis speaking out and his visionary views about creating a moral economy, an economy that works for all people, not just the people on top,” Sanders told a group of reporters who had gathered just outside the Vatican gates.
“And what he has said over and over again: we cannot allow the market just to do what the market does, that is not acceptable.”
Pope Francis was unable to attend, but sent a note with regrets.