April 8th: the Pope decides to invite Bernie Sanders to speak in Rome.
This decision is viewed as highly controversial considering the candidate’s stance on abortion. Despite this and other vital disagreements, the Vermont Senator has attempted align himself with Pope Francis by focusing on areas in which the two men agree – mainly climate and economy.
Professor Margaret Archer of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences considers Bernie’s publication of the invite a “monumental discourtesy.”
Sanders will address the April 15-16 conference, a “serious academic discussion” that seeks to investigate just how the Church can engage with the rest of the world on social issues in the future.
The conference marks the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus, a document that outlines the Church’s teachings on social order and how economics function within that order.
This internal dispute over Bernie’s invitation shadows the real question: why did the Vatican decide to invite him in the first place, and just days before the New York primary? This question is compounded by Bernie’s view on abortion, which is at extreme odds with the Vatican’s beliefs.
Not only is he pro-choice, but the Vermont Senator supports taxpayer-funded abortions at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason.
In Centesimus Annus, John Paul II refers to abortion as a “scandal” that implies a “crisis with democracies.”
In addition to inviting proponents of abortion to Vatican City, Pope Francis is making headlines with his latest exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The 50,000-word document addresses family challenges including divorce, artificial reproductive technologies, pornography, cohabitation, and gender theory.
He takes a liberal approach when it comes to the question of loosening restrictions on divorced and remarried Catholics, but he upholds traditional teachings when it comes to euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage, and gender theory. “No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society,” he writes about same-sex marriage.
Abortion is a “horrendous contradiction,” he writes. “So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself and which can never be considered the “property” of another human being.”
But the upcoming conference is about global economy, not abortion. Bernie told the press that he is “delighted to have been invited by the Vatican to a meeting on restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy.”