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Vatican Officials Clash Over Sanders Visit

Academy chief claims he showed 'monumental discourtesy'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2016 9:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bernie Sanders is planning to attend a Vatican City conference next week but at least one senior Vatican official isn't feeling the Bern: Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, tells Bloomberg that Sanders showed "monumental discourtesy" by "making the first move" and seeking an invitation to the conference, which the academy is hosting. The Sanders campaign, however, says this is "categorically untrue"—and Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the academy, agrees.

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"This is not true and she knows it. I invited him with her consensus," Sorondo, who is senior to Archer, tells Reuters, which was emailed a copy of a March 30 invitation to Sanders that was signed by Sorondo and also bears Archer's name. Sorondo says it was his idea to invite Sanders to the conference, which will also be attended by Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa. Sanders has said he has "great affinity" for Pope Francis and his message on inequality, though a spokesman for the pontiff stresses that the candidate was invited by the academy, not by Francis, and there "is no expectation that there will also be a meeting with the pope." (Unlike some politicians, Sanders has gotten a boost from the Panama Papers leak.)

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