On Friday and Saturday at the Vatican villa Casina Pio IV, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences is convening a celebratory conference for the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s post-Soviet encyclical “Centesimus Annus.”
Along with the academy’s sociologists and economists, two Latin American heads of state will attend: Bolivian President Evo Morales and Rafael Correa of Ecuador. Both are American representatives of 21st century socialism who converge with Pope Francis on issues of inequality, environmental crises and global justice, all of which will be discussed at the conference.
But among the guests will also be a social democrat: Sen. Bernie Sanders, a contestant alongside Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the United States.
Given the Argentine pope’s attitude, it’s no surprise he holds a favorable view of Sanders’ speeches — rather daring for the conservative United States — against the death penalty, military installations and foreign interference (all of which were the daily bread of Clinton when she was secretary of state, as she proudly recounts in her memoir, Hard Choices).