With the New York presidential primary only a few days away, most candidates are canvassing the state to drum up votes. But Bernie Sanders has taken a peculiar detour — to Rome. (Not Rome, NY. The one in Italy.)
Sanders is delivering a 10-minute speech this morning at a Vatican conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s encyclical, Centesimus Annus. Sander’s will be speaking on economy and social justice.
In The Detroit News, Acton’s research director Samuel Gregg considers what Bernie might learn at the Vatican:
In Sanders’ case, the invitation is somewhat ironic, given that the text being commemorated by the conference is one of the papacy’s most explicit affirmations of the market economy’s moral legitimacy and economic effectiveness.
Put simply, the pope wrote, “on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs.” That cannot be easy for a self-described democratic socialist to hear.
And at The American Spectator, Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton in Rome, says that while in Rome Sanders really should read up on Leo XIII and Pope St. John Paul:
At a very superficial first glance, and as Sanders himself has claimed, the Catholic Church would seem to support the candidate’s passionate quest for greater income equality and social harmony. Yet even his own supporters are blissfully unaware of what socialism is, and the nefarious means, as defined by the Italian theorist Antonio Grasmci, needed to achieve such objectives: the negation of private property, the traditional family and organized religion, especially Christianity. While socialists rarely mention these obstacles anymore, their overcoming remains necessary to achieve the socialist vision of a completely egalitarian society.
Unfortunately, Sanders won’t be staying around in Rome long enough to attend a free conference sponsored by the Acton Institute next week. This conference on Freedom with Justice: Rerum Novarum and the New Things of Our Time will take place in Rome, Italy from 14:00-19:30 (GMT +2) on April 20 at the Centro Congressi Roma Eventi – Fontana di Trevi. Remote participation is also possible through the online Live Broadcast. Among the speakers will be Rev. Prof. Wojciech Giertych, OP, Professor and Theologian of the Papal Household. For more information about this event or to register, visit www.acton.org/Rome2016.