he had received an invitation to speak at a small, invitation-only scholarly conference at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Of course, that's not exactly right. Sanders has led us to believe that he would be speaking to Pope Francis. He was neither invited by the Pope, nor will the Pope be attending the conference. It is highly unlikely that the two will even be in the same room together - much less have a conversation.
Now, we have a number of opinion writers telling us just how much Mr Sanders and Pope Francis have in common.
Kathleen Parker believes the two might share a similar worldview, and Brent Budowsky maintains that Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis Stand Together on quite a few things.
First, let me state the obvious.Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis are worlds apart on the issues of abortion and same sex so-called "marriage". There's no point in even going there.
Folks like Parker and Budowsky want to put the two together because both speak out on matters of economic equality, social justice, combating poverty and human rights. Earth to Parker and Budowsky: Sanders and the Pope may agree on the problems, but not the solutions.
Socialism is not the only system fighting inequality and poverty.
According to an article in the Catholic Encyclopedia Socialism is defined as -
"A system of social and economic organization that would substitute state monopoly for private ownership of the sources of production and means of distribution, and would concentrate under the control of the secular governing authority the chief activities of human life.
The term is often used vaguely to indicate any increase of collective control over individual action, or even any revolt of the dispossessed against the rule of the possessing classes. But these are undue extensions of the term, leading to much confusion of thought. State control and even state ownership are not necessarily Socialism: they become so only when they result in or tend towards the prohibition of private ownership not only of "natural monopolies", but also of all the sources of wealth. Nor is mere revolt against economic inequality Socialism: it may be Anarchism (see ANARCHY); it may be mere Utopianism (see COMMUNISM); it may be a just resistance to oppression. Nor is it merely a proposal to make such economic changes in the social structure as would banish poverty. Socialism is this (see COLLECTIVISM) and much more.
It is also a philosophy of social life and action, regarding all human activities from a definite economic standpoint. Moreover modern Socialism is not a mere arbitrary exercise at state-building, but a deliberate attempt to relieve, on explicit principles, the existing social conditions, which are regarded as intolerable.
The great inequalities of human life and opportunity, produced by the excessive concentration of wealth in the hands of a comparatively small section of the community, have been the cause and still are the stimulus of what is called the Socialistic movement. But, in order to understand fully what Socialism is and what it implies, it is necessary first to glance at the history of the movement, then to examine its philosophical and religious tendencies, and finally to consider how far these may be, and actually have proved to be, incompatible with Christian thought and life."
True Socialism calls for the abolition of private property, and is in opposition to the teachings of the Church.
Every Pope since Pius IX has written and spoken out against the evils of Socialism.
Sanders isn't a religious Holy Man because he is against oppression, poverty and inequality. We are all against those things. It's the methods and solutions Sanders presents that are questionable. More government control is not the answer and I don't believe I've heard Pope Francis call for that.