says its crazy to see his meeting with Bernie Sanders as political
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[April 18, 2016]
By Philip Pullella
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope
Francis said on Saturday that his meeting with Bernie Sanders,
contesting the Democratic candidacy for the U.S. Presidency, was not
meddling in politics and that anyone who thought otherwise should "look
for a psychiatrist".
Sanders and the pope met briefly on Saturday morning at the
Vatican guest house where Francis lives and where Sanders and his
wife spent the night after he addressed a Vatican conference on
"When I came down, I greeted him, I shook his hand and nothing more.
This is called good manners and it is not getting involved in
politics," the pope told reporters in answer to a question aboard
the plane returning from the Greek island of Lesbos, where he
visited a refugee camp. [L5N17J063].
"If anyone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in
politics, I recommend that he look for a psychiatrist," he said,
In an interview with ABC News after the meeting, Sanders called the
pope "a beautiful man", adding "I am not a Catholic, but there is a
radiance that comes from him."
"I just conveyed to him my admiration for the extraordinary work he
is doing raising some of the most important issues facing our planet
and the billions of people on the planet and injecting the need for
morality in the global economy," Sanders, a Brooklyn-born son of
Polish Jewish immigrants, told ABC.
The Democratic hopeful from Vermont has campaigned on a promise to
rein in corporate power and level the economic playing field for
working and lower-income Americans who he says have been left
behind, a message echoing that of the pope.
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The meeting came just days before Tuesday's Democratic party primary
in New York, where polls say he is trailing Hillary Clinton. After
he won seven of the last eight state contests, a loss in Sanders'
home state would give front-runner Clinton a boost toward the
party's presidential nomination.
Sanders has said the trip was not a pitch for the Catholic vote but
a testament to his admiration for the pontiff.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Additional reporting by Steve
Scherer; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
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