Pope Francis publishes Amoris Laetitia, and Bernie Sanders to visit the Vatican before the New York primary

There are two big Vatican-related news items today.

First, Pope Francis published today his apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Given the US media’s combined cluelessness of Catholic doctrine and tendency to discuss religious matters within the narrow spectrum of American liberal politics, there’s no reason to react to any of their stories. I haven’t had a chance to read it myself, so I’ll hold off on providing my thoughts until I have. Given that the pdf is over 250 pages, that may take a while. Meantime, I’ll share some initial judicious thoughts from canon lawyer Edward Peters here.

Second, yet receiving far less coverage than the exhortation thus far, the New York Times reports that Bernie Sanders has accepted an invitiation to attend a Vatican conference on social, economic and environmental issues. It is not yet clear whether Sanders will be meeting Pope Francis when he’s there. However, the timing of Sanders visiting the Vatican days before the New York primary on April 19th is, well, let’s keep it as interesting, shall we?

This story raises a whole host of questions. For now, I’ll just focus on one: why would the Vatican invite a nominee for President of the United States to an academic conference just days before a significant primary election? This action looks like the Vatican is implicitly endorsing Sanders to be the next US President.

The Vatican’s involvement in American politics, however indirectly, can be very damaging to it and American Catholics. Perhaps there is more to the story. I hope so. I’ll keep monitoring it and post developments as they come.