Bernie Sanders to Visit Vatican Next Week for Conference

Sanders said he was "very moved" by the invitation.

— -- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will visit the Vatican next week to attend a conference on social issues, his campaign announced today.

The Vermont senator will give a speech at the conference, hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, on Friday, April 15, and will return to the United States Saturday morning. He faces off against Hillary Clinton in the New York primary on Tuesday, April 19.

The invitation was extended by the Vatican, Sanders said today. Sanders said on "Morning Joe" that he was "very moved" by the invitation.

“I’m a big, big fan of the pope," Sanders said. "Obviously there are areas where we disagree, on women's rights or gay rights, but he has played an unbelievable role, an unbelievable role of injecting a moral consequence into the economy.

Sanders said it is still unclear if he will be meeting with Pope Francis because the pope's schedule is determined by the Vatican. "I think there is a possibility," he said of a meeting, noting that it is something he would be enthusiastic about.

“People think Bernie Sanders is radical," he said on Morning Joe today. "Read what the pope is writing.”