Bernie Sanders and The Pope Tom Williams/Getty Images

The Improbable Reformers

Since 2013, Pope Francis has reinvigorated the Catholic Church’s message with passionate criticism of unbridled capitalism and a new, more progressive worldview. In the current US presidential primaries, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is doing much the same for the Democratic Party – and US politics more broadly.

MOSCOW – Over the last few years, Pope Francis has reinvigorated the Catholic Church’s core message with passionate criticism of unbridled capitalism and a new, more progressive worldview. In the United States primaries, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign is doing much the same for the Democratic Party – and for US politics more broadly.

Sanders’s message borrows substantially from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and its call to arms against economic inequality. But even before Sanders emerged as a contender for the Democratic nomination, Francis won the hearts of millions with a similar message.

Francis has denounced the “widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs.” His vision of “a church that is poor and for the poor” has earned him the moniker the “People’s Pope.” It should therefore not be surprising that last year, he invited the author and OWS activist Naomi Klein to attend a conference on the environment that he was hosting in Rome.

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