Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will visit the Vatican next week to attend a conference on social, economic and environmental issues, his campaign said Friday.
Sanders will take part in the meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on April 15 to mark the 25th anniversary of an encyclical by Pope John Paul II that addressed economic questions amid the fall of the Soviet Union.
Sanders said in a statement that he was "delighted" to participate in the meeting on "restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy."
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and Bolivian President Evo Morales are also due to attend, the Vatican said.
"I am a big, big fan of the pope," Sanders, who is Jewish, said in an interview on broadcaster MSNBC. "He has played an unbelievable role of injecting a moral consequence into the economy."
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who serves as a senator from Vermont, is facing former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in a series of state-by-state Democratic primaries to determine the party's candidate in November presidential elections.