Sanders meets with pope
© Getty Images

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Bernie Sanders tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan If we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat MORE (I-Vt.) reportedly met with Pope Francis on Saturday morning, despite earlier assurances from the Vatican that the pope would be unable to meet with the presidential candidate personally.

Before Sanders returns to New York ahead of its Tuesday primary, and before the pontiff left for Greece to visit the frontline of the immigration crisis, the two met face-to-face at the papal residence.


"He is a beautiful man,” Sanders told ABC News. "I am not a Catholic, but there is a radiance that comes from him. It was very wonderful to meet him.”

Sanders had attended a Vatican conference on economic inequality and climate change on Friday, and he said he told Pope Francis he appreciated his message of keeping morality in the global economy.

A Vatican spokesman had told The New York Times only days earlier that “a meeting with the Holy Father” would not be possible on this visit.

"It was a real honor for me, for my wife and I to spend some time with him,” Sanders told The Associated Press. "I think he is one of the extraordinary figures not only in the world today but in modern world history.”

Jane Sanders, a Catholic, said "the trip was definitely worth it.”

Sources told the AP there were no photographs of the meeting.

Sanders and his family later took a walking tour of St. Peter’s Basilica before his return flight to the United States.