Pope Francis: Meeting with Sanders was not an endorsement

Pope Francis stressed that his brief meeting with presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders defends Castro comments in wake of backlash from some Democrats Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE Saturday was not an endorsement.


The pope told reporters he was on his way to Greece and Sanders was wrapping up his trip to Rome when they met in the lobby of the Pope’s residence at the Domus Santa Marta hotel in the Vatican gardens.

“When I came down, I greeted them, shook their hands and nothing more,” Francis told reporters, according to Time. “This is good manners. It’s called good manners and not getting mixed up in politics. If anyone thinks that greeting someone means getting involved in politics, they should see a psychiatrist."

Francis added: “This morning when I left, Sen. Sanders was there. … He knew I was leaving at that time and I had the kindness to greet them and his wife and another couple who were with them."

The Vermont senator had attended a Vatican conference Friday on economic inequality and climate change before flying back to New York Saturday.

“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.”

"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."