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Papal official denies report Sanders invited himself to Vatican

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders waits to talk to reporters in New York City April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

VATICAN CITY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was invited to speak at an April 15 Vatican event by the Vatican, a senior papal official said on Friday, denying a report that Sanders had invited himself.

“I deny that. It was not that way,” Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo told Reuters in a telephone interview while he was traveling in New York. Sorondo, a close aide to Pope Francis, is chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which is hosting the event.

He said it was his idea to invite Sanders.

A Bloomberg report quoted Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, as saying that Sanders had broken with protocol by failing to contact her office first.

“This is not true and she knows it. I invited him with her consensus,” said Sorondo, who is senior to Archer.

An invitation to Sanders dated March 30, which was emailed to Reuters, was signed by Sorondo and also included Archer’s name.

Reporting By Philip Pullella in Vatican City and Alana Wise in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Toni Reinhold