"The pope, speaking to reporters on his plane later in the day, described the meeting. “This morning when I was leaving, Senator Sanders was there,” he said, adding, “He knew I was leaving at that time, and he had the courtesy to greet me.”
No photos of the encounter were permitted, but Mr. Sachs said the senator was delighted all the same. He was beaming as he left the guesthouse, and celebrated the informal audience with a victory lap of sorts in St. Peter’s Basilica along with Mr. Sachs and the bishop, passing Bernini’s Baldacchino, a monumental bronze canopy over the papal altar, and Michelangelo’s Pietà.
Aware that his every statement is parsed for deeper meaning, Francis said he was simply being polite, not political.
“I shook his hand and nothing more,” he said. “If someone thinks that greeting someone means getting involved in politics,” he added, laughing, “I recommend that he find a psychiatrist!”"