Bernie Sanders to visit Vatican City on April 15
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, pictured on Nov. 29, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo by Darren McCollester for Agence France-Presse.)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Friday accepted an invitation to visit the Vatican on April 15 for a conference on social economic and environmental issues, his campaign said.

"Pope Francis has made clear that we must overcome ‘the globalization of indifference’ in order to reduce economic inequalities, stop financial corruption and protect the natural environment. That is our challenge in the United States and in the world," Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders' announcement came as the pope called for a Church that was less strict and more compassionate towards "imperfect" Catholics.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Megan Cassella; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)