De Blasio Headed to Vatican to Talk Inequality and Climate Change with Pope

A Bill de Blasio figurine, among religious artifacts, in Italy. (Photo: Salvatore Laporta/Getty)
A Bill de Blasio figurine, among religious artifacts, in Italy. (Photo: Salvatore Laporta/Getty)

And you thought he was holier than thou before.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced last night that he will journey to the Holy See with 65 other mayors—including five members of his anti-income inequality “Cities of Opportunity Task Force”—this coming Monday night to attend a conference on global warming and wealth disparity, meet with Pope Francis and to deliver a speech on New York City’s progressive economic and environmental agenda. The mayor praised the pope for holding the event, entitled “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities,” for releasing a recent encyclical on climate change and runaway capitalism and for advocating for low-income people the world over.

“Pope Francis has been one of the world’s most powerful voices on fighting income inequality, and Mayor de Blasio shares the Pope’s belief that addressing climate change is essential to that fight—because it disproportionately affects the poor,” said spokeswoman Monica Klein. “The Mayor knows that environmental and economic sustainability must go hand in hand.”

Mr. de Blasio will give a speech at the event Tuesday morning on OneNYC—his revamped version of ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC program—which the current mayor projects will completely eliminate the city’s garbage output by 2030 while simultaneously easing the gaps between ethnic groups and income brackets. Later that day, he will join the other mayors for a meeting with the Pope.

Other members of U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunities Task Force will be Mr. de Blasio’s co-chair, Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston, as well as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee.

Taxpayers will be picking up the tab for the travel expenses for Mr. de Blasio and two unspecified staffers.

The trip comes almost exactly a year after Mr. de Blasio’s first visit to the Holy See as mayor, which he made while on vacation with his family in Italy last summer. De Blasio Headed to Vatican to Talk Inequality and Climate Change with Pope