Greg Popcak's satirical "transcript" of yesterday's closed-door consult between Sen. John Kerry and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is beginning to look more and more like a journalistic scoop.
Consider these all too predictible signs from an Associated Press wire story issued today.
"The presumptive Democratic nominee and McCarrick declined to comment after the 45-minute session, with Kerry telling aides that the meeting was "completely personal and private, " according to spokesman David Wade.
Privacy, of course, if we are to believe the improbable case that the outspoken Catholic rebel sought confession or personal spiritual counsel from his Emminence rather than political advantage, but the fact still remains that a public challenge to the teaching authority of Holy Mother Church and a public scandal to her good name demands a public response from the heirs of the Apostles entrusted to safguard the deposit of faith.
Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Washington archdiocese, said Kerry and McCarrick, who had never met, had "a chance to get to know each other" at a session requested by Kerry. Gibbs said she couldn't say if the work of the task force had come up, but said she "wouldn't expect it to particularly."
Nor, sorry to say, would we. That would be gauche, Susan, wouldn't it and so unpastoral? Indeed, unlike Greg, we're not so sure the A word was even mentioned. Of course, we mean "a" for abortion, not "a" for adultery.
Aides to Kerry said the meeting had been in the works for months, but it came just days after McCarrick, in a national television interview, raised the specter of punishing Catholic politicians who break with the church in supporting abortion rights and stem-cell research.
Two words: damage control.
McCarrick is heading a seven-member task force, created last year by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to study what steps to take against Catholic politicians who vote and support positions at odds with church teachings.
Among the options are denying access to Catholic schools or hospitals that might be venues for campaign events to excommunication, but McCarrick made it clear that he does not favor the latter choice.
"I think there are many of us who would feel that there are certain restrictions that we might put on people, that there are certain sanctions that we may put on people," he told Fox News Sunday. "But I think many of us would not like to use the Eucharist as part of the sanctions."
Denying communion to a scandalously and publicly defiant defender of a particularly vile form of murder is not so much a question of sanctions as in punishment as it is of safeguarding the Body and Blood of Christ from public profanation. Moreover, it is an act of love by the Church towards her prodigal son in that it reminds him of the perilous state of his soul and prevents him from commiting the damnable sin of sacrilege.
The task force was established after the Vatican issued a decree that said Catholic politicians have a duty to uphold the church's "nonnegotiable ethical principles"—specifically mentioning opposition to both legalized abortion and recognition for same-sex couples.
The same two words: damage control.
Gibbs said it would be "several months or even after the election" before the task force makes its recommendations.
We wouldn't want to incovenience Kerry's political ambitons would we? After all, "What doth it profit a man to gain heaven and suffer the loss of the White House?" Besides, we wouldn't want to undercut the seamless-garment inspired scorecard, which will imply that Catholic Kerry is more faithful to the Church's teachings then say "this President," who is a Protestant. Besides, what would be the point of embarrasing the spiritual heir of the Kennedy legacy, surely not the inconvenient fact that:
Kerry says he is personally opposed to abortion, but supports the rights of others to make that choice. He argues that church doctrine allows Catholics the freedom of conscience to choose that stance.
And bishops the freedom to say and do as little as possible about it?
Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch
Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.