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Madisonville Gazes Into Boehner’s Papal Moment


Boehner: Welcome to Congress, Your Holiness. Your timing is immaculate, if you don’t mind me saying so. We sure need you around here. You can cool passions running pretty high lately.  

Francis: May the Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and your house. But what difference can I make?  

JB: Prayers, I don’t need. We’re always praying. Half the House is a minister. Hell, pardon my French, most of them think they’re infallible. No offense, Your Holiness.  

PF: Please. It’s Francis. The church is changing. Less formal. I myself play down infallibility. Catholics no longer believe just because the church says so.  

JB: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Dozens of House members believe what is manifestly incredible, on God knows whose say-so. No offense. Show them the video. Read the transcripts. Do the math. Nothing changes their minds. I’ve got people who see the image of Sen. Ted Cruz in their burnt toast.  

PF: I can offer canonization. Would that pacify them?  

JB: Most would consider that a step down. What else do you have?  

PF: We have exorcism. The church now frowns on it. But the Vatican is willing to perform one for a good cause.  

JB: One? I’d need 15 or 20, and I’d need them by the end of the month. That’s our deadline for next year’s spending. Time is money, Francis. Sorry to sound so crassly commercial.  

PF: No problem. Even the Castros now talk like capitalists. They’re all “hard currency this” and “free trade that.”  

JB: They’re no longer godless communists?  

PF: Communists? Don’t make me laugh. Godless? Maybe. But who am I to judge? As I said, the church is changing. I’m glad to be in Washington. You care about what I care about. Immigration. Abortion. Climate change. Contraception. Income inequality.  

JB: Go easy on abortion and contraception.  

PF: I’ll keep it short. Nobody takes us seriously anymore when we talk about sex.  

JB: Tell me about it. Nobody takes me seriously anymore either.  

PF: I’ll emphasize climate change.  

JB: The climate I’m worried about is the one in the chamber. Don’t be offended if you hear cat-calling. The Holy See level is sinking. The pope is a dope.  

PF: Cat-calling? My English isn’t good. What is a dope?  

JB: Many of the people you’ll be talking to. Smile benignly if you hear shouting.  

PF: Immigration is an urgent matter. We must open our hearts and borders to those in need.  

JB: ¡Dios mio! Have you been watching our presidential debates?  

PF: I missed them. By the way, Raul and Fidel do a rib-splitting send-up of Sen. Cruz and your Sen. Marco Rubio. I won’t spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that each claims his family overcame greater hardship. Hilarious.  

JB: Back to immigration. It’s a touchy subject. Go ahead. Open our hearts. Don’t mention the borders.  

PF: Mea culpa. Income inequality is a great moral issue. Can I send a message on the importance of doing something about it?  

JB: Francis, do you know the saying, “When in Rome?” Well, when in Washington, you don’t do something about it just because it’s a problem.  

PF: Can I say anything that won’t offend?  

JB: Could you address me repeatedly as Mr. Speaker? Constant repetition may drive the message home. Like prayer.  

PF: I’m not a miracle worker.


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