The funeral of Sen. Edward Kennedy gave us all the opportunity to see up close once again the political malleability and human failings of the Roman Catholic church (which I passionately love and believe in). It was Robert Novak who told me that upon studying the Church he was convinced it is, in fact, identical with what the ancient Fathers said: born from the side of the Savior on the cross like a new Eve. Having founded the Church with his blood, Christ immeasurably strengthened it on Pentecost and inspired it with a sense of mission to preach the gospel to all nations… That assurance doesn’t exempt me from criticizing-where deserved–the often very human vessels which serve as ostensibly supportive auxiliary shepherds to Jesus Christ. What bothers me most is this: There are Catholics who confuse the often weak auxiliary shepherds with Christ Himself and thereby regard it as heresy if any criticism were to come to them. They develop a sycophantic state of mind, cherishing the sight of miter and crosier, wishing with their trembling fingers to touch the hem of the embroidered gold-threaded vestments as political hangers-on do to shake hands with and ingratiate themselves with high government officials.