The Vatican phoned! It was a prelate in the cardinal’s office in charge of totally disastrous situations. I learned that I had just been appointed grand inquisitor! There hadn’t been a grand inquisitor appointed since the Spanish Inquisition. Here I was, a humble layman and my job was to address a serious case of heresy affecting Canada. I was provided with amazing powers. (You know, I’ve always enjoyed the thought of kicking people around.) A whole floor of the posh Four Season’s Hotel in downtown Toronto had been taken over. I was to wear bulletproof underwear (supplied) and be protected by a small army of armed Swiss papal guards with diplomatic immunity. My job was to supersede all ecclesiastical authority in the Canadian Roman Catholic church for a limited period of time. How long was that? I asked. I was told: until the job was done.

What had gotten the Vatican so mad at us? I knew there were some very large holes in the bark, but I didn’t think they were that bad. I was told it was our limp-wristed acquiesence, for the most part, to same-sex “marriage.” The Vatican argued that if same-sex “marriage,” a perversion, was legally accepted, was not marriage itself put on the same level?

My wife, Ileen, and I moved into a luxury suite in the hotel, from where I called up some of my friends to invite them down and see our new digs. When they found out they were going to be strip-searched, photographed, fingerprinted and would have to pass a breathalyzer test, they decided it wasn’t worthwhile. Anyway, we found the room service great, but sure missed our friends. (Some of them, anyway.) I found out shortly later that the Vatican was serious about this and that I was to get to work promptly.

A bewigged gentleman arrived from Rome with a parchment scroll outlining my work schedule. It was awesome! I was to excommunicate all “cardboard Catholics,” as the Vatican called them. These were the Catholic members of Parliament who indicated they would vote in favour of same-sex “marriages.” Also to be excommunicated were Catholic MPs who hadn’t made up their minds. Each of these MPs were to get a papal bull (I never liked that expression), officially excommunicating them and denying them the Sacraments and a Catholic church burial. I gathered that Rome wanted a slimmer, trimmer Catholic church. The papal nuncio and the local ordinary (bishop) were to deliver the papal bull in person. No signature was necessary. Paul Martin was to have his local pastor deliver his. (And readers can imagine what would happen to a bishop who didn’t obey the grand inquisitor.)

I assembled my bilingual staff (Italian-English speaking) and a flood of papal bulls went out in record time. I almost got writer’s cramp signing them. Under penalty of excommunication, all bishops were to memorize Bishop (now Cardinal) Fred Henry’s discourse on same-sex “marriages.” A series of sermons based on his discourse in all the Catholic churches in Canada were also ordained. Any lay person publicly promoting or assenting to same-sex “marriages” would also receive a papal bull excommunicating him or her.

You can imagine the screaming that went on in the fuzzy liberal media – “Denial of human rights!” “Freedom of religion!” (Someone should remind them that Jesus wasn’t elected head of the apostles.) I felt sorry to hear that many media people were hospitalized on account of frenzy. I didn’t give out any interviews – except an exclusive to The Interim. I did take a phone call from Premier Fidel Castro. He was envious. He wanted to know how I got that kind of power when I was just a lousy, right-wing columnist with an insignificant monthly newspaper. I told him that if George W. Bush were the president of the United States 50 years ago instead of JFK – he’d still be hiding in the bush somewhere. He hung up on me. I have a feeling I might need that bulletproof underwear.

Well, readers might want to know if we won the battle to preserve marriage between a man and a woman in Canada. All I can say is that Stockwell Day is the new prime minister and Paul Martin is the new ambassador to Saudi Arabia.