The Catholic Church's K Street lobbyist.

Taking stock of people and ideas in the news.
Aug. 9 2002 11:03 AM

The Rev. John McCloskey

The Catholic Church's K Street lobbyist.

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McCloskey is on the front lines of a long-simmering war over the Catholic Church, its direction and future—a war over the role of women, over contraception, over the proper role of the laity—ultimately, a war over the meaning of Vatican II. No one, save God, knows the outcome. But it's worth noting that even one of the church's most devoted partisans can't avoid a little "Protestant" dissent.

When asked what he would do if the Catholic Church ever reversed its position on birth control, McCloskey dismissed the question as an impossible hypothetical. Dismissed it, that is, after he blurted out his first, instinctive reaction: "I'd be gone in a second."

Perhaps there's room for private judgment after all.

Chris Suellentrop is the deputy editor for blogs at Yahoo News and a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. He has reviewed video games for Slate, Rolling Stone, and NewYorker.com. Follow him on Twitter.