To watch "The Talking Points Memo" in the Screening Room click here.

Hi.  I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

Lots of stuff happened while I was gone last week.  Looks like Saddam Hussein is alive and making propaganda tapes.  More attacks, of course, on American soldiers in Iraq and more scandals surrounding the Kennedy family,  unfortunately.

But the Talking Points Memo this evening concerns the condition of Pope John Paul II and how it effects you.  Last Wednesday, I sat in the third row at the weekly papal audience in Rome.  I was about 20 yards away from the pontiff.  And I can report that although he can no longer walk, he was lucid throughout the 90 minute ceremony.  His eyes were clear and his voice had some authority to it.

Of course if you never get to speak directly with the pope, but I'd like to ask him one very important question.  Why, your holiness, have you not acted more aggressively in combating the priest sexual abuse scandal in the USA, a country that provides about half of the Vatican's financing?

I devoted three days to finding the answer to that question.  But first, why it's important to America to know the answer.  For centuries the Catholic Church here has provided a counterweight to the secular movement, which believes that government has little or no role in monitoring personal behavior.  Today, the move to legalize partial birth abortion, hard drugs, prostitution, gay marriage, and a host of other controversial things is led by secularists, people who believe that judgments should not be made about private behavior.

A few days after the Supreme Court ruled the Texas sodomy law  unconstitutional, we saw displays like these in gay pride parades across the country.  And we had to clean up some of them.  They were militant gays out to offend people with whom they disagree.

And if children happened to be around, well, that's just tough.  While the Supreme Court's privacy opinion was correct in my opinion, the continuing libertine philosophy that is on display here, that isn't there, but you'll see -- you get the idea, will become a source of pain for the USA, mark my words.

Now the Catholic Church with more than one billion members worldwide and 63 million in the USA used to have the moral authority to challenge the   secularists and encourage moral behavior, behavior that seeks to respect life and the worth of each human being.

Now the church's moral authority is in tatters and the secularists have one less opponent to worry about.  Based on conversations with a number of people close to the Vatican, Pope John Paul at age 83 is simply not up to dealing with this intense situation.  He spends most of his time these days praying, leaving temporal matters to a variety of assistants, none of whom is powerful or  motivated enough to change leadership in America.

The Vatican is a huge bureaucracy that moves slowly and does not understand the American dynamic.  So the USA will continue its ethical civil war with one huge player on the sidelines.  Until the American Catholic church aggressively cleans up its top leadership, secularism will become stronger and the USA, in turn, will become  weaker.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

The Tour de France bike race is under way over there.  Of course, since we're boycotting France, I'm not riding in the race this year.  If I were, watch out, Lance Armstrong.  Not really.  My bike has training wheels.

Anyway, a big smack-up today in the Tour de France.  You'll see in a moment.  Whoop.  There they go.  Boom.  Boom.  Ay yi yi!

I'm spreading the rumor that Jacques Chirac caused all this by pouring French wine all over the highway.  Of course, that isn't true, but, at this point, Jacques deserves anything I say about him.

No serious injuries in the pile-up -- and we're happy about that -- but anything that happens in France is, of course, ridiculous.

--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com