Did Archbishop Gregory Aymond endorse Catholic Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao? Well no, but about 10,000 people who received fundraising literature in the mail from Cao’s office may have understandably gotten that impression.

And Cao is now apologizing.

Times Picayune reports:

U.S. Rep Anh “Joseph” Cao, heading into a difficult re-election campaign, has apologized to New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond for sending out a fundraising letter that strongly implies that Aymond and the local Catholic Church have endorsed him for re-election.

In response, Aymond said he will release a clarification through the Clarion Herald, a Catholic newspaper, underscoring the church’s neutrality in the November election.

At issue is a direct mailer that the Republican congressman recently sent to 10,000 constituents in his largely Democratic 2nd Congressional District. The outer envelope features a prominent, boxed quotation from Aymond praising Cao’s courage for “standing solidly for the values espoused by Jesus and the church in spite of personal criticism.”

An enclosed letter from Cao solicits campaign donations, largely on the strength of the anti-abortion implications of his “no” vote on health care reform last spring.

Aymond’s testimonial is accurate, but it came months ago in a general commentary on the passage of the health care reform bill, although that is not made clear to recipients.

While I understand that the pro-life movement is being led in many places by the clergy, as a former seminarian Cao should’ve known better not to do something like that on a fundraising letter.

I would write this completely off as an odd mistake but this is the second time in recent days that Cao has been in the news. Cao, while berating BP employees at a congressional hearing, publicly suggested “Harakiri” as a possibility and in a follow up interview on MSNBC he smirked about his suggestion.

Cao is a great voice for pro-lifers in Congress but he’s likely to lose come November due to his Louisiana district being overwhelmingly Democratic. These kinds of histrionics and mistakes from Cao may be desperation. I hope not. Sometimes losing with dignity is the best way to go. There are worse things to lose than an election.