The Catholic Church has now become a ruling force in America. However, it has been warped and commerce and pop culture are now part of its tenets. Cardinal Harvey Milk Robertson, from the Basic diocese (San Francisco), is one of the main contenders for the job. Emmett Fairbanks is his main contender; he is a fairly pathetic, hypocritical, self-involved figure, while Harvey seems to be fairly competent, sincere, and able.
The Laserus diocese is trying to create a drug called Primacin, that promises heaven on Earth, but it is having problems. When they inject it into a monkey, the monkey speaks, then bashes its brains out. The church will never permit this. They keep trying to fix the drug, but the Church is also investigating. Time is running out.
Harvey learns about the drug's problems through one of Fairbanks' aides, Derek Hayes. He comes out forcefully against both the drug and Grendel as man-made versions of god and the devil. He seems to be in the lead for getting the job as pope. He manages to get the decision about the pope postponed. Then he shows a video of another monkey being injected with Primacin. Emmett is done for, and commits suicide by injecting himself with Primacin. Robertson presumably gets the job as pope. Grendel, however, continues as a major force in society.