Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to an aide as he arrives for the weekly Senate Republican Policy Committee luncheon September 24, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans held the luncheon to discuss Senate Republican agendas. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) needs to have a sit down with the Pope.

The Catholic senator needs to review the “love thy neighbor” portion of the Bible that Republicans love to quote so much, because he just withdrew his support for Miami-Dade circuit judge William Thomas an openly gay black nominee for the federal bench.

Nominees for the federal bench must have the approval of both of the senators from their state for their nomination move forward and on to the senate confirmation process.

Last week, the Pope made headlines “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”  The Pope was of course referring to the church’s obsession with social issues like contraception, abortion, and gay rights that infects our domestic political debate.

Rubio’s often cites his catholic faith as guiding his political positions and yet the Pope’s comments will likely have no effect on how the tea party Senator from Florida views the issues of equal rights for gays.  That’s because Senator Rubio was really responding to politics, not morality, by withdrawing his support for Judge Thomas.

Just a day after withdrawing his support for Judge Thomas, Senator Rubio voted to confirm the first openly gay federal appellate court justice, Todd Hughes.

Enter Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).  It wasn’t that long ago that Senator Marco Rubio was the tea party darling, on everyone’s short list for the GOP nomination in 2016.  But that was before an awkward lurch towards a drink of water in response to the State of the Union and Senator Rubio leading a bipartisan group in the upper chamber that pushed a more moderate position on immigration reform.

For his softened immigration stance, Senator Rubio was labeled “flip flopper” and “back-stabber” by grassroots tea party activists. Rubio’s “flip flop” is almost certainly because a candidate in either party must have strong support among Latinos in order to win a presidential election.  Senator Rubio has fallen from the tea party’s good graces and seems to be making calculated political moves to claw his way back.

Most recently, it appears that Rubio has been replaced as the Tea Party wunderkind by Senator Ted Cruz the most advanced fake filibusterer of all time, Tuesday.

While the Pope’s remarks pleased many liberal and moderate Catholics, Senator Rubio is sticking to the old Republican party line and attempting to sure up more conservative bonafides by blocking the nomination of an openly gay black justice.  This desperate attempt by Senator Rubio to win back the tea party energy he will need if he hopes to be successful in the next Republican presidential primary is one of the clearest signs yet that Republicans who have White House ambitions need to walk a very fine line that exists only on the Tea Party fringes of GOP.

Senator Rubio’s dilemma, is every Republican’s dilemma, as the far right rabble rousers, including Senator Ted Cruz, take over the GOP and conservative performance art makes it’s way all the way to the Senate floor.

Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter at @ZerlinaMaxwell.