He likes to take a target (e.g. Lance Armstrong), expand his list of misdemeanors to include something absurd, and add follow-up adventures based on that absurdity. Sometimes the result is chuckle-worthy and sometimes not; I won't spoil your joy of discovering which is which.
Except that he seems nonplussed by Pope Francis. "College of Cardinals, apparently seeking to move the church in a new direction, chooses, as the first non-European pope in over a thousand years, a retired New Jersey tax accountant named Harvey Schwartz. Appearing before a massive crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the new pontiff vows to, quote, “give it a shot.”" The follow-up references are just as off target.
I wonder if he was afraid that he couldn't exaggerate enough. If Dave wrote that Francis "sold the Vatican and donated the proceeds to the Salvation Army," that would be over-the-top enough for Dave's style, an amusing extrapolation of Francis' attitudes, and impossible enough that it wouldn't happen, but pretty much anything less might happen. Sell off some art to fund catholic charities? He might. Tell priests to go live with the poor? He did already.
Dave "gets" plenty of other subjects well enough to parody them. I wonder if 1) he doesn't "get" Francis or 2) his editors told him to back off or 3) he couldn't work him in without putting in too much reality and jarring the rest of the parody.
I'm leaning toward 3).