Catholic Civil War

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Yesterday’s NYT article by David Kirkpatrick on intra-Catholic fighting over abortion and the political campaign is a must read, but I’m not sure he’s got the thing calibrated quite right. Here’s the nut:

In a departure from previous elections, Democrats and liberal Catholic groups are waging a fight within the church, arguing that the Democratic Party better reflects the full spectrum of church teachings.

Liberal Catholics have been at this for a couple of election cycles. I’d say what’s new this year is that they’ve ratcheted it up a few notches, and have acquired some heavyweight pro-life allies, like Peppardine’s Doug Kmiec and now Duquesne law professor Nicholas Cafardi, to make the case. This has driven some hierarchs and intellectuals on the other side into a rage, with a consequent ramping up of rhetorical intensity. Kirkpatrick’s got the Bishop of Scranton (yes, Joe Biden’s Scranton), informing his flock that a vote for a pro-choice candidate is voting for someone who favors homicide. Meanwhile, St. Louis former archbishop Raymond Burke, kicked upstairs to mind the canon law shop at the Vatican, is busy railing against the Democratic Party as the party of death. What’s clear in Burke’s remarks, however, is that there is plenty of quiet episcopal resistance to the conservative hard line. That’s the story I’d like to see pursued more closely.