The Catholic Church is riven with debate, don’tcha know?

Well, that is what the New York Times would have you believe.

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.

It is a contest for credibility among observant Catholics, with each faction describing itself as a defender of “life.” The two sides disagree over how to address the “intrinsic evil” of abortion.

Now I don’t have any census or polling data to back me up, but I suspect that among observant Catholics (meaning Catholics who observe all that the Church’s teachings) there isn’t too much debate. There are certainly a few loud voices in favor of Obama and the democrats and some faithful Catholics who feel compelled to sit the election out, but I think the majority is squarely opposed to Obama and the Democrat party.

The article trots out the same ol’ weak arguments of Kmiec and well Kmiec. If this was such a debate among observant Catholics, one might think they could find some other prominent voice other than Dougie. The article also makes reference to Bishop Martino for his letter in opposition to this evil.

In Scranton, Pa., every Catholic attending Mass this weekend will hear a special homily about the election next month: Bishop Joseph Martino has ordered every priest in the diocese to read a letter warning that voting for a supporter of abortion rights amounts to endorsing “homicide.”

“Being ‘right’ on taxes, education, health care, immigration and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life,” the bishop wrote. “It is a tragic irony that ‘pro-choice’ candidates have come to support homicide — the gravest injustice a society can tolerate — in the name of ‘social justice.’ ”

In response, a coalition of liberal lay Catholics is pushing back, criticizing the bishop’s message for neglecting other aspects of “life” talked about in Catholic social teachings, like concern for the poor.

Babies are poor, right? Anyway, enough with all that. Let’s have some fun with a liberal ol’ nun. The Times quotes Sister Margaret P. Gannon, a professor at Marywood University, without any concern that Sister has maligned the majority of observant Catholics as closet racists.

To underscore the point, a nun is collecting the signatures of prominent Catholic leaders there for a newspaper advertisement reminding those who may be wary of voting for Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the Democratic nominee for president, that the church also considers racism a sin that threatens the dignity of life.

“Here in Scranton, racist attitudes often prevent us from seeing all of our fellow citizens and candidates for public office as God’s children,” says the petition, circulated by Sister Margaret P. Gannon, a professor at Marywood University.

I suppose the Times takes that assertion for granted and is not even the slightest bit embarrassed to publish it. When it comes to life issues among observant Catholics, there is very little debate. In fact, of the debate that does exist is whether the other guy is almost as bad and thus disqualified. Doug Kmiec may be riven, but observant Catholics are not.