We live in a politically polarized nation. There’s nothing new in stating that. The internet has fueled the divide and hyper-partisan cable news outlets haven’t helped. For American Catholics, this means having to reconcile their partisanship with church teachings.
It is also true that Catholics are almost evenly divided when it comes to their support of either major political party.
While many Christians of various denominations have had to reconcile church teachings with that of who they prefer at the ballot box, the issue has not been fully explored in the mainstream press. At a time when pandering to one side is better for the bottom line, such journalistic discoveries of this grey zone are left underreported. Is covering both sides fueling political polarization? I’d argue it’s not. Some argue it is.
In an essay, published on April 1 by Robert G. Christian III, writing in Church Life Journal, examines the subject very well. Christian is the co-founder and editor of Millennial and a Ph.D. candidate in politics at the Catholic University of America. The journal is part of Notre Dame’s theological education and faith formation development.
Christian uses a term seldom used in the mainstream press to describe some Catholic voters in the age of President Trump — the alt Catholic — who he writes “claim to be orthodox and more Catholic than the pope.”
So as the Church faces the problem of overcoming the big divide in American Catholicism between conservatives and liberals, it must now also contend with a small group of militant, pope-hating far right dissenters that distort and damage the U.S. Church on a daily basis.
The piece goes on to make several key points regarding Catholic social teaching, which is a doctrine on matters regarding human dignity and common good in society.