Burke goes farther, though, in this statement. Until now, bishops have restricted their criticisms to Catholic politicians who work to support abortion rights. Burke has expanded this into a broader political argument, one that will create more controversy in the pews and in the general electorate, especially with pro-life Democrats who will resent the accusation. The church should pursue their mandate of Catholics first, and avoid partisan shots while focusing on issues instead.
1. It will create controversy in the pews, but that is going to happen regardless as the bishops grow a spine and speak out on issues like abortion. The laity has gone thirty years without being properly catechized and unlearning everything bad is not going to be a piece of cake.
2. Who cares what the general electorate thinks? The Catholic Church isn't running for office in the US, it's working to save souls for Christ. If pro-choice Democrats who are Catholics don't like Church teaching, they can take their ball and go play somewhere else. Why would the general electorate (I'm assuming Ed means non-Catholics) care what the Catholic Church says in the first place?
3. Pro-life Democrats stung by the words of a Catholic archbishop should reevaluate their situation. They've for the last thirty years allowed their party to be hijacked by the supporters of Roe v. Wade and done little to chastise those Democrats who have hypocritically changed horses midstream (Ted Kennedy used to be pro-life. Where is the pro-life Democrat outrage?). If what His Excellency is saying hurts them that much, it's probably more due to their own regret and anxiety at their flimsy position in their own party than actually disagreeing with his words.
4. The church should pursue their mandate of Catholics first... Triumphalism may not be vogue at the moment, but the Catholic Church's mandate is not just Catholics, but the entire human race.
5. The church should [...] avoid partisan shots while focusing on issues instead. The archbishop calling it as he sees it on a fundamental issue of human rights is hardly a partisan shot. Is it a partisan shot when the Vatican was speaking out against the US invasion of Iraq?