In 2008, the Roman Catholic church was instrumental in two major battles against marriage equality — Maine’s Prop 1 and California’s Prop 8. Leading the fight nationally for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was Louisville’s Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz. Last month, Kurtz was elected Vice President of the USCCB, after giving a powerful address on the USCCB ad-hoc committee’s work to defend marriage (a committee he chairs).

By elevating Kurtz to the #2 position at the USCCB, the bishops signaled their determination not simply to stand against marriage equality, but to work just as hard against anything that might lead to it as they work against anything that might possibly lead to thinking about considering something that might be akin to abortion.

This past week, two Roman Catholics in Illinois — Governor Pat Quinn and state House Speaker Michael Madigan — worked hard to get a civil unions bill passed the Illinois Legislature, much to the chagrin of the local bishop.

Welcome to the opening round of the 2012 culture wars, featuring the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.