Russell Shaw

Russell Shaw is the author of Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church (Requiem Press), Nothing to Hide: Secrecy, Communication, and Communion in the Catholic Church (Ignatius Press), and other works.

recent articles

Message Refused: Humanae Vitae, 40 Years Later

  I know a woman – and, in fairness, I must say that she’s a truly good Catholic woman — who’s slightly bonkers on the subject of birth control. I suppose there are people like that on both sides of this argument, but this woman happens to be bonkers on the pro-contraception side. You can’t … Read more

Through a Glass, Darkly: Secrecy and the Catholic Church

Inside Catholic contributor Russell Shaw’s 20th book, Nothing To Hide: Secrecy, Communication, and Communion in the Catholic Church (Ignatius Press), takes a candid and sometimes surprising look at the abuse of secrecy in an ecclesiastical context. In this interview, Shaw, former information director of the Catholic bishops’ conference and the Knights of Columbus, explains the … Read more

On Clericalism

Imagine a man who wakes up in the morning with a headache, fever, and chills. The symptoms persist and are there when he goes to bed that night. Next day, it’s the same thing again — headache, fever, chills. This continues day after day, week after week, over and over. Finally the poor man starts … Read more

Benedict to the UN: In Defense of Natural Law

December 10, 1948: Keep your eye on that date. It’s likely to have an important symbolic role in Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to the United Nations and the United States.   Religious and civic pageantry, teddy bears wearing T-shirts with papal-visit logos, and celebrity worship may be the visit’s most obvious features. But people … Read more

Jesuit General: The Road Ahead

Jesuit spokesmen, both official and unofficial, rallied promptly — and properly — in support of their newly elected superior general, Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., calling him a holy and highly intelligent man and a natural choice for his new job. What they neglected to say, on the record at least, is that Pope Benedict XVI’s … Read more

Can the Jesuits Be Saved?

A friend of mine tells of attending a showing at a Jesuit university of a video produced to mark the centenary of the birth in 1907 of Rev. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., “the Basque Jesuit,” who as a missionary in Japan tended the wounded and dying after the atom-bombing of Hiroshima, and was superior general of … Read more

The Iraq Debate: Russell Shaw’s Closing Statement

This is the fourth of a four-part debate between Robert R. Reilly and Russell Shaw on the question, “Was the Iraq War just?”   Five quick comments: 1. My thanks to Bob Reilly for making my point: UN weapons inspectors were back in Iraq months before the U.S.-led invasion. That Saddam Hussein wasn’t happy is … Read more

The Iraq Debate: Russell Shaw’s First Response

This is the third of a four-part debate between Robert R. Reilly and Russell Shaw on the question, “Was the Iraq War just?” I take no pleasure disagreeing with an admirable individual like Bob Reilly over the merits of a cause to which he’s as passionately committed as he is to the war in Iraq. … Read more

The Iraq Debate: The War Was Unjust

This is the second of a four-part debate between Robert R. Reilly and Russell Shaw on the question, “Was the Iraq War just?” Sometime in late 2002 I composed a sort of mantra that I then took to repeating to family and friends: “I watched the first Gulf War in 1991 on TV in a … Read more

Early Chronicles of a Post-Christian Age

One sunny morning in September 1860, a British widower broke the news to his 11-year-old son that he was planning to marry again. The boy paused to take it in, then demanded, “But, Papa, is she one of the Lord’s children?”   The father replied that she was.   “Has she taken up her cross … Read more

Under the Ban: Modernism, Then and Now

On July 3, 1907, in a decree bearing the lachrymose Latin title Lamentabili, the Vatican’s Holy Office, predecessor of today’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, condemned 65 propositions that it had found contrary to Catholic orthodoxy. Pope Pius X followed up two months later, on September 8, with an encyclical named Pascendi Dominici … Read more

Under the Ban: Modernism, Then and Now

On July 3, 1907, in a decree bearing the lachrymose Latin title Lamentabili, the Vatican’s Holy Office, predecessor of today’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, condemned 65 propositions that it had found contrary to Catholic orthodoxy. Pope Pius X followed up two months later, on September 8, with an encyclical named Pascendi Dominici … Read more

Shrinking the Bishop’s Conference

When 250 or so American bishops travel to Baltimore in mid-November for a sentimental journey into the Catholic past, they may find more comfort in looking back than looking ahead. But look ahead they must. Their national organization, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has come to a historic turning point.   Since the … Read more

Shrinking the Bishops’ Conference

When 250 or so American bishops travel to Baltimore in mid-November for a sentimental jour­ney into the Catholic past, they may find more comfort in looking back than looking ahead. But look ahead they must. Their national organization, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has come to a historic turning point. Since the USCCB … Read more

Guest Column: The Future of the Jesuits

The beginning of the end for the Society of Jesus, the dawn of a new day, or just more of the same? The announcement in early February by Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., superior general since 1983, that he would convoke a general congregation of the Jesuits in 2008 to elect his successor raises that question. … Read more

Vatican II and the Culture of Dissent

The Second Vatican Council closed just over 40 years ago, on December 8, 1965. For most people, the postconciliar era had begun. But for me, that troubled time in recent Catholic history got its real start on July 28, 1968. Pope Paul VI’s encyclical against contraception, Humanae Vitae, had appeared the previous Thursday, July 25. … Read more

What Should the Laity be Doing?

The Church in the United States and in other Western countries is in crisis. The challenge this presents to the Catholic laity is clear. They are called to do more than struggle individually against the temptations that come from the sinful world around them in hopes of saving their souls (although certainly they need to … Read more

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