Voices

Russell Shaw is a former secretary for public affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference. His 22 books include American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America.

TAKING CHARGE. John Lundy leads a class in English as a Second Language as a member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, in the South Bronx section of New York City.
Russell ShawSeptember 17, 2014
In The Edge of Sadness, the elegiac successor to his wildly successful novel The Last Hurrah, Edwin O’Connor places these words about the priesthood and lay clericalism in the mouth of the story’s priest-narrator: “Probably in no other walk of life is a young man so often and so hu
Russell ShawJune 06, 2005
On Feb. 21 the Vatican issued the most authoritative papal statement on the church and communications in nearly 50 years. Addressed to those responsible for communications, Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter Rapid Development (Il Rapido Sviluppo) stirred a ripple of interest at first, but wa
The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, which was held in 1884, focused on Catholic education in the United States (public domain image via Wikipedia).
Faith Short Take
Russell ShawMay 16, 2005
A plenary council or regional synod may not have been good ideas anyway. But more and more, the attitude appears to be that the church’s business is the bishops’ business and no one else’s; openness and a desire to involve others in church affairs seem to have become passé. It is worth considering
Russell ShawMarch 29, 2004
Despite all the talk about a vocation shortage, there is in fact no such thing in the Catholic Church. The real shortage is that of vocational discernment, and that is a very different problem. The shortfall in the number of candidates for the priesthood, the consecrated life and other forms of Chri
Russell ShawJune 03, 2002
Clericalism in the Catholic Church is something like the pattern in the wallpaper: it’s been there so long you don’t see it anymore. That may be why, amid all the demands for change in response to the scandal of clergy sex abuse, more has not been heard about clericalism and the need to
Russell ShawMay 28, 2001
Has the time come to revive the idea of a national pastoral council for the Catholic Church in the United States a quarter-century after the scheme was effectively abandoned? Opinions will differ on that. But two events this year are reminders that establishing some such body really is part of the u