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.
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
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
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 why.
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
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
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