Russell Shaw
June 29, 2012
The 'Catholic sensibility' of George W. Bush
By Russell Shaw

Does George W. Bush have a “Catholic sensibility?” Tim Goeglein thinks so, and he’s better situated than most people to know. For seven-and-a-half years Goeglein was deputy director of the public liaison office of the Bush White House, with frequent opportunities to observe the president up close.

The results can be seen in his memoir “The Man in the Middle” (B&H Books) – a volume that might be called “Bush and I.” When revisionist historians come to the Bush presidency,...

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June 15, 2012
Political partisanship
By Russell Shaw

A prominent Republican congressman, a Catholic, says his economic proposals reflect the social doctrine of the Church. Statements from the bishops’ conference dispute that, and some faculty at Georgetown University tell the congressman he isn’t welcome there. (They aren’t known to have objected when, several weeks later, Kathleen Sebelius of ‘HHS mandate’ fame spoke at a Georgetown commencement event.)

The Bishop of Peoria, Ill. likens policies of the Obama administration to the...

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June 04, 2012
Court nominations
By Russell Shaw

With the exception of Bush v. Gore, which in effect confirmed George W. Bush’s victory in the 2000  presidential election, it would be hard to think of another recent Supreme Court case that’s been the occasion of as much advance tugging and pulling from outside sources as the court’s anticipated ruling on Obamacare. The decision is expected before the justices quit for the summer late in June.

Even Barack Obama lost his presidential cool and indulged in a burst of preemptive huffing...

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May 18, 2012
Truth, not words, will win the marriage debate
By Russell Shaw

President Obama’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage underlines the urgent need for the Church to launch a massive new program to educate Catholics on the nature of sacramental marriage and on the vast difference between a marriage like that and civil marriage.

The Church should also continue to participate in the debate about same-sex marriage—a voice of reason patiently explaining why a union between two persons of the same sex shouldn’t be recognized as a civil...

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May 03, 2012
Diversity or assimilation?
By Russell Shaw

I was nearing the close of Pat Buchanan’s new book, “Suicide of a Superpower” (St. Martin’s Press) when I read that MSNBC had fired him as a political commentator for expressing views offensive to political correctness as practiced at that left-leaning network. (“Left-leaning” as applied to MSNBC comes from the Los Angeles Times, which is well situated to know a left-leaning news operation when it sees one.)

The conservative Buchanan cited “Suicide of a Superpower” as the...

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April 20, 2012
The Pope at 85
By Russell Shaw

Nearing his 85th birthday April 16 and, three days later, the seventh anniversary of his election to the throne of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI—even after so many years—apparently remained something of an enigma for many people. A small but telling incident before Easter may hold a key to understanding this unusual man.

In case you missed it, here’s what happened:

Preaching at the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday, Benedict spoke with regret of  “a group of priests...

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April 11, 2012
Converting the culture
By Russell Shaw

“Social issues.” It’s a squishy, equivocal term suited to a mentality ill at ease with the hard-edged implications of “moral issues” and “morality.” What implications? That there are definite moral truths that show some things to be always and everywhere wrong and deserving of condemnation. Not what the “social issues” mindset cares to hear.

There’s some helpful thinking on this subject in a new book by an archbishop that I want to recommend. But before getting to that,...

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March 12, 2012
Contraception or religious freedom?
By Russell Shaw

In determining to fight President Obama’s famous—or should I say infamous?—contraception mandate, the American bishops, I suspect, were devoutly hoping two things would not happen.

The first undesired outcome was that the issue would become politicized. The second was that it would be seen as an argument over contraception itself.

 Predictably perhaps, both have occurred, at least to some degree. Politicization has taken place, as almost certainly was bound to happen, with the...

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February 28, 2012
The larger issue behind the contraception mandate
By Russell Shaw

As the controversy over the Obama administration’s January directive to religious institutions to pay for employees’ contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs was heating up, Michael Gerson—a conservative columnist frequently friendly to the Church’s views—speculated on the reasoning behind this provocative move.

“The Obama administration seems to have calculated that, since contraceptives are popular and the Catholic Church is not, the outcry would be...

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February 13, 2012
The future of the Church in America
By Russell Shaw

A quiet, closed-door meeting in Washington next month will be of crucial importance in shaping the Church’s response to the nation’s biggest church-state crisis in decades.

When some 40 bishops of the administrative committee of the national bishops’ conference gather March 14-15 at conference headquarters, they’ll be looking at the Obama administration’s January mandate to Catholic institutions to violate Catholic teaching as well as the problematical “accommodation” of...

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