Russell Shaw

March 25, 2013
Pope Francis
By Russell Shaw

The surprising election of Pope Francis plainly was nosurprise to the people who really counted: the cardinals, that is, who swiftly chosehim on the first full day and fifth ballot of the conclave. While not a speedrecord, the timing showed the electors had no difficulty agreeing that theArchbishop of Buenos Aires was the man for the job.

!--?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /-- 

Here was a grievous blow to punditry. In retrospect, itshould have been...

(Read more)

March 08, 2013
The Pope we need now
By Russell Shaw

“I hope we get a nice pope,” a good Catholic woman told me soon after Benedict XVI announced his resignation.

“I don't care whether he's nice or not,” I replied. “I just hope he's strong.”

Actually, I'd be glad if the next pope were nice, with a winning smile and a friendly manner. But vastly more important than being nice is that he be a tough-minded realist, with a backbone of steel. That's what the Church needs now.

The problems that will face him are immense: the twin...

(Read more)

February 22, 2013
The personal vocation of Pope Benedict
By Russell Shaw

For the last several weeks I've been teaching an online course about the role of the Catholic laity. We'd just gotten to the subject of personal vocation when the startling news came through: Benedict XVI was stepping down as pope.

Posting a question that Monday morning to get my students' discussion rolling for the week, I began by remarking that Benedict's action was "the most striking example of personal vocation that I've seen in a long time."

My students, bless them, were quick to pick...

(Read more)

February 08, 2013
Authentic Lent, Cardinal Newman style
By Russell Shaw

Why is it that Ash Wednesday and Lent remain relatively popular even in highly secularized times like these? It's a serious question that touches on matters deeper than might at first be supposed.

The popularity I speak of can be seen year after year on Ash Wednesday, when people – some of them perhaps not all that often in church – stream up the aisle to get their ashes. Not a few then return for Mass or Stations of the Cross on weekdays during Lent. How come?

The answer can found in...

(Read more)

January 29, 2013
Gender
By Russell Shaw

Defenders of traditional marriage may not believe it, but the Supreme Court's apparent intention to decide two important same-sex marriage cases by midyear may be a stroke of good fortune for their side.

This timing means the Supreme Court's first head-on tangle with this issue almost certainly will come before President Obama gets an opportunity to nominate another justice for the court and thereby probably tip its balance in favor of gay marriage.

True, it would be foolish to predict what...

(Read more)

January 18, 2013
Demography
By Russell Shaw

The disruptive results for individuals and society spawned by the revolution in attitudes and behavior regarding sex, marriage, family, and childbearing that erupted a half-century ago have become too obvious to ignore. These things were predictable--in fact, some people actually predicted them from the start--but by now their impact has grown so painfully apparent that even secular voices are being raised in alarm.

The problems are increasingly visible in the United States. They include an...

(Read more)

January 08, 2013
Roe at 40
By Russell Shaw

As the pro-life movement contemplates four decades of legalized abortion in the United States and asks itself what really needs doing to halt this hideous scandal, pro-lifers should consider adding a new word to their vocabulary: ambivalence.

According to the dictionary, ambivalence is the state of having mutually conflicting emotions or thoughts about something. And where abortion is concerned, that obviously is how things stand with a substantial number of Americans. They don't like...

(Read more)

December 19, 2012
Tough religion and evangelization
By Russell Shaw

Much has been said lately about how to do evangelization. I've contributed a bit to that myself. Now I begin to think that, instead of always stressing niceness, it might be good to give tough religion a try.

That idea was inspired by a reading of Eric Metaxas's biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran theologian and pastor executed by the Nazis near the end of World War II for  involvement in the plot against Hitler. Metaxas's book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Thomas...

(Read more)

November 30, 2012
The post-election Church
By Russell Shaw

The cardinal looked grim. “This is the situation now,” he said. “One political party is dangerous and the other is stupid.”

Since that was said in a private chat, it wouldn’t be fair for me to name the speaker. But his comment expresses sentiments that probably are widely shared in the American hierarchy today, as indeed they’re shared widely by many Americans. Bipartisan disgust with politics is a sorry byproduct of our recent, toxic election campaign. If the country should...

(Read more)

November 16, 2012
On losing work
By Russell Shaw

If someone is looking for material for a book with a title like “Profiles of an Inhuman Economic System,” consider what follows to be a contribution to the cause. It’s about a man I know whom I’ll call Joe. The story was told to me by his wife.

Joe is an honest, conscientious guy who, a couple of years out of school, went to work for a very large, nationally known company. He wasn’t exactly crazy about his job, and after a while he became aware that the company was systematically...

(Read more)

Follow us:

Recent activity: