Russell Shaw

Russell Shaw

Russell Shaw is the author of more than twenty books, including three novels and volumes on ethics and moral theology, the Catholic laity, clericalism, the abuse of secrecy in the Church, and other topics. He has also published thousands of articles in periodicals, among them The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, L’Osservatore Romano, America, Crisis, Catholic World Report, The National Catholic Reporter, and many others. From 1967-1987 he served as communications director for the U.S. Catholic bishops and from 1987-1997 was information director for the Knights of Columbus. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Articles by Russell Shaw

The Culture War Turns Violent

Jun 30, 2022 / 12:15 pm

America’s culture war has turned violent. The violence has always been there of course, just below the surface, but lately it has erupted into full, frightening view.

On Scandal and Communion

Jun 20, 2022 / 11:00 am

Central to the decision by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to deny Communion to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the reality of scandal.

Grandparents and the Faith

Jun 2, 2022 / 11:45 am

In one of the Wednesday audience talks he’s been giving on aging, Pope Francis declared what he called “the alliance of the generations” to be “indispensable.”

The Father of the Abortion Movement

May 19, 2022 / 17:20 pm

In the uproar over the leak of an early draft of a Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion, the rhetoric of editorialists and commentators friendly to abortion has been short on light but long on heat. Even the conclusion of the New York Times editorial, “If you thought Roe v. Wade itself led to discord and division, just wait until it’s gone”, left you wondering: Is that a prediction or a threat?

The Trouble with Legalism

May 5, 2022 / 09:30 am

When the Church speaks definitively on morality – says that without exception something is wrong – is it declaring a truth or laying down a law? Confusion about that is rampant today.

Naming Abortion

Apr 21, 2022 / 11:40 am

The abortion-friendly Washington Post recently provided a revealing look into a debate taking place in the world of abortion advocacy. The issue, in short, is whether to call abortion “abortion” or call it something else.

Holy Week in Ukraine

Apr 7, 2022 / 10:24 am

Holy Week, the week of Christ’s suffering and death, has a special name this year – Ukraine.

The Pope and the Patriarch

Mar 24, 2022 / 10:15 am

So there will be no meeting, at least for now, between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Kirill’s support for President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine has put it out of reach.

Biden's Supreme Court Pick

Mar 18, 2022 / 14:10 pm

Something unusual happened last month at the session during which President Joe Biden introduced Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his choice for the Supreme Court. When her turn to speak came, she began by thanking not Biden but God.

Straight Talk on Ash Wednesday

Feb 24, 2022 / 16:30 pm

Why are so many people so keen on “getting the ashes”? The question naturally comes to mind as Ash Wednesday approaches.

Science, Faith, and Outer Space

Feb 10, 2022 / 11:40 am

I was chatting with a man who had a doctorate in astronomy and now held a top science post in the government, so I asked, “Am I right in thinking that the universe includes the whole of material reality?”

The Pope, the Pets, and Population

Jan 27, 2022 / 11:13 am

The recent comment by Pope Francis that people who have pets instead of children are, sometimes at least, manifesting selfishness brought predictable howls from pet lovers and those who felt he was treading on their sacred right to do whatever they please. But along with unintentionally giving media the sort of juicy flap over trivia that they relish, the Pope was identifying a grave and growing problem for nations around the globe.

Solving Our Race Problem

Jan 13, 2022 / 09:30 am

Here is today’s quiz: What 19th century novel points the way to a lasting solution to the racial tensions afflicting America today? 

Waiting for Dobbs

Dec 30, 2021 / 08:50 am

The Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision on abortion almost certainly is a done deal. The justices and their clerks know the result but they aren’t letting on, while the rest of us won’t find out for another five months.

Leaving Home for Christmas

Dec 17, 2021 / 10:00 am

Although coming home for Christmas is a beautiful holiday tradition greatly to be cherished, it nevertheless occurs to me that leaving home for Christmas, correctly understood, is equally or even more important.

A Fair Shake for Parental Choice?

Dec 2, 2021 / 09:44 am

Four years ago, in a case from Missouri, a majority of justices of the Supreme Court agreed that a Lutheran church that operated a day school was entitled to funding from a state program for upgrading playgrounds in the interests of child safety.

End of the line for Roe v. Wade?

Nov 22, 2021 / 10:30 am

Starting Dec. 1, the nine justices of the Supreme Court will begin work in earnest on what already looks to be the court’s most closely watched—and probably most controversial—ruling in nearly half a century. 

National (Dis)unity

Nov 4, 2021 / 10:25 am

Are the bonds of American national unity becoming dangerously frayed? To judge from a steady stream of books, op ed pieces, opinion journal articles, and talk show conversations on this matter, the disturbing answer is yes.

Why Purgatory?

Oct 21, 2021 / 11:15 am

Coming just after Hell and just before Heaven, the second of the three books that make up Dante’s Divine Comedy is the Purgatorio--Purgatory. In its ninth canto, Dante places these words in the mouth of the angelic guardian of Purgatory’s gate who, displaying his keys, tells his listeners: I hold them from St. Peter--who bade me err / Rather in opening than shutting out.

Spreading the Thinking of Pope John Paul II

Oct 7, 2021 / 09:55 am

It’s sometimes said Pope St. John Paul II was the most intellectually gifted occupant of the See of Peter ever, but inasmuch as the line of popes stretches back two millennia and includes some known to history only by their names, there is no realistic way of verifying that.