Author Archive for Russell Shaw

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New Evangelization for Every Catholic

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A man I know was sitting on a boardwalk bench several weeks ago watching the ocean and thinking about nothing special. Two young men, maybe 18 or 20, came up and sat down beside him. The one nearest him leaned over and said: “Excuse me, sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?” […]

Questions Raised by Mormons' Candidacy
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Questions Raised by Mormons’ Candidacy

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As America gears up for another presidential election season, do we really have to agonize yet again over whether being a Mormon disqualifies a person for the presidency? Since the answer apparently is yes, at least let’s try to get some use from the discussion by understanding what’s really at stake. With two Mormon ex-governors […]

Supreme Court Justices and Violent Video Games
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Supreme Court Justices and Violent Video Games

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Pardon my exasperation, but there are times when the elitist views of the mandarins who set rules for the rest of us from the federal bench and other similarly exalted vantage points are indeed upsetting. As an example, consider the Supreme Court and its decision last month on selling and renting violent video games to […]

Confronting the Mindset of Secular Feminism
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Confronting the Mindset of Secular Feminism

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If you have access to the April 29 issue of The New Republic, take a look at a long review of several new books on abortion. The work of Christine Stansell, a professor of history at the University of Chicago and herself author of a history of feminism, it’s worth reading on several counts. Full […]

Super Parents and the Rest of Us
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Super Parents and the Rest of Us

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Back in prehistoric times when my wife and I were busy doing our parenting, I paid very little attention to the many books that promised to tell me how to do the job really well. My loss, I suppose. Yet I can’t help thinking my omission may have reflected a healthy instinct. After all, if […]

Shari’a Threat Persists Despite bin Laden’s Death
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Shari’a Threat Persists Despite bin Laden’s Death

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Some early media reactions to the death of Osama bin Laden were, to use as charitable a word as possible, unserious. To such a point that one was reminded of a scene in The Wizard of Oz. The wicked witch has been killed, and the other characters dance about and merrily sing, “Ding-dong, the witch […]

The Church and the Deficit
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The Church and the Deficit

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For a long time I supposed that social issues — abortion, same-sex marriage, and the rest — were the great dividing line in American politics, with the collapse of natural law thinking at the root of the problem. While I still see the culture war resulting from this as a large part of what ails […]

The Sanctity of John Paul II
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The Sanctity of John Paul II

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Strange as it may seem at first, I find the key to the sanctity of Pope John Paul II  in the closing words of an American novel published in 1988 — a book the Pope most likely never read. In brief, the heart of John Paul’s practice of “heroic charity” resides in the fact that […]

Libya and Rethinking Just War Theory
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Libya and Rethinking Just War Theory

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The military intervention in Libya by the United States and NATO offers new  evidence that the just war theory stands in need of rethinking. The theory is fine as far as it goes. The problem is it doesn’t go far enough. People who say the just war theory should be scrapped because modern warfare makes […]

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Contraception: The Reason Catholics Have Abandoned Confession

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After the death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson last February, we were reminded that somebody once asked him why he became a Catholic. Because, said Dr. Nathanson, (who’d been a leader in the movement to legalize abortion and performed or presided over many thousands of abortions, then seen the light and become ardently prolife) no other […]

Poetry and the Lost Sacramental Sense
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Poetry and the Lost Sacramental Sense

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Some years ago the critic George Steiner published a provocative book called Real Presences . As far as I know, Steiner wasn’t a believer, but his book was a respectful look at something he considered a serious problem: the loss of the sacramental sense in Western culture. It can be read as a kind of […]

Political Home for Catholics Hard to Find
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Political Home for Catholics Hard to Find

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Writing recently about Rick Santorum’s quest to become the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, George Will remarked that Santorum’s chances depend on social conservatives who currently feel ignored and would be naturally sympathetic to someone like the former GOP senator from Pennsylvania. I venture no opinion on Santorum’s prospects. But about the present condition of […]

Just the Facts. Not!
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Just the Facts. Not!

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It was a slow Saturday afternoon in the newsroom of the Washington Daily News. This was the fall of 1956, and the News, a Scripps Howard tabloid, published six days a week but not Sunday. When the last Saturday edition was off our hands, the rest of the day could be mighty quiet. A sub-editor […]

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