'Shaw, widely known Catholic writer, speaker and former communications director for the U S Bishops, discusses the abuse of secrecy in the Church, the scandals it has caused and the serious problem of mistrust that exists in the credibility of the Church. Not concerned with the legitimate secrecy that is necessary to protect confidentiality and people's reputations, Shaw is rather concerned here with the stifling, deadening misuse of secrecy that has done immense harm to communion and community in the Church in America. '
I went to the Russell Shaw lecture today at the Center for Catholic Studies at Nassau Community College. Shaw discussed his book on the misuse of secrecy in the Church, carefully noting the legitimate uses of secrecy such as the confessional, or private matters. His book and lecture noted that secrecy props up clericalism as those in charge keep information from the average Catholic creating a sense of insiders vs. outsiders. A good point was Shaw's contention that clericalism is not limited to the clergy and is even evidenced by the over emphasis on 'lay ministry', something I have noted many times. The lack of communication within the Church negatively affects the Communio which is a major part of the Church's mission. During the question and answer session I asked Shaw about the new forms of communication used by Catholics today such as EWTN which televises the bishops conferences and blogging. Shaw was pretty positive about EWTN and Raymond Arroyo but very negative on blogging which he didn't seem to find useful at all. I understand his view on blogging but hope that he can find some good in the Catholic blogosphere. Shaw has the attitude found among many mainstream media types, that blogs are not 'real journalism' which is true enough. Shaw ended with mention of the Apostolic Visitation of US seminaries which was supposed to be a major part of the result of the infamous Dallas meeting of Bishops in 2002. After the whole priest sex scandal exploded the visitations were a major part of reform, and Shaw noted how the entire thing went on and finished without any public notice. There were no major reports giving findings, or announcements of steps taken to improve any flaws in the system. This was a great point that shows that as much as has changed, some things have remained the same in the Church. This was an interesting talk and I can't wait to read the book.