A DELICATE BALANCING ACT
Responding to the Crisis of the Church

March 1999By Russell Shaw

Russell Shaw is author of 13 books and editor of Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine. He is former Secretary for Public Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and U.S. Catholic Conference, and former Director of Information of the Knights of Columbus.

Ed. Note: Our November 1998 editorial was in large measure devoted to the matter of the banning of the NEW OXFORD REVIEW’s trademark ads by the National Catholic Register and by Our Sunday Visitor and all its sister periodicals, and the editorial concluded with a proposal to resolve the problem and achieve reconciliation with the Register and the Our Sunday Visitor corporation. The editorial also critiqued the views of Russell Shaw on the issue of how orthodox Catholics should respond to the ever-deepening crisis in the Church. Shaw’s views had been expressed in an interview he gave to the Register (Feb. 22-28, 1998), wherein he seemed to urge traditional Catholics to basically stop combating dissent.

Following up on our November editorial, our February 1999 editorial noted that our peace overture to the Register and OSV Inc. was not accepted, but that we received a “gracious and creative response” (as we put it) from Mr. Shaw, offering to write an article for the NOR, not on our ads or the ad policies of the Register or OSV Inc., but on how orthodox Catholics should deal with the grave difficulties in which the Church finds herself mired today. His article, which we look upon more favorably than his interview, follows. To reciprocate his graciousness, we are printing his article without editorial comment or reply.

How should Catholics respond to the crisis gripping the Church? A long editorial in last November’s NEW OXFORD REVIEW raised that question pointedly. It also discussed the by now familiar controversy over NOR ads, but I have nothing to say about that, except that the argument is typical of the peculiarly painful sort of scrap involving people who agree on basics but disagree on tactics. It is not ads I propose to talk about, but something else.

Referring to an interview I gave last year to the National Catholic Register, the editorial said:


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