Within contemporary American Catholicism, it has become rather commonplace that when demands for greater openness, transparency, and collaboration are made of the Church’s hierarchy, calls for revisiting positions on contraception, abortion, women’s ordination, etc., are not far behind. Indeed, what might otherwise be valid and constructive criticism is all too often merely a cover for subversive allegations of grave deficiency on the part of the Church.
It is therefore both refreshing and surprising that we are given Nothing to Hide: Secrecy, Communication, and Communion in the Catholic Church, the latest book from veteran Catholic journalist and author Russell Shaw. Combining an insightful critique of the "elitist mindset" of clericalism with anecdotes and perspective from his nearly two decades as secretary of public affairs for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Shaw evaluates current church communication practices in light of the communio ecclesiology emphasized by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
The result is less a prescription for media savvy as it is a thought-provoking call for honesty and cooperation among the Church’s members-with due regard for the truly distinct roles of clergy and laity in advancing the Church’s one apostolic mission. Though some readers may quibble over Shaw’s concluding practical suggestions, Nothing to Hide is clearly a timely and important contribution to the advancement of communion and communication in the American church.
-Michael Hahn (from Laywitness Magazine. www.cuf.org)
You can purchase this book here.