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Nothing to Hide: Secrecy, Communication, and Communion in the Catholic Church Paperback – April, 2008
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Shaw is that rare Catholic analyst of Church affairs - a loyalist without being an apologizer. As a bonus, he writes well and the text moves quickly and forcefully.
The book clarifies how truth and openness work at the heart of unity within the Church and how openness ties directly into our communion as members of the body of the church. Mr. Shaw also makes many helpful observations regarding clericalism (an elitist culture among clerics that gives deference to clerics over the common layman) and it's corrosive affects on a vibrant living community of faithful Christians.
Here's an interesting quotation:
"[T]he Church is a communion, not a political democracy; therefore openness and accountability are even more important in the Church than they are in a democracy." I've drawn this quotation from page 9 of the introduction.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the life and history of our church. The book addresses the misuse of secrecy by bishops and priests and the corrosive affect that secrecy has on the life and spirit of the Church. It does much to provide practical, well reasoned steps to help the Church function in our society and to embrace the implications for our Church to fully be of the Church of Christ.
Mr. Shaw's writing style accommodates the reader and carries him through the material easily. He quotes from many of the essential documents of Vatican II and of later years regarding communication within the church and from the church to the world.
The book could, and I would suggest ought, to be used as a primer for the formation of those lay people who wish to participate in parish and diocesan councils. The text provides much substantial information from essential encyclicals and Vatican II documents. In this way the book does a great deal to inform and educated interested members of the faithful, and offers further areas of study as well.
Too often criticism of the hierarchy has come either from people on the "left" of the Church, whose doctrinal orthodoxy sometimes seems questionable, or from others on the "right" who appear eager to get angry over just about anything. It is a welcome relief to read a balanced, charitable, but also unsparingly honest critique from someone who is clearly faithful to the Church and her teaching.
I read this book in one sitting and recommend it to all who are concerned about the Church in North America.
The author argues for a Church with far less secrecy than there has been. Part of his arguments involves looking at documents put out by the Catholic Church. Many times the author would quote a pertinent passage and then claim that it provided evidence for his point, but more often than not, I did not see his position being put forth in the quote. However, the author is quite competent as far as journalists go (I'm sorry, I realize I have an anti-journalist bias; I'm working on it). He is well aware of many pertinent sources and cites them (the lack of citation annoys me to no end in popular journalism). Thus the book acts as an excellent resource.
The book is well written,but ultimately, I did not find the case too convincing.