Basilica Press has a new series called The Shepherd’s Voice Series that brings the teaching of Bishops and Cardinals on vital topics facing the Catholic Church today. I ordered the first two books in the series to check them out.
Catholics in the Public Square –
A Catholic Bishop Responds by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted is the first in the series and is a short booklet of 45 pages that addresses our duties and responsible as laity. This booklet addresses are duties in regards to family and as the title of the book suggests, in the public square. This is not a voters guide, but it does address some topics commonly found in voters guides such as conscience and acting on a well formed Catholic conscience in our public and private lives. This book is in question and answer format and Bishop Olmsted ably answers the questions in a short fashion without using wiggle words and pretty much laying it on the line. The issue of Catholic politicians who support positions contrary to Church teaching is also addressed. This book though goes through a range of topics besides voting.
A Will to Live: Clear Answers on End of Life Issues –
A Catholic Bishop Responds by Bishop José H. Gomez, S.T.D. is the second in the series. This 68 page booklet is really excellent in that it covers very well so many issues regarding the end of life. Topics include euthanasia, persistent vegetative states, comas, palliative medicine, and just about every topic concerning medical issues regarding the end of life.
The Bishop gives very clear answers in the question and answer format in language easy to understand by those not use to either medical or theological jargon. This book is really helpful for anybody wanting to find answers on end of life care and when a treatment is truly extraordinary and when a patient might validly refuse treatment.
Also greatly helpful is that this booklet is heavily footnoted so that you can easily find the Vatican documents that have addressed these medical situations and even gives a good treatment on what is life and what is death.
The Shepherd Voice series is obviously intended for use by parishes to help to inform the faithful and while individual copies run about $5.00, they do have discounts for mass orders. I think that any parish would benefit by having these on hand, especially Bishop Gomez’s book.
There is another book in the series that I have not yet read, but surely will. Draw Near to Me, O Lord: Heartfelt Prayers for Everyday Life by Cardinal Arinze. This book includes prayers written by Cardinal Arinze for everyday life and the samples I heard on EWTN’ Bookmark were really quite good.
Bishop Gomez’s little book should also be stocked and freely distributed at hospitals, by the Catholic chaplains. Many of these tough decisions must be made there, frequently with too much stress and grief, accompanied by too little sleep and good counsel.