Resources for Faithful Citizenship

The resources listed below from the ACP member publishers are intended to complement the USCCB's statement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." Some resources are primarily for adults, others for children.

What is Faithful Citizenship?

Every four years, the U.S. Catholic bishops share a teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics called Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The document is organized around four key principles of Catholic social teaching: Dignity of the Human Person, Subsidiarity, the Common Good, and Solidarity (para. 40-56.)

We encourage you to read the full statement especially Part One which includes a reflection on a well-formed conscience.

The ACP publisher members offer the following resources to help further your study and reflection on how to participate faithfully in the political life of our country and to help those with whom you minister--parents, families, teens, young adults, mature adults--to better understand their important role as both Catholics and U.S. voting citizens.

We have organized the resources around the four key principles of Catholic social teaching found in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.

For general resources on Catholic social teaching, see the the section called Common Good.

44. Human life is sacred. 

Dignity of the Human Person

Let's Talk about Bullying
Dr. Pat Fosarelli

Without question, bullying is among the top challenges facing our children today. Giving them the chance to safely speak up and speak out about it is the first step to overcoming the challenge. But what is bullying, and how can parents help their children to respond to it in a Christ-like way?

Written by best-selling author, pediatrician and religious educator Pat Fosarelli, this devotional guide provides a faith-centered way for parents and children to open up with each other about bullying. October is bullying prevention month.

5 Steps to Positive Political Dialogue
Amy Uelman

If you feel like politics and politicians have sunk into a hopeless pit of divisiveness and insincerity, you need this book by Amy Uelman,  Lecturer at the Georgetown Law School where she teaches seminars in law and religion, professional ethics, and Catholic social thought.

Resisting Throwaway Culture: How a Consistent Life Ethic Can Unite a Fractured People
Charles Camosy

Association of Catholic Publishers 2020 Resource of the Year.

Catholic Update, January 2019Human Trafficking: The Catholic Response

Catholic Update,  August 2019: A Catholic Response to Racism

In the Mystery's Shadow
Reflections on Caring for the Elderly and Dying
Susan Swetnam

As our lifespans continue to grow longer, millions of people every year spend time caring for the elderly and dying-some as professionals, some as volunteers, and some through their loving but demanding care for parents, spouses, or other family members or friends. In her book In the Mystery's Shadow, Susan Swetnam draws on her experience serving thousands of ill and dying clients, often in hospice programs, as a certified massage therapist-and also on her experience of caring for her own husband, who died young of cancer. She explains how this sometimes difficult work offers not just the fulfillment of giving comfort to people who need it, but also moments of breathtaking wonder, moments that hint at the untold complexity of being human and affirm our sacred connections with each other. She writes of the hard lessons caregivers learn about themselves, while at the same time knowing the strange and humbling sense of being used in the service of God's love. Insightfully connecting end-of-life care with the liturgical year, Swetnam invites those who care for the sick and dying, whether professional or volunteer, to stay awake to the sacred implications of their labors.

From Slavery to Civil Rights
Since the earliest days of slavery, African Americans have called on their religious faith in the struggle against oppression. In this book the Beatitudes -- from Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount -- form the backdrop for Carole Boston Weatherford's powerful free-verse poem that traces the African American journey from slavery to civil rights. Tim Ladwig's stirring illustrations showcase a panorama of heroes in this struggle, from the slaves shackled in the hold of a ship to the first African American president taking his oath of office on the steps of the United States Capitol.

Catholic Update, February 2020: Immigration: Understanding the Catholic Call

The Liguorian Magazine, May-June 2020: Immigration Now: There’s No Simple Solution

Is There Room for Me?
A Catholic Guide and Response to Immigration
Daniel Connors

Immigration is changing the face of Catholic parishes, leading to many challenges, blessings, and tensions. This sensitive and beautifully written booklets helps parishes frame, discuss, and answer these questions for themselves. Perfect for parish groups or individual reflection.

A Way Forward for a New Generation
The abortion debate in the United States is confused. Ratings-driven media coverage highlights extreme views and creates the illusion that we are stuck in a hopeless stalemate. In this book (published in hardcover in March 2015) Charles Camosy argues that our polarized public discourse hides the fact that most Americans actually agree on the major issues at stake in abortion morality and law.

Unpacking the complexity of the abortion issue, Camosy shows that placing oneself on either side of the typical polarizations — pro- life vs. pro-choice, liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican — only serves to further confuse the debate and limits our ability to have fruitful dialogue. Camosy then proposes a new public policy that he believes is consistent with the beliefs of the broad majority of Americans and supported by the best ideas and arguments about abortion from both secular and religious sources.
46. The human person is not only sacred but also social. Full human development takes place in relationship with others.


Harm, Healing and Human Dignity
A Catholic Encounter with Restorative Justice
Adapted by Caitlin Morneau

Harm, Healing, and Human Dignity is a faith formation resource to help parishes, small groups, and individual believers reflect on the Catholic call to restorative justice. Through Scripture, Catholic teaching, eye-opening statistics, and personal stories, each chapter prompts prayerful consideration of the place of human dignity and the common good as we respond to harm, violence, and the death penalty in the United States.

Prepared in cooperation with the highly regarded Catholic Mobilizing Network for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, Harm, Healing, and Human Dignity will help Catholics consider what it means to choose hope over death and redemption over vengeance. It's a choice that can foster healing, transform relationships, and build the culture of life to which our Catholic faith calls us.

Sex, Love, and Families
Catholic Perspectives
Edited by Jason King and Julie Hanlon Rubio

Six years into the papacy of Pope Francis, Catholics are still figuring out how to respond to his image of the church as a field hospital —a church that goes into the streets rather than remaining locked up behind closed doors. Marriage and family are primary sites of the field hospital, called to meet people's need for healing and accompaniment with compassion and love. The authors of this collection —all lay, a mix of single and married, traditional and progressive Catholics —take up this work. They offer practical wisdom from and critical engagement with the Catholic tradition but avoid rehashing decades-old theological debates. Instead, their essays engage with and respond to realities shaping contemporary family life, like religious pluralism, technology, migration, racism, sex and gender, incarceration, consumerism, and the call to holiness. The result is a collection that envisions ways that families can be places of healing and love in and for the world.

49. Human dignity is respected and the common good is fostered only if human rights are protected and basic responsibilities are met.

The Common Good

7 Steps to Better Conversations 
A Catholic’s Guide to Civility for Today’s Divided World
Lorene Duquin

As incivility, bullying, and mean-spirited communication have risen to new heights in our society, people of good faith wonder how we might change this tide of disrespect. Written for small-group discussion as well as personal reflection, this important booklet offers a fresh approach to communicating in our most difficult relationships, whether online or in person. Building upon the teachings of Pope Francis, Lorene Duquin explores several ways in which we might come together to talk through our differences, challenges, and disagreements with renewed kindness, honesty, and respect. Pope Francis reminds us that the “world will recognize the disciples of Jesus by the way they love one another.

How to Talk to Children About The News
Patricia Fosarelli

The news today seems more alarming every day—perhaps especially for children who don’t yet have the life experience to know how to interpret and deal with these troubling and frightening stories. This book gives parents and catechists excellent guidance on how to address these news reports, offering ways to help the entire family learn to pray for all in our world. 

In this booklet, Pat Fossarelli offers great guidance on how to help children deal with frightening and troubling news stories. Here, you’ll find the right words and actions to bring them comfort and help restore their peace of mind. Excellent family activities and short prayers to stimulate further conversation and comprehension are also included.

The Church’s Best-Kept Secret: A Primer on Catholic Social Teaching
Mark Shea

Mark Shea’s succinct primer brings us into the heart of the Church’s thinking on society and the economy — needed now as never before.”–Austen Ivereigh, author of Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church

Let’s Talk about Truth
A Guide for Preachers, Teachers, and Other Catholic Leaders in a World of Doubt and Discord
Ann M. Garrido

The mere mention of “truth” will often start arguments, even among the best of friends and the closest of family members. To avoid conflict, Church leaders often side-step the topic altogether. In Let’s Talk about Truth, Ann M. Garrido shares practical ways that preachers and others charged with moral and spiritual leadership in the Church can stop backing away from the topic and instead help Catholics recover the practice of truth as a way of life.

In Let’s Talk about Truth, award-winning author and associate professor of homiletics Ann M. Garrido shows Catholic preachers, teachers, and other leaders ways to approach the contentious topic of truth with confidence that the Church’s intellectual and pastoral traditions are squarely on their side. She explores truth as a multifaceted reality that serves four foundational roles in the Christian life.

A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching (Third Edition)
Kevin E. McKenna

Topics related to Catholic social teaching emerge regularly in American political and civic discourse, often connected to discussions about religious freedom, abortion, immigrant rights, racism, capital punishment, and health care. This third edition of A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching by Rev. Kevin E. McKenna incorporates the essential teachings of Pope Francis in Evangelium GaudiumLaudato Si’, and Amoris Laetitia to offer a clear, beginner-level reference tool and study guide for Church leaders and other interested Catholics to help them navigate this vast body of teaching.

Catholic Update, July 2020: Voting With a Catholic Heart

The Liguorian Magazine, September 2020: The Faithful Go to the Polls

Facing Difficult Social Issues in the Parish
A Gospel-Based Response for Pastoral Leaders and Teams
Carole M. Eipers

In every area of parish life—from sacraments to faith formation to evangelization—parish leaders face the challenges of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and other social sins. In this book, Carole Eipers offers insights, ideas, and inspiration around the complex issues of our times to help leaders and their parishes remain faithful to the mission of spreading the gospel and becoming shining examples of justice, love, and compassion.

Catholic Social Teaching
Group Reading Guide
Fr. Chris Lowe

What does the Church teach about immigration, war, caring for our neighbor, the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, employment and labor unions, climate change, and other crucial social issues? To fully understand, we need to look beyond politics, opinions, and popular culture. We need to appreciate the Church’s extensive social doctrines, their breadth, history, and the reasoning behind them. In these five informative and enlightening sessions, Fr. Chris Lowe guides us through the Church’s official Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church and introduces us to twelve vital pillars of the Church’s social teaching.

Democracy, Capitalism, and Catholic Social Teaching
Through the insightful and thought- provoking commentaries of ten distinguished Catholic writers, Building the Free Society critically examines a century of Catholic reflection and argument on human freedom, the just society, and the international order. Adopting the best from A Century of Catholic Social Thought, published in 1991 by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, this substantially revised, updated, and expanded volume focuses on the eleven key documents of modern Catholic social doctrine, beginning with Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891) and concluding with Pope John Paul II's revolutionary Centesimus Annus (1991).

God’s Liberating Justice, Revised Edition
Grayson Warren-Brown

An examination of a variety of social justice issues with encouragement and practical advice

52. We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions and requires us to eradicate racism and address the extreme poverty and disease plaguing so much of the world. 


Teaching Kids to Respect Others: Racism
A one-hour webinar with Kevin Dowd

In this session, Kevin Dowd draws our attention to Church teaching on the issue of racism and invites us to consider how to bring this teaching into our work as catechists, teachers, DREs/administrators, and youth ministers and pastors. Kevin provides some practical ideas to get us started in the collaborative work of bringing an anti-racist approach to our work in faith formation. The presentation addresses some important current topics such as systemic racism, implicit bias, and police brutality. It also includes a suggestion from the U.S. bishops on how to move forward together in the work of creating a more just and peaceful society, emphasize the importance of opportunities for family faith-sharing and prayer, address the variety of learning methods that parishes are experiencing today.

Reading, Praying, Living the US Bishop's Open Wide Our Hearts
A Faith Formation Guide
Alison M. Benders

In 2018, for the first time in nearly forty years, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter against racism. Open Wide Our Hearts is a call to a humble and expansive love that respects human dignity and unites us all in Christ. Now, in Reading, Praying, Living The US Bishops' Open Wide Our Hearts, Alison Benders offers a resource designed to help parishes, RCIA programs, campus ministries, and Catholic readers unpack and grapple with this important document. Benders provides background on the social doctrine that grounds the document, describes why it's so timely, and offers a plan for studying the letter, personally or as a group. In an engaging and accessible way, she walks readers through the scriptural, theological, and moral guidance needed to form our consciences and convert our hearts. And because the work of racial healing is a journey, not an event, each section of the guide also includes questions for personal reflection and attentive discussion and prayers for spiritual renewal or reconciliation.

The Ten Green Commandments of Laudato Si
Joshtrom Kureethadam

The publication of Laudato Sí—a papal encyclical on a defining issue of our times-was a moment of great importance for Catholics and for the world. Now Fr. Joshtrom Kureethadam, one of the church's top experts on the document, provides a thoughtful, passionate, and highly accessible commentary on its key ideas and themes. Faithfully attentive to the outline of the six chapters of the encyclical, Fr. Joshtrom has also insightfully arranged the book according to the see-judge-act methodology that is increasingly used in spirituality, moral theology, and the social sciences. If Pope Francis is right when he insists that the solution to our environmental problems cannot be found only in technocratic approaches by governments and institutions, but by a wide and thoughtful embrace by all of us of our common responsibility, then Fr. Joshtrom's book is precisely what we need at this time.

Reading, Praying, Living Pope Francis's Laudato Sì
A Faith Formation Guide
David Cloutier

Once again, Pope Francis has set the pundits, news outlets, and politicians buzzing, this time with an historic encyclical letter on care for the environment called Laudato Sì: On Care for our Common Home. As an alternative to all the noise and bloviating, the faithful and the curious alike will welcome this reliable, serene, and inspiring companion to the document. David Cloutier's Reading, Praying, Living Pope Francis's Laudato Sì is an ideal guide for parish adult faith formation, RCIA, college and high school campus ministry, and individual study. Preachers and teachers, too, will welcome Cloutier's consistently clear and engaging writing, free of academic jargon and Catholic code words. With Cloutier as a guide, readers will understand better and respond more effectively to the profound spirituality, the solid doctrinal principles, and the stirring call to action that Pope Francis offers in Laudato Sì. Reading, Praying, Living Pope Francis's Laudato Sì is an ideal commentary on the document. It does not include the full text of the encyclical.

Just Prayer
A Book of Hours for Peacemakers and Justice Seekers
Alison M. Benders

Just Prayer is a four-week prayer cycle for morning and evening readings to support Christians who "hunger and thirst for justice." Patterned on the ancient monastic Hours, it offers psalms, intercessions, and reflections fashioned to strengthen a personal commitment to justice. The weekly themes are: recognizing God's command that we act justly; lamenting suffering and injustice in our world; repenting our failures and renewing our commitment to justice; and, finally, celebrating God's promise of justice lived as a new heaven and new earth. Weekly reflections encourage personal transformation by emphasizing the connection between justice action and peaceful communities. Created with parishes, youth groups, mission trip participants, and social justice organizations in mind, Just Prayer supports hands-on service work in local communities. By repeating and building upon the prayer sequences in Just Prayer, we can conform our hearts more fully to Christ's living message of compassion and justice for the least among us. The print edition features a soft, leather-like cover and a durable ribbon for convenient daily prayer.

Building Bridges, Not Walls - Construyamos puentes, no muros
Nourishing Diverse Cultures in Faith - Alimentar a las diversas culturas en la fe
John Francis Burke

In Building Bridges, Not Walls - Construyamos puentes, no muros, John Francis Burke highlights the dramatic impact the growing Latino presence is having in parishes across the country, considers the theology of inculturation and intercultural ministry, and provides practical pastoral ministry suggestions on doing intercultural ministry. Includes full text in both English and Spanish.

En Construyamos puentes, no muros - Building Bridges, Not Walls, John Francis Burke muestra el impacto tan grande que los latinos están teniendo en las parroquias del país; explica la teología de la inculturacián y del ministerio intercultural; y ofrece sugerencias prácticas para quienes trabajan en este óltimo. Incluye texto complete en Inglés y Español.

Catholic Cultures
How Parishes Can Respond to the Changing Face of Catholicism
Patricia Wittberg, SC

From its earliest days, Christianity has been lived and proclaimed in the language and symbols of each receiving culture. Today, these cultures include the new ethnic groups moving into our parishes. They also include new generations of Catholic young adults, whose childhood experiences of their faith are very different from those of their elders. In Catholic Cultures, Sister Patricia Wittberg, SC, offers a view of Catholicism through the eyes of Catholics from these different cultures, so that we may all be challenged to grow in our reception of the Good News. This book is an ideal resource for parish ministers, educators, and parents struggling with how to evangelize and minister to unfamiliar cultures. It is also a tool for leaders trying to build a strong community made up of members who represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds and ages.

We Are One
Janèt Sullivan Whitaker

A timely song about acknowledging differences and uniting in Christ’s name.

You Welcomed Me
Tom Booth

A contemporary ballad reminding us that we are all loved and accepted by the Father.