Bioethics from a Catholic Perspective

A short course with Dr. Joe Zalot

This course runs Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:15 PM PDT / 10:00-11:15 PM ET. It will be taught online using Zoom on Tuesday evenings August 10, 17, 24, 31, and September 7, 14, and 21.

Course Schedule

We will explore six of his most powerful and life-changing books. I recommend (but not require) that you read each book before each of the classes, but the classes also function as sales pitches to persuade you to buy and read them:

August 10: Vaccinations

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), “Note on the Morality of Using Some Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines,” December 21, 2020 ( link)
“NCBC Statement on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates,” July 2, 2021 ( link)
Catholic Medical Association, “Catholic Medical Association Opposes Vaccine Mandates without Conscience and Religious Exemptions,” July 28, 2021 ( link)

August 17:   End-of-Life Decision Making – “Do I have to do everything?”
Resources (notes to be provided)
• Ordinary and Extraordinary Means
• Do Not Resuscitate Orders

August 24: Medically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration
• Pope John Paul II, “Address to the Participants in the International Congress on Life-Sustaining
Treatments and Vegetative State: Scientific Advances and Ethical Dilemmas” (2004)

• Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Responses to Certain Questions of the USCCB
Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration (2007)

August 31: Advance Directives and POLST
Resources (notes to be provided)
• “Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will” from NCBC’s Catholic Health Care Ethics
• “NCBC Guide to POLST” from Catholic Health Care Ethics
• NCBC’s Health Care Proxy and Advance Medical Directive forms

September 7: Brain Death and Organ/Tissue Donation
• Pope John Paul II, Address to the 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society (2000)
• Ethical and Religious Directives, Directives 62-65

September 14: Palliative Care and Hospice
Resources (notes to be provided)
• NCBC’s “A Catholic Guide to Palliative Care and Hospice”

September 21: Physician-Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia
• Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, nos. 64-66 and 72-74 only (1995)
• Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Samaritanus bonus: “On the Care of Persons in the
Critical and Terminal Phases of Life,” (2020

About Dr. Joe Zalot

Joe Zalot is a Staff Ethicist with the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. He has been with the NCBC since July 2017. Prior to the NCBC, he served as the Regional Director of Ethics and Spiritual Care for Mercy Health–Cincinnati from 2015-2017. He was an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Ethics at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati from 2004- 2009, and an Associate Professor (with tenure) from 2009-2015. He also served from 2016-2017 as a Lecturer at the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati. Joe earned his Ph.D. from Marquette University in 2002. He has authored two books and various articles and book chapters, and has presented at academic conferences both domestically and internationally. He is also the founder of Dr. Z Travel, LLC, a faith-based travel company that offers educational and parish pilgrimage trips to Europe. Joe is married to his wife Susan (1994) and they have a daughter, Maria.


When do these online classes take place?

These classes will take place on TUESDAYS, AUGUST 10-SEPTEMBER 21, 7-8:30 PM PST

What kind of computer do I need to attend?

Our course will be made interactive using a free video-conferencing software called “Zoom”.  It is very to install and even easier to use.  Typically, any internet connected PC or Mac that is under 10 years old will work.  You can also login to the course using a smartphone or personal device like an iPad.  If you don’t have a computer, you can also call into the course.  However, we highly recommend you use a computer as this course will include visuals that you will not be able to see if you call in.  For a list of full requirements, visit here.

Will there be quizzes, tests, or grades?

Be at peace!  There will be no graded tests, though there may be some optional quizzes for those who like to measure their knowledge retention!

If I can’t make a class, will the lectures be available online later?

Yes.  All courses will be recorded so that you can watch or re-watch at a later time.

Can I get college credit for this course?

This will be a non-credit course.  However, in the very near future we will be partnering with St. Patrick Seminary to provide course credits that can be used towards a certificate in Pastoral Leadership.

How much does this course cost?

No one will be turned away for inability to make a donation.  We kindly ask for you to donate what you can.

Are scholarships or grants available? 

We have included in our registration payment form an option for persons who have the means to sponsor persons who cannot afford to enroll in this course.  Please email Deacon Fred Totah.

What is the School of Pastoral Leadership?

The Archdiocese of San Francisco will relaunch the School of Pastoral Leadership this Fall.  The School will help form lay leaders in the Church to be effective catechists and evangelizers in the San Francisco Bay Area through providing quality college-level courses.  These courses can count towards a certificate.

What if I have questions that aren’t listed here?

Feel free to reach out to Deacon Fred Totah, Director of the Office of Pastoral Ministry by email or calling (415) 614-5504.

Register Now!

We’d be very grateful if you would donate what you can to help keep this program going. We will turn down no one due to financial need. Your support helps us make these classes more accessible to more people. If you can’t afford to make a donation, just email Deacon Fred Totah at [email protected] and let him know you’d like a scholarship. No one will be turned down. No questions will be asked.
Donation Amount(Required)
Please choose your donation (please be generous so we can liberally give scholarships out to those who need them):