- The Office of a Bishop (De Officio viri boni et probi episcopi)
The Office of a Bishop belongs to the literary genre of the Renaissance period, which informs on how to perform certain roles in office. It was written at the request of a very young and pastorally inexperienced bishop of Bergamo, Pietro Lippomano. The treatise is divided into two books. Whereas the first book outlines the qualities and virtues a good bishop is expected to cultivate, the second explains how a bishop ought to organize his day and handle the plethora of issues that he is bound to face on a daily basis. It is noteworthy that at the time he penned this piece, Contarini was a layman. He had administered neither a parish nor a diocese and as such, he had no pastoral experience. Yet he anticipated some of the reform decrees of the Council of Trent, particularly that which concerns preaching.
It is noteworthy also that The Office of a Bishop had never been translated fully into the English language. An earlier but partial translation can be found in John C. Olin's The Catholic Reformation: Savonarola to Ignatius Loyola. But in addition to making the full text available in English, Donnelly also provides very useful information in the elaborate footnotes. Students and scholars of this period and subject matter owe him a debt of praise and gratitude for his excellent, neat, and clear translation.