Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago was for twenty years the most influential U.S. Catholic bishop; he was also a beloved public figure whose views commanded respect from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. This posthumous collection of a number of his major addresses on central moral issues in contemporary American life voices the causes that were closest to his heart: the sanctity and protection of all human life, the reshaping of American society and institutions for the benefit of the poorest, the preservation of peace in the pursuit of justice, and the growth of mutual understanding and harmony within the Church. Spanning the period from the early 1980s to just weeks before his death in late 1996, these essays demonstrate a remarkably sustained and thoughtful effort to articulate an overall framework for moral decisions - 'a consistent ethic of life' - and to affirm an active role for religious convictions in a pluralist democratic society. Cardinal Bernardin applies the Church's moral and social teachings to complex policy issues in a way that respects religious freedom and invites both reflection from Catholics and dialogue with people of other beliefs.
Written in a clear and accessible style, this volume will be of value to everyone interested in Cardinal Bernardin's moral vision for political choices. It will also be important for a wide range of readers concerned with in Christian ethics and the role of religion in the public sphere. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin (1928-1996) served as the archbishop of Chicago from 1982 to 1996 and as archbishop of Cincinnati from 1972 to 1982. He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1983 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 for his contribution to American civic life. He wrote "The Gift of Peace" (Loyola University Press, 1997).
John Langan, SJ, is Rose Kennedy Professor of Christian Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.
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