Cardinal Bernardin's 'consistent ethic of life' addresses contemporary challenges
By Vatican News
In a speech at Fordham University in New York City, Cardinal Blase Cupich discussed the enduring legacy of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's "Consistent Ethic of Life." The Archbishop of Chicago reflected on the ethical framework of his predecessor emphasizing the interconnectedness of various life issues, including abortion, nuclear war, poverty, and euthanasia, all founded on the belief in the sanctity of every human life.
Cardinal Cupich highlighted Cardinal Bernardin's unique approach, delivered in the same Jesuit institution in 1983, which acknowledged the distinctiveness of each issue while underscoring their interrelatedness. He advocated for a consistent moral approach that could bridge the gap between Church teachings and wider society, emphasizing the use of common human reason in the public square.
Five contextual considerations
Cardinal Cupich's speech also addressed five significant contextual considerations in the wake of Cardinal Bernardin's teachings:
1. "Dobbs" Supreme Court Decision: The recent overturning of "Roe v. Wade" in the "Dobbs" case has created new opportunities and challenges for the pro-life movement.
2. Climate Change: The urgent need to address climate change as a threat to humanity.
3. Ethical Challenges of Emerging Technologies: Issues related to AI and defense technologies that pose ethical dilemmas.
4. Pope Francis's Alignment: Pope Francis aligns with Cardinal Bernardin's vision, emphasizing the essentials of Church teaching and the importance of synodality.
5. Intensified Polarization: The intensification of polarization in Western society underscores the need for solidarity and an integral ethic that addresses social divisions.
Cardinal Cupich argued that an Integral Ethic of Solidarity, building on Cardinal Bernardin's foundation, could provide a path for both the Church and society to tackle complex moral challenges and strive for a more just and peaceful world. Solidarity, as a moral virtue, calls for a commitment to the common good and challenging structures of sin that contribute to human suffering in various forms, such as poverty, racism, and environmental degradation.
Five key points
He outlined five key points for developing this Integral Ethic of Solidarity:
1. Grounded in Reason and Scripture: This ethic should draw from both common human reason and Scripture, emphasizing the need to address both spiritual salvation and earthly suffering.
2. Fueled by Compassion: Compassion can bridge differences within the Church, even on contentious issues, by highlighting the interconnectedness of these problems and shifting focus towards empathy and love for those who suffer.
3. Global Perspective: A global perspective is crucial, as our actions affect the world. Recognizing our shared humanity and working together for justice and peace on a global scale is essential.
4. Synodal Approach: The Church should embrace a synodal approach, involving collaborative dialogue and non-judgmentalism, rather than being imposed from above.
5. Rooted in Prayer: Prayer plays a vital role in nurturing this ethic, fostering an intimate relationship with God and facilitating dialogue within the Church community.
To read the full text of Cardinal Cupich's address, we invite you to read the full article here.