On the thirtieth anniversary of Joseph Bernardin's lecture on the consistent ethic of life, four contributors reflect on its meaning for today's church.
In his Fordham lecture Bernardin mentions abortion ten times. The word “fetus” appears twice, but the words “woman” and “women” do not appear at all.
Thirty years later one wonders how many recall the debates the lecture engendered. It bears re-reading; the challenges it poses may be even more pressing now.
Bernardin grasped the idea that the Church’s most important contribution to public life is in shaping a cultural consensus on attitude.
To say that Bernardin's consistent ethic of life did not catch on with the American hierarchy would be an understatement.
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