Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
Joseph Bernardin became Archbishop of Chicago in 1982 and was appointed Cardinal in 1983. A leader whose compassion, sincerity, and humor touched the lives of people of all faiths, Cardinal Bernardin introduced the "consistent ethic of life," a theology which emphasized the link between abortion, poverty, war, euthanasia and other life issues in ethics and policy. As pastor and theologian, Bernardin's ministry opened the door to ecumenical dialogue and initiated the quest for finding "common ground" among American Catholics. The grace and dignity with which he faced his death impacted the Catholic community, the people of Chicago, and the world.
In a 1988 speech at Catholic Theological Union, Cardinal Bernardin asked the school to “take as its special mission the promotion of the vision of the Church proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council,” a vision he himself forged into the practical applications that are his legacy. When he learned the school would establish a center in his name, the Cardinal said, "I am very pleased that you will continue my legacy and ecclesial vision."
In 1997, the Bernardin Center was established at Catholic Theological Union and today continues to prepare future scholars and leaders who would carry out the Cardinal's vision.