Denison Journal of Religion


This essay illuminates the tension that exists for many religious people as they consider the appropriate amount of overlap between their personal convictions and public, often political, decisions. Bernardin was the former Archbishop of Chicago and a member of the Second Vatican Council. He made recognizable efforts to enact the doctrines of Guadium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. This document is famous for its declaration that the Church's aim is to "read the signs of the times and interpret them in light of the Gospel." Bernardin exemplified this notion by writing extensively on the many public justice problems that posed ethical and moral dilemmas for contemporary Catholics. While the Catholic Church has often faced criticism for being inconsistent in its ideology (liberal on the death penalty, immigrant rights, and universal healthcare, and conservative on marriage, contraception, and euthanasia) Bernardin attempted to unite the Church's stances by linking all of them to the dignity of life. His primary concerns dealt with technology (medical advancement,) peace (war and weaponry, and justice,) quality of life, and poverty. St. Clair argues that Bernardin's example of encouraging Catholics to live their faith by advocating for policy is one that cannot be ignored.


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