Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was born on April 2,1928, in
Columbia, South Carolina. He was son of Mrs. Marie M. Simon
Bernardin, and the late Joseph Bernardin. Cardinal Bernardin
attended Catholic and public schools and the University of South
Carolina in Columbia. He was later accepted as a candidate for the
priesthood by Most Rev. John J. Russell, then Bishop of Charleston.
He studied at the following Colleges: St.Mary's, St. Mary, Kentucky,
St.Mary Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland, where he received the
Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. He also attended the Catholic
University of America, Washington D.C. where he received the Master
of Arts degree in Education in 1952.
He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John J. Russell on
April 26,1952, in St. Joseph Church, Columbia. His administrative
skills were immediately recognized. During his 14 years in the
Diocese of Charleston, he served under four bishops in many
capacities, including the officed of chancellor, vicar general, diocesan
consular, and administrator of the diocese.
On March 9,1966, Pope Paul VI appointed Msgr. Bernardin
Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta. In doing this he became the youngest
Bishop in the county. On July 10,1982, Pope John Paul II reappointed
Archbishop Bernardin to Archbishop of Chicago. His installation took
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at Holy Name Cathedral on August 25,1982. Later Archbishop
Bernardin went to the College of Cardinals. On February 2,1983 he
received his "red hat."
On September 9,1996 President Clinton awarded Cardinal
Bernardin the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In presenting the Metal,
the President cited Cardinal Bernardin's work on behalf of racial
equality and arms control and noted he "has been a persistent voice
for moderation." Cardinal Bernardin was Chancellor of the Catholic
Extension Society and the University of St. Mary of the
He is a founding member and Vice-Chairman of the Religious
Alliance Against Pornography. In the more recent years before his
death, he was a member of the Catholic Charities USA National
Development Task Force and the Board of Trustees of the Catholic
Health Association as well as chairman of the ad hoc Committee on
the Structure and function of the NCCB/USCC.
Cardinal Bernardin received numerous honorary doctorates from
colleges and universities in the US and Europe. Cardinal Bernardin's
extensive writings touch open a variety of topics, religious, moral and
social. One of these is the famous and challenging Consistent Ethic
of Life, a collection of ten major addresses on the topic of the
He touched us all!