American Catholics and the Structure of Life Attitudes

Document Type



In his defense of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' 1983 pastoral letter, The Challenge of Peace, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago sought to expand the scope of the letter's moral arguments by suggesting that Catholic positions on a number of issues be integrated to embrace a "consistent ethic of life." This general pro-life gestalt, according to Bernardin, would cut across a number of issues, including abortion, capital punishment, the conduct of warfare, and "the care of the terminally iIl." Bernardin suggested that these issue positions, and others, are part of a single, life-affirming dimension, which he likened to a "seamless garment."


Abortion; Abortion--Religious aspects; Abortion--Religious aspects--Catholic Church; Capital punishment; Capital punishment--Religious aspects; Catholic Church; Catholics; Pro-life movement


American Politics | Catholic Studies | Political Science | Religion


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