Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s message of a consistent ethic of life is still relevant for the world today and can be viewed today as a consistent ethic of solidarity. That’s the idea that Cardinal Cupich shared as he gave the inaugural Cardinal Bernardin Common Cause Lecture on April 18 at Loyola University. Sponsored by Loyola University Chicago’s Jesuit Community and the Hank Center for Catholic Intellectual Heritage, the event offers a leader in the Catholic Church a platform to discuss current issues. "Without oversimplifying, the challenge for us today is not only that the issues are divided, as was the case in Cardinal Bernardin’s era, but that humanity is divided," Cardinal Cupich said. "And it is not too strong to say that this sense of disconnectedness is being legitimized not only by voices in the streets but by those in the halls of governance here and around the world, giving rise to xenophobia, nationalism, populism, racial intolerance." This makes populations vulnerable to "disturbing forces" that seek to further divide. "I am convinced that just as Cardinal Bernardin proposed that an ethic of life be consistently applied to unite all life issues, we need in our day to mine the church’s social teaching on solidarity, as a means of uniting humanity through a reawakening of our interdependence as a human family, which Pope St. John Paul II called for in his groundbreaking encyclical, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, and Pope Francis is advocating in his writings," the cardinal told the gathering. When we consistently apply an ethic of solidarity we will meet with resistance but that should not deter us, he said. Such an ethic will also call us to examine our personal lives and our role in the world’s community. The cardinal offered some examples of how this ethic of solidarity could be applied to today’s issues. In one example he said, "the principle of solidarity would critique a narrow approach to the economy that uses a one-dimensional measure of the economic growth of a nation, singularly defined by profits, that promotes policies that maximize the freedom of markets and individual choice, and that believes that market forces left to themselves are the best, indeed the only, arbiters of economic progress." "An ethic of solidarity offers a language and a vision, reminding us who we are as a nation but also what it means to live together in this common home, as the Holy Father calls earth in Laudato Si’," Cardinal Cupich said. "Cardinal Bernardin’s consistent ethic of life has led me to once again take up the work of reading the signs of the times and pursuing a path that aspires to define the issues of the day so that the good of humanity will be served by our witness." He called on those gathered to enter into the work of solidarity in our day. There is much work to do, he said, citing examples such as the rising tensions between North Korea and the world, divisions over healthcare, an increase in states legalizing assisted suicide and the trauma of abortion. "Cardinal Bernardin was convinced that the church should not shy away from her unique contribution, even if it meant standing apart from the prisms of political decision-making utilized by other groups; even if the integrity of our social teaching was met with hostility because it would not and could not be fitted into the partisan political framework which governs American public life and calls Catholics to allegiance to their faith before allegiance to their partisan worldview," he said. "But, as we remain undaunted in our witness to the world, let us also take up the task before us in a way that does not confuse firmness and resolve with a lack of respect for others in the debate."