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Department of Religious Studies

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and his legacy

Bernardin Annual Lecture


Fall 2018 Guest Speaker:

Robert J. Schreiter, CPPS

October 30, 2018 – 6pm

Fr. Robert Schreiter is interested in the relation between faith and culture, the mission of the Church, and factors shaping World Christianity today. In his article “Peacemaking: Five Principles Of A Practical Theology Of Reconciliation, posted on the website “The Value of Sparrows,” he says that:

In reconciliation, God begins with the victim.While it may seem counterintuitive to focus first on the victim and not on the wrongdoer who has wreaked so much havoc on individuals and society, Christian reconciliation turns first to the victim.  This is built upon the message of Israel’s prophets and the ministry of Jesus: go first to the orphan and the widow, the prisoner and the stranger.  It finds its most clear expression in Catholic social teaching in the preferential option for the poor.

A member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and a theology professor at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, he has published seventeen books in the areas of inculturation, world mission, and reconciliation. For twelve years Fr. Schreiter served as a theological consultant to Caritas Internationalis for its programs in reconciliation and peacebuilding, and continues to work with organizations and groups around the world in peacebuilding. He is also past president of both the American Society of Missiology and of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

A systematic theologian, he has also held guest professorships in Germany and in The Netherlands. In addition, he has been working in the area of reconciliation for twenty-five years, accompanying Church leaders in the difficult process of reconstructing societies and healing divisions after long periods of conflict. He has worked in this regard on all six continents and in areas of the South Pacific.

He has lectured in fifty-five countries and is the author or editor of twenty-seven books, with contributing chapters in 140 other volumes. His publications include:

Constructing Local Theologies (1985; Thirtieth Anniversary Edition 2015)

The New Catholicity: Theology between the Global and the Local (1997)

Reconciliation: Mission and Ministry in a Changing Social Order (1992)

The Ministry of Reconciliation: Spirituality and Strategies (1998)

(ed.) Mission in the Third Millennium (2001)

(ed. with Knud Jorgensen)  Mission as Ministry of Reconciliation (2013)

(ed.) Plural Spiritualities: North American Experiences (2015)


Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Lectures: in Moral Ethical & Religious Studies

Cardinal Bernardin left a profound legacy of service, social concern, and education. In his work as priest, archbishop of Chicago, author and public servant, he addressed the most profound social and ethical issues of our times.

In honor of this Columbia, South Carolina native, former student of the University and distinguished leader in the Roman Catholic Church, the Department of Religious Studies at USC is working toward establishing the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Chair in Ethical, Moral and Religious Studies.

The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Lectures were inaugurated in 1999 and are offered annually by the USC department of Religious Studies.

Past lectures include:

  • 2017: Dr. Kristin Heyer,Professor of Theological Ethics, Boston College, "Immigration Ethics in a New Era: Embracing Cardinal Bernardin's challenge to be both 'prophetic and public' amid the contemporary political climate with respect to migration"   event summary [pdf]

  • 2016: Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, EdD, President of DePaul University, "The Challenge of a ‘Consistent Ethic’ in the 2016 Election Cycle"  event summary [pdf]

  • 2015: Sr. Simmone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, “Bridge the Divides, Transform Politics:  A View From the Bus”   event summary [pdf]

  • 2014: Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB Executive Director of Benetvision, "The Common Good: An Uncommon Search For Common Ground"  event summary [pdf]

  • 2013: Dr. Massimo Faggioli Assistant Professor of History of Modern Christianity University of St. Thomas Department of Theology, "Bernardin's Common Ground Initiative: Can it Survive Current Political Cultures?"   event summary [pdf]

  • 2012: The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, "Joseph Louis Bernardin: A Model for Civility in Public Discourse"  event summary [pdf]

  • 2011: E. J. Dionne, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University, "Reweaving the Seamless Garment: Cardinal Bernardin's Living Legacy to American Public Life."   event summary [pdf]