CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s Catholic faithful marked All Saints’ Day Monday night, and All Souls Day coming Tuesday, with an honor for the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin.
Bernardin died on Nov. 14, 1996 – coming up on 25 years ago – at the age of 68. Speakers Monday night remembered him as a mentor and a friend.READ MORE: Chicagoan David Kronfeld Shares Advice To Career Success In New Book
Born in Columbia, South Carolina, to recent immigrants from northern Italy, Bernardin originally planned to become a doctor and enrolled in premed classes at the University of South Carolina. But he later decided to join the priesthood, and transferred to St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore.
He was ordained in the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., in 1952, and had a meteoric rise through the Roma Catholic Church in America, becoming the youngest bishop in America when he was named an auxiliary bishop in Atlanta at the age of 38.READ MORE: At Least 24 People Wounded, 1 Killed In Weekend Shootings In Chicago
Bernardin later served as Archbishop of Cincinnati for 10 years, before being appointed by Pope John Paul II to serve as Archbishop of Chicago following the death of John Cardinal Cody in 1982.
At the time, the Chicago Archdiocese was in a state of chaos, plagued by allegations of financial mismanagement that had led to a federal investigation against Cardinal Cody. It was Bernardin who was tasked with healing those wounds.
Bernardin became known for what he called a “consistent ethic of life,” and spoke against abortion, euthanasia, modern warfare and capital punishment alike, the Archdiocese recalls. He spoke out regularly against violence around the world, from Lebanon and Israel to Northern Ireland.MORE NEWS: 1 Person In Critical Condition, 8 Displaced After Fire In Aurora
Bernardin is also credited with helping Chicago to deal with the emerging scandal of sexual misconduct by priests, and he urged other bishops to follow suit.