David Cloutier, one of the young theologians who participates in the Catholic Conversation Project, has a masterful commentary up at Commonweal, recalling Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's "consistent ethic of life," address. Money quote:
The cardinal’s position is not unique: indeed, it is the substance of the teachings of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. What is unique is how he presents himself as an articulate spokesperson dedicated to the challenging task of breaking through a cultural logjam by shaping a new consensus – a role seemingly unsought by anyone in the bishops’ conference today. Any Catholic equally committed to all the components of Bernardin’s framework is likely to feel caught in no-man’s-land between warring camps. Why? If in fact we now have encyclicals like Evangelium Vitae and Caritas in Veritate that develop the substance of Bernardin’s views, why has the church been unsuccessful in building a constituency for such views?