Call for Papers

Life, Solidarity, Fraternity: The Consistent Ethic in Light of Fratelli Tutti - September 17-18, 2022




The Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union invites contributions to a symposium focused on Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s consistent ethic of life.

Cardinal Bernardin first articulated the consistent ethic in his Gannon Lecture of December 6, 1983 at Fordham University. He continued to develop the consistent ethic until his death in 1996. Several publications have been devoted to deepening our understanding and continuing the reception of the consistent ethic, which political theorist John Rawls characterized as an example of “public reason.” Shortly before his death, Cardinal Bernardin gave permission for a Bernardin Center to be established at Catholic Theological Union. Particularly, he asked The Bernardin Center to continue to work on the consistent ethic of life.


Our symposium, Life, Solidarity, Fraternity: The Consistent Ethic in Light of Fratelli Tutti, will explore the consistent ethic of life as a social ethic in the light of Pope Francis’s social teachings. Pope Francis has offered a comprehensive view of social ethics not only with solidarity, social friendship, and “a better kind of politics” as we read about them in Fratelli Tutti, but also with Laudato Si’ vision of integral ecology and the bold response to the pandemic described in Let Us Dream. The common ground between Pope Francis’s social teaching and the consistent ethic of life are the primary topic of the symposium.


The event will take place at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago on September 17-18, 2022. Keynote remarks will be offered on the night of September 17 by Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ at a public event. September 18 will bring a daylong conversation among symposium participants that will be closed to the public. That daylong conversation will be organized into four topical seminar-style sessions.


We invite papers from current graduate students and recent Ph.D. recipients (5 years or less) in theology, philosophy, ethics, politics, sociology, or any allied field. Proposals must be submitted no later than April 15, 2022. We are particularly hopeful to receive papers examining the consistent ethic from other religious perspectives. All papers should explore the consistent ethic in some dimension as a social ethic. Authors selected for participation will be notified no later than April 30, 2022. Draft papers should be submitted no later than July 31, 2022. Papers will be circulated among participants at that time in advance of the symposium, where our daylong conversation will focus on bringing papers together in dialogue and developing all of the papers together toward an eventual collection for publication. Papers will be revised into 4,500-6,000-word final submissions by January 10, 2023.


For consideration, paper proposals must be submitted to no later than March 31, 2022 containing the following information:


  • ·        Author(s) name(s) and contact information
  • ·        Year of Ph.D. or graduate student status
  • ·        An abstract no longer than 250 words


Saturday, September 17

5:00                      Welcome dinner with Cardinal Czerny and symposium participants

7:00                      Keynote remarks: Cardinal Czerny (public event)

8:30                      Reception (public event)


Sunday, September 18 

(all day closed to the public)

8:00                      Mass

9:00                      Breakfast

9:30                      Session I

11:00                   Coffee Break

11:15                   Session II

12:45                   Lunch

1:30                      Session III

3:00                      Coffee Break

3:15                      Session IV

4:45                      Break

5:00                      Dinner

Click here to view a tentative symposium agenda.

Each accepted symposium participant will be awarded a stipend of $500 to help defray travel and lodging expenses.

Please direct questions for clarification to