My Brother Joseph

Eugene Kennedy, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (178p) ISBN 978-0-312-17118-6
Eugene Kennedy met Joseph Bernardin in 1967, in the bubbling aftermath of Vatican II; both were members of a powerhouse panel that would study the American priesthood. That initial meeting sparked a lifelong friendship between the author and Chicago's future Cardinal. It is Kennedy's real kinship with Bernardin that makes this book different from the usual dashed-off celebrity biography. Through stories that are both touchingly personal and historic, we come to know and feel Bernardin's integrity, honesty and compassion. Kennedy describes a man who rose from simple beginnings to national stature by virtue of his virtues--foremost among which was his ability to wield power responsibly by letting go of his own self-interest. Kennedy sees this Christian theme of self-emptying as the key to Bernardin's life, the virtue that tempered the Cardinal's personal and public struggle with false accusations of sexual abuse and with the knowledge of his certain death from cancer. Kennedy also shows the Bernardin who labored on public policy issues and desired to ""speak as a moral force to the whole country."" Kennedy's book reminds us how Joseph Cardinal Bernardin did just that not only in his writings but also in his very habit of being. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-312-19515-1
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