From Library Journal
The well-loved cardinal of Chicago completed this book during the last few months of his life. In it he records the personal struggle of his final three years, during which he faced charges of sexual misconduct, later dropped as admittedly false. Eventually, Bernardin made peace with his accuser, helping the younger man reconcile with his Catholic faith before he died of AIDS. Bernardin also accepted his own imminent death from pancreatic cancer as a true lesson of the cross, writing here about his mixed sense of abandonment and hope with a profound awareness of the meaning of shared suffering and Christian love. A very moving last testament, written with simplicity and deep wisdom.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The Gift Of Peace is the final legacy left to us by one of America's most beloved and respected clerics. Preparing The Gift Of Peace was an extraordinary effort which consumed Joseph Cardinal Bernardin's final days, and offers deeply personal reflections about his last three headline-filled years. The Gift Of Peace also reveals the Cardinal's spiritual growth amidst a string of traumatic events: false accusations of sexual abuse; reconciliation a year later with his accuser (who had earlier recanted the charges); a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and surgery; the return of cancer (in his liver); his decision to discontinue chemotherapy and live his remaining days as fully as possible. Even after Cardinal Bernardin relinquished the day-to-day operation of the Archdiocese in his final weeks, he continued to work on The Gift Of Peace. Cardinal Bernardin was known for his gift of reconciliation, and for a "consistent ethic of life" that urged a reverence for life from conception to natural death. In his final years he made a trip to Israel with Jewish leaders; launched the Catholic Common Ground Initiative to heal rifts among America's Catholics; and sent a letter to the Supreme Court urging them not to approve "physician-assisted" suicide. The Gift Of Peace is a worthy testament to the memory of a Christian life amidst contemporary issues and modern day challenges of life in the last years of the 20th century. -- Midwest Book Review
This touching and insightful little book serves as a poignant reminder to all of us that people of faith do have an extraordinary resource which can allow them to face life's most difficult moments, life's worst surprises, life's most bitter defeats with equanimity and peace and sometimes even an undercurrent of seemingly unshakable joy. Cardinal Bernadin wrote this book in the final two months of his life. In it he reflects on the three years previous in which he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct, and in which he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which, after a brief remission, reappeared with a vengeance. Through all of this, he maintained his faith and his gentle and loving perspective on life. He admits that his spiritual journey has always been a struggle to become closer to God and that the trials of the false accusation and his illness taught him how to release his pain, his anger, and himself into God's hands. This is a book that should be of interest to all people of faith and, in particular, to anyone who struggles with serious illness or the issue of forgiveness. Joseph Cardinal Bernadin's legacy is not only his life's work but his ability to forgive fully and to die well. -- From Independent Publisher
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