In the following pages Cardinal Bernardin expresses his views on fundamental issues such as morality, peace, and nuclear war. Peace was God's eternal promise to mankind; nevertheless, we continue to face a world where the poor suffer injustice and oppression in a world of chaos. Anyway God continues to recreate, to reconcile, and to bring wholeness and peace to humankind through His Son's death and resurrection. Peace does not materialize, however, without human efforts; the desire for peace can be found in the hearts of all people. It is a gift that both challenges and inspires us to transform our world for the better. However, peace cannot exist where innocent are oppressed, human dignity is ignored, and life, from conception to natural death, is not viewed as sacred.
If peace is our goal, we must develop a keen sense of compassion and generosity toward the poor and those who live on the margin of society. Another constant threat to peace is nuclear war. Today the linkage between politics and war has been broken, and nuclear war threatens to destroy the very political values which once justified a resort to force. Present-day nuclear weapons can destroy the whole planet, and as a consequence, our ongoing goal must be the elimination of nuclear weapons.
We live in a time of anxiety and fear and also one of hope. With regards to this, Cardinal Bernardin underlines the Church's “Pastoral Letter on War and Peace” in which concern is expressed about the direction of the arms race, the role of human rights in the United States, foreign policy, the United States' posture on issues of international economic justice, and U.S. policies in Latin America and in the Middle East. The letter devotes over 30 pages to the challenge of constructing peace in an increasingly interdependent world and emphasizes both the threat and new moral dilemmas introduced with nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy.