Lincoln Forum Saturday Sessions

During the academic year, Massachusetts Citizens for Life offers a course that meets once a month devoted to the high adventure of civic conversation concerning what we owe, socially and politically, to the most powerless human life. All questions and viewpoints are welcome.

The course is taught by Dr. J. David Franks, Chairman of MCFL’s Board of Directors.

These Saturday Sessions of the Lincoln Forum for Human Dignity provide intellectual and cultural formation for pro-life activists and any other persons of good will motivated to realize more perfectly the American declaration of the equal dignity of each human life. 

The Republic and our Commonwealth grow more and more polarized. We believe that earnest pursuit of the existential questions about living well together opens up the only way forward. To meet the requirements of the political time of day, MCFL offers a humanistic exploration of social ethics so that all of us, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, can understand ever more deeply what the responsibility to care demands of each of us: in private and in public. Common ground can be found in recurring to science, social ethics, political philosophy, and the principles of the American founding.

The program approaches social and political questions in the spirit of the liberal arts, and adds to the mix theology, critical theory, American history, art, music, and literature (especially poetry). Every human heart has a natural desire for the true, the good, and the beautiful, and it is on that common ground that we must take our stand.

We will read authors including Dante, Aquinas, Lincoln, John and Abigail Adams, Hannah Arendt, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, as well as explore composers and artists along the way, including Shostakovich, Mahler, Leonard Cohen, Rouault, and Chagall.

Dr. Franks was a professor of theology at Saint John’s Seminary for nine years, which included tenures as vice president for mission and director of certificate programs for the seminary’s Theological Institute for the New Evangelization. He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston College.



The course will examine the basic principles of social ethics (the dignity of the human person, the common good, solidarity, and subsidiarity); the American Republic and the future of freedom; why politics matters and what is social justice; bioethical science and reasoning; how love and suffering stand at the heart of human action. 

The program reading list includes: The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot, letters of John and Abigail Adams, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, selections from Dante’s Purgatorio, the “Treatise on Law” from the Summa theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Trauma and Recovery by Judith HermanLincoln by Allen Guelzo, On Revolution by Hannah Arendt, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Kids are welcome to sessions, and parking is ample. The Sullivan Square T station is also very close.


The sessions will be on the first Saturday of each month, running through May, from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at the MCFL Office at the Schrafft Center in Charlestown. 

Our introductory session is Saturday, October 5th. Coffee and some breakfast foods will be provided. Please RSVP!


Young adults and others who want to reconnect to the pursuit of the common good; teachers; priests and ministers who would like to bear a greater prophetic witness when it comes to abortion and euthanasia, but who feel unprepared to make the case in a merciful way; parishioners hungry for a socially relevant theology; anyone seeking to foster social consciousness from a pro-life perspective; any person who wants a safe space to talk over the complexities involved with the defense of human dignity.


The Program Registration Fee is $100. Register online today by clicking HERE or by sending a check to Massachusetts Citizens for Life, 529 Main Street, Suite 205, Boston, MA 02119. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.


Supporting This Educational Initiative

MCFL has increased its activist presence given the threat of the ROE Act. But, in the end, the only way to restore the right to life of the innocent in law is through a common pursuit of the truth of our common responsibility before the demands of universal human dignity. The Lincoln Forum Saturday Sessions could play a crucial role in that common pursuit, but we do need financial support to expand our reach. If you have a special interest in the liberal arts, please consider a tax-deductible donation. 

This will also help us provide scholarships for those, especially the young, who might not have the means to pay the tuition cost. 

CLICK HERE to make a donation to support the Social Ethics and Solidarity Certificate Program.


Download a Flyer


Whether or not you are able to attend or make a donation, please support the Program by downloading a flyer, printing it out, and posting it (with permission) in your church, at a school, or in other public places and disseminating it electronically to those you think would be interested. You can also help by sharing a link to this page to Facebook and Twitter.

Showing 3 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Ellen Kolb
    commented 2019-05-05 17:41:09 -0400
    I’m sorry that I was only able to attend one of the sessions for 2018-19. If you repeat it, I’ll certainly look into the online option.
  • Douglas Hayman
    commented 2019-02-11 08:19:39 -0500
    The cost is too high for most people. Very few people think mainly in terms of abstract ideas and high moral principles and they interact with other people who ALSO do not think or act in this way. To reach the masses, we or you cannot talk philosophy that is far beyond them. Why not just deliver the message in a foreign language? I suggest Swahili! Hope you get my point.
  • Paul Fullen
    commented 2018-11-30 23:57:40 -0500
    Is there homework involved?