The Pro-Life Social Doctrine Certificate Program

Massachusetts Citizens for Life is now offering a first-in-the-nation Pro-Life Social Doctrine Certificate Program to rebuild social consciousness from the pro-life perspective, taught by Dr. David Franks, Chairman of MCFL's Board of Directors.

The program draws in particular on the body of teaching known as Catholic social doctrine, appropriating it in the spirit of the liberal arts, incorporating Scripture, theology, philosophy, political theory, American history, and literature. Though grounded in Christianity, this course is designed to be accessible to those of any faith, as well as to the non-religious. All questions and viewpoints are welcome.

“This is an historic hour,” says Dr. Franks. “Americans stand at a crucial juncture in the trajectory of the Republic. We the people are divided. The American proposition to the world has become obscured, the proposition that government exists to secure the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“The pro-life movement is the tip of the spear when it comes to the defense of human dignity and human rights, and it is the best hope for the renewal of the American experiment in ordered liberty. We must be intentional in training a pro-life cadre capable of meeting the demands of civic reconciliation.”

“This program is pedagogically innovative, taking seriously the fact that education must be holistic to forge creative and expert pro-life activists,” says Dr. Franks. “People of all generations hunger for this kind of training, but the young in particular will appreciate an approach that seeks to reclaim an understanding of citizenship and community based on a commitment to the preferential option for the most powerless human life. With the most vulnerable uppermost in our minds and hearts, we will not be shy about embracing the crucial notions of ‘social justice’ and ‘solidarity.’”

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; and how love and suffering stand at the heart of human action. 

The program reading list includes: The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the ChurchNight by Elie Wiesel, The Person and the Common Good by Jacques Maritain, Lincoln by Allen Guelzo, the “Treatise on Law” from the Summa theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas, The Waste Land and Ash Wednesday by T. S. Eliot, N. T. Wright on the Book of Revelation, as well as writings from Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict. A complete list will be provided to participants once they register.

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


The sessions will be on the second Saturday of each month, beginning October 14 and running through May, from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at the MCFL Office at the Schrafft Center in Charlestown. They will be available as video recordings for participants who cannot attend in person. (That is, one can take this course without attending the classes in person, which would involve watching all of the recordings and meeting with the professor for a single session, gathering all those doing the program remotely, at a mutually arranged time in the spring. Or one could take the course in a "hybrid" format: attending in person when possible and watching the recordings when unable to attend.)


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.


The Program Registration Fee is $495. Register online today by clicking HERE or by sending a check to Massachusetts Citizens for Life, 529 Main Street, Suite 1M9, Boston, MA 02119. Scholarships may be available. Please contact with any questions.


Supporting This Educational Initiative

This certificate program provides at least the equivalent of a college course in terms of instructional hours and comprehensiveness of syllabus, and in that respect it would be a good deal at even $2,500. By making this course available at the bargain price of $495, we hope to reach a large audience, especially among the young and clerics and parish workers and teachers, who might not be able to afford very much. But in order for this to be feasible, we ask that those who can afford to donate to the program, to please prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible donation to make this program sustainable. There are few options more consequential for the devotion of your charitable resources than to help foster this crucial educational initiative.

CLICK HERE to make a donation to support the Pro-Life Social Doctrine 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.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.