See You In Dover N.H., November 14

I’m looking forward to speaking at a workshop at St. Joseph Church in Dover on November 14 at 6:30 p.m., and I hope to see Seacoast readers there! Rep. Kurt Wuelper will be the featured speaker on Effective Communication with Legislators. I’ll talk about how to turn your social media engagement into a pro-life powerhouse. Our hosts are the Catholic Citizenship Committee of the Parish of the Assumption and the Seacoast Pro-Life Network.

Words to remember from President Obama

As Barack Obama vacates the White House, find inspiration in something he said in his second inaugural address.

“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”

Perhaps someday he’ll understand that his words apply to children in the womb as well.

“No, you can’t watch from the balcony. Get right in there!”

Pope Francis, a man known for putting aside prepared statements in favor of informal Q&A, did just that on April 30 when he met in Rome with members of two Catholic groups. (See coverage at Zenit and Catholic News Service.) Talk turned to the challenge of bringing faith in Christ to the arena of public policy. From the CNS coverage of the event:

Catholics must get involved in politics even if it may be “dirty,” frustrating and fraught with failure, Pope Francis said. Given today’s “throwaway” culture and so many problems unfolding in the world, “Do I as a Catholic watch from my balcony? No, you can’t watch from the balcony. Get right in there!” he said.

Coverage of the same event by Carol Glatz for NCROnline:

One man asked how to keep strong the link between faith in Jesus and the responsibility of building a more just and caring world.

Christians have a duty to work for the common good in the world of politics, the pope said, adding that that does not mean forming a Catholic political party.

“That is not the way. The church is the community of Christians who adore the Father, follow the way of the Son and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not a political party,” he said.

However, individual Catholics must get involved and “embroiled” in politics, he said, because it is one of the “highest forms of charity” since it seeks the common good.

…”When you ask me these questions, the danger — danger for the pope, too, you know — is believing that I can answer all your questions. The only one who can answer every question is the Lord. My job is simply to listen and say what comes to me from within. But [it is] insufficient and too little,” he said.

Not an ex cathedra pronouncement, to be sure. Still, “you can’t watch from the balcony” strikes a chord.

Don’t get mad, get even: give pro-life today


I’ll put the last line first: make a donation today, even if it’s only $5, to your local agency that provides pregnancy support or another life-affirming ministry without performing or referring for abortions. If New Hampshire Catholic Charities got donations in response to the brouhaha I describe here, for example, then the St. Charles Home and Our Place would benefit and might even be able to expand their services to more New Hampshire neighbors.

Why the pitch? Because the Planned Parenthood Action Fund recently had a fundraiser here in New Hampshire. Once it became public (most notably in the Boston Globe) that the New Hampshire Republican Party’s national committeeman Steve Duprey had attended, a social media fuss ensued.

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Just a reminder: the national Republican party has a pro-life plank in its platform. So does the New Hampshire GOP. As one friend of mine said, “this is bad optics.” Yes, for starters.

For the record, Mr. Duprey says he didn’t realize the event was for the Action Fund. He is a longtime donor to PP’s “health”-related efforts (and of course, PP considers abortion part of health care). He didn’t realize he was attending an event that raised money for things like unseating Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. He acknowledged via Twitter (@SecretaryofFun) that it was “error” not to know in advance that it was an Action Fund event. My favorite social media summary via Granite Grok shows the Twitter exchange that elicited Mr. Duprey’s clarification.

My first thought when I heard about all this was something I can’t post on a family blog. My second thought was “so what else is new?” My third thought – which should have come first – is “don’t get mad, get even.” One gets even for such things by supporting life-affirming work, whether or not there’s a tax deduction involved.

My resources are limited. My “getting even” for today consisted of sending a small donation to a pregnancy care center, via a runner who participated in a 5k race for the center’s benefit. Does it match the recent donation by the NHGOP national committeeman to PP? Not by a long shot, but it sure beats wringing my hands over Republican leadership.

Sign up for next weekend’s CareNet walk. Deliver some baby-care supplies along with a check to a New Hampshire pregnancy care center. If you’re a member of a faith community, now’s the time for a special campaign to support women in crisis. My own church participates in an annual campaign (which kicks off this month) for New Hampshire Catholic Charities, the largest and most effective private human-services organization in the state. You may already be an adoptive parent or someone whose home is a haven for a pregnant woman with nowhere else to go.

As a recovering Republican, I humbly suggest this as well: if you’re a NHGOP donor, make your next donation to a pro-life organization, and give your reasons to the crew at party headquarters. After all, support for pro-life work is actually in line with the party platform. The party will still be there when you’re ready to send it your money again.

(I have held forth at some length about pro-lifers and the GOP. I am fond of campaigning, and I know there are campaigns yet to come in which I’ll support pro-life candidates with an R next to their names. The “pro-life” part will come first.)

As for Mr. Duprey, he can do what he wants with his money. He has his moments; I applaud his work with Casino-Free NH, which just achieved an unexpectedly decisive victory in defeating yet another casino bill. Imagine if he were to put that kind of savvy and experience into backing something like repeal of the buffer zone.

But never mind. I have no control over Mr. Duprey or his party, and I frankly don’t want it. What I do want is for his “error” to inspire a flood of financial support to New Hampshire’s pro-life agencies.

So, I’m back where I started: make a donation today, even if it’s only $5.