Open Book, November 2020

I’m indulging my love of politics and American history not by watching the news non-stop this election season, but by reading Author in Chief: the Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote, by Craig Fehrman. Fehrman shows that there’s more to the presidential genre than campaign biographies and memoirs. He puts each president’s work in historical context, and he offers a writer’s view of the relative merits of various books. He has sparked my curiosity about presidential works with which I’m unfamiliar, and perhaps there’s an #OpenBook post ahead mentioning some of them.

As a trail-loving New Englander, I’m loving Following Atticus. This is the true story of an out-of-shape Massachusetts journalist, Tom Ryan, who adopted a pint-sized schnauzer puppy named Atticus, and set out to hike New Hampshire’s “4000-footer” mountains with his little canine friend. This sounds like the makings of a comedy, but Ryan delivers something very different. Thoughtful musings on his life, work, and friends alternate with accounts of challenging hikes with his intrepid little dog.

I continue to make my way through The Gospel of Life by St. John Paul II. Perhaps because I’m older, or perhaps because I’m giving the words time to sink in, this has been very different from my earlier quick readings of the document a couple of decades ago. I’ve been reading a section at a time as lectio divina for each day.

The Open Book linkup is hosted by blogger Carolyn Astfalk and the team at CatholicMom.com

Media Moments, October 2020

40 Days for Life AND election season add up to lots of material for conversations online and on-air. My thanks go to Liz Gabert and Jack Kenny who welcomed me to their respective programs this month.

Life With Liz, WSMN Nashua

No written agenda is needed when Liz invites me to join her. She always makes me feel like I’m sitting down for coffee with a friend (which is pretty much what we’re doing!). This time, we talked about the importance of down-ballot offices in this year’s election, with New Hampshire’s Executive Council races as an example. Later in the show, Sister Mary Rose Reddy joined us to talk about the current 40 Days for Life campaign.

Life With Liz, 10/14/2020

Rainbow Stew with Jack Kenny, Manchester Community Television

I was pleased to represent the Manchester (NH) 40 Days for Life campaign in this interview with Jack Kenny.

Jack Kenny’s Rainbow Stew, taped 10/21/2020

On Judge Barrett

As one Catholic woman to another, I send my best wishes to Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the U.S. Senate votes on her nomination to the Supreme Court.

I don’t know how she’d vote on a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and neither do you. Even so, I think every objection to her nomination comes down to one thing: the possibility that she might have even the teensiest reservation about abortion. Any objections to her faith I’ve encountered are all about that. It’s not that she’s Catholic; it’s that she might take Catholic teaching on the nature of abortion and conscience rights seriously.

That’s “might.” One may hope.

Note that in a buffer zone case in 2016, she voted with the majority to uphold a buffer zone law in Chicago that employed a “bubble zone.” That decision also pointed out that in light of SCOTUS’s McCullen decision, the Chicago case would be vulnerable on further appeal.

I believe it’s pure theater to say that she poses a threat to everyone’s health insurance, by means of a pending court challenge to the “Affordable Care Act,” better known as Obamacare.

Yes, theater. The ACA has no severability clause, thanks to the Senators (including one of my New Hampshire Senators, Jeanne Shaheen) who voted to pass it without one. If SCOTUS throws out the law because no single part of it can be separated from the rest, they’ll be following the path laid out for them by the House, Senate, and former president Obama in 2010. (But see this commentary from ScotusBlog outlining less extreme possibilities.)

I’ve asked my Senators to vote to confirm Judge Barrett, even though they have both declared their firm opposition to her, or perhaps only to her nomination. It’s hard to tell if they can distinguish the woman from the man who nominated her.

Will the result of this nomination be judicial recognition of the dignity and worth of each human being without exception? I have no idea. As I said, one may hope.