by Helena Syska

We just got an email about an All-American rally -- "For Our Freedom and Yours" in Support of Security of Poland and Eastern Europe -- in front of the White House this Saturday. The last time we remember such a rally was back in the days of Solidarity, the movement which had over 9 million members and was instrumental in bringing down Communism in Poland and Eastern Europe.


The need for this type of rally in 2016 -- just 27 years later - to preserve Poland's freedom is, well, frightening. Most thought freedom had been secured and would be long lasting when Communism fell in 1989 in Poland. If Poland is at risk for being attacked, it will only be a matter of time before the US is.


If you ask most people in the general public, they cannot tell you what Communism is, nor what Socialism is. They do not understand nor can they recognize how liberty is being slowly chipped away. And one day, they won't know what hit them when their freedoms have been taken away and they are left with little of what they have worked so hard to achieve.


We visited Poland in 1990 with our two oldest children, then 10 and 13.   The remnants of Communism were highly visible -- crumbling infrastructure, few stores, hospitals that were not well equipped and lacked basic hygiene, and people crammed into massive, tall apartment buildings with no elevators and no air conditioning, few services for the aged and handicapped, wheelchairs that looked like they came for the early 1900s.


A cousin, his wife and their teenage son occupied what for many today is a walk-in closet in America. Their washing machine fit into the corner of a tiny bathroom and when the sun was not out so that they could hang their laundry out to dry on the 13th floor balcony, where only two people could comfortably stand, their few clothes were hung to dry over the bathtub.  You couldn't buy much with what you had, you hoped that money and articles would be sent from abroad and that they actually reached you and were not confiscated in the mail. There was only room for a small fridge and you hoped the plumbing piped in hot water. Visas were practically non-existent to leave Poland and before 1990, it would be rare if you would be allowed in. Practicing one's religion was not permitted. Tiny black-covered "Bibles," about 1 1/2" x 1 1/2", were printed with passages from the Bible to keep God and hope alive.  If you were caught with one, you were sent to jail.


For all that they did not have, their thirst for freedom was amazingly strong. They read whatever non-propaganda they could get their hands on, immersing themselves in freedom.  They were self taught as much as possible, learned several languages, were very frugal, bartered for what they needed, and despite having so little, had so much --- a cheerful spirit in the midst of adversity, generosity and hospitality, and always faithful to God and hopeful for better days.


Does America know how fragile its freedom is right now?  Freedom is strategically being taken away from us, and most people don't even know it.    Many see it and don't think the threat is real.  And some people are just trying to get through the day; they are tired and don’t want to think about all this.   To help understand what is going on, and to build a community of lovers of liberty, we invite you to be with others who are concerned.  Visit the ICC and RRLS lectures.   You are most welcome to bring family and friends. Everyone is welcome.


The Institute of Catholic Culture (ICC) dinner lectures are held at various churches in our diocese and, due to the generosity of many, admission is free, including dinner. No RSVP is required. Best to arrive by 5:40ish pm. The ICC was started in 2006 with just a small number of people attending and now averages about 200 per event.


The Ronald Reagan Lecture Series (RRLS) started in 2009; its lectures are also free due to liberty-loving contributors.   Additionally, its first Liberty Pub was a big hit with the millennials.  More coming!


Please watch the live broadcast or check back later for the videos that will be posted.

Sunday, July 10

Independence: A Catholic Critique on False Freedom

Hosted by the Institute of Catholic Culture (ICC)

Can you recognize when freedom is not authentic, when it is false?