Let Freedom Ring: Freedom from Elitism
"The ruling class are society's 'ins.' This class comprises persons in government, those who depend for their livelihoods on government, and whose socio-economic prospects and hopes are founded on government. Thus, it includes most people in the educational establishment, the media, and large corporations. Its leading elements and its major voting constituencies are the Democratic party. But it transcends political parties because any number of Republicans aspire to its privileges and share its priorities.Above all, the ruling class defines itself by a set of attitudes, foremost of which is contempt for those outside itself. This contempt stems from the rather uniform education that the ruling class's members absorbed from universities and which they developed by living in their subculture. Believing themselves intelligent apostles of scientific truth, they regard others as dumb and in the grip of religious obscurantism. Religion is the greatest of the divides between the ruling class and those it deems its inferiors. Whereas they believe themselves morally good and psychologically sound, they regard others as suffering from psychological dysfunctions and phobias - effectively as bad people. The ruling class does not believe that those outside itself have the right or capacity to conduct their own lives."
__ Daily reflection and prayers
__ Litany of the day
__ Pray a Rosary
__ Divine Mercy Chaplet
__ Spiritual or corporal work of mercy
__ Fast/abstain (according to level)
__ Exercise (according to level/ability)
__ Refrain from conventional media (only 1 hr. of social)
__ Examination of conscience (confession 1x this week)
Tobit, Chapter 2, Verse 8
A righteous person cannot just ignore justice. Tobit must do the work the Lord has appointed him; come hell or high water.
- Within forty days, however, Sennacherib’s sons assassinated him.
- His successor appointed Ahiquar (Tobit’s nephew) over all the treasury accounts.
- Previously, Ahiquar had held the position of cupbearer in Sennacherib’s court. So he had a long history of court service and was well-respected.
- Ahiquar’s name means “My divine brother is precious.”
- Because of his position, he was able to intercede on behalf of Tobit.
- Tobit was forgiven and allowed to come out of hiding.
- Later, when he and his family were about to celebrate the festival of Weeks/Pentecost, Tobit was filled with gratitude because they had so much food and saddened because so many others had little/none.
- He told his son to go out into the city and invite to dinner those who were homeless and poor. In so doing, Tobit was trying to instill the same values into his son.
- Tobias came back with a report that another Jew was lying dead in the marketplace (obviously a public execution of sorts).
- Without hesitation, Tobit rose up from the table and grabbed the body and buried it.
Helping the Poor
Righteous people have a professed interest in helping the poor. It is hard to find anyone who’s anti-poor. What matters are not platitudes— we’re all in favor of clean air, too—what counts are the kinds of policies we adopt. Good intentions matter, but not much: great damage has been done in the name of helping people. Hitler said his policies would save Western civilization. Stalin and Mao said they would create a utopia. They were all genocidal maniacs. If we want to help the poor, we should at least know who they are. Census data tell us that nearly all the poor in this country live in houses or apartments that are in good condition and aren’t overcrowded.
· More than 80 percent of the poor own an air conditioner, two-thirds have cable TV, and half own a computer. Fully 96 percent of poor parents say their children were not hungry for even a single day in the past year. By any historical measure, there are practically no poor people left in America.
· When we compare our “poor” to the poor in other nations today, we learn why I chose quotation marks to describe ours.
· It would be wrong to conclude that we should therefore do nothing to help those who are not affluent. As Catholics, we have a moral obligation to help those in need.
· At a minimum, our energy and dollars should be directed at those who can’t help themselves. As for able bodied persons who are not affluent, the most charitable thing we can do is to enable them to become self-reliant.
· Champions of the poor who oppose school vouchers cannot be taken seriously; it is minority children in the inner city who suffer.
· Fraud is rampant.
When my oldest daughter was a 12-year-old, I brought her to the office on “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day” (this trendy idea didn’t last long). On our way to work, a man was standing next to a table with a huge jug; UHO was inscribed on it (United Homeless Organization). He asked us to give, but I refused. My daughter wanted to know why. When we got to my office, I explained my reasoning. I downloaded stories on my computer showing what a fraud UHO was. Caryn learned that virtually all the money went to the operators and the street hustlers. Three years ago, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (now governor) said, “UHO exploits the good intentions of people who thought their charitable donations were helping to fund services for the homeless. Instead, their donations go directly to UHO’s principals and workers, who abused the organization’s tax-exempt status to line their own pockets.” Some things never change. Over the summer, it was reported that those who live in New York City’s Caribbean neighborhoods are buying groceries with their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (food stamps for those on welfare) and sending them overseas. There are literally hundreds of 45-to-55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels that line the walls in virtually every Caribbean supermarket. The food is being shipped to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. But not all of it: some is being resold by rip-off artists.
· Dishonesty is also rampant.
Bread for the World is a prominent liberal organization that collects donations for the alleged purpose of helping the poor. Not a dime pays for bread: All proceeds go to lobbyists who pressure politicians to spend more money on poverty programs. Back in the 1980s, celebrities organized a well-publicized campaign to help the poor. “Holding Hands Across America” garnered the support of legions of public figures (even the Reagans were roped into it). It raked in hundreds of millions. Unfortunately for the poor, two out of every three dollars raised was spent to pay for the bash. More recently, when a donor sent great New York pastrami sandwiches to the “Occupy Wall Street” gang, the pro-poor demonstrators told the homeless who asked for some to get lost. The soup was for the poor.
Helping the poor is a noble cause, but it can also become a fool’s errand.
· We need to ask who the intended beneficiaries are, and what, if anything, can be expected of them in return.
· We need to know how much of the money goes to administrative costs, and how much is spent on the target group.
· We need to know if there is a face-to-face relationship between donors and recipients, or just a money transfer.
· We need to know about fraud and dishonesty.
One of the great things about Mother Teresa is that she never sought the limelight. She simply went about her business helping the poor and comforting the sick and dying. It’s our good fortune that she was “discovered” and introduced to the world. She’s the proper role model, not those who stand on street corners asking for “spare change,” or white-collared professionals who manipulate public sentiment for self-serving reasons.
Today, July 14, is Bastille Day, the commemoration of the revolution that brought down France’s Ancien Régime and led to the establishment of a new order that promised to totally refashion society. Unlike the American Revolution, which was fought to conserve rights and maintain political order, the French Revolution destroyed the fabric of French society. No aspect of human life was untouched. The Committee of Public Safety – influenced by Rousseau – claimed that to convert the oppressed French nation to democracy, “you must entirely refashion a people whom you wish to make free, destroy its’ prejudices, alter its habits, limit its necessities, root up its vices, purify its desires.” To achieve this end, the new rational state, whose primary ideological plank was that the sovereignty of “the people” is unlimited, attempted to eliminate French traditions, norms, and religious beliefs.
The revolutionary governing bodies were particularly determined to destroy every vestige of the Roman Catholic Church because France was hailed by Rome as the Church’s “eldest daughter” and the monarch had dedicated “our person, our state, our crown and our subjects” to the Blessed Virgin. The Constituent Assembly began the campaign against the Church by stating in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, “no body or individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.” In other words, the Church could no longer have any say in public matters. The secular state would now have the final word over every aspect of human and social life.
Next, the government abrogated the 1516 Concordat that defined France’s relationship with the Vicar of Christ. Financial and diplomatic relations with the papacy ceased. In the name of freedom, all monastic vows were suspended and in February 1790, legislation was approved to suppress the monasteries and confiscate their properties. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy, passed on July 12, 1790, decreed that the priesthood was a civil body and all bishops and priests were to be selected by the people and paid by the state.
· The pope was to have no say in the matter. In addition, clerics had to swear an oath of loyalty to the French Constitution. Dissidents had to resign their ministries, and many were prosecuted as criminals. Lay Catholics loyal to the pope were treated as rebels and traitors. With only four out of 135 bishops taking the oath in 1791, the more radical Legislative Assembly ordered additional sanctions against the Church. All religious congregations were suppressed and wearing clerical garb was forbidden.
· Priests loyal to the papacy were automatically guilty of “fanaticism” and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Processions were forbidden; crucifixes and religious artifacts were stripped out of churches. Government priests were granted freedom to marry, divorce was permissible, and marriage became a civil procedure.
· Also, education, managed for centuries by the Church, was nationalized. To further de-Christianize France, a new civil religion was introduced – patriotism. The Gregorian calendar was eliminated and replaced with names related to nature. To abolish Sunday worship, months were rearranged to contain three “weeks” of ten days apiece, thus designating every tenth day for rest.
· Catholic holy days were replaced with national holidays and civic days of worship. The “Cult of Great Men” (i.e., Rousseau) replaced the veneration of saints. The use of the word “saint” was forbidden. “There should be no more public and national worship but that of Liberty and Holy Equality,” declared the revolutionary government. Every city and village were ordered to erect an “altar to the fatherland” and to conduct July “Federation Month” patriotic rites.
· The Feast of Nature was observed in August and the Cult of Reason was celebrated at Paris’ Civic Temple, formerly the Cathedral of Notre Dame. A female dancer was crowned as the Goddess of Reason and performed for the assembly. In 1794, the deistic cult of the Supreme Being replaced the atheistic adoration of reason. At the first public worship, the self-declared high priest, Robespierre, pronounced in his homily, “the idea of the Supreme Being and the soul’s immortality is a continuous summons to justice and consequently social and republican.”
· Despite all the efforts of the missionaries of terror, the Church was not stamped out of existence. The heroism of the thousands of martyred bishops, priests, and religious inspired millions of the faithful and caused a spiritual renascence in France during the nineteenth century. The notorious political rogue and excommunicated bishop of Autun, the Prince de Talleyrand, reviewing that terrible period of persecution, conceded, “Regardless of my own part in this affair, I readily admit that the Civil Constitution of the Clergy . . . was perhaps the greatest political mistake of the Assembly, quite apart from the dreadful crimes which flowed there from.” General of the Republic, Henri Clarke, agreed. In a report to the government in 1796, he wrote, “Our revolution, so far as religion is concerned, has proved a complete failure.
· France has become once more Roman Catholic, and we may be on the point of needing the pope himself in order to enlist clerical support for the Revolution.” The French ideologues learned, as did their barbaric heirs in the twentieth century, that every effort to destroy the Church and eliminate the faithful fails. As Christ Himself promised: “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
“Therefore, do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Bastille Day-the other story
Bastille Day marks the anniversary of the attacks on the French prison of Bastille, a symbol of King Louis XVI's power. On, July 14, 1789, a group of Parisian revolutionaries attacked the Bastille looking for gun powder to go with the rifles they had recently stolen from the Invalides. The revolutionaries stormed the prison, defeating the soldiers and bringing victory to the common people of France. This event marked the beginning of the French Revolution, the defeat of a monarchy and the birth of a republic as King Louis XVI was beheaded by use of a guillotine on July 21, 1793 in front of a crowd of Parisians. The anniversary of this attack is now the French National holiday and is observed on July 14th each year.
Bastille Day Facts & Quotes
· The French Revolution was brought about partially due to the unequal class system found in France during the late 1700s. The Catholic clergy held the highest position, next came Louis XVI and his court, and lastly were the general population. Without the benefit of being born into a higher class, the general population had almost no hope of ever bettering their station in life.
· Louis XVI's spending at Versailles and his financial support of the American Revolutionary War against the British, placed France in severe economic crisis. The general population was starving while King Louis XVI was building a great navy and continuing his lavish lifestyle in Versailles.
· The French flag consists of blue, white and red. White was the color of the Monarchy and red and blue represented Paris. During the Revolution, the white was surrounded by blue and then red.
· A revolution can be neither made nor stopped. The only thing that can be done is for one of several of its children to give it a direction by dint of victories. - Napoleon Bonaparte
Bastille Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Watch the Fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. They usually start around 11pm and can be viewed from the Champs de Mars and Trocadero.
· Attend a French military parade.
· Visit a French national museum as most are free to visit on Bastille Day or visit a local firehouse in France - they are open to the public on this holiday.
· Watch a movie or a documentary about the French Revolution. Our picks: The French Revolution (2005), Jefferson in Paris (1995), Marie Antoinette (2006), Danton (1983) and That Night in Varennes (1982)
· Go out to a French Restaurant. Many have specials for this day.
Grand Marnier Day
Grand Marnier Day celebrates this innovative adult beverage and all of the wonderful ways it can be used. Grand Marnier was the labor of love of Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle, founder of the Grand Marnier brand. His ambition to blend together Haitian tropical oranges with traditional Cognac out of France was seen as entirely unexpected during its time, but that didn’t deter him at all. Since then his family name has risen to mean quality and innovation in the liquor industry and maintains a position of distinction among connoisseurs. Nothing but the highest quality Cognac is used in the creation of Grand Marnier, specifically the Ugni Blanc grapes from within the Cognac region of France. The grapes are double distilled in copper stills to bring out the richest aromas and delicious flavor profile. The same Cognac has been sourced since the creation of Grand Marnier in 1880. Since their first release, they’ve continued to release other groundbreaking liquors including their Cordon Jaune, produced with a neutral grain spirit instead of Cognac, and their Cuvee du Centenaire, a limited release made with 25-year-old Cognacs.
How to Celebrate Grand Marnier Day
· The best way to celebrate Grand Marnier Day is to try out a few of the mixed drinks that can be made with it, and indulge in its rich succulent flavors.
· Why not start off with a Marnier & Bubbles! All you need to do is mix Grand Marnier with Champagne or another French sparkling white wine. The proportions are 1 ounce of Grand Marnier and 4 ounces of sparkling white wine. Then, for a splash of color, add a cherry.
· Or you can mix up a Grand Marnier-Ita. Simply mix 2 parts Tequila with 1-part juice of lime and mix it up. Pour it into a cocktail glass through a strainer with ice, and then add some lime wheels to finish it off.
Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph
The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous, you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus