Monday, May 30, 2005

The Book Challenge

Jeff at Hallowed Ground has tagged me for this book challenge thing. Jeff's introduction to his answers (here) express my thoughts exactly - I wish I had written it. So here goes:

1. Total number of books I've owned: At the present we estimate about 2500 volumes. We (reluctantly) parted with several hundred (possibly 1,000 or so) when we moved to Bethune due to severe space limitations. I just acquired some 50 more books (college texts and readings) from my oldest daughter who won't need them anymore where she is going soon ...

2. Last book I bought: The last two books I bought were same, "The Privilege of Being a Woman", by Dr. Alice VonHildebrand - one for my daughter and one for Mrs. Curley, yet at different times. The last book I bought for myself was, "The English Martyrs - Papers from the Summer School of Catholic Studies held at Cambridge, 1928", edited by Dom Bede Camm. It was of course, 2nd hand.

3. The Last book I read: I tend to read several books at a time - although I try to limit it to 3. Right now I am reading: "Favorite Father Brown Stories", by Chesterton; "Confessions" by St. Augustine (again); and "The Idea of a University" by John Henry Newman. The last book I finished reading was "The Reform of the Renewal" by Fr. Benedict Groeshal.

4. 5 Books that mean a lot to me: The 2 books I read most often, the (D-R) Bible and the Liturgy of the Hours would fall here, but I will leave them aside. There are some books you read, have a great impact, - and you read them over and over again. Other books have a great impact, you never read them again, but refer to them from time to time. Other books have a great impact, but you never touch them again. So here we go:

a. "Great Expectations" - Dickens: I read this book first when I was about 12 and absolutely hated it. I only finished it because it is my policy to finish any book I start (if I get past the first chapter). Some weeks later, for no apparent reason I could figure, I was inspired to read it again. I absolutely loved it and have read it since some 5-6 more times. It seemed that every time I read it I learned something new. I probably haven't read it now in some 15 years. The most important lesson I learned from "Great Expectations" is to be grateful.

b. "Witness to Hope" by George Weigel. My understanding of John Paul II, his role in Vatican II, his style of leadership, his reasons for many things became much clearer by reading this book. This book (along with the soon to be released "Two Towers") has helped me understand the role of 2nd Vatican Council in the present and future of the Church.

c. History of Christendom Series by Warren Carroll (founder of Christendom Collge) - I find almost no reading more enjoyable than to read history as told by Warren Carroll. It inspires the spirit and helps one to greater understanding of the present times. While I have 'singled-out' this series, all of his books on history are fantastic.

d. "The King's Good Servant But God's First - The Life and Writings of St. Thomas More" by James Monti. I am not sure this is the best life of St. Thomas More, but it started me off, both to more More biography's (Roper's, EE Reynolds', Wegemer's, Belloc's sketch) and to his writings - most especially "The Sadness of Christ" and "A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulations". All mentioned are highly recommended.

e. "The Jeweler's Shop" by Karol Wojtyla and "Marriage - a Path to Sanctity" by Javier Abad and Eugenio Fenoy (Scepter) are the two best books on the vocation of marriage which I have read. The first, of course, is a play needing no introduction which was written as meditation on marriage. The second is a (probably) little known volume, but Mrs. Curley and I have gotten much spiritual gain from it. It is a practical and spiritual guide (except for one chapter dealling with how to treat your servants!!) which we usually give to engaged family members. Both are sources which help the married see that their call to married life is a vocation and is their God-given path to sanctity.

I am sorely tempted to continue with other 'book(s) that means alot to me. Note that I didn't number these, but used letters, with the thought that if I added an extra one, no one would really notice. But I will restrain myself.

5. Tag 5 people: As I have looked around St. Blogs, I am starting to see, as Tracy Fennell says over at Nosce Te Ipsum "Seems like everyone has done it ..." If I find a few over the course of the day I will update this and tag them.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Here's the cover of "Two Towers" discussed in the post of Tuesday.

Now that I know for sure how to do this - I will try to post some other gems - like the chicken picture below - occasionally.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Can you believe this?

Plucking a chicken - It really did have a little more meat on it than it appears here!

Actually I was just trying to learn how to post pictures again and this one showed up. Can you imagine trying to feed a family with 7 children off of this bird??????

From the very, very, small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Haven't posted anything new since Tuesday (except in response to the good discussion generated by the post below). Probably won't post much more til Monday or maybe even later. We are in the throes of getting Two Towers released and publicized - but we do have other books in the works. In fact, my catalogs have promised that a new booklet title, "The Chapel Veil - symbol of the spouse of Christ" would have May 2005 release. It is still possible we can make it. There has been considerable pre-publication interest in this title. It is outside of Requiem Press' stated mission - but when I read the manuscript it was too good to slip by. So while we are extremely excited and have high hopes for TWO TOWERS - we are also diligently working on getting this other title out next week. So while I will be checking - I may not have time to do much posting.

Finally, just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the pre-release discount price on TWO TOWERS.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Cover of 2-Towers

The release of Requiem Press' first original title, "TWO TOWERS - the de-Christianization of America and a Plan for Renewal", is rapidly approaching.

I have been asked several times about the cover. The "TWO TOWERS" of both the title and the cover illustration refer to the 'tower' of Faith and the 'tower' of Morals.

Mr. Meehan, (the author), desribes the construction of each of the towers - which the artist, (Sherri Trial of Carlisle, PA), translated into the cover illustration. (Unfortunately you will have to go to the Requiem Press website to see the cover as I haven't figured out how to load it up here.)

The tower on the right represents Faith - or the deposit of Faith. As John Meehan describes in the Preface:

"Scripturally grounded in our "Father in the Faith" — Abraham of the Old Testament — the tower of Faith is cemented firmly in an ancient heritage and a long-standing tradition. Moses, the Law, and the prophets are its girders. The apostles, the Gospels, and papal succession are its framework. Church councils, ex cathedra declarations, and the lives of saintly men and women are its exterior covering. The Eucharistic Sacrifice, seven sacraments, and Liturgy of the Hours are its interior activity. Comprised of sacred scripture, apostolic tradition, and a living magisterium, this tower is called by the Roman Catholic Church the 'Deposit of Faith.'"

As you can see from the cover illustration, the tower on the right depicts symbols of: the Eucharistic Sacrifice, Abraham, ex cathedra declarations, the sacraments, and others therein - representing the construction of the Tower of Faith.

Similarily with the tower of Morals - John Meehan describes:

"The architectural plan of the tower of morals is found in the order of Creation. Due to the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, the construction of this tower required "hands-on" experience and supernatural intervention. Thus, the erection of the tower of morals proceeded ever so slowly during a near 3,000-year course of Western history. Cost overruns, as it were, came from a long record of unjust laws imposed by a variety of oppressive political regimes and a lack of cultural consensus regarding right ethical behavior. To complete construction of this tower, a common codification of Church and secular law was necessary if the tower of morals was to settle into a recognizable hall of legal justice. The Judeo-Christian system of organizing and directing public and private life by way of Divine Law and the natural law is the foundation supporting the edifice. The administration of just laws is its framework. Human statutes are its exterior covering. Equal protection under law is its interior activity."

The tower depicted on the left (of the cover) shows: Eve (and therefore Original Sin); the last six commandments which are the foundation of our justice system and the human law represented by the 'balance'. The stormy background represents the slow and 'stormy' process described by Mr. Meehan to construct this 'tower' of morals.

Even if I weren't the publisher (and dependent on the sales to eat supper next month), I would highly recommend this book. Let's put it this way. Back in the Fall of 2004, it was not my intent to publish original works for some time (years) as they do take more effort (and capital) than reprints generally do. But upon receiving and reading this manuscript last Fall, I became finally convinced that Vatican II was inspired by the Holy Spirit - and that the documents of Vatican II must be implemented (note that I am claiming that for a large part they have not been implemented as yet.) for the New Springtime to come - this includes the role of the laity and the renewal of the Liturgy discussed in the Vatican II documents.

I know some of my readers may disagree with my beliefs on Vatican II and will disagree with the conclusions of Two Towers. However, it should be given fair hearing. Perhaps 'traditionalists' will either understand better what caused the upheaval in the Church in the last 40 years or at least understand better the viewpoint of those who don't think Vatican II was the problem (and even believe it may be the solution.)

I have been on both sides of the this anguish. Sometimes Mrs. Curley and I feel we can find no compatriots in the Church - because our friends on one side are traditionalists who close their minds to anything that doesn't support the 1962 Missal; and on the other side we have those who say they embrace Vatican II - but in reality embrace a smoke screen of what has been sold as Vatican II but in reality is abusive experimentation, Modernist theories, lack of reverence, sliding morals, etc. But to our consolation, we do stand with our Holy Father Benedict XVI, recalling his words during his first homily as Pope:

"I too, as I start in the service that is proper to the Successor of Peter, wish to affirm with force my decided will to pursue the commitment to enact Vatican Council II, in the wake of my predecessors and in faithful continuity with the millennia-old tradition of the Church. Precisely this year is the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of this conciliar assembly (December 8, 1965). With the passing of time, the conciliar documents have not lost their timeliness; their teachings have shown themselves to be especially pertinent to the new exigencies of the Church and the present globalized society. " (italics added).

From the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Yesterday I saw the future of the Church in America

Yesterday afternoon we had a covered dish (pot luck supper for non-Southerners) and May crowning of the Blessed Virgin with both the 'American' and the 'Hispanic' parishioners at our parish. Not too many of the 'Americans' showed up. The 'Hispanic' parishioners are mostly young families - with children. We don't see too many young families with children in our rural parishes.

We had a great time. We ate; played wiffle ball for an hour, (somehow my team was crushed). Then we processed around the church property saying the rosary (alternating between English and Spanish decades - Oh surely Latin begged to be used here. Unfortunately few know the Ave and Pater Noster in the Latin). During the last decade we entered the Church. We each presented a flower to our Lady and young girl named Maria crowned her. We sang a few hymns (some English/some Spanish - again Latin would have brought us together.)

My daughter was trying to teach us some rudimentary phrases in Spanish on the way there yesterday. She (who has taken 2 years in college) says she exhausted her vocabulary in about 20 minutes.


We lost a hen this weekend. She laid our biggest eggs, but her production had been down a little the past few weeks, (4-5 eggs a week instead of one a day). Friday (I am told) she didn't walk around much and didn't seem to want to eat. Saturday she was in bad shape. We isolated her - but she died quickly. Because of the swiftness of the death we are really unsure of the cause - usually chicken sickness and death is a little slower - from my reading.

My oldest son dug a hole to bury her. We are concerned about coyotes digging up dead animals so I told him to make the hole deep enough. He dug a deep hole, then jumped in to see how deep it was. Well, it was so deep he had to yell for help to get out.

Against all my advice, the kids had named this hen. Since all chickens will eventually end up in the pot - unless killed by predators or disease, I have warned them not to name even the hens. But somehow this one got a name. Thus some wanted a funeral. I compromised and allowed them to sing "Happy Trails to you" as I dumped her (insensitively, I am told) into the hole.

The rest of the flock looks well, but we will keep a sharp eye on them for the time being.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Guns, swords, and boys...

I mentioned in a post past that the Curley's were going to do a 'craft show/flea market' this past weekend at the Camden, SC Revolutionary War Park. Twice a year they have this "Farmers Market" as a fundraiser. The Park gets the concessions and charges a fee for each table.

We made a couple dozen wooden pistols (selling for $4/each) and one wooden rifle out of a 2x4. We also had a table of yard-sale junk to sell. Finally I had a few of Requiem Press' books just in case a stray Catholic wandered by.

Expectations were much greater than reality. The junk sold very well. The toy guns? Not a single gun sold.

It was an interesting day. One couple came by with their grandson who was about 5. They would have bought him anything he wanted. Amazingly they tried to push a wooden pistol on him, but he showed no interest. But this was by far the exception. Most parents saw what we were selling and immediately steered their sons to the booth across from us where they were selling jewelry and scarves. (This is unexpected in South Carolina).

I am aware that many of people discourage guns and swords as toys. (Of course they outlaw violence in their house, but have no such concern for pre-marital sex.)

I certainly understand the New Covenant law - 'turn the other cheek' - but this does not demand pacificism. It is virtuous to defend others - especially the weaker in society. How is a boy to learn to defend the weak if he is not allowed to practice. (Of course if you notice that your son always wants to play the villian, perhaps you should take a closer look at the situation.) The professions of police officer and soldier are honorable.

It is telling that so many object to their boys practicing this protection of the weak. Perhaps that is why as a society we do not protect our weakest members - the unborn and those like Terri Schaivo?

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Quick notes ...

Just got back from picking up my eldest daughter from Christendom College where she has just finished her sophmore year. I took Matthew (8) with me. We camped out Sunday night about 15 miles from the college at Shenendoah River State Park. Virginia State parks are expensive. It cost $18 for the campsite - and then they charged $3 to park your car! Plus you have to make reservations - you can't just show up. It sort of takes some of the spontaneous fun and adventure out of travelling. South Carolina state parks are much cheaper, you can just show up, and the scenary and quiet is just as spectacular.

We broke camp at 6:30 AM to make the 7:00AM Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in Front Royal. We didn't know if we'd make it, so we didn't have time to dress quite as properly as we usually do - we slipped on our shoes and suit coat over our camping wear in the parking lot and just made it in.

The 7:00 AM Mass (They also have 9:00 AM daily) was well attended. Excepting for Traditional Latin Masses, I was surprised to see a good 30-50% of the women at Mass wearing chapel veils. We have been to St. John's before. It is a new (less than 10 years old), yet beautiful church. I believe the stain glass windows, the high altar, and other parts of the church were gathered from churches being closed in other parts of the country.

Picked up daughter at college, who had said she only had a "few things" to bring home. Those "few things" almost caused my son to have to ride on the roof on the way home. But we managed to pack it all in and made it home in good time.

We are glad to have our Krystle back with us this summer.

From the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Saint John Paul the Great - the process has begune: Read from this from Fox News.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I found out I am sort "related" to another of st. blogs parishioners - not by blood, but by pastor. It turns out that Fr. John O'Holohan, our pastor at St. Catherine's in Lancaster, SC (author of 2 books carried by Requiem Press) used to be Mr. Riddle's pastor over at Flos Carmeli.

Really? - revisited

Don't have much time today - have a meeting tonight, preparations this afternoon, and still have some wooden toy guns to finish sanding for the craft fair on Saturday, (see this post)

Received a comment on my comments here on last month's Crisis cover story ("If Abortion Were Outlawed Tomorrow... Would We Be Ready - The Law of Unintended Consequences - A Cautionary Look at Overturning Roe v. Wade", is by Elizabeth Thecla Mauro.) The anonymous commentor said:

"I read that article. I did not get that conclusion from it. It seemed to me she was exploring possible ramifications that could come from overturning Roe v Wade without first following through on President Bush's idea that hearts and minds must be changed."

I recall the President's 'hearts and minds' comments - but I took them to mean 'that when more hearts and minds were changed (through education for example) then the country would have the will to outlaw abortion - and that will does not presently exist.'

The Crisis article author however views the 'hearts and minds' comment as if the President believes we could outlaw abortion now, but the consequences of that move would be very disruptive to society (and in the author's view, particularly to Catholics) and thus it should be put off until more hearts and minds are changed. (Note the author doesn't believe the abolition of abortion should be post-poned - she is saying Bush believes it and warning us of the consequences if it done immediately.)

The former case is very likely true. While popular opinion is swaying to the pro-life position, still the majority of the populace doesn't care.

The latter case is incredulous to me. I don't see how outlawing abortion is going to tramatize the country especially Catholics. And re-reading the article, the author certainly seems to believe it will. She says a major schism in the Catholic Church in America is a likely consequence of outlawing abortion immediately. Yet I don't see how - and the author doesn't make the case.

I quote from the article below:

"Furthermore, we must anticipate what might come from overturning a law before hearts have been made ready. For the consequences aren't merely societal. Indeed, such a move could actually lead to a full-blown schism within our own Church.

"Does that sound improbable? Think again. Most of us already know Catholics who refer to themselves as "American Catholics", careful to distinguish themselves from that intolerant/sexist/racist Church in Rome. There are entire parishes tha simmer and pop with palapable restlessness, relfexively embracing the tenants of deconstruction over orthodoxy and calling for the acceptance of abortion, divorce, and women's ordination the way some saints have called upon the Holy Trinity. Anngered by the overturning of Roe (and Romes vigorous support of it), those parishes coul conceivably try to effect a formal separation."

Okay, why would these parishes break into schism and not just join together and secede from the union - because Rome's influence does not generally effect constitutional amendments in America. Thus, again, I don't see how all the anger is directed at Rome, if abortion is outlawed - not to this extent. I don't think the abortion lobby among Catholics in America is so strong.

Now it may be a different story if contraception were outlawed by a Catholic majority - either on the Supreme Courst or in Congress. Contraception is considered by many Christians (and unfortunately many Catholics) as the best thing since sliced bread. But even here, the anger would be taken out in the voting booth and demonstrations - not in schism from the Church who has no political power in the US - at least at the moment.

Just my thoughts - from the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Vatican II, Persecution, Benedict XVI, and John Paul the Great

Has there ever been a widespread (worldwide) persecution of Christianity since the times of the Arian heresy? Oh yes, there have been regions of persecution: behind the iron curtain, Spain, parts of Europe during and after the Protestant Revolt, the French Revolution.... All of Christianity in Europe (which was practically the whole of Christendom) was threatened, but the threat turned back at the battle of Lepanto. So I don't think there has been a worldwide persecution since the early centuries of Christianity.

I am no doomsayer, but it seems to me that a worldwide persecution of Catholicism could be in the not too distant future (next 20-100 years or so). While John Paul the Great was alive, his personal popularity, success in defeating Communism, and charisma made frontal assaults on the Church impossible. Pope Benedict XVI is popular with me and many Catholics no doubt - but does his popularity (and will that of his successors) extend to the masses?

There is much tension in today's society between the forces of good and evil. For one example, while technology is helping to win hearts and minds to the pro-life cause (3-D ultrasounds), technology is also furthering the culture of death and Utilitarianism (worldwide) with euthanasia, embryonic research, etc - and very few are even remotely concerned about this. Contraception continues to be viewed by the great majority as an intrinsic good.

Speaking the Truth about human sexuality is becoming a hate crime in Canada, (and it is not too far-fetched to see the same in America). "Secularism" is the new religion - championed by France and spreading everywhere.

The last gasps of hedonism in the Roman Empire spawned a great persecution of the Church in the early days of Christianity - yet it is those tired bodies who have not found fulfillment in carnal and earthly pleasures that turned to the Church but only after seeing the joy of the Christian martyrs.

Will the present civilization, which has found no satisfaction with the sexual revolution of the 60's, but is continuing to push personal pleasure at all costs, also (as did Rome) try to appease their unsatisfied carnal desires with public orgies and bloodbaths?

Some may say that the good news (here in America at least) is that the polls during the last election cycle showed people want 'morality' and thus voted against John Kerry and against homosexual marriage proposals in 15 states. Yet I don't take too much heart in this, because I get the feeling that people want government to take care of morality - they figured with Bush in office they didn't have to worry about taking stands or action. Not the case folks. While I certainly prefer our current president over the major alternative - I don't kid myself - he does not share my priorities for the country - there is a lot of lip service and a little action, but it doesn't pervade his outlook, personnel, or policies. Further, despite setbacks for the homosexual agenda in 15 states on election day, since then the legislature in one state and the courts in a second state have legalized homosexual benefits/unions/marriages. So the march goes on with no huge public outcry.

I am not naturally a pessimist - after all, the blood of martyrs is the seedplot of the Church. Further, I am comforted that though I may be weak and devoid of personal courage, I will be too old or too dead to be bothered about by any upcoming persecution.

Another sign of the coming strife is the growth and enthusiasm of the "new springtime" among the laity. As places like Christendom College grow and have more influence; as our bishops, clergy, and laity become more outspoken and work in society for the Truth; as the Catholics unify behind our Holy Father and the Truth - the present civilization will have to take notice and take a stand. For many years now, the disunity within the Church has made Catholicism seem to be an idle threat to the present Utilitarianism and hedonism. (Those orthodox individuals who were outspoken, bishops or laity, could simply be labeled as 'cranks' and not the face of the "future Church"). Once the present civilization truly realizes that the teachings of Christ and carried on by Peter, through John Paul, and now Benedict are the past, present, and future of the Church- then they must convert or persecute.

Again, I don't hanker much to those preach doom and gloom, but these thoughts keep coming back to me. Tensions generally build to a crescendo, then .... History shows these types of cycles. And yet the action of a Catholic should be the same whether in peace or persecution: a daily regimen of prayer, psalm, mortification, work, and joy! - in other words a striving for holiness and union with God!

Finally - and this is what started my ruminations to begin with - what role does the 2nd Vatican Council play in preparing Catholics for the future. The emphasis on returning to study and practice of early Christianity found in the writings of Vatican Council II - was this in inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Who knows that we may soon go through a universal persecution much like that of the early Christians?

I realize that some may say I have it completely backwards - that VII was part of the internal persecution or just a silly mistake. Yet I would argue that one of the most influential council participants and authors, became our sovereign pontiff for 26 years. Whether you believe he was a good governor of the Church or not, most would not argue about his holiness and prayer life. Could such a holy man be such a tool for the devil? I think not. I think God allowed John Paul the Great to be Peter for 26 years as an endorsement of Vatican II. The election of Pope Benedict XVI seems to further ratify that endorsement.

Finally, with respect to Vatican II - I believe it has been in many instances grossly misrepresented and misapplied. However, the future is bright - especially with the continuity and forthrightness of our present Holy Father. Let us pray for Pope Benedict XVI!

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mrs. Curley is very happy today. The radishes are ready for pickin'. My sister, Teresa (now Sr. Marie Paul, DSP) used to grow radishes in our little garden. Only she and my Dad ever ate them. I don't know who is going to eat ours. I had suggested growing them for the rabbits - but we don't have any rabbits yet. So with dozens of radishes ready for the pickin', we either get us some rabbits right quick or we'll be eating them. Mrs. Curley says she has some recipes....

Two Towers

I do mention our business and give soft plugs often enough on this blog. But I generally don't use the blog as an ongoing advertisement. Occasionally I have been tempted to rotate bookcovers on the sidebar, etc, but that is not the purpose of Bethune Catholic.

However, I am going to make an exception over the next several weeks. I am going to blog at least a few times about a book we are releasing at the end of May. Its cover does not yet appear on our website, but will in a few days. (maybe today)

The book is entitled: "Two Towers - the de-Christianization of America and a Plan for Renewal". The subject matter is sometimes controversial, but smacks of the truth, and is close to my heart. Today I will not write about the book, but something about its author.

John Meehan is the retired (2000) President of Magdalen College - which he co-founded in the early 70's. Magdalen College is consistently mentioned with the handful of truly Catholic colleges in America today. Although I don't know the details, I am sure it was at great personal sacrifice and risk when he founded the college as he had a growing family.

I have connections to Magdalen College as my olderst sister gradutated in one of the first classes and a second sister graduated several years later. As a youth we would go to Parents' Day weekend festivities to see my sister. I really felt at home there. My Dad had discussions with Mr. Meehan. He liked and trusted him. Further there was an unabashed love for the true Catholic Faith at Magdalen, which you would hard-pressed to find in many places in those dark years.

I almost attended Magdalen College myself. It was in fact the only college I visited. I can still remember this visit so many years later. I was impressed and yearned for the Catholic culture being lived on campus. This culture is present in so few places today (Christendom College is another such place.). My decision to attend college elsewhere (The Citadel in SC) was born of my own ignorance and materialism. I could not at the time fathom going to college and majoring only in "liberal arts". I thought the purpose of college was to get a good (well-paying) job. I couldn't be convinced otherwise.

I don't regret the path I took, as God has blessed me in many ways - yet I am wistful in knowing how much I have had to struggle through Augustine, Aquinas, Plato, Aristotle etc. on my own these past years instead of having done it at 18 under the guidance of those Magdalen College tutors when my mind was more agile.

From the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Fishing ...

A couple weeks ago the boys and I got up early and went fishing in a nearby stream on our way to Mass. Thomas Becket, our youngest boy (5), caught his first fish - a 6 inch bream (sunfish for y'all from the Northeast). The rest of us came up empty. Thomas' fish is getting bigger and bigger as time goes on. First he wanted to have it for dinner for himself and his oldest sister when she returns from college next week. Then he wanted to feed the whole family with it. Now he is talking about feeding all our friends and family who are coming to a celebration we are planning for late June. His hopes are mighty high for that little fish.

Last evening I was home alone with Thomas Becket and our youngest, Bernadette (3) . We decided to give that stream another go. We fished for about an hour. I had gotten some serious nibbles repeatedly in one particular spot - but couldn't reel him in. Once I almost had him. Well, I am not much of fisherman in general. Usually when I do go, I spend so much time untangling the kids' lines or baiting hooks, etc. that I never get much fishing done anyway. But last night was different. For some reason, catching that fish became somewhat important to me. (Subconsciously I think it was symbolic to me of being a good provider - maybe becase we had a fish/rice/egg concoction for lunch?).

Anyhow, after about an hour it was about time to leave - the kids needed bed. That fish had eaten my worm - the rest of the bait was in the car, somewhere downstream. It was too far to leave the kids and too much of project to get all the way there and then return. So reluctantly, I decided wrap things up. I was helping Thomas reel in his line when Bernadette said, "Daddy, there's a worm!"

Sure enough, coming out of the ground was a nightcrawler. I scooped it up and instantly baited my hook. As I cast into that spot where that fish had tormented me all evening, I said to Bernadette, "See, God has provided us a worm and now He will provide for us a fish." (I wish my actual faith was a great as my words. My real attitude was more like, "But Lord we have fished all night and caught nothing ....") But sure enough, the fish bit and was hooked within a few seconds. We reeled him in and thanked God.

While this may seem a small thing - for the last few days this is how things have been going - God encouraging my weak faith.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Feast of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales

This feast holds a special place in my heart - for it is several of these holy martyrs who originally led the Curley's down the road which we travel now. I have a large collection of writings on the 40 martyrs - mostly on the Carthusian martyrs. I have a book in French (which I can't read despite 4 years study of that language), and a book in Latin published in 1888 of an eyewitness account which was originally published in the 16th century (again which I couldn't read despite 3 years of Latin - but fortunately I finally secured a translation.) I have a copy of the official presentation of their cause for canonization presented to Rome from the Archdiocese of Westminster. (Of course it is unclear to me whether it is actually today or the 25th of October where we celebrate these martyrs. But certainly the proto-martyr of the English Revolt, Saint John Houghton would be remembered this day of martyrdom 470 years ago.)

These martyrs have fascinated me - mostly because the historical parallels between 16th century England and 20th (or 21st) century America are uncanny at times.

However, I would like to clear a point which comes up time and time again in the course of my business and which I have seen elsewhere. One of our titles, "Witnesses to the Holy Mass and other sermons" is about Thomas More, John Fisher and the 40 English Martyrs. (Thomas More and John Fisher were canonized in 1935 whereas the rest in 1970.) People buying this book often ask me if it is about defending the traditional Latin Mass vs the Novus Ordo. Of course this is not the case - Witnesses to the Holy Mass and other sermons" (originally titled "Tyburn and the English Martyrs") was based on sermons given 101 years ago this week to commerate their sacrifices.

More interestingly and worrisome is that I often come across this attitude: 'there is an irony in the fact that in the same year Pope Paul VI promolugated the new missal, these 40 Martyrs who had died for the traditional Latin Mass were canonized'.

- In fact some of the 40 Martyrs died for Papal Supremacy - not particularly for the Mass.

- The Carthusians have their own Liturgy and rite - which was not then (nor is now) the "traditional Latin Mass". So for some to claim they died for the right to have the Tridentine Mass is just plain wrong.

- Finally, I have read - but not yet confirmed - that until after the Council of Trent (which codified and made the Tridentine Mass the norm), the Tridentine Mass was not the rite most common in England. (I am not sure which rite was the common one, but I will have to research this some more.) So some of these martyrs who did particularly die for the Mass, may not have been dying for the Tridentine Mass in particular.

My point in all this is that some people like to claim saints for their own - in order to further their own agenda. But we must remember that these martyrs died for our Lord. They died for the Faith, not for a particular form of the Liturgy.

John Houghton, May 4, 1535: proto-Martyr of the Protestant Revolt in England - ora pro nobis
Robert Lawrence -
Augustine Webster -
Richard Reynolds -
Augustinian friar
John Stone -
Alexander Briant -
Edmund Arrowsmith -
Edmund Campion -
David Lewis -
Henry Morse -
Henry Walpole -
Nicholas Owen -
Philip Evans -
Robert Southwell -
Thomas Garnet -
Alban Roe -
Ambrose Barlow -
John Roberts -
Friar Obervant:
John Jones -
John Wall -
Secular Clergy:
Cuthbert Mayne -
Edmund Gennings -
Eustace White -
John Almond -
John Boste -
John Kemble -
John Lloyd -
John Pain -
John Plessington -
John Southworth -
Luke Kirby -
Polydore Plasden -
Ralph Sherwin -
John Rigby -
Philip Howard -
Richard Gwyn -
Swithun Wells -
Anne Line, widow -
Margaret Clitherow -
Margaret Ward - ora pro nobis

From the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

God Provides ....

One of the problems with having to do all e-mail checking and blogging at the local library is that you don't have the proper time to mull over and critique your posts before publishing. Finally last evening a computer technician came out to install the new network card which had been UPS'd last week. It was something I certainly could have myself, but if I had done the installation, the warranty would have been voided. As it turned out, I couldn't have done it myself because the part sent wasn't a network card. They had sent a internal modem. Fortunately for me the computer technician had a brand new network card in his bag of tricks and installed it. Now we are up and running again.

Since I don't get the newspaper much, we don't watch TV, and radio stations with actual news on them are few out here, I really have been cut off for the past week. I did make sure nothing cataclysmic had happened by scanning the headlines of the newspapers whenever I stopped for gas. But it will take me a few days to catch up with all of st. blogs and the news - especially as things are busy here.

I appreciate the concerns expressed below (Alicia and William Luse) and elsewhere (Hallowed Ground) on our well-being. My comment on "taking stock" maybe was not well thought out. It is true that after a year at a new enterprise you should sit down and see where you are going. And it is certainly true that Catholic publishing is not a "get rich quick" business. It takes a long time to get established. One Catholic publisher I had consulted before starting our endeavor told me that my enterprise was "an act of madness" - and he is probably correct. However, we are having fun! Certainly, all prayers are welcome. And certainly the next few months will be critical. I have promised to blog about the "important book" which we are releasing at the end of May. I will say quite a bit about it in the next few weeks - but later. The success of this book and two more which should appear before the end of summer will be crucial to Requiem Press remaining viable. I am not worried - God will provide one way or the other. So pray, yes - I will never refuse prayers; be concerned no. God has blessed us abundantly. The clouds I mentioned in the post below are real - in that hard work, sacrifice, prayer, faith, and patience will be needed over the next months - but these are all things to embrace as gifts.

I mentioned some time ago that we were reading the story of the Trapp Family Singers out loud every night. (We have missed a week or so and must get back on track). Once, early in their singing career in the States, the Von Trapps had four months between concert series and only $50 to their name. They had seen some craft fairs in the area and decided to join in with some Austrian crafts and gifts. They made enough $$ to survive the four months without further debt. In this same spirit, the Curley's have decided to try a little crafting of our own. I, with the help of the boys, am going to make some toy wooden pistols and rifles (don't tell Amy Welborn - see her comments on the subject of toy weapons and boys here) . Mrs. Curley is going to make some "Roy Rogers" bandanas. We have made these as presents for our own kids in the past. In a couple weeks there is a craft show at the Camden Revolutionary War Park some 20 miles from here. It should be interesting, fun, and hard work for the whole family - both in the making and in the selling. [If we have surplus at the end of the day, I will post some pictures and offer them to y'all at a discount. ]

Finally, before signing off, chicken production (eggs) is not quite back to normal, but about 80% there. We haven't eaten any chickens in a while. But I have feeling this will change this weekend. A couple friends will be coming over to our place for a May Crowning of our Blessed Mother. I think we will kill the "fatted chickens" for the occasion.

From the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!