Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Computer system is finally back up and running. There are a few bugs - sound card isn't working, etc. and I'm sure I'll find more. But for now at least I can get back to work in earnest. Thus, I may be scarce the next few days as I catch up on some things. I will leave you with the 'Publisher's Preface' from "Witnesses to the Holy Mass and other sermons" - available, of course from Requiem Press ($8.95 + shipping).

“And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt. 10: 28

It is often spoken of: fifty years ago in America the Catholic Church was strong, orthodox, and faithful. Yet within a few decades we have become a Catholic population ignorant of the doctrines of the Holy Catholic Faith; we have (some) shepherds who fail to teach or uphold the Truth and scandalize the faithful with their passive allowance of abuse and disregard Christ’s Vicar; we hear that less than 50% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence; we hear of many other things inconceivable just 50 years ago. How did this happen in so few years?

Who would have guessed that a period of peace and sunshine was so suddenly to be changed into one of tempest and gloom? And yet we now see clearly enough that there were ominous signs of the coming change, had men only looked for them, long before the storm finally broke. The land seemed full of beautiful fruits and flowers, but there was a blight in the air, a canker in the heart of it all. And this blight, this canker, was the prevailing worldliness of the time. All this material pros­perity had had a corrupting effect on those to whose pastoral care the flock of Christhad been committed; … the bishops were in many cases rather statesmen and politicians than minis­ters of Christ.” - Dom Bede Camm -

In early 16th century England, the Catholic Church was the pride of all Europe. The Protestant Revolt had not yet approached Britain’s shores. The King was “Defender of the Church”. Yet, in just a few years there commenced a century of martyrdom and persecution of Catholic faithful. Many, many fell away from the Faith of their fathers – among them, many bishops and priests. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was outlawed and obedience to Christ’s vicar and the doctrines of the Church dismissed. The persecution was fearsome and violent.

Dom Bede Camm’s words quoted above refer to 16th century England before the storm broke; they could equally refer to the mid-20th century in America. But there is a difference.

We have no gallows from which to hang in the present age. No one is being drawn towards the butcher’s block. Our faithfulness is not proven in blood. Our fate is worse than those of days of old. Our bodies are intact, but our souls and the souls of our children are being taken and destroyed. And this is Christ’s concern for us in the words at the head of this preface.

Six sermons preached 100 years ago across the ocean; sermons commemorating martyrs of the Holy Catholic Church whose blood was shed across the oceans and across the centuries; six sermons preached by a convert to the Faith, a Benedictine monk, whose purpose was to inspire and to pray for the (re)conversion of England to the Faith of her fathers. But this prayer for England should also be a prayer for the conversion of our own country. The martyrs’ tales herein do not just belong to England, but to the whole Church.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Altar is not outlawed in America, but is profaned by the lukewarmness of the souls in the congregation. We need to renew our devotion to the Holy Eucharist. We need to pray for the conversion of souls. We need to mortify and persecute our own bodies for the sake of the conversion of the souls of our brethren and of our children. If the Destroyer is not persecuting our bodies – he is certainly pursuing our souls with the temptations of worldliness and lukewarmness.

This is why Requiem Press has determined to reprint this volume. The sermons which follow will help us see the priority that our fathers placed on the Faith and the sacraments - a priority that is often absent in our hearts today. These will inspire us to greater devotion to the Holy Mass; greater love for the doctrines of the Church (“on His law he shall meditate day and night” Ps. 1:2) taught by Christ’s vicar.

By the reading of these tales of martyrs and the contemplation of their sacrifices, may we be inspired anew and our flames of love be rekindled so that we may fervently pray that God raise up saints among us once more!

Oremus pro invicem! – Let us pray for each other!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

We arrived home late yesterday. The dogs and chickens were in good health and spirits (Thanks Atkinson's!). One chicken was roaming the yard as we drove up - which had dog Challenger's attention. Today will be busy with the finishing of the unpacking, getting back to the computer system wars, and preparing for the rabbits coming this week. I will post more about what we did here later in the week. One other note, The Deliberate Agrarian is taking a sabbatical also.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune... Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, August 27, 2005


We left for Massachusetts on Tuesday, August 23rd. Just outside of Charlotte, Mrs. Curley and oldest daughter started being alarmed at 'smoke' coming from around my (the driver's) seat. Mrs. Curley begged me to pull over, but I saw nothing. Suddenly oldest daughter sighed. The hairspray was spraying because someone had put a book or something on it. The first crisis avoided.

We drove 12 hours and 700 miles on Tuesday. Someone outside the Comfort Inn somewhere in Northeast, PA gave us 1/2 price coupons for rooms as he heard me negotiating rates at the front desk.

Wednesday at about 2:00 PM we arrived at a cottage in Rowe, MA in the Berkshires. There we spent a day and a half relaxing, singing, picnicing and praying by the Deerfield River. The spring supplying water to the house ran dry at 5:00 PM Thursday. A neighbor brought by big milk cans filled with water so we could wash dishes and 'flush'.

Friday morning the 26th of August, we drove the 3 hours to Fairhaven, MA. We arrived at the convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate at 11:o1 AM.

We first visited our Lord in adoration at the convent Church. Then we visited with Mother Superior for a little while. The children sang 'Our Lady of Knock' and the 'Seven Joys of Mary' (unofficial feast was the 26th). Then we said goodbye to our daughter. I gave her what could be my final blessing as her father. We hugged and kissed and left her to God.

We then proceeded the 1.5 hours to my Mother's house in Norwood, MA. We had planned to leave this morning for SC. But upon arriving at Mom's, my energy to drive back disappeared. So here we are. We will leave for SC after Mass in the morning.

Much more tell about this wonderful trip - possibly to be reported in future posts.

From Bethany on the road...Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

This morning I decided to look at some of those posts I had started to write, but never finished. One was started right before the November elections and was asking whether things are getting better (spiritually/morally) or worse in this country.

Another was in January and was the beginning of a commentary on friendship; prompted by the imminent relocation of a one-third of our "Novena and Beer" group (if you can call 3 men a group).

The next was the my story of Bethany which I didn't post because it appeared here .

Finally, I found a post which starts like this:

[Communism or Capitalism?] "reduced man to a force of production. ...It reduced gifted and talented people to nuts and bolts of some monstrously huge, noisy and stinking machine...."

This quote is from Vaclave Havel, former president on the Czech Republic on the Communist regime. It struck me that while Mr. Havel was referring to Communism; Capitalism/Industrialism as we know it today could easily fit the quote also. I can not remember exactly where I was going with this post, but surely I was going to point out how Capitalism in America is very utilitarian.


I note in Jeff's 'Blogfast' announcement he details the progress they have made in Orland in the 9 months they have been there. Having just completed our first year - albeit on a much smaller holding, I can also say Deo Gratias. However, there is much work to be done here. We will have rabbits within 2 weeks (1 buck and 3 does - NZ whites from separate litters are being held for us as I write). I still have not started the rabbit houses nor the new house for those young chicks who are not so young any more. Much work to be done....

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Oh where have I been?

It has been a looooooooooong week here. I have spent the greater part of three days on the phone trying to get the company that warranteed my computer to get moving and to try to get a little satisfaction for all the mistakes they have made. Someday I will be calm enough to tell the story. For now, the system is still down - but I have more important fish to fry this week. My oldest daughter is due to head off to here in a few days. It is time to forget about computers and business and have some fun with the family.

(Here is one of my favorite pictures of myself and oldest daughter - and dog of the chicken slaughter fame)

With that said, I will leave you all with this from the March/April 2005 The Catholic Answer:

"Dom Bede Camm was a Benedictine monk, an English convert from Anglicanism who labored and prayed for the reconversion of his nation to the Catholic faith. Many of his works are historical in nature and focus on the lives and faith of the English martyrs.

"These (Witnesses to the Holy Mass and other sermons) particular sermons were preached in the Convent Chapel at Tyburn on the feast of the English Martyrs in May 1904. They recall the sacrifices of those who died during the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. The gripping stories recounted will inspire not only a devotion to these saints, but also a renewed passion for the holy Mass that these holy men and women shed their blood to preserve."

Of course y'all know this book is available from Requiem Press !

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, August 15, 2005

We went to the ocean Thursday. We thought it would be less crowded as SC schools started last week. However, the vacationers from the North must wait for this very time to come down because the beach was most crowded we had seen all summer long. This of course is unfortunate as we do try to set down at the most isolated spot possible - thus avoiding(at least somewhat) the scandalous immodesty displayed on our beaches.

Computer system is still down. It looks like it will be at least another few days. Turns out that the company who made the computer is out of business (thus being difficult to find parts) and that the warranty stipulates that the contractor servicing the warranty doesn't have do anything for 48 hours after a contact. For instance if they promise to call you back with information, they are not obligated (and thus will not) call you back for 48 hours. Frustrating it has been.

Hallowed Ground is going on a Blog-fast. I have noticed of late some others that I try to read somewhat regularly have temporarily or permanently decided to do the same in one form or another. For myself, while in some sense I would rather just blog and not spend time reading the blogs of others - there just are some blogs which I just enjoy reading for either the news provided or the philosophy discussed. It is often the reading of other blogs which takes so much time.

I started writing this post last Friday - I hope to have something to say about the Feast of the Assumption later today or tomorrow. Til then you will have to be satisfied with the following:

After reading various efforts in recent months of blog-poetry, I debut with my own poem - written at least 25 years ago. My 10th grade English teacher thought it had more depth than I had. I had scribbled to complete an assignment as the teacher walked in the room. It is a Haiku (sp?) Here goes:

The balancing branch
It may fall when I pass by
Think I'll take my chanc's

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Signs of the times..... Monday I was told the parts for the computer (see below) had been ordered and that I should call back on Tuesday to confirm the delivery date. Tuesday I could not get through. I was hold once for more than an hour. Most other times I gave up long before the 60-minute mark. This morning I finally get through. They tell me that the parts were ordered on Tuesday (and to call back tomorrow to confirm delivery date). She explained the parts manager had gotten backed-up. I told her that I wasn't so concerned about the back-up, but that I had been lied to. I had made it a point to determine that the parts had already been ordered on Monday. She replied that I wasn't lied to, but was just given false information - and that she definitely wasn't giving me false information now. What a comfort!

Random Thoughts....

Sunday we went up to the creek where we usually go fishing - but this time the kids went rock-sliding down some shallow falls. There were a couple of scrapes and one son got 7 fire-ant bites. This is not trivial with us, as one of the boys was hospitalized overnight a few years ago due to his allergic reaction to a single fire ant bite. Fortunately this time there is a swollen foot, but no breathing problems.


On my drive to Philiadelphia last week I caught two installments of Dr. Dobson discussing (with guests) intelligent design. It is funny that this is treated as something 'new'. I remarked to my brother-in-law (Christendom graduate and teacher of high school Theology) that Thomas Aquinas used 'intelligent design' as one of the proofs of the existence of God. He one-upped me with reference to St. Paul in Romans 2: 19-20. On the way home I heard Dr. Michael Bethe (sp?) briefly debate an 'anti-intelligent design' scientist on some radio station (it may have been NPR). Dr. Bethe was given a fair shot to discuss his views. It is interesting how things tie together sometimes. I have been reading Newman's 'Idea of a University' - where the point is made that if any of the fields of science are eliminated from education then another field(s) will fill the gap - but by overstepping its bounds. (Prime example: when religion steps into science to say that the sun must revolve around the earth, not based on scientific observation, but on the philosophical principle that since we are God's highest creation we must therefore be the center of the universe). Since the science of the Theology (and much philosophy for that matter) has been eliminated from our public schools - the cause of true education there is already lost; a new religion is taught based on secular humanism. Unfortunately many Catholic schools treat the fields of science as if they have no relation to each other - and again, the cause of true education is lost.


We had a chaplain for our Men's Prayer Group who used to say, "Your life isn't about you - it is about God." I bring this up only because I see this very thought mentioned at Destination Order, (scroll down to 7 August). It is worth contemplating.


Going on two weeks, my computer system is still down. I have a back-up which allows me to blog (I know you all thank your lucky stars for that) and to check email and to do some rudimentary word processing. But the back-up doesn't have MSOffice installed and probably can't handle my layout programs like Pagemaker. It is slow as it is, so I don't want to burden it with more software. One problem with living so far into the country - but relying so much on city techonology to earn a living - is that a system breakdown like we are experiencing takes on more complicated proportions. It is crucial I get this thing running properly as soon as possible. They are shipping a new motherboard (2nd time), cpu, and cpu fan sometime this week. A technician will follow. (I can't touch the unit without voiding the warranty.).

This down time should allow me to accomplish some other chores: maybe I'll get started on the long overdue new chicken house. Our new chickens are quickly outgrowing their current digs. And I should get started on rabbit houses as we should be getting a call on those any day now. Another fishing expedition seems warranted also. This week could be quite fun...

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune on this feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr, (Mrs. Curley's name-saint)...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, August 08, 2005

From a long absence...

I'm back!

I was at the CMN (Catholic Marketing Network) show/conference in Philiadelphia last week to try to sell books. Thought I saw Amy Welborn going into an elevator, and sure enough she mentions she was there. I heard Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press (and Ave Maria University) speak a little about Pope Benedict XVI's vision for the Liturgy. And I had several long and interesting discussions with Chris from Loreto publications. They have some great books. In fact my wife has not been able to put down "The Valiant Woman" by Monseigneur Landriot Archbishop of Rheims which Chris had given to me at CMN.

I stayed with my sister (Agnes Penny - "Your Labor of Love" - TAN books) who lives in the area. It was great to see my charming neices and nephew once again.

But it is even greater to be back at Bethany! Our one-year anniversary of moving to Bethune, SC was yesterday. The kids put on a talent show where at least half the numbers were humorous take-offs of "If I Were a Rich Man" (The Fiddler on the Roof). Why - You may ask? It is a long story, but it has to do with my performance of that number some time ago....

I have much to catch up on. The computer system is not yet fixed, (somehow problems don't go away just because you are...).

From the small holding in Bethune.....

Oremus pro invicem!