Monday, October 31, 2005

Saturday's take...

As mentioned in Friday's post, we had scheduled a yard sale for Saturday. This is our first yard sale in Bethune, but we are experienced yard-salers. We have been doing it for years in many different places: small towns, cities, big towns. No matter where we are and what we have to sell, the take is always between $100 and $200. (It gets to the upper end if you have a big item like a working fridge that sells).

We did anticipate that the country may pose some different advertising problems, and that the population density was much thinner, but we tried some new advertising locations and techniques to better the odds. Our expectations weren't great, but we thought it possible to come close to the low end of our experience.


Oh yes, we got rid of two kittens also.

Actually, this take wasn't so bad. Our immediate needs were two gallons of milk and a gallon or so of gas in the car we haul the trash to the dump in. So $9.10 covered it..."Give us this day our daily bread".

Saturday turned out to be very productive around Bethany, even if the yard sale wasn't. I have been under the weather for several days, low fever, throat, etc. (The sickness cost me a shrimping trip to Georgetown, SC this weekend with friends). Saturday in the warm sun I felf better, so I fixed up the doors to chicken coops and the dog/goat pen which were starting to droop and become unreliable. I also finished winterizing the rabbit cage area. Basically I put a wind break on two sides of the cages with some lumber we had hanging around. (Now they protected on 3 sides and roof. ) I still have to build a small shelter for the younger chickens as the nights are getting colder and their old house (a former dog house) is too small to house all of them now.

The chicken tractor is going well. We have 6 chickens in it and move it every few days. These chickens are bigger than the ones in the coop area. They get a larger variety of bugs and fresh grass/weeds every few days. I really need to build a second chicken tractor to get more benefit.

By the way, our older chickens are finally back on track. We had been getting only 1-3 eggs a day for two weeks now. (I think the problem started after we ran low on laying pellet feed and tried to sub other things for a couple days til we raised the cash for more feed.) We were getting ready to slaughter the six hens as the feed is too expensive to buy with no production. They must have heard the rumors because they are back on track. (An extra couple loads of table scraps probably didn't hurt either.)

Around here, running up to Halloween, the pumpkins are priced outrageously. (They aren't grown locally because of the soil). But starting tomorrow, they will be at huge discounts. Mrs. Curley will undoubtably come home with a dozen or more pumpkins bought at ridiculously low prices over the next few days. Then we will be delighting in pumpkin muffins and other similar items for breakfast over many of the fall and winter months. (In fact muffins of all varieties have become a particular specialty of Mrs. Curley.)

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

Friday, October 28, 2005

November draws near....

Update: Forgot to mention we are having a yard sale tomorrow to see if we can pay for some of that propone we need to heat Bethany. If you are in the area, stop buy (get it?)... And I have finally updated the Catholic Laity blog with a new post about the book, what's wrong with the world, st. blogs, etc. Check it out...

We had an early cold spell this week. Of course we were again unprepared. The propane tank was empty and I hadn't finished winterizing (replacing broken/missing window panes, putting up new curtain rods for heavier curtains, etc. and providing more shelter to some of the animals) It was worse last year. The cold spell was later, mid-November, but much more severe than this week.

Wednesday night we took a break from our regular CCD format as each child in the whole program (K-HS) met together to make a presentation on a saint in anticipation of the Holy Day next week. The parish will have an All Saints Day celebration on the 1st also; after the 9:00 AM Mass, there will be a breakfast, followed by costumed saint presentations by the homeschooled children of the parish.

There are discussions in various places recently about Catholic Land Use and Community (here and here and here.) I will weigh in simply on practical experience here. Growing up in a suburb of Boston and attending the parish school, the community was real I think. But this was before the trend to migrate around the country set in. The more migration (which I am guilty of) the less community, especially in those big surburban parishes (and larger urban parishes). We lived 10 years in Columbia and were members of St. Joseph's parish (~ 2,000 families). We have been at St. Catherine's (~200 families) for a little more than a year. Yet, in that short time I think we know more people and spend more time at the parish than we did at good St. Joseph's. Since there is only one Mass on Sundays, there is no rush to move people in and out of the parking lot. The kids say, "At St. Catherine's there is always a party going on!". For example, once a month we have a full dinner after Sunday Mass. After First Friday Mass we have a full breakfast. Our pastor is accessible and present at almost all functions. The parents and kids can get to know him very well. Bigger parishes with more money may have more "ministries", larger choirs, better organs, etc. , but I think the small country type parish helps you live your Catholicism better. The downside is that sometimes there is not the critical mass to get some projects done or start some apostolates. (We had a men's prayer group at St. Joseph's for example. 15 or so men meeting once a week 6:30 AM for the Liturgy of the Hours and discussion, the Mass. At St. Catherine's, because of the distance traveled and small number of families, it has been difficult to duplicate this type of group effort.)

Back to November... this article at today will also help prepare for November, the month of the holy souls. (Note Requiem Press still has it holy souls prayer book on sale...).

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

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers withdraws...

I am sure I am not the first with this, but haven't seen it elswhere. Funny, Mark Shea had a link yesterday which predicted what the reasons behind a withdrawal from the nominaiton process would be. He hit it right on the noggin. See it here .

Foxnews has the resignation letter but I had trouble linking to it....

Old books, Carthusians, Friends and blogs....

Several years ago, a friend of my parents was looking for a book: Sources of Renewal: The Fulfillment of Vatican II by Karol Wojtyla. This book was first printed in the US in 1980 after he became Pope. It was originally written in Polish, and I think before he became Pope.

Knowing I was accomplished at finding used books on the internet, they contacted me. It took several months. Finally (after several months) I located a copy and purchased it for $11.04 (this included a $5 shipping charge). I just looked today on my favorite used book sources (, and and see numerous copies available, priced from $35 to well over $100.

I passed the book on so quickly, I didn't have time to read it. I was talking to Mr. Gallagher (the friend of my parents who requested the book) this summer. He said it was excellent and should be more widely available. I must take a look into getting a hold of another copy...

The headline feature article today at is about the Carthusian martyrs. These saints are very close to my heart. (I have more books on the Carthusian martyrs in particular and the English martyrs in general than one man should be allowed to own). (Note Requiem Press' very first release: Witnesses to the Holy Mass and other sermons has a chapter on these heroic men.)

Finally, (via Amy Welborn) I have found that a good friend of mine right here in SC is a new contributor to Right Reason. See his first post here. I will have to add this blog to my sidebar when I get the chance.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So little time...

For at least a couple weeks now I have wanted to post on my take on old earth/young earth. This is a topic which first came up at Hallowed Ground: here. It will have to wait as things are just too busy to put in the effort required. Related to this, I wanted to post about a book I have just about finished reading: "The Science Before Science" by Anthony Rizzi. (founder of the Institute for Advanced Physics)

There has been an interesting discussion here (Crowhill) about the 'feminizaton' of the church. I wanted to weigh in, but again, time prevents.

And back to Hallowed Ground, there is post on the phenomenon of the "Youth Culture and the Teenager" here. (Surprisingly, Jeff's post has generated no comments. I have a comment to make but have not had the opportunity to formulate it completely.)

Finally, I have been going through my number one daughter's college books which she left behind, (3 copies of Plato's Republic-did she keep losing them and have to buy extras or did she steal other peoples???-Any Christendom College readers, if you are missing your copy, let me know....), and have done profitable reading. The most recent book is "The 4 Temperments" by Rev. Conrad Hock. I want to post substantially on this, but again as time permits..... I will say this: In my time spent in industry I went to countless "leadership" programs-all of which identified the 4 personality types, although usually they were named after animials, (the beaver, the gazelle, the woodchuck, etc.). This particular booklet is only 55 pages, but really gives insight also into the spiritual dimension and problems encountered by each personality type: choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic. (I believe Sophia Institute Press has a more comprehensive treatment of these recently released.) After reading this booklet I learned several things. First, some of my the traits that I attributed to my own hard work and personal virtue I have been humbled to find are simply rooted in my personality type. However, I have also realized why some of my faults are so difficult to overcome (and practical helps to overcome them). More importantly, I have more insight into what makes my kids tick and what I can logically expect of them in different situations. Further, the booklet gives guides on how to train each personality type to fully develop the good traits and correct the bad traits. Of course it is not black and white as most of us have mixed temperments, yet one dominent. I would say this all is useful information (although you can't use it as a crutch - "That's just the way I am"! - or an excuse for lack of virtue) especially for a parent (or religious superior).

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

Monday, October 24, 2005

Monday morning

It is amazing how many weekends can get off the planned track with just one 'little' event. I was just going to make a quick trip to town to buy some nails, check the PO Box, and dump some trash. Since the youngest children were playing somewhere behind me, I decided to get to the road 'cross country'. I have done this many times, but always avoided the stump. This time I did not. (I recall many years ago my friend got his car stuck on a stump, but there were 5 or 6 of us around to lift him off.) My oldest son and I finally lifted it off with a lever (old telephone pole), with Mrs. Curley driving the car, but the whole effort side-tracked some of the other plans.

Under the 'call me a sucker' category.... I think I mentioned somewhere that we had inherited some cats with the property. Mother cat (Sandstone) had a litter of six recently (Oh yes, I posted about the death of one). We have a sign on the road adversting "Free Kittens". There have been no takers yet. But apparently someone thought we were seeking free kittens. While eating our Sunday dinner and older couple pulled into Bethany. I went out to greet them. They live less than a mile down the road. Apparently a cat and her kittens showed up on their porch that day. Later, the cat and most of the kittens were gone, but one. As they passed our house and saw the sign, they naturally wondered if their found stray could be one of ours. Of course it wasn't. They left reluctantly after a nice chat. I had told them their kitten was older than ours and probably Sandstone would not take to it trying to nurse off her. During dinner we discussed the stray and the fact that this older couple were probably ill-equipped and disinclined to take care of the kitten. (They certainly appeared sort of desparate. I could tell they were almost pleading with me to take the kitten.) So after dinner I took Matthew and we drove down to their house. Sure enough, they were very grateful for us to take the kitten off their hands. I don't know why I do such things.

Please offer a quick prayer today for our neighbor. It is the one year anniversary of losing his wife, (and pray for the soul of his deceased wife). I know for many people the one year period is difficult. In the weeks approaching the one year anniversary of my Dad's death, memories of that day intensified increasingly and painfully (in some ways more painfully than the actual event). But as the milestone passed, peace returned.

I announced Friday that my advance copies of Requiem Press' latest release would arrive. I was wrong. Some mix-up at the printer. They should arrive today.

Last Sunday I mentioned without detail Fr. Ladkou's homily on "Give to Ceasar...". Fr. Ladkou's main thrust was to re-examine Christ's last line, "Give to God what is God's". He asked "What is due to God?" Of course the answer is: Everything we have and are, our whole being. This Sunday our pastor Fr. John O'Holohan, SJ commented on yesterday's gospel: "you shall love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, and with your whole mind." Both gospels deliver the same message...

Finally, check out this picture at Chesterton and Friends. I agree whole-heartedly with the caption on the picture. (How do you think we lifted that car off the stump....)

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

Friday, October 21, 2005

Here is an interesting article in this month's crisis Magazine on the "separation of church and state". I have read a handful of good articles on this subject over the past few years. I recall at least one on I looked for it this morning in the archives, but was unable to locate the one I was looking for. I did find this one however, which gives yet another take on 'separation'. Personally, I have always been amazed (maybe amazed is not the right word...) how the idea of separaton of church and state, as understood by the ACLU and many others can be gleemed from reading the Constitution - and even less if you research the thought of the founding fathers.

In a related vein, the idea of a Christian Liberty Party advances. Here is the preliminary discussion forum. So far there is 1 post and 230 people registered to the form. This forum may be one to watch.

Today we start winterizing the house. Last year winter swooped down on us unexpectedly. This year we had a touch of cold weather last week, so I won't delay. I have a few window panes to replace and some overall inspection to see where we can tighten the ship. Our only source of heat this year is propane. (Last year we used the wood stove also until we had a chimney fire. We had had the chimney inspected before ever using it and got the green light. Unfortunately as we found out, the sweep we had contracted either didn't inspect carefully or was incompetant. After the fire we got a different chimney sweep to inspect. He told us the chimney should have never been used. We were lucky because we had been using the wood stove heavily at night. But the long and the short of it is that we can't afford to get chimney fixed until Requiem Press have a bestseller or some other windfall.)

Today we are expecting to receive the advance copies of "Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church", by Russell Shaw. You can read about the book here or buy it here.

Speaking of Requiem Press, a reminder that you all have a little more than a week to take advantage of the discounts on quantity purchases of the Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering booklets. My family thanks those who have purchased some of these in the last month. You don't know how much this has helped us bridge the gap in October so far.....

We unexpectedly ran out of chicken feed (laying pellets) last week. (The unnamed boy responsible for feeding and warning us of shortages, fell down on the job.) The hens went a day an half on corn and table scraps, and basically stopped laying eggs. (Recall this happened earlier in the year when we changed their diet.) It has almost been a week and the six hens are only back to 3 eggs a day (down from 6). Mrs. Curley and I are in agreement that they better get back to production or they will see the pot sooner than planned.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Peace, Parties, Gas, Fiction and more...

Good news here about my bishop taking a stand (via Mark Shea). (I wish the diocese would be this courageous now and dump the "VIRTUS/Protecting God's Children" program.

Proposal from the Synod (via Amy Welborn): Proposition 23 suggests moving the Sign of Peace in the Mass to immediately after the Prayers of the Faithful, hence before the Eucharistic Prayer, and also affirms existing rules that the priest is not to leave the sanctuary during the Sign of Peace.” [If we must have it (sign of peace) at all, by all means get it out of the Eucharistic Prayer.]

Jeff at Hallowed Ground cites this proposal from Steve Kellmeyer (Bridegroom Press) as a possible starting point to form a Christian Liberty Party and asks your thoughts.

I have a question: In my (many) years of experience I have seen gas prices fluctuate quite a bit. But rarely have I seen $0.20 jumps and declines overnight. Further, I never have seen gas prices within a local area (sometimes within a block or two) differ by $0.20-0.25 per gallon week after week. What is going on?

At People of the Book there is a discussion on why Catholic publishers shy away from "Catholic fiction". I made an intial comment, at least partially agreeing with the blog-host, (fiction takes different editing skills than non-fiction for one. I disagreed that publishers, at least myself, view fiction as simply entertainment. I realize fiction can have a great impact on one's spiritual life and search for God.), but I have more comments if I can find the time. I think part of the problem has to do with the specific mission of various Catholic publishers and how that relates to the specific fiction presented. Some Catholic publishers market more to Catholics who want to deepen their spiritual lives and knowledge. Some Catholic publishers do more of the apologetic type books-reaching out to fallen-away Catholics or non-Catholics. Fiction coming from these two different types of publishers would have a different look.

Finally, it is the feast of the North American Martyrs. As detailed last year, this is a more favored/celebrated feast of ours at Bethany. While we did not get to go to the Shrine in Auriesville this year, it turns out daughter Krystle did go with the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate earlier this month.

Sts. Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf and Companions - ora pro nobis!

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

Monday, October 17, 2005

A few notes...

I finally got around to putting a hit counter on Bethune Catholic. Before I got to see the totals for the first week, I happened along to visit this post at Hallowed Ground. When I looked at my numbers, they paled very considerably.... But I've only been at this a year. (Tomorrow is the birthday of Bethune Catholic.) And the good thing is, I don't have enough hits to have that pride problem....

We inherited 3 cats (they were really just kittens when we got here) with Bethany. The two males ran away. The remaining cat, hangs around and we do feed her. About 5 months ago she had a litter of 2 cats, (I was concerned, but figured we had some time). Well these kittens weren't even weaned when she had another litter of 6 kittens, this was about 5 weeks ago, but they are still tiny. We have "FREE KITTENS" sign out front-maybe if we charged money they would go faster. This morning one of the young kittens lay dead very near the nest. It was cold last night, so may be that was it. There were no other injuries. I am getting used to burying dead animals....

We have been posting pretty regularly at Catholic Laity. Check it out when you have time.

Finally, we have a birthday party here tomorrow (not for Bethune Catholic) for our youngest daughter, who turns 4. I am going to put a few hours of work in, but probably won't blog here.

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


We assisted at Mass in Columbia yesterday at Good Shepard Catholic Church. This is an Anglican-use parish (and the parish where the monthly Traditionaly Latin Mass takes place). Fr. Ladkou played football at Michigan years ago. He is one of the best homilests in the diocese. Yesterday he spoke of our being made in the image of God and how we are God's and are obliged to give our whole selves to Him. (He also made not so veiled references about the travesty of programs like "VIRTUS/Protecting God's Children" which I posted about here and here ).

After Mass we visited (for breakfast and lunch) our dear friends the Nyikos family. Their two older girls are close to our daughter Krystle. (One of the Nyikos girls did the artwork for Requiem Press' "Witnesses to the Holy Mass"). We missed Krystle as she and the older girls always got us singing around the piano. But we still had a wonderful time. We said the rosary together between lunch and desert. We have been blessed to know several families over the years with whom we occassionally or regularly have said the rosary with on Sundays. It is a wonderful and powerful event-both because the power of the family rosary as a prayer itself and the witness to the children of both families. Catholic community and culture are truly formed by such gatherings.

Saturday I finally separated the oldest doe from the two younger does. (So I still have one more separation to achieve.) In this case, I simply partitioned in the largest cage. We (oldest boys and myself) also made the cage suspension more permanent and robust. We took the coat hangers down and used some chain to suspend the cages. We also tied the four bottem corners of the cages to the corner posts of the shelter.

Before Saturday, the rabbit shelter simply consisted of four corner posts with a simple frame at the top of the posts. The cages were suspended from one beam. A tarp covered the top of the shelter and gave paritial covering to the sides. We added some structure to the sides and and an overhang in front of the shelter (still using only the tarp for the roof. We haven't finished, but we can simply add a few slates now to the side and the rabbits should have decent winter protection as well as providing some protection to the lucky boy feeding the rabbits. (I think a picture is called for to explain this - but don't hold your breath.)

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

Friday, October 14, 2005


As the first anniversary of Bethune Catholic approaches, Mrs. Curley and I were up last night (later than we should have been) reading some of the old posts. We both agree some of the early posts were better than what I generally put out now. Perhaps I had more time then....

Mrs. Curley and I had some good laughs too. This excerpt from February especially showed how much we had (and still have) to learn about this grand experiment:

"We got our first eggs today....In hindsight, we now know why the roosters have been grabbing the hens by the neck and jumping on them."

And this line from December:

"We were all wondering when the roosters would start cock-a-doodle-do-ing. I was of the school of thought that they had to be taught - and thus would give them some examples every time I passed by the coop. They are at about 9 weeks old and they have started fledgling efforts. I don't know if my efforts helped get them started, but ........"

(Come to think of it our new batch is over 9 weeks and they are not crowing. We either have all hens or I better get out there teaching them again... )

Here is another post which had us in stitches when we read it last night.

Of course there were also thoughtful posts on economics, martyrs, purgatory, agrarian life, etc.

I know most people don't go searching through the archives when they come across a new blog-(who has the time?)-but in looking back, I can see by the quality of these older posts that I spent more time composing articles for Bethune Catholic than I do now. Sometimes I find myself just trying to post a few things to keep it active instead of really preparing and thinking about my posts. Perhaps this is why you see many bloggers (and some of the best at that) taking short sabbaticals from their blog periodically.

But not to fear now. I have no hiatus in mind. Just some blog thinking going on here at Bethany.

From our small holding...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thursday Night

As I sit here contemplating which of the many things I should post about, my mind wanders to the cup of Instant Postum Mrs. Curley and I shared after dinner tonight. She was telling me how she spent the afternoon with rabbit manure squeezing between her fingers as she prepared the manure for rabbit manure tea (surely a rare delicacy-but not fit for human consumption.)

Which brings me to the Instant Postum. Sometime in my youth there was a coffee "shortage" and my Dad (may his soul rest in peace) refused to buy coffee at inflated prices. He saw on the grocery shelf this "Instant Postum" which he drank as a child. It is an instant coffee-like drink made from grains, but contains no caffeine. He never really went back to coffee. Some weeks ago I saw some Instant Postum in the store and bought it. It is a trifle expensive, so I don't drink it often, but it is the best coffee substitute I have ever had, and it makes you regular.

A couple notes of interest: Mr. Culbreath at Hallowed Ground is quitting the Republican Party and is looking for a true conservative alternative. His comment box seems to concur with him. And The Deliberate Agrarian is back from his short hiatus.

Oh yes, we had planted spinach in the fall garden but none have shown up. The radishes, while long delayed are finally coming up. We also have some cantaloupe or squash coming up and flourishing where we planted spinach!!!! We are wondering if these came from un-broken-down seeds from the compost we put in. We shall see... We also still have tomatoes, egg plant and green peppers coming off a few plants. We are fortunate for these late crops to continue.

Finally, over at that other 'fabulous' blog: Catholic Laity there are some excerpts from the latest session of the Synod of Bishops where some of the auditors, (some of whom are laity), made interventions. Some interesting reading...

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!


Last night at CCD I was told by a student that he had learned from a Msgr. X (at a youth "retreat") that the creation story in Genesis was really a story the Israelites learned during the Babylon Captivity from their captors, and that they taught this story to their children with only one change: they inserted the name of their God in place of the Babylonian god.

How do I work against this? I would not doubt that it is possible the Babylonians had a similar creation account (after all we all descended from Adam and Eve and oral tradition was very much alive). In fact a similar creation account would tend to reinforce the veracity of the Genesis account .

As noted below somewhere, I have been in discussion in a couple places about creation and Genesis. (In fact I mean to get back to the discussion of old earth/new earth real soon, either at Hallowed Ground where it originated or here.)

But here is a situation where I am put in the position of having to contradict Msgr. X. This has got to be confusing and frustrating for the student. In the present case I tried to explain long-standing Church teaching and was able to cite passages from both Providentissimus Deus and Humani Generis (especially 38-39) (This is a great resource for papal documents.) Even so, I will have to go back to class next week with a handout explaining it all again with the quotes from the papal documents etc. to reinforce Church teaching.

These kids are very quick to pick up on disagreements and inconsistencies between teachers of the Faith.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A New Blog...

Not that I have enough time as it is for Bethune Catholic... but you may have noticed a new link right under the RequiemPress link on the sidebar. This: Catholic Laity, is my new blog - although technically it is a "Requiem Press" blog and not my personal one.

I will be posting here at Bethune Catholic just as often as I do now, but I will also be posting on the new blog, hopefully just as often. I am hoping that I can persuade some guest bloggers to help fill out the content of Catholic Laity. While the new blog is (truthfully) at least initially a way to publicize Russell Shaw's soon to be released (November 1st) title for Requiem Press (Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church)- I am hoping that it will grow to something more important, that is an outlet to discuss lay apostolates, ways to sanctify our daily lives and to evangelize the culture.

Bethune Catholic will continue to document our life on the small holding (and how we survive-or don't), as well discuss anything else which comes to mind.

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

A friend sent me the following ..... I could not wait until November to post:

"The souls in Purgatory suffer intensely and are dependent upon us forhelp. We on earth can help them with our prayers, sacrifices and especiallyHoly Mass. And they will not forget us." - Francis Cardinal Arinze

Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus and Scripture

Today is Columbus Day observed. So is it really Columbus day or not? One problem with moving holidays is that their cultural meaning is lost. Sure a long weekend is more covenient for family trips, but it also means that local celebrations are less attended and soon die. I like my Holy Days of Obligation celebrated on the Holy Day and my holidays not to be moved around for commericial gain.


Both Jimmy Akin (here) and Amy Welborn (here) comment briefly on comments on "The Gift of Scripture" (a document from the bishops from England and Wales). I haven't read the document, but saw comments on it by at Traditio et Radice. I weighed in-not because I want to defend, or agree, or disagree with what is written in "The Gift of Scripture" (recall I haven't read it), but because from the context presented, I couldn't understand the criticism.

I have friends who accuse me of always playing the devil's advocate-no matter what the topic. I am not sure that is true, but I do like a good discussion if only to flush out the truth. At the same time, I want an honest discussion; in other words, I want the argument to follow legitimate and rational lines and not get sidetracked by preconceptions or agendas, or personal attacks.

I am afraid I got sarcastic in my remarks here this morning. (Sarcasm does have its definite place - but you must careful with it - especially when you can't call it back.) In any case - it will be interesting to see where the discussion leads.

A similar discussion on the essence of Sacred Scripture has been spawned by Jeff's posting of the Traditionalist FAQ, see discussion here and here.

One question I have-which maybe I should ask over at Jeff's-would be: What is considered to be old earth theory and what is considered to be young earth theory (6000 years?)? As someone who has studied (as a physicist) these areas in the past I do have an interest and opinions on this.

Finally, (off subject) I shut off my office window unit (air conditioner) for the first time since early spring today. Maybe fall is really here!

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Update: "Protecting God's Children"...

Received this link via email yesterday from a friend. Maybe some other discerning and courageous bishops will read this and follow suit? I don't know who else may have already posted it, but here it is:.

To Make Sure We Really Protect Children, We Need Answers
By Bishop Robert Vasa

The next topic is one that I bring up only with great reluctance for I do not want to give any appearance whatsoever of being soft on my desire to assure the complete safety and protection of children. The Charter for the Protection of Children has been interpreted to include mandatory "safe-environment training" for all children of or connected with the Church. In the diocese, we have indicated that such training must be made available to all children under our supervision in our Catholic schools but have not taken on the nearly impossible task of assuming responsibility for every child in the diocese.

As a result of this discrepancy between a new interpretation of the charter and our diocesan policy, the annual charter audit will undoubtedly find the Diocese of Baker, and me as bishop, "Not in Compliance" and will issue a "Required Action," which I am prepared, at this point, to ignore. I say this not because I resist efforts to protect children, but rather precisely the opposite. There are a series of questions that I believe need to be answered before I could mandate such a diocesan-wide program of "safe-environment training."

A few such questions follow: Are such programs effective? Do such programs impose an unduly burdensome responsibility on very young children to protect themselves rather than insisting that parents take such training and take on the primary responsibility for protecting their children? Where do these programs come from? Is it true that Planned Parenthood has a hand or at least huge influence on many of them? Is it true that other groups, actively promoting early sexual activity for children, promote these programs in association with their own perverse agendas? Do such programs involve, even tangentially, the sexualization of children, which is precisely a part of the societal evil we are striving to combat? Does such a program invade the Church-guaranteed-right of parents over the education of their children in sexual matters? Do I have the right to mandate such programs and demand that parents sign a document proving that they choose to exercise their right not to have their child involved? Do such programs introduce children to sex-related issues at age-inappropriate times? Would such programs generate a fruitful spiritual harvest? Would unsatisfactory answers to any of the questions above give sufficient reason to resist such programs?

There are many concerned parents who have indicated to me that the answers to all of these questions are unsatisfactory. If this is true, do these multiple problematic answers provide sufficient reason to resist the charter interpretation? At very least, even the possible unsatisfactory answers to any of the questions above leaves me unwilling and possibly even unable to expose the children of the diocese to harm under the guise of trying to protect them from harm. I pray that, in this, I am neither wrong-headed nor wrong.

For holding to this conviction I and the diocese may be declared negligent, weighed and found wanting.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Heard at Mass this morning....

"God asks us to live in the present. We shouldn't dwell on the past, nor worry about the future. God's mercy will cover the past and God's providence will cover the future. Live in God's presence today."


"Most people go to God with lists of needs and of prayers. They are saying, 'Hear Lord, your servant is speaking...'"

Happy Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. (I wanted to post about this feast and Lepanto, but you might as well just go here to learn about it).

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thursday Morning - Feast of St. Bruno

Will be very busy until next week, so I don't expect to post much. Although I have noticed that everytime I say that, something comes up I just can't keep silent about.

Referring to yesterday's lament, now I read in several places: here and here for example that Bush's "Trust me" message is that Miers is an Evangelical thus will be a conservative on the court. We shall see-but it still doesn't address the leadership issue. Bush should not have to resort to code words and stealth candidates to tell his base and whole country what he believes. We can win the abortion debate in this country (and therefore openly nominate qualified pro-life judges) if we had a leader as president who would use his bully pulpit to articulate the cause.


Have you ever had lentils? Mrs. Curley has been making lentil soup occasionally for several years now. I usually avoided it when possible, not because I don't like lentils, but just because I never like to try new things to eat. This has been changing of late. With the exception of last week when my in-laws were in town we have been eating lentil everything! I have found them (to my surprise) quite tasty, and Mrs. Curley says they are a great substitute for meat. We have had lentil soup, lentil cassarole (rice, corn, lentils and ...) lentil etc. This week it has been lentils with barley and carrots - cooked once and served up in a variety of forms. The last bit of this Mrs. Curley very imaginatively formed into lentil burgers with melted mozzarilla cheese on top, which we had yesterday. Again, very good, but I would not mind having meat occasionally. (The new chickens won't be eating-size for another month or two, and we won't have rabbits to eat until February or so.)

What is my point with all this lentil talk? Here is where you can help: Please come visit us at Bethany because Mrs. Curley will make sure we have meat on the table, come hell or high water, when guests are here... in the alternative you can simply buy some books from Requiem Press! Recall our plea where you can take advantage of discounts on large quantities of prayer books for the holy souls in Purgatory. Of course you can buy any book we offer. (The meat lovers here will thank you!)

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

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The longer you pretend something is real....

I remember being upset (outraged is more accurate) when Mr. Bush wouldn't allow Alan Keyes to speak at the Republican convention before the 2000 election. My Catholic Republican friends assured me that "Bush was a true believer-that he needed to make sure that he wasn't percieved as some anti-abortion extremist. But after he was elected-then I'd see his true colors."

Well we have seen his true colors over and over, and they are as I predicted. He throws a few bones, but when going gets tough he does not come down on our side. He is not a true-believer. He is a politician and a Republican before anything else. Hopefully my Catholic Republican friends are Catholic first....

My view of the latest Bush nomination for Supreme Court are better expressed by others: here and here (hat tip to Southern Appeal); and the posts at Southern Appeal on October 3rd expressing thoughts like these I lifted:

Even if Miers turns out to be the second coming of Scalia, which I doubt very much, the reasons and the process by which she was chosen will still have a negative impact on the legal side of the conservative movement. From here on out, judicial conservatives and academics will always be mindful that participation in the Federalist Society or the expression of strong opinions may very well be an automatic disqualifier for the federal bench. Better to keep quiet and avoid associating with those who have made their feelings known if you hope to go very far.

Such a development is not only bad for the conservative movement but for the health of the Republic as well. The process and reasons by which people in our Republic reach high office should be such that the people have a better than average chance of knowing what they are getting. We need to know where these nominees stand and what philosophy, if any, guides them. However, if the only people nominated to the highest court in the land are those who throughout their careers have successfully managed to hide their true beliefs and avoid associating with those who don’t then we will end up with a court of cowards and opportunists. I am not implying that Miers is a coward or an opportunist (I certainly hope she isn’t); only that a system that elevates stealth candidates favors such people and arms them with the advantage of anonymity, an advantage unavailable to those who are willing to take a stand for their convictions.

Our Republic deserved better.

Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I would be remiss if I neglected to mention St. Francis of Assisi on his feast day-especially as my daughter has taken St. Francis' spirituality as her own (here). Personally, I was never much a fan of St. Francis-maybe because his image has been so often co-opted by leftists. But having recently read the biography of St. Francis by Chesterton and having read Augustine's Confessions (you may wonder at the connection-maybe later I will expound...), I think I am beginning to appreciate St. Francis all the more. He was not some nature-loving powder puff. His rule was so strict that the Vatican was very slow to approve it. (Few Franciscan monasteries and convents practice the strict rule of St. Francis' today!) St. Francis was a man who certainly loved all the good things in life and one day responded to the grace to seek out the Author of those things - and to give everything in praise and homage to this Author, the King of creation.

When my daughter was discerning her vocation and seeking out orders-she told me that the first thing she looked for were signs of the evangelic vow of poverty. Poverty is something most of us are afraid of. Most of us are used to certain levels of comfort and especially security, which we are afraid to give up. Living poverty by choice is an exercise in trust in God (or better put - a leap of faith).

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

Tuesday morning ....

Yesterday we transplanted (from a pot) a Rose of Sharon given to us. We actually were given three of these. The other two go in today. We had one already just outside the kitchen window. These plants attract hummingbirds - which are truly fascinating to watch up-close.

We continue to move the chicken tractor, but we are slack about moving it each day. We average every other day or so. Unfortunately, the converted dog-pen-to-chicken tractor is really not up to all this moving. Invariably some part of the structure needs repair after each move.

Of course the chores keep piling up. We want to finish putting our fall crop in (spinach and radishes are already in) but there are other pressing needs also. I still have to build another two rabbit cages before the does start to get after each other (they are very territorial); a new chicken house is in the works; tree removal (see story below); house preparation for winter (we need to tighten up places, replace broken panes - especially with fuel costs rising), etc. We are also still getting green peppers and a few tomatoes off our summer crop.

The biggest lesson we have learned in gardening is probably that more manure is better. This past spring we had to buy all our manure from the local farm and garden center-which is not an efficient use of money. We had no compost to speak of. This year we have compost, we will have rabbit manure and rabbit manure tea, our chicken tractor, and if we keep our eyes open, will be able to find some free or virtually free cow or horse manure. So I think our garden should yield more abundantly this coming year.

I have been so busy, I have had little time to read others' blogs, but I thank all who have spread the word about our plea. We are not out of the woods yet ...

I promised last week to unveil the final version of the cover you all so graciously voted on. Here it is below:


I am hoping to have some more news on related to this new title from Requiem Press later in the week....

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 03, 2005

As we start a new week, just a reminder that All Souls Day is now exactly one month away. Spread devotion to praying for the holy souls in Purgatory by taking advantage of the discounts being offered on the prayer book pictured below: "Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering", (order here).

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Trees and Rabbits

In my last post I mentioned that my father-in-law and I were taking down some trees. Grampy (as we call him) has taken down many, many trees at the house he and Nanny are having built in western Massachusetts. We have a few dead pines in our old goat pen (now the dog pen). One in particular was right next to our feed/garden shed at the edge of the pen and close to the rabbit cages. This pine was one of those 'double' trees (for want of a better or correct name). It has one large trunk, but splits into trunks about 4 feet off the ground. One of those trunks splits again into two trunks some 5 feet further up. The tree was only about 30-40 feet tall. Grampy had brought his chain saw and went to work. He decided to take each of the two main trunks down separately. It was harder work than we expected, partially because the tree had not been dead a long time. So while it was hard work, Grampy laid that first trunk down right where he wanted. The second trunk proved more difficult....

Grampy decided he would place the second trunk right on top of the first. For whatever reason-maybe the notch wasn't deep enough; maybe the cut on the backside wasn't high enough-the tree started coming down 180 degrees opposite of the intended fall. It pinched Grampy's saw and leaned, but didn't fall. The pinched saw was holding it up.

Up to this point, I had just been an observer, fetching gas when needed, or ice water, or yelling timber. Grampy wanted to save his saw (it was the best of the four he owns - unfortunately it was also the only one he brought). Of course he also didn't want to leave with the tree still standing. They had planned to leave that night for home. Now, it being mid-afternoon, these plans started to fade.

We tried numerous things, but lacked proper equipment. Our chains weren't long enough and our ropes not sturdy enough. Finally we decided to take a section of fence down and start in with the axe and a hammer and chisel. We worked for a couple hours at it with seemingly no progress. Finally we decided to replace the fence section (so the dogs could return to the pen) and retire to our cookout for the night.

Friday morning I sharpened my axe on the belt sander, and we went to work. (Now we were aiming to let the tree fall the direction it wanted to go.) We alternated with the axe and chisel for an hour or so til it finally came down. The sharpened axe had made a world of difference. Now it got interesting....

In the previous day's effort we had sunk an old telephone pole which was laying around our property into the ground near the rabbit cages. We had hooked rope and chain around the tree and to Grampy's truck; the pole acted as leverage point or 90 degree angle point for rope and chain before being hooked to Grampy's truck. This effort failed, but we left the pole in the ground. When tree came down, one of the limbs hit the top of the pole and snapped. Small sections hit the rabbit (doe) cage. The latch released and a doe got out. She hopped under the feed house after a narrow escape from one of our dogs. So instead of a triumphant tree-felling and high fives, now we were on our bellies trying to lure a rabbit out. After about 30-40 minutes the doe emerged and scampered right by Mrs. Curley who was holding a fishnet on a pole. I grabbed the net from her and we raceded around the property in hot pursuit. Finally, I lunged and got the net around the doe. (The doe squeaked and squealed - I never knew rabbits made any sound.)

While Grampy took a nap for his long drive home, I spent much of the rest of the day cutting the trunks with the (saved) chain saw. It is funny that the best part of the Nanny and Grampy's visit, for me, was probably that last day when they weren't even supposed to be here. I had never really worked with Grampy on any project like this. And while nothing we tried seemed to work out (due to lack of equipment - not lack of skill or imagination), in the end the job got done. It was fun-but my axe swinging body is suffering this morning.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

P.S. Don't forget our special on these books.