Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What do we do on Halloween?

I am not one who shuns it as 'the devils holiday', yet we don't do much to celebrate it either. Here's the scoop.

Growing up both Mrs. Curley and I celebrated Halloween in our families to one extent or another. She went trick-or-treating; my family had an in-house party in-costume. Certainly the holiday has changed. People had a greater realization in those days (maybe this was because we grew up in 'Catholic' New England) of the meaning of Halloween as a day to contemplate death. Today so much has changed. You'd be crazy to send your kid out alone at night knocking on people's doors (let's face it, most of us don't know our neighbors as well as our parent's knew theirs) unsupervised. The costumes have changed: the scary has gotten scarier and gross. And then there are the new 'sexy' costumes for little girls.

At the same time, if Halloween has been stolen by secular pagan society-shouldn't we steal it back by celebrating it's true meaning in our families and parishes?

Even when I was growing up, it seemed that Halloween had overtaken All Saints Day and All Souls Day in importance and celebration. I think this emphasis on Halloween in the absence of the All Saints and All Souls has helped produce the current situation. So I think the starting point is a rejuvenation of the celebrations of All Saints and All Souls.

Practically speaking as a parent of 7, you just can't do the costume thing for 7 kids for two different days right in a row. You have to make a choice. And the choice is obvious if you want to emphasize one over the other. We do All Saints Day big with our friends. We go to Mass and then have a community breakfast and then an All Saints Day celebration with costumes and games. Last night, in fact, I "tonsured" one of my sons who will be dressed as a monk.

Last year when teaching I took the day off to make this celebration.(I still don't understand why Catholic schools make their teachers work on Holy Days.) In fact I have always taken time off from work, no matter where I was employed, for our family and friends All Saints Day celebration.

On Halloween we have sometimes played games at home. We certainly have talked about the history of the holiday. Mostly we spend Halloween preparing for All Saints Day.

So this is what we do now and have been doing for at least 10 years. Our kids look forward to All Saints with the same anticipation I looked forward to Halloween as a kid. Happy Halloween!

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem! (let us pray for each other.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Survey on life

You really need to read this whole post at A Funny Thing Happened. But here is a part:

A few months ago I conducted a very unscientific but interesting survey at our local hospital's women's clinic.The 22 interviewed included doctors, residents in OB-GYN training, nurses in OB-GYN, medical students, residents in Internal Medicine training and medical techs in OB-GYN.

6 out of 11 actively practicing Catholics call themselves pro-choice
5 out of 11 actively practicing Catholics participated in abortions, 3 under pressure and 2 willingly
13 of the 13 Catholics approve of or prescribe birth control, one under pressure
11 of the 13 Catholics say abortion should be legal (2 feel that abortion should be limited only to risk of mother’s death or fetal abnormalities; 1 is against legalization but feels there should be “room for discussion”)

As you can see, not all of the 22 participants were Catholic (and not all practicing), but I clipped the Catholic summary only for this post. Quite a sad state of affairs. Poor catechesis? Pressures of secular society and in particular the medical profession? I don't know.

Read the rest here on your own. Some surprising results on both sides of life.

On a related note, for the medical profession and catechesis, yesterday Fox News carried a story, headline: Pope Tells Pharmacists Not to Dispense Drugs With 'Immoral Purposes' yesterday. Here's the main points:

In a speech to participants at the 25th International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists, Benedict said that conscientious objection was a right that must be recognized by the pharmaceutical profession.

Such objector status, he said, would "enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia."

In his speech, the pope also said that pharmacists have an educational role toward patients so that drugs are used in a morally and ethically correct way.

Read the whole story here.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Frost this morning

Thick layer on the cars. I guess we better get the last tomatoes off the vine. Yesterday was beautiful all day. This is the weather I like. From now until March it is perpetual fall albeit without the colors.

Spent a couple hours yesterday in the wood shop. I am making a rosary box as a gift. I am inlaying a (metal) miraculus medal in the front of the box and a (metal) Franciscan crucifix on the lid. Yesterday's time was spent carving out the profiles for the inlays. Then I glued up the mitred sides and cut slots for the keys. Today I need to finish putting the keys in the mitre joints. They are both decorative and structural. I have some work shaping the lid, a few other minor tasks, and then its sand and sand and finish.

Sliced my finger with a chisel yesterday. Sunday I got hit in the shoulder by a piece of wood that got bound up in the table saw fence. I am usually a careful worker-not trying risker cuts. But a good bruise on the shoulder every once in a while is a good reminder.

Oremus pro invicem!

I got a call last night from a senior at John Carroll Universtiy (I am an alumni of the graduate school) who wanted me to plan for my __ reunion coming up in the spring/summer-I assume by giving money.

I thanked him for calling and then asked him about the Catholic identity of the school, because I said, I have read things which call it into question, and I have no interest in supporting a "Catholic" school which isn't really Catholic. (I have blogged about this before).

He claimed it was Catholic-the 10:00 AM Mass on Sunday was always full and students were involved in many charitable works.

So I asked him about the Vagina Monalogues which are performed every year on campus with the administration's blessing. Here's how the conversation went:

He: Well I saw the Vagina Monologues when I was a freshman or sophomore here. The play doesn't have anything that controversial in it. It does show how women have been oppressed. And that's good to know.
Me: Not controversial? Isn't there a story in there about a minor girl being seduced by and an older women in a lesbian relationship? I would think this is controversial.
He: Oh that. Well yes, but that story was really about an older women helping this girl of 14, or 16 or 17 years or so explore her sexuality and where she should be. I don't think it is meant to condone minor girls and older women hooking up.
Me: Or any women, no matter the age, "hooking up" in a lesbian relationship? The Church teaches that sexual relationships outside of the confines of matrimony, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are not part of God's plan for us-this is a longstanding teaching of the Catholic faith going back to the beginning.
He: Oh of course. And you know that the proceeds go to a battered women's shelter?

I was about to make a point about the ends not justifying the means, but at this point I had a call on the other line, so we got interupted.

When I got back, I asked if Fr. Cozzens was still employed at JCU. I was told he was. Now at this point, I got a little mixed up about who he was. My recollection was that he was part of the Jesus-seminar crowd, which for one thing denies the Resurrection. However, in fact, he is in favor of married priests and homosexual priests. I don't know how far he goes with the latter, but I know he has written books about it. He came to Columbia a few years back and I recall he said some pretty outrageous things.

The young man I talked to indicated that Fr. Cozzens had the full support of the bishop.

So, how did we leave it? First I told him a story of when I was there (clipped from the blog post linked to above):

Around the time I attended JCU, Fr. Charles Curran, of (at the time) Catholic University, had just been censured by the Vatican for publically dissenting from Catholic moral teaching in his classroom and writings. The "Religious Studies Department" at JCU came out with a statement generally supporting Fr. Curran in the name of "academic freedom". To paraphrase, (if my memory serves me correctly), they wrote in their statement that 'while JCU didn't have anyone teaching that contraception, divorce, and abortion were morally acceptable, perhaps JCU should have someone teaching this - in the name of academic freedom.'

I was a graduate student in a small department at JCU. Very few people (less than 20) knew who I was. I wrote a letter to the editor of the JCU newspaper protesting such a ridculous statement: I believe that I tried to make the point that "academic freedom" is the freedom to teach the Truth, not lies. I tried to point out that it is nonsensical to hire someone who you know will teach lies - that is if you believe that Church teaching on moral issues is the Truth. I can't recall how eloquent or persuasive my writing was (I still have the clippings, but I am afraid to look) - but I am sure it could have used some editorial help.

I was attacked in the paper. One professor from the Religious Studies Department wrote in an op-ed column that my views were akin to Hitler - (such an original attack). I received one letter (in the paper) of general support from a faculty member, and one from a fellow-graduate student who defended, not my view, but from a characterization of being Hitler-like. Otherwise most articles and letters were against me from both students and faculty.

So I told him that JCU was not a Catholic university when I was there, and the news I had been reading these past few years didn't look like it had changed much-but I would take a 2nd look. I told him I was glad there was a strong Catholic identity in the student body and wished him well in his studies.

I am sorry I mixed up Fr. Cozzens with someone else; I wish I could apologize for that.

Maybe I gave this young man something to think about. It did seem he had some talking points ready about the V-Monologues-thus maybe it is an issue with alumnus.

I am sure there are many good things happening at JCU. However there are also other things happening too which I can't support.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us .... Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 29, 2007


I was working in the garage on Sunday (not real work-making a present.) While looking for some hinges in the file cabinet, I came across a few pictures, which of course I will share with y'all.

The first two pictures are items I made some years ago. The clock is made of oak and was made for Christmas 1993 or 1994 for my parents.

The two boxes were made in the same time frame and I believe were given to friends. The one on the left is of (Philippine) mahogany and the one on the right is pine. I used to make these boxes and include 2 packs of cards, a score pad and pencil.

And the last picture is from some years before. This is the winning Kelly-Cup squad (best-drilled squad in the Corps at the Citadel) practicing. The picture is scratched up, but I am in there. The Kelly-Cup squad is made of 8 freshman with a sophomore Corporal and a junior Sergeant. I am proud to say I was the Corporal on the winning squad my sophomore year. I was the logical choice for Kelly-Cup Sergeant my junior year-but politics (in my view) won out and I didn't get the job. And note well that our company's squad didn't win that year. (You can see I still have strong feelings about this.)

The Last Crusade

I almost missed this-(Hat tip to The Bride and the Dragon): the Pope beatified 498 priests and nuns killed in the Spanish Civil War yesterday. Interestingly, Pope Benedict said in his homily:

Indeed martyrdom is a “realistic possibility” for every believer who lives his or her faith coherently. But in addition to the giving one’s life as a result of an act of violence there is also the “silent” gift in “everyday life” made by those who dedicate themselves to the poor, i.e. those who give an “important witness in the secularised societies of our times.”

The best book I know of on the Spanish Civil War is The Last Crusade by Warren Carroll.

I remember the first time I had heard anything good about Franco from anyone but my Dad was when I read Pat Buchanan's autobiography Right From the Beginning many years ago.

That is not to say that beatifying 498 Spanish Martyrs is equivalent to absolving Franco of all wrong-doing. But few realize that there was war against the Catholic Church in Spain in the 30's waged by the Communists.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

The Ways of God - Delight in Goodness

Thomas Aquinas writes:

...all goodness is pleasing to Him by nature, always and everywhere, whether it be in angels, in men, or in other creatures...Similarly all evil displeases God everywhere and always and in whatever it exists.

Dads, do we delight in the accomplishments of our kids? I'm sure we do most of the time. If you are reading this, I doubt your heart is made of stone. But there two points to make: 1. Do we delight in our children's accomplishments even when we are distracted with other things? and 2. Do our children know we delight in their goodness?

I am sure some of us are quick to praise. My Dad was. I knew when he was proud of me-and so did everyone around. If he met someone he knew while we were grocery shopping, (yes, my Dad did the grocery shopping-I think it had to do with loving his wife a lot) he made a point to tell that person how proud he was of me or whichever of his children were with him. We always knew Dad would notice our goodness.

I think this praise also gave us kids a better sense of sorrow for sin when we did things not to be so proud of. This is essentially the difference between perfect and imperfect contrition. Do we want our children to have sorrow for things they have done wrong because they were caught and getting punished (imperfect)? or because they have disappointed their parents-and ultimately God (perfect)? Look at our act of contrition:

I detest all my sins because of the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offended Thee my God who art all good and deserving of all my love. (emphasis added.)

Myself, I didn't inherit all this virtue of my father. I am very good a picking out faults (not just my own.) This critical nature of mine-while having uses-is not always so helpful in raising children. Yes, they need correction-but they also need praise. God delights in goodness-we should also. (Our delight in goodness should not be less pronounced than our rejection of evil.) Be quick to praise publicly and privately. They need to know you are proud of them in so many ways (they are sure to hear about it when they've messed up!)

There was second part St. Thomas mentions isn't there? Evil displease God. Does it displease us-or do we even notice when it invades our house?

Several years ago, Mrs. and I gave up television for Lent. Now we didn't watch a whole lot to begin with, but we had our favorite prime-time TV shows which we watched several times a week, along with new-release movies that we would rent.

After 40 days of no TV we sat down and watched our favorite shows. We were surprised at how much filth had been added to those TV shows in 40 days! - or was it us that changed?

We had been de-sensitized to the sex and violence on TV so much that we didn't even notice it coming into our house and family. It took 40 days of cleansing (replacing TV with prayer, spiritual reading and discussion) for us to realize what evil we were welcoming into our house and family.

We are affected by what we watch, even if it be in subtle ways. An ancient saying goes "the eyes are the window to the soul." Mrs. Curley and I have changed our viewing habits since then and movies we rent. We are more careful about what we welcome into our house.

I am reminded of this particular way evil can enter our family every time I read these lines from Psalm 101:

I walked in the innocence of my heart, in the midst of my house.
I did not set before my eyes any unjust thing:
I hated the workers of iniquities.
The perverse heart did not cleave to me:
and the malignant, that turned aside from me, I would not know....
He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the midst of my house:
he that speaketh unjust things did not prosper before my eyes.

TV is an easy example. But there are others, be it the things we read or the people we associate with or the way use our computer.

One central theme in the CS Lewis classic The Great Divorce is that if our souls are not compatible with Heaven-we won't enjoy Heaven, and thus, we will chose Hell. Our time on earth is the opportunity to mold our souls to be compatible with Heaven: we must do this by delighting in goodness and rejecting evil in all its forms.

We must realize again that our children will often imitate our delight in goodness (or lack thereof). Look at your children. (Of course they have their own personalities, natural virtues, and natural weaknesses.) Can you see if they delight in goodness, are they attracted to it? How about their friends? Are your children quick to praise their siblings, or quick to criticize? This may tell you something about yourself.

Finally, one way to keep on track in rejecting evil, is to add the St. Michael prayer to your family prayers every night.:

Saint Michael the Archangel,defend us in battle.Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -by the Divine Power of God -cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invcem!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

November is fast approaching. Remember the special on quantity purchases of Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering at Requiem Press .


Finally watched "The Incredibles" last night-loaned to us by a friend. Cute movie. Not sure it lived up to all the stellar reviews I received on it-but it was enjoyable.

Speaking of movies....Growing up we had lots of Bing Crosby records (LPs and 78's) in the house. One of our favorites was series which had the songs he sang in the movies. Each of these LPs would have the songs from 2-3 movies. We had 3 or 4 of the set. I think there may have been one or two we didn't have. We had seen some of the movies-which are among my favorites: Pennies from Heaven and Mississippi (picture on the left)-both for the movie and the music. Some of the movies we never saw. My Dad and Mom were pretty selective. Now I know why. I saw Double or Nothing and Waikii Wedding (both of which were included in the LP set we had) recently. Both were okay, with some great songs (The Moon Got in my Eyes, Its the Natural Thing to Do, and Sweet is the Word for You) , but not up to the standard of the former two mentioned-and both had at least slightly objectionable material for kids.

You keep learning how smart your parent were.

Have a good weekend.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Baseball and Brownback

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Red Sox in the World Series. I really love baseball and have followed the Sox since I was a kid. Yaz was something of a legend to me-he being THE star of my entire youth. I never blamed Bill Buckner for the passed ball-more I blamed Bill Stanley for the wild pitch that let it get that far.

In 2004 I moved away from all TV reception. That was the year the Red Sox decided to finally win the World Series. Of course by that time-living outside of Boston I knew none of the players anyway. I got my baseball from the Capital City Bombers a single A affiliate (this team no longer exists-replaced by another whose name escapes me.)

Now the Sox are at it again. I wish them well, but I won't see or hear (baseball is a good radio sport) them triumph.


Hat tip to Pro Ecclesia who carries a story about Senator Brownback meeting with Guiliani - exploring a possible endorsement. If it happens, I too will be very disappointed in the Senator. It seems that he is making the rounds (there is a menton of him already meeting with McCain)-but still-why go through the motions? Is this really a serious consideration? Why can most of us see what the Senator can't see?

I am late an have to go ...


and more rain. Yesterday we had steady rain broken by a few periods of nothing. It was raining when I went to bed-it may still be raining now. Steady rain-the best kind.

I took a look at the garden on my way to the mailbox yesterday. It is looking good. Besides a bumper crop of radishes and turnips, a lot of carrots are now up-even a few from the first planting which I had given up on. We will have some spinach-but not much and some broccoli. At this point it is our best fall garden.

I need to finish picking our first radish crop and get some more in the ground. I think radish seeds are all we have left for the fall planting.

Thanks be to God for the rain.

Yesterday was a long day. Spent most of it on my feet cutting and binding. Whew. Another one today-but different. Will be on the road a bit.

Uh oh, I have the next installment of "The Ways of God" almost ready.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More 40 Martys

More than once I have heard surprise that Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher weren't canonized until 1935-400 years after their deaths. And, if you think about it, the 40 martyrs, at least some of them, waited longer. Why is this?

Several factors contributed. First the cause for sainthood usually starts in the diocese where the prospective saint lived or at least had strong connection to. The Faith was underground in England until sometime (I can't recall when the laws were repealed) in the 19th century-even if the formal persecution has stopped 100 years before. So they all got off to a late start.

Then of course there is the question of whether these Catholics died for the Faith or some political purpose. This was not always a straight forward judgement for the English martyrs. Some of the beatified may have been involved or in contact with (or could be perceived to be involved) with leaders of various "Catholic" rebellions which occurred during the persecutions, for example "Pilgrimage of Grace" and other Northern England uprisings-which may have arisen out of fervor for the Faith, but were armed rebellions. Members of these rebellions were often put to death for their rebellion regardless of their motivation.

Sorting all these things out for all the Catholics who were executed took quite a bit of time-and was the motiviation for Msgr. Ronald Knox's paper on the Theology of Martyrdom (offered in booklet form by Requiem Press ) where he explores this topic in a more general context.

Another point to consider is that because the Catholic view in England was being suppressed, it took some time to get the true story of what happened out to the general world. Especially for the first martyrs (Carthusians, More and Fisher.) This is why Dom Maurice Chauncy -an eyewitness to his Carthusian Brothers' martyrdom - wrote 4 separate accounts over the years while he was in refuge in Europe-to spread the word about what really happened in those early years. It wasn't clear early on that the English Church was breaking away permanently. Thus Thomas More and John Fisher also suffered under these clouds of doubt.

You begin, in 1880 through about 1935, to see many books starting to be published in England (some of whose covers/title pages appear on my first post of the day) about the English martyrs because up to that point, their lives were uncovered ground in books. A few more books (also pictured in my post of the day) appeared around the canonization of the 40 in 1970.

Very interesting and complicated stuff. Thanks to TS for prompting this expansion.

40 Martyrs of England and Wales ... pray for us!

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-Pray for us!

More on the 40 martyrs

From the dedication of Lives of the English Martyrs edited by Dom Bede Camm OSB:

Note: that Thomas More and John Fisher were canonized first and separately (1935) from the other English and Welsh martyrs (1970). This 2-Volumbe set was published in 1904 as a compilation of the lives of tose beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886 and 1895.

The lives were written by Fathers of the Oratory of the Secular clergy and of the Society of Jesus.

Feast of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales

Looking for some books on these heroic saints? You won't find many in print. (Of course there is our - which is on sale for today only-but even this is not comprehensive.)

There are a number of survey books on these martyrs which you may be able to get 2nd hand (one may still be in print): Prey of the Priest-Hunters by Leo Knowles; Forty English and Welsh Martyrs by Clement Tigar SJ; Martyrs of the English Reformation by Dr. Malcolm Brennan (Angelus Press-this one may still be available). Then of course there is the comprehensive-but long out of print 2 volume set Lives of the English Martyrs edited by Dom Bede Camm OSB. (our booklet on Cuthbert Mayne comes from these volumes, as does the our forthcoming sketch of St. Thomas More. These volumes cover more than the 40 martrys as only a selection of all the martrys were canonized.)

Then we do have some books on specific martyrs. Again most of these will be out of print. The Pearl of York-St. Margaret Clitherow is one who has at least one book written about her. (Long-skirts has written a beautiful peom about the Pearl of York-I wish she would post it today.)

The Carthusian Martyrs some of whom are among the 40 have had several books written about them. Not the least of which is an eyewitness account by one of their brother Carthusians, Dom Maurice Chanuncy. He actually wrote the account more than once. We have two of the accounts here (maybe one day they will be avaiable again.)

Then in the late 19th century Dom Lawrence Hendriks wrote an account of the Carthusian Martyrs (The London Charterhouse). Dom Bede Camm OSB wrote a book about Sebastian Newdigate-another of the Carthusian marytrs.

At the same time (around 1890) there is another account of the Carthusian martyrs written in French by Dom Victor-Marie Doreau (Prior of the the St. Hugh Charterhouse in England.).

Then of course we have many larger works which include a chapter here or there on the Carthusian Martyrs; for example The History of the Carthusian Order in England by E. Margaret Thompson and John Fisher by Michael Davies.

(Update: I guess I got this backwards-they were celebrated on 4 May until the canonization in 1970-Thanks to Pro Ecclesia for clarifying this.) Of course the 40 martyrs are now more often celebrated on May 4 -but 25 October was their original feast day-so we can celebrate on both. Finally is a print from the French book of the Carthusians martyrdom at Tyburn.

Happy feast day. May we learn from these martyrs a greater love for the Mass.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

From the mail

Received ISI Books catalog in the mail today. One book particularly caught my eye: Third Ways-How Bulgarian Greens, Swedish Housewives, and Beer-Swilling Englishmen Created Family-Centered Economies—And Why They Disappeared

Here's the blurb:

Freewheeling capitalism or collectivist communism: when it came to political-economic systems, did the twentieth century present any other choice? Does our century? In Third Ways, social historian Allan Carlson tells the story of how different thinkers from Bulgaria to Great Britain created economic systems during the twentieth century that were by intent neither capitalist nor communist. Unlike fascists, these seekers were committed to democracy and pluralism. Unlike liberal capitalists, they refused to treat human labor and relationships as commodities like any other. And unlike communists, they strongly defended private property and the dignity of persons and families. Instead, the builders of these alternative economic systems wanted to protect and renew the "natural" communities of family, village, neighborhood, and parish. They treasured rural culture and family farming and defended traditional sex roles and vital home economies.

Carlson's book takes a fresh look at distributism, the controversial economic project of Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton which focused on broad property ownership and small-scale production; recovers the forgotten thought of Alexander Chayanov, a Russian economist who put forth a theory of "the natural family economy"; discusses the remarkable "third way" policies of peasant-led governments in post-World War I Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania; recounts the dramatic and largely unknown effort by Swedish housewives to defend their homes against radical feminism; relates the iconoclastic ideas of economic historian Karl Polanyi, including his concepts of "the economy without markets" and "the great transformation"; and praises the efforts by European Christian Democrats to build a moral economy on the concept of homo religious—"religious man."

Finally, Carlson's work explains why these efforts—at times rich in hope and prospects—ultimately failed, often with tragic results. The tale inspires wistful regret over lost opportunities that, if seized, might have spared tens of millions of lives and forestalled or avoided the blights of fascism, Stalinism, socialism, and the advent of the servile state. And yet the book closes with hope, enunciating a set of principles that could be used today for invigorating a "family way" economy compatible with an authentic, healthy, and humane culture of enterprise.

May have to get a copy. (Small is still Beautiful is the other book I want.)


We got a little last night. It has been pretty scarce of late. We need it badly. Off and on for about a week now we have had overcast skies, but last night produced the only rain.

What are the chances you get two e-mails in a row from two different people whose first name is Demetrius? Very good, if its spam.

Catholic Carnival is up here. I put in an entry this week: my looooooong post on God's Immutability. The CC host noted its length.

Requiem Press sale! We already have Holy Souls booklet on sale in quantity through November, but in honor of the feast day tomorrow of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales we will have Witnesses to the Holy Mass on sale for only $5.00; and you can get the booklet on Cuthbert Mayne (one of the 40 martyrs) for $1.00 when you buy Witnesses. This sale will start today at 9:00 AM and run through tomorrow night.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us .... Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


In my last post I mentioned how digital technology has made many things possible. And while technology in publishing allows me to do what I do where I do it, I am not necessarily a fan of all technology. For instance, I would much rather use hand tools than power tools in most cases when working with wood. I find hand tools can be just as accurate and (if you consider set up time) sometimes just as fast-at least if you are making only one of an item. So why bring this up?

Because, I just finished reading the latest CMQ Extra about technology-written by a IT professional. I especially like his points numbered 10, 6, 4, and 1. Check it out.

Pretty enterprising

As mentioned here before, Mrs. Curley just returned from Florida. We had booked the flight using Travelocity-my first time. Usually I use Expedia but this was a last minute decision and Expedia wouldn't let me book a flight at 10:50 AM which was leaving at 2:35 PM on the same day. Travelocity would-so they got the business. My point... read on.

Today I get an email from Travelocity asking me how the trip went. And if you send your pictures in and a description of the trip they will put it in book form which you can order and send to friends and relatives. Here's the pitch:

Relive your favorite road trip moments in your own hardcover or softcover travel book - prices start at $12.95. Just download Blurb's free BookSmart™ software for PC or Mac at, and drop your best photos and stories right into a book.

Pretty nifty idea. Digital technolgy has made many things possible and affordable.

After a long absence ...

I make a return appearance on Spanning the Globe.

It's funny, for a while I thought I knew the formula for getting selected to regularly appear in blogosphere's most cherished award. (More prestigious than even the Catholic Blog Awards) So I would purposely and carefully construct a few lines within one or two posts every week which I was sure would be irresistible to the selection committee of Spanning the Globe. But after several failures (even though occasionally other lines I wrote were picked up) I realized I didn't know the formula at all. Maybe there wasn't ever a formula. Maybe selection is just based on the whim of one man!

Seriously though, it is one of my favorite features to read every week or so.


We picked up Mrs. Curley at the airport yesterday in Charlotte. She was at the airport early and was able to catch an earlier flight-which was good because her first flight was to arrive at 5:00 PM, and I wasn't sure I wanted to fight the rush hour traffic in Charlotte (But I would have.)

My father used to travel a good bit when I was a kid. (He worked for the Navy Department as a civilian scientist.) Dad would often change flights-he was always in a hurry to get home. The day he was due home always had an air of excitement because he could show up at any time of the day.

On the way home last night I decided we should stop at Gus' Pizza in Kershaw (a small town about 17 miles from Bethune.) We've passed Gus' many times but this was our first visit. Like the Camden House of Pizza I have mentioned before, this was a Greek Pizza. Gus has a more extensive menu-even serving hamburgers. The pizza was good. I had a Philly Steak and Cheese-it was good, but there was a hot seasoning on steak.

When paying the bill I noticed an icon of the Blessed Virgin and a picture of Christ on the wall. Greek Orthodox. Turns out he is a member of both the Greek Orthodox churches in Charlotte and Columbia. Quite a hike either way.

Garden Report: We have some carrots! (I think.) Mrs. Curley will take a look today to confirm. I thinned the turnips yesterday. I will be picking the first crop of radishes today and planting yet another crop of radishes. I need to do some weeding-but overall, the garden is looking pretty good-our best fall garden ever to this point.

Reminder that if you want to comment on anything here, you can email me via the link just above the "About Me" box on the sidebar to the right (as you face the computer screen). Did I have to write this last bit? Probably not, but I felt the urge to add unnecessary directions.

Yesterday's post on The Ways of God is quite likely my longest post to date. I don't think all the posts in this series will be so long but we'll see. Expect another one towards the end of the week to early in the following week.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Mrs. Curley is coming home today!!!!!!!!

The Ways of God - Immutability

See the first installment of my commentary about The Ways of God by Thomas Aquinas (Sophia Institute Press) as applied to fatherhood by clicking here.)

Thomas Aquinas writes:

In God there is a primary perfection, which is that He never changes His nature. ... Let us strive therefore to acquire a stability of spirit...

God does not change. His 'anger' or 'wrath' we sometimes read about in Holy Scripture is not really God changing His mood or His feeling for us, but is really a reflection of our actions breaking relationship with God.

So how about us? Well St. Thomas points out:

Ah, how suddenly we pass from good to bad, from hope to groundless fear, and from fear to hope, from joy to unreasonable grief, and from sadness to vain joy, from silence to loquaciousness, from gravity to trifling, from charity to rancor or to envy, from fervor to tepidity, from humility to vainglory or to pride, from gentleness to anger, and from joy and spiritual love to carnal love and pleasure.

In this way we never remain one single instant in the same condition, unless, alas we are constant in inconstancy.....

Not a pretty picture, but pretty true for a lot of us. So let's examine our constancy as it applies to our vocation as father. (Let us not forget that a whole book could be written with the same outline for our vocation as husband.)

Where do we especially need a stability of spirit as fathers? Well, two areas seem to leap out at us immediately: discipline and love.

We will be spending time with discipline more than once in this journey as later we contemplate God's justice, forgiveness and mercy. But discipline is so much a part of raising children that is should be considered a primary area of fatherhood in terms of constancy; the details we can work out in later chapters.

First principles-is our style of discipline consistent or variable depending on my moods? If I am tired, stressed or weary are my reactions and punishments the same as when I am well-fed, well-rested, and at ease? More than likely most of struggle to be as fair and patient with misbehavior when we are tired, stressed, or weary. And the punishments we dole out may be too harsh. Then what happens? In a quiet moment we realize we overreacted due to weariness or stress and rescind all punishment. What is a child to think?

Children are constantly testing to see where the fences are and where the weakest link lies. This testing is initially not out of some devious gene they are born with. No, children are naturally curious-even about rules. Further, whether it always seems to be the case or not, they crave known boundaries. The more inconsistent we are the more they will test to figure out where the real boundaries are-because we are confusing them. Eventually we teach them by our inconsistency to play a devious game. Unfortunately for them we teach them this game of manipulation which doesn't necessarily work in the world and certainly doesn't work with God.

At this point I am not recommending one form of discipline over another-just we must be as consistent as possible and not change our discipline style with every mood change. This will also help them be consistent in their behavior-helping them model God's attribute of spiritual stability or constancy in their own lives.

Now of course, we will fail at times. There will be a day here or there where we fail. But if these days are the exception most children will be able to distinguish this as an exception and not part of a moving target. Yet beware. At every failure on our part the child will probe our resolve again. It is part of their nature to learn.

While constancy in discipline is of critical importance, there is a more primary and fundamental area where we must imitate and try to achieve this attribute of God. And of course I am talking about constancy of love.

In every family there are their are three primary relationships for the father. In descending order of importance: the first is the father with God; the second is the father with the mother; the third is the father with his children.

Constancy in love: Dad must pray every day-on his own and with his family. Dad must love God and show this love in his actions and priorities. The children must know Dad's first love and relationship is with God. Now this doesn't mean he neglects his vocation as husband and father to spend 5 hours a day praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Our vocation is as father. We may be called to be contemplative in the world-but in the world not in a monastery. We aren't called to live as monks. This probably is not the temptation most of us have-but occasionally it may crop up.

At one point of my life I decided to try attending daily Mass every day. It involved leaving the house every morning at 6:45 to get to Mass and then of course to my job. This was great, and I derived a wonderful spiritual benefit from this. However, after hearing some of my wife's travails on getting everyone going every morning I realized I wasn't helping her at all even if I seemed to be progressing spiritually on my own. We weren't journeying together because I left the house every morning before anyone else was up. After a little prayer, I decided I would go to morning Mass once week and soon discovered there was a noon Mass on Wednesdays 5 minutes from my job. I also found a noon Mass 20 minutes away work that I probably could make once and possibly twice a week most of the time. Thus, that I didn't have to play God against my family. Our Lord provides.

A story from a former pastor: As a boy Fr. Mike lived in an apartment with his folks and his 7 brothers and sisters. The bedrooms were off the kitchen. Every night after everyone was in bed Fr. Mike's father would kneel on the kitchen floor in prayer for 15 minutes. The kids didn't see this every night because sometimes they were sleeping. But they knew it happened because there he would be when they woke up needing a drink of water or a trip to the potty-on his knees. What a powerful sight. (And two of this man's boys became priests.)

One more story related by Brother Charles Madden OFM Conv. in Giving Up Stealing for Lent:

Pop and Mom believed, practiced, and handed on to us our Catholic Faith—often in subtle ways. For instance, Pop never knew we younger ones were watching from a third floor window as he would begin his morning prayers by making the Sign of the Cross as he started up the street on his way to work each day.

Our kids will know if we pray, gentlemen. Our prayer life will tell them of our commitment and consistent love of God.

Constancy of love: Ephesians 5: 25-28 instructs us:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.

Pretty powerful. How did Christ love His Church?-by pour out all His precious Blood for her. This is how we need to love our wives. Further we need to sanctify our wives so they can be presented unblemished (by sin) to God when they die. This will take constancy in love. It is our vocation.

On a practical level, our children will give more respect to their mother if they sense this constancy of love. Bickering and power struggles, and worse, all out drag down fights destroy a child's spiritual stability to one degree or another especially with respect to love and to a right understanding of what love is. Our children need to know we respect and love our wives on a daily basis.

This love is practically carried out by prayer, sacrifice, and simply an attitude that Mom comes first. She gets the best seat. We turn off the game when she wants to talk. We have date nights. Little things that show love every day.

My wife and I didn't always and still don't always have a date night. But for two and one half years circumstances allowed that we did have a date night almost every week. We went dancing to the Big Band sounds of the Helms-Boyd orchestra on Thursday nights from 6-9. The kids knew that Thursday night was ours. A few years later we moved to the country and the Big Band sounds were too far away. So Mrs. Curley and I started a new tradition. Practically every day after one of our meals we "repaired to the living room" for tea or cappuccino (for her) and Instant Postum (for me). We sat and talked. The kids know that for this 15 minutes everyday we will only be interrupted for true emergencies. Splinters, spiders, arguments, broken toys, science questions: they all can wait. They leave room and go about their business, and we talk.

Another story from Fr. Mike about his father. Whenever Fr. Mike's father wrote his wife a note-even if it was simply a 'thanks for making lunch' when he left for work before she was up, he always signed the note: "I love you more than I love myself." It reminds me of the next line from Ephesians 5:29-30:

He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

It is hard, almost impossible, to be a good father without being a good husband.

Constancy in love: our children. How does God love His children? We have just seen Him send His Son to pour out His precious Blood for His spouse the Church. But we are both spouse in the sense we are part of the Church and God the Father's adopted children by Baptism. We read that:

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should ... have eternal life” (Jn 3:16)

We want eternal life for our children. It's okay to want football scholarships for them and good jobs and all the other good things which are possible on God's earth. But first we want them to have eternal life. Willing the good (and there is no greater good than Heaven) for our children is true love. And this will is more than a thought-it needs some action on our part.

Now we probably won't be asked to give our life in blood for our children-but we will be asked to make little but daily sacrifices without regard to our own comfort and leisure. This love must be unchanging no matter what our children do. Of course this doesn't mean they run roughshod over us. That isn't love. Sometimes love is telling and enforcing a hard truth. Always love is praying for and sacrificing for our children. Not a day should pass with out a prayer for the well-being of the souls of our children. Not a day should pass without a sacrifice made for our children-sometimes they may be small, but they must be there. Suggestions: a cold shower, a night without a pillow, a day without coffee, and extra helping of baked carrots-but always prayer for them.

In some particularly difficult cases (and I forget where exactly I read this) fasting for our children has been known to turn them back on the path to God when they have strayed.

But even when our children aren't in trouble we need to make unknown and unheralded sacrifices for them.

From these unknown prayers and sacrifices will blossom visible love. Sometimes we men think that we show our love by working at our job each day to shelter and clothe the family. And we show our love by spending Saturdays and evenings mowing the lawn, fixing the door handles, working on the car; you know the list. This is true. But our children are usually not mature enough to understand that this is love. (Hopefully their Mom tells them it is.) Our children need more. They need us to sing with them, talk with them, play with them, work with them. That trip to the hardware store (and ultimately the door handle repair) will be much quicker without Bobby tagging along asking questions in each aisle and begging for candy bar at the checkout. But this is what he needs-and maybe what you need.

Our children also need us to pray with them. Not just as a family, but with them individually. There are not many moments in life so intimate and remembered as those when we pray alone with someone we love. (This is something you need to do with your wife too.) Say a decade of the rosary for Aunt Gertrude on the way back from the hardware store with Bobby. Say a Memorare with Teresa on your walk through the neighborhood.

Listen, praise, tell stories. Time is love to a child. Don't try to show love with gifts to replace the time you don't spend with them. Not only does this not work because it isn't true, ultimately it makes a bad connection between material gifts and love-especially for your daughters.

Constancy in love is the most important way we can imitate this primary attribute of God. We have lots of work to do.

Note: In reviewing my notes, I see a glaring weakness in retelling them to an audience. I have no stories, no anecdotes to personalize or illustrate my points. Makes for dry reading. Thus as I go forward I am striving to include some stories as they seem applicable.

Okay for Chapter 1. This is longer than I expected from looking at my sparse notes. But writing this is making clear where my own failings are.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Came across this site the other day (hat tip to .... ?: I can't remember, but another blog directed me to it-my apologies). Wonderful Holy Card images here. The Eucharistic ones especially inspire and really give a sense of mystery and sacredness. Here's a sample:

Friday, October 19, 2007

End of the day (week) notes

I don't sleep well when Mrs. Curley is away, so I am up later than usual.

TS writes to me that I forgot to mention John McCain in my presidential sweepstakes post below. Frankly, he was completely off my radar screen. I remember 8 years ago South Carolina Citizens for Life (SCCL) endorsed GW over McCain and all the others in the primary. I was peeved at the time because they passed over more pro-life candidates than either of these two. I assume because Bush and McCain were the only serious contenders. I know that SCCL was concerned about McCain-Feingold: fearing it would limit the free speech of pro-life groups during election cycles. I also see from a newsletter I received today from National Right to Life that McCain supports embryonic stem cell research.

My previous posts on the presidential race has centered on Life and Marriage issues-surely the most important we face. But if all these things were equal among the candidates, there are other issues that could separate candidates. Two I am concerned with at the moment are immigration (as in Mexico) and Middle East policy-not only Iraq, but Iran, Israel, etc.

As to the former I will have take a closer look. Most seem to be for building walls and deportations. I don't think this is where I stand. And the Middle East: I don't have a comfortable feeling about where the Republican candidates stand about what our interests are and the best way to protect them. I will try to explore this more as the days go by-if only to think aloud. As I said below, it is time to start getting serious about who our options are-if any.


On another note, I have been checking in on our newest author's blog: A Funny Thing Happened. Besides a moving conversion story in her September posts, this week she writes about Motu Proprio and earlier in the week, about cleavage. Both are worth reading...


Quote worth repeating: I was talking to one of the older sons today. He had been complaining that some of the younger ones don't alway pull their weight in cleaning up-that he could do it faster by himself. I asked him to remember a few years back when his older siblings were complaining about him. He agreed about that, and then said about the younger ones: "I sort of feel sorry for them. Cleaning up isn't so bad. Matter of fact I sort of enjoy it. It gives you time to think about things." Take heart parents. They do start growing up!


On a our loss (but to be expected) note, Mr. Culbreath is going on another blogfast. May God be with him.


Time to change the laundry and finish my 3rd quarter sales tax reporting to the state which has to have tomorrows postmark.

Have a great weekend-don't know whether I will be checking in or not. The kids did a good job cleaning today while I worked in the office. I think they want to go on an outing tomorrow instead doing our regular Saturday chores. I planted our 3 blueberry bushes this evening after dinner. These things are tiny but they say we should have fruit next summmer. I'm betting 3-7 berries each unless these things really take off. Meant to thin the turnips today but forgot.

Oh yes, the laundry... got to go.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

A couple things and politics

The other day I asked if anyone had heard of the "New American" magazine as I received a free sample in the mail. After reading it cover to cover and then the fine print I discovered it was a publication of the John Birch Society. So if anyone is anxiously researching it for me-you can rest easy now...


A friend of mine was the 'Brownback for President' director for SC. He and I had been in some pretty good discussions on the issues I was concerned about with the Senator. He convinced me it was time to start really paying attention to the election.

I am very sorry that it seems Sen Brownback will be dropping out. Although I had some problems with him, he was a very strong and uncompromising proponent for life-and not afraid to make it a dominant issue. (With Mike Huckabee not even knowing what the Mexico City policy is there are not too many strong pro-life options that seem viable.)

I have no problem voting for candidates who won't win-I usually do that. However, I would rather have a viable option I could in conscience vote for and Senator Brownback at least looked potentially viable-although I have my doubts on whether he could take the general election.

Now Ron Paul I believe, is viable in the general election, but not in Republican primaries. (Alan Keyes-while I have liked him in the past has some of the same problems as Sen. Brownback and is not viable in either primaries or the general election.) Turns out that some of my problems with Ron Paul are also the problems I had with Sen. Brownback.

I have given my reasons of caution with Mitt Romney before, either in posts or in my now-nonexistant comment boxes. And of course you couldn't get me to vote for Guiliani at gunpoint. Fred Thompson? In general he seems too much of a party man to me. But I haven't heard much from him. I guess I tend to like mavericks it little bit.

So it seems my best options at the moment are unviable candidates. No surprise here.


Went to Mass this morning with the kids. Not today, but earlier in the week Father talked about rejoicing in suffering and persecution. This something we all need to remember. I try to tell my kids they'll get justice in Heaven and not necessarily on earth even if we strive for it: so be ready to suffer with joy. Easier said than done I know. The new covenant is 'turn the other cheek' not an 'eye for an eye'-not implying we don't continue working for justice while turning the cheek. Just the rules of engagement are different.

St. Isaac Jogues is an inspiration in both his love for the Mass (he begged and got special permission to continue saying the Mass even with mutilated fingers which made some of the rubrics problematic) and in his love for the pagan Indians he was sent to evangelize (returning to them even after his ill treatment at their hands.) There is a lot we can learn from him about suffering, love of God and dedication to our God-given vocation.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Feast of St. Isaac Jogues and John De Brebeuf and Companions

Father, you consecrated the first beginnings of the faith in North America by the preaching and martyrdom of Staints John and Isaac and their companions. By the help of their prayers may the Christian faith continue to grow throughout the world. (from Liturgy of the Hours)

My post on this day 2004 (my second post ever) is one of my best. I really cannot improve upon it. We have visited the Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville several times-the first on my oldest son's request. Read the whole thing by clicking here. Here is an excerpt in case you don't want to go back...

And it is the grounds (at the NA martyrs shrine in Auriesville, NY) which are where you want to be. You want to walk down into the ravine where Rene Goupil was martyred and where Isaac Jogues secretly buried his remains. This ravine is where Isaac Jogues spent much of his captivity praying. He considered this holy ground because it contained the remains of a martyr. You want to pray on these grounds where martyrs prayed and are buried.

You want to climb the hill (which overlooks the NY State Thruway) where Isaac Jogues had to run the gauntlet. You want to pray as you walk through the village where Isaac Jogues fingers were mutilated and where he was martyred for love of God and for the conversion of these Iroquois.

This is not Europe where centuries of saints have trod. There are not many places in North American where you can walk where martyrs blood was spilt. (Pray that through their intercession, your zeal for souls may be rekindled.)

If you have the chance, go visit - and go pray.

If you want to know more, booklets on some of these martyrs are available from Arx Publishing (click here to get copies). There are a couple good books on Isaac Jogues and the other North American Martyrs, but I couldn't locate them at this writing. If I find them during the day I will update this post with the info.

We have few martyrs in our history, so these should be more widely honored and their sacrifices more often contemplated. Their shrine in Auriesville, NY should be a major pilgrimage destination. I know it is for some.

We will go to Mass this morning to commemorate their sharing in the cross of Christ.

St. Isaac Jogues, St. John De Brebeuf, St. Rene Goupil -pray for us!

Our Lady of Joyful Hope - pray for us!

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Notes here and there

Was supposed go fishing today and tomorrow in/off Georgetown with a great friend. This friend, myself and another used to meet every couple weeks for "novena and beer" night. It can't get much better than that. Plans change... maybe we'll do it next week.

Prayer request: Mrs. Curley's grandmother is sick with pneumonia. Mrs. Curley is traveling to her today to help out for a few days til relief arrives. Please pray for Mrs. Curley in her travels, for her grandmother's quick and full recovery, and us here at home-especially that I remember to feed the kids.

In other, less important news...

We got a fig tree this week. It is supposed to (when fully developed) give two crops a year: June and September I think. The first year it is supposed to fruit once. It is so small now we have our doubts about this first year fruiting. We are also excited that we should be getting 3 blueberry bushes this week also.

And how about our fall garden? Well, I think that while we will be eating lots of radishes, turnips, and turnip greens this winter, I also see some broccoli and spinach make their appearances. Not a single carrot in two plantings has appeared. While we have a little spinach coming, it is not nearly what we planted. But it's looking okay. (My sons say that I say, "The garden is sure looking good" too many times a day.) I will picking most of the first radish crop and replanting some more-why mess with success?-over the weekend.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

The Ways of God

Okay, it's been 3 years blogging today. (Is this enough years to occasionally have a "the best of" post when I'm too lazy to craft something new?)

I guess I have learned alot: some things about me and some more things about other people. I enjoy writing my little stories of life here at Bethany and hope to continue to do so. However, I had another inspiration this week for the future of Bethune Catholic.


Some years ago a group of men from my parish were providing escorts and security for an all-night Eucharistic Adoration vigil for life. I drew one of the wee hours. I think my replacement didn't show up, so I stayed on for some more hours. I brought with me a little book: The Ways of God by Thomas Aquinas (Sophia Institute Press) . There are short chapters on 22 attributes of God and meditations on how we should imitate these attributes in our lives. As I prayed with this little book through the night, I found myself especially meditating on how these attributes of God could be applied specifically in my life in my role as a father.

Fathers, being given the very name of our Father in Heaven, are the first experience our children have of God. If we want to introduce God to our children, then we must reflect His ways in our relations with our children. In some senses, our behavior will impact the way our children think of God-for good or bad-simply because of our name and authority that comes with it.

For example, in matters of discipline fathers need to reflect on whether they have more justice or more mercy or an equal balance. A father who is strong in justice and overbearing in punishment and short on mercy, may unwittingly image to his child a god short on mercy, heavy on punishment-or simply a god who is overbearing and to be feared (not in the same sense as the gift of the Holy Spirit of the same name.) But our God is overflowing with mercy and ready to forgive. Oh yes, Hell exists! But Hell is the choice of men who will not love God. We send ourselves to Hell more than God does.

So, for example, we can ask ourselves: Do the punishments we dole out to our kids reflect the natural consequences (and choice) of the particular bad behavior being punished? This coupled with our mercy and ready forgiveness offered to our children may more accurately reflect how God relates to man's sinfulness than whatever we have doing in the past.

Its not easy. It takes more patience than thought than simply shouting: "And for that offense young man you are off the computer for the next 58 weeks. " And I don't claim to succeed-but we must always strive to be "perfect as our Heavenly Father is".

I recall that the First Communion (Baltimore) Catechism notes that we belong to God-not to our parents. We don't own our children. As parents we take the place of God in raising and caring for them, and in teaching them the ways of God. How better to teach than by example. (Every parent can testify that children are great imitators-especially it seems of our faults-especially in public.)

St. Thomas Aquinas notes (in The Ways of God) that we should model ourselves on our Creator in his attributes and imitate Christ in His actions. (Read this line again and then think about it for a couple minutes.)

So in the next weeks I will share here the notes I wrote down on these chapters which came to me in prayer that day and days hence. In many senses they reflect my own struggle to be a worthy father to my children-at least at that moment in time. (Of course I will edit and update my notes under the assumption that I am wiser than I was 8 years ago.)

I imagine these posts will appear once or twice a week for however long it takes to cover the 22 or so chapters. Today's post acts as my introduction to the series. I will give a short outline of how St. Thomas Aquinas defines the attribute and then give my reflection on how it may apply to being a father.

I hope that some profit comes to someone besides myselft from this series. Comments (via email-link above the profile box) on points I miss or things you don't think I get quite right are welcome.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope - pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


You might notice that Comments have disappeared overnight here at Bethune Catholic, and you may notice the (email me) just above the "About Me" profile box over there (see arrow). So what's up?

Well, some blogs live off of (or are driven by) their comments; the comments can be more interesting than the posts. That's never really been the case here. (The comments may be more interesting than posts, but their very existence is pretty rare.) I may go week or more without any comments. Occasionally something posted will elicit a good debate or added information, but that is not norm here.

My favorite blog doesn't allow comments-but if you really want to say something, you can email the blog owner. This is a model I am going to try here.

I guess if someone sends an email to comment on one of my posts, it is open game to quote. I'd like to do that if the comment makes a good point or adds information to the topic.

Secondly, if you are an avid reader here, you may notice one of yesterday's posts is gone. The post, entitled 'prayers of the faithful', discussed the pros and cons of allowing the congregation to publicly express their prayers as opposed to keeping them in the silence of their hearts. I expressed my preference for the latter based on an incident which happened 12 or more years ago in which it seemed two people were using the public prayers of the faithful to have an argument with each other. I did receive a very valid comment from an anonymous poster who wrote that he/she likes to hear these petitions so they could be brought to the rosary. That is a wonderful sentiment.

Yet at the same time my parish generally allows such public expression. As I know that in recent weeks some of my fellow parishioners stop by here occasionally, I think it is prudent to refrain from such posts as they may be misunderstood or misconstrued.

This blog is pretty personal-I don't bare my soul, but I do open my life and thoughts and my family's life to public (albeit a small public) scrutiny. I do this with goodwill. This is not a serious endeavor where I am trying to change the world. My blog is more of an online diary with an occasional plug for our family business. It is not meant to be a forum of controversy-yet sometimes the discussion can be fun. And thus, while I may not shy from the controversial in the future, I will be careful to make sure what I write about can in no way be construed as a personal parish commentary-as my posts seldom have been-even if that seemed to be the case for some.

So, I go forward with great joy on this feast of Ignatius of Antioch.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope -pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On the road again

It seems all I do is drive these days, but I have some business in town and some (birthday ... shhh) errands to run.

Reminder that our newest release (see below) is available now. Our new catalogs will go out in the next week or so. If you want one, send me your address on our "contact us" page. And time is running out to get your Holy Souls booklets for November.

And oh yes, has anyone heard of the "The New American" Magazine dedicated to thwarting the merger of Canada, USA and Mexico (I didn't know it was that imminent.) I received a sample issue in the mail today. I'll have to peruse it.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope --- pray for us...Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 15, 2007


It is one of those recovery days. We had people over on the weekend and a couple late nights-traveled 70 miles and back on Saturday to Kingstree, then travelled to and from Mass on Sunday, and then up to Rock Hill and home again Sunday afternoon and evening. Trying to get back on schedule today is murder. But the prayer and fellowship over the weekend was well worth today's recovery effort.

Of course today is also a big day for us....our first release of 2007: Is It a Baby or just some cells? - the testimony of a nurse practitioner. It is available at our website. You've seen the cover before, but here it is again.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope - pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Our Lady of Joyful Hope!

I mentioned the Charleston Diocese Rosary Celebration at the Shrine in Kingstree on Bethune Catholic regularly for weeks-and here it is come and gone. Three families stayed here and caravaned down together for the celebration. Fr. Stan Smolenski opened the celebration by commenting to us and Bishop Baker of Birmingham that the moment he heard the news of Bishop Baker's appointment to Birmingham, he wrote a letter to Mother Angelica's convent saying, (My paraphrase) "You Stole Our Bishop! Now you are obligated to replace him! Please pray we receive a holy bishop soon."

There was about 200 souls there by my estimation. We said the scriptural rosary and then Bishop Baker said Mass.

The homilest (Fr. Phelan CSC) thought he giving a talk not a homily-so his homily was, in his words, "going to be the longest homily we had ever heard". And it was. I think it was over an hour.

After Mass, we met Bishop Baker again. He blessed our families, and we wished him well and promised him our prayers.

We had a picnic lunch and met old friends.

One thing that Mrs. Curley and I felt in one way or another this weekend is that we need to invoke the intercessson of Our Lady of Joyful Hope much more frequently in the coming days and weeks.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ..... Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, October 12, 2007


Yesterday evening the boys and I started to build a new swingset. An upright had cracked on the old one a few weeks ago. We wanted to get the new one up before the weekend as we are expecting a number of youngsters here. We had taken the old upright posts, cement and all, out of the ground on Saturday.

So with sunlight fading, we got to work. Fortunately, the main beam holding the swings was reusable. By sunset we had the four legs attached to the main beam and some of the supports attached. I am hoping it will be a simple matter to finish up today.


Reminder-as promised-Saturday is the diocesan Rosary Celebration in Kingstree, SC. It starts at 10:30 AM. Bishop Baker of Birmingham, AL will celebrate Mass. It is also the 90th anniversary of the final appearance of Our Lady at Fatima. PicNic lunch (bring your own) to follow. Weather is predicted to be marvelous. Come on down!

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On the road again...

Will be working in other places today, so blogging will be light. I wonder why I feel the need to announce this. Are people actually waiting with baited breath on my next post, my next words of wisdom? Fat chance! Yet myself (an other bloggers) always feel the need to announce that they won't be blogging. Now if you are blogger with thousands (or even hundreds) of daily readers, then obviously people are waiting on your every post, so the announcement may be appropriate. So maybe the rest of us are just pretending we are relevant?

It's a funny thing-in fact the whole blogging phenomenon is a funny thing. I have written about it before, so won't rehash why and who I write for. Even so, the question continually arises in my own mind.

Related to this is the custom among some of doing blogfasts. A more explained phenomenon than blogging itself, to be sure. The only time I contemplated a formal blogfast was when I was teaching last year and felt I had nothing to say because my mind was so cluttered with things to do that I couldn't think properly. But even then I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Well enough discussion, I have work to do.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hoops are back!

We had a wonderful dirt basketball court in our backyard in Columbia. I used it more than anyone as the boys were still pretty young, they were just starting to use it when we moved.

There was a hoop here, but it was mounted on a telephone pole overlooking what is our garden. No good. But I didn't move it for a long time.

Several weeks ago we finally took it down, and this afternoon we relocated it to another telephone pole. This will turn into another wonderful dirt court. (Dirt is easier on the ball and your knees than hardtop.) Now all we have to do is find the pump for the basketball....

Each year as I approach this blog's anniversary (October 18th) I start looking back at posts from the early days. On October 25, 2004 I wrote in part-and this was addressed to Mrs. Curley:

Soon I will finish building the pantry so you have a place to store the food; soon I will take a look at that toilet that rocks precariously; in just a few days I will patch and paint that section overhead where the plaster keeps falling off; and the washer drain .... sooner than you think.

So in three years, how have I done?

Well, the pantry has been finished for a couple years anyway. The toilet (after many false fixes) was replaced (along with the floor) this past spring. The overhead section with loose plaster is unchanged. And the washer drain-finally (again after many false fixes) was taken care of this past spring.

I'm am glad I kept the list short three years ago so my batting average looks okay 3 years hence. As a matter of fact, most of the fixes accomplished were documented here. There is much more to do-some of promised 3 years ago or more...

The Rosary

It is said that if you are not in the habit of saying the rosary daily and you pick up the habit-be bold in your requests in the early days of your new-found practice as our Lady will grant these requests to solidify the habit.

This past Sunday was Respect Life Sunday and many "life-chains' were formed around our state (and I assume around the country.) I'll bet many rosaries were said at these events. There was no "life-chain" in our immediate area, so our parish opted for a rosary after Mass in the Church.

Sunday was also the feast of the Our Lady of the most Holy Rosary-celebrating the victory at Lepanto through the intercession of our Lady. For the second year in a row we were hoping to release our first children's book on this date, which is about Our Lady of Victory (of the Most Holy Rosary)-but haven't had the money to print it (it being full color, the cost structure is different.) Maybe by Christmas?

But tribulations on getting this book printed is an aside and not the object of my post this morning.

No, this weekend, on the anniversary of the miracle at Fatima, our diocese is having its 5th annual Rosary celebration in Kingstree, SC-home of the Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina-of Joyful Hope. I mentioned it before and will be writing about it the rest of this week, and reporting on it next week.

As this year was proclaimed by Bishp Baker (now of Birmingham) as the "year of the family" in our diocese, families are the theme of this celebration. Bishop Baker returns from Birmingham to celebrate the Mass (10:30 AM). Holy Cross Father John Phelan will give the homily. Since the shrine itself is tiny, the Mass will be outdoors at the Kingstree Recreational Park, just down the street.

We are honored that altar boys from my parish are serving the Mass. Picnic lunch (bring your own) follows the Mass.

We've been looking forward to this for a long time. If you are in the area-come and see.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Short announcements

I have posted our yearly deep discounts on Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering on our website with details on the booklet at my other blog in preparation for November-praying for the holy souls in purgatory.

We give these books away free with every order to encourage prayer for these poor souls. The 500 quantity discount is practically at cost-when you consider you get free shipping at this quantity. So take advantage: get one for yourself and distribute some to others. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll remind you all again.

And I have a new post up at The Patent Agent.