Monday, November 29, 2004

A couple gems

"Some day a politician will arise who will be so devoted to truth that he will follow it, knowing that by doing so, he will go down to defeat. That day will be the restoration of politics as principles; it will also be the rebirth of a nation. "
- Fulton Sheen-

"I know an American university where practically every one of the professors brews his own beer; some of them experimenting in two or three different kinds. But what is especially delightful is this: that with this widespread revival of the old human habit of home-brewing, much of that old human atmosphere that went with it has really reappeared. The professor of the higher metaphysics will be proud of his strong ale; the professor of the lower mathematics (otherwise known as high finance) will allege something more subtle in his milder ale; the professor moral theology (whose ale I am sure is the strongest of all) will offer to drink all the other dons under the table without any ill effect on the health. Prohibition has to that extent actually worked the good, in spite of so malignantly and murderously willing the evil. And the good is this: the restoration of legitimate praise and pride for the creative crafts of the home."
-GK Chesterton

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

"God's Secret Agent"

I remember getting an 'Encounter Book' (Daughters of St. Paul) when I was 8-10 years old named "God's Secret Agent" about Miguel Pro, whose feast is today. I was amazed a few years later at seeing an actual photograph of Fr. Pro with hands outstretched with rosary and crucifix just before dying.

We watched "Fiddler on the Roof" for the first time (for the Curley's) the other night. What impressed me about the whole story was that this movie was about the father's ongoing conversation with God. Mrs. Curley and number one daughter think I should do my own rendition of "If I were a Rich Man" at the bonfire sing-along to be held Friday night. I am thinking about it. (Lots of words to memorize at my age though.)

The county library here has a number of old western videos (Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, John Wayne, etc. - although not many books). They had two of the old Zorro serials made during the forties. They also had "The Mark of Zorro" starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr. This is the silent version made in 1920. Douglas Fairbanks does his own stunt work. It is quite entertaining, and in fact the only Zorro movie I have seen which actually has some character development - even though silent.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Around the Piano

Today’s blog by Krystle Curley (Dad started a simple plumbing job yesterday, discovered years of rotting floor and will be fixing it until ............... )

I play piano. It is my favorite thing in the world, not for the delight it affords me, but for the joy that it brings to those who listen. Open a songbook, start plinking out the melody, someone starts singing . . . soon you have a chorus of voices pouring themselves out in the enjoyment of music. And it is from this “pouring out of self” from whence the joy comes.

Singing only works when it comes from the heart- it doesn’t matter if you sing like an angel or a toad as long as your song is honest and deep.

It is an expression of self - one’s beliefs, fatherland, and all else that he loves. Look at our Catholic hymn Faith of our Fathers: “Our fathers, chained in prisons dark, were still in heart and conscience free! And truly blessed would be our fate, if we like them should die for Thee!” Here is a song for all ages of Catholicism; it expresses yearning for martyrdom, love of the saints, and Adoration of God - all in two lines of music.

I am closest to those friends that I can sing with. At school after dinner we gather at the piano and sing whatever sheet music is around. We’ve done the Phantom of the Opera, “Meet me in St. Louis”, “Waltzing Matilda”, and just about everything. I’ve learned Hungarian folk songs (in Hungarian), the Sanctus in Greek, and some Russian song I don’t remember just to please Katherine.

Singing is the most important element of our community - it is a way to get to know what people really love without asking awkwardly, “So, what’s the most important thing in your life?” and “What kind of person are you?”

So there is a risk when you sing. People might get to know you!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Wish I had more time and a request

Not much time today for blogging. I had wanted to write more on music - namely to expound upon my comment on singing songs being an intimate endeavor. It will have to wait a day or so.....

Perhaps I can persuade my daughter, (who is still home from Christendom College with illness), and who is also quite a musician, to blog on this matter in my place. It will be interesting to see if we have an agreement or argument....

The Request ...

We are in the final stages of editing our next book. We hope it won't be our last, but that is always a possibility. It is an original work (not a reprint), and I believe it is an important book. This book needs to sell well - because it has a timely and important message to the bishops and the laity; (we also need it to sell well to keep Requiem Press viable). We are seeking some endorsements. We have already been disappointed in some quarters, but we are going forward. Please pray for success of our efforts.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Theology and Music

A comment at el camino real this morning prompts my thoughts this morning. Country music is discussed here.

Country music, (it seems to me), is a hybrid between popular music and folk music. As such, theologically, (to use the term loosely), country music is a higher form of music than popular music, but a lower form than folk music. What do I mean?

In its highest form, music praises God and is about God. [A diversion: modern hymns from the 'Gather' book are always more about "ME" than about God, and are thus deficient. Traditional hymns praise God and His works]. When we sing praise to God we join the Angelic choir. We preview what we will be doing in Heaven, (Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus). Even when we sing our song of praise 'by ourself', we are in reality not alone - we sing with the angels and the saints.

Folk music celebrates culture. It is not about "ME", but it is about "US", our community, our customs, our traditions. Often these songs tell stories. Even if the story is about an individual, it is in reality about a people. Even if the folk song is a 'love song'; a deeper listen will reveal it is not really about two people in love, but again, about a people and a culture. Thus folk music lends itself to be sung in community. Folk music celebrates culture, and sometimes mourns its loss.

Popular Music tends to be centered on personal relationships - usually love. As such, these songs are most often about "ME", (my lonesomeness, my heartbreak, my joy, my love, my ...). These songs are usually not sung in community, but sung by oneself or to one other person.

At all levels, it seems to me that the singing of songs is a very intimate endeavor. We open our heart and ourselves (almost) entirely to others when we sing with and for them. It is a loss for our society that we do not sing much together in community. When we celebrate together, how often is it that that celebrations have song as a fundamental component? Birthdays seem to be the last remnant of those celebrations in which the general community is willing to sing together without prodding or musical directors. [It has been said that Catholics (and men especially) don't sing in Church.] This is a loss of our vocation. If we don't spend our time on earth practicing and enjoying the things we will do in Heaven - perhaps Heaven is not a place where we will be happy?

In the country where interdependence takes on a greater importance; and because of the isolation and lack of endless (and sometimes mindless) entertainment which can be found in urban areas; folk music and community celebrations where music is part, have survived better than in the cities.

The thoughts above are dedicated to the Nyikos family - who have taught me much and enriched the Curley family's celebrations with music and song.

From the smalling in Bethune...

Elizabeth of Hungary, ora pro nobis!

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Random Thoughts

Saturday I was up on the roof twice; to measure and then install a chimney cap. Friday I was up there to clean it. My roof is not too high, but it is steeper than it looks from the ground. I am just really not a roof guy. I told Mrs. Curley where the life insurance policies were located before going up. And I can confirm that it is possible to navigate a roof and pray with great attention at the same time.

One thing we have found out here in the country is that you need to be able to do most things yourself. Even if cost was not an issue, this is true. The fact is that the only chimney sweep in the county is 40 miles away and only sweeps chimneys on weekends. The only electrician is 35 miles away and teaches full time. You start to get the point. You find yourself doing many things you would have been hiring people to do in a former life - thus my excursions to the roof. This is good though. We have to learn and work together as a family to get necessary things accomplished.

I had a good talk with the folks over at Catholic Men's Quarterly today. While I have not yet seen the magazine "in person", there are some good articles on their website. Check it out.

The chickens that survived "The Slaughter" [see my October archives (don't know how to do the link thing for this)], are getting big. From day to day you can actually see growth. It is amazing.

From the small holding in Bethune ....

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Traditional Feast of St. Stanilaus Kostka

This is a big feast in the Curley house. We are not Polish (Irish mostly), but Saint Stanilaus is Dad's name saint and middle name of one of my boys. It is also the fifth anniversery of my Dad's burial - may his soul rest in peace.

The Curley's will say Morning Prayer from the Office for the Dead this morning.

From the small holding in Bethune ....

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Of Hair Transplants and Patents

Before launching Requiem Press earlier this year, I was a Patent Agent. I worked for a company handling their intellectual property and patent work. I haven't practiced as a Patent Agent for some months.

I am bald. My father was bald and my brothers are all in one stage of baldness or another.

This morning I got a call from the US Patent Office. They had me listed (erroneously) as the Agent of Record on a case. Out of curiousity I asked what case it was - they replied that it was a patent on hair transplants from a company in Norway.

Mrs. Curley thought this was soooo funny.

My father, (may his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace), once told me that it isn't that bald jokes aren't funny - it is that if you are bald, you will have heard every bald joke and variation within about six months - therefore there is nothing left to laugh at.


Kids are still sick (this has never happened before) so Mrs. Curley and I are still on dog and chicken duty. Not that we have anything else to do.

From the small holding in Bethune on the feast of Pope Saint Leo the Great...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Latin Mass in Columbia, SC

Yesterday at 3:00PM at Good Shepard Catholic Church in Columbia, SC the Holy Mass according to the 1962 Missal was celebrated by Fr. George G. Gabet, FSSP, North American district Superior.

Deo gratias!

The 100 or so souls in the congregation (a good turnout for Columbia, SC) were told this is the first of a regular monthly Mass in Columbia.

Deo gratias!

I had the honor of dining with Father Gabet and a few friends last night. Before we went to the restaurant, Father Gabet insisted we visit a cemetery to pray for the poor souls in purgatory, in order that we main gain plenary indulgences for them as this was the 7th of November.

One thing that always impresses me about the Fraternity of Saint Peter priests is how in tune they are with the spiritual needs and concerns of the laity.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Has Fall Come to SC Finally?

We didn't turn the heat on last night and it was 60 degrees, in the house, when we awoke this morning. Most of the kids are still fighting some kind of bug (fever and cough) - so the dogs and chickens got fed, but not much love was administered.

We were going to the air show down the road today. It used to be held in Columbia but was moved to Camden, SC last year. The airfield is not big enough for jets to land so the planes on the ground are from WWI, WWII, and Korea. It is pretty impressive to see some of the WWII bombers take off. It is amazing how they get off the ground going so slowly. Every year the organization running the event, the celebrate freedom foundation, claims it is the largest patriotic event in the country. Two years ago they had the Doolittle Raiders 60 year reunion. This year they feature the Tuskegee Airmen 60 year reunion. Because the kids are sick - we won't be going this year, to their disappointment. However we still may see some planes as we are 16 miles north of the airfield. We will keep our eyes peeled. In the past this show has been a good time.

Being home today, I will finish building the pantry/hutch for Mrs. Curley; finish putting in our winter cabbage crop (if it is not too late already); and if I finish up early, will drive down to Bishopsville to get a 22 rifle to take care of the coyotes I mentioned a few days ago.

From the small holding in Bethune...

Eternal rest give to them O Lord! May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Advance Copies are Here!

I have found it very exciting when that box comes with advance copies of the latest book. The anticipation and the sense of accomplishment are both heightened. Well, it came today - and they look good. I was worried a bit because we had a last minute problem at the printer with the cover.

My good friend Kris Merschat did the cover on "The Maccabees - Forgotten Heroes of Israel" He is a sculptor and painter, but mostly he is a Catholic. You can see his other work on his website here.

Of course you can see the work he did for me here.

Kris and I go for coffee once a week after Morning Prayer and Mass with a group of men at St. Joseph's. He is an occupational therapist by trade, but his vocation and heart is in art. Go here and see his Mother Teresa. He has captured her soul like I have not seen in other sculptures and statues of her.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Opinions on "Catholic Men's Quarterly"?

I was wondering if anyone had seen the new magazine "Catholic Men's Quarterly".

I have not seen it. I saw an article about it on catholicexchange this summer.

I am curious if it is worth a look.

Of St. Charles Borromeo and Spanking

I used to work for a company with corporate headquarters in Milan, Italy. Thus several times I was called to Italy on business. On my first trip I had some free time on my first afternoon in Milan. I took the bus to the Duomo (the Cathedral). It was the largest church I had ever seen (in fact I believe it is one of the largest in Europe). I believe it was either started or finished (or both) by St. Charles Borromeo. In any case, I entered the Cathedral, prayed looked around and found my way to a staircase on the far side of the front of the Church. The staircase led down to a kind of small museum. A man was collecting an entrance fee equivalent to about 40 cents US currency. He didn't speak English and I knew no Italian, so we just smiled at each other. In these small rooms were many chalices, vestments, monstronses, etc. At the far end there was a chapel whose entrance was blocked by a wall of glass. On the altar was a life-size statue of a man - a bishop lying in state. The face of the statue was silver, but the hand was flesh-tone. As I gazed at the statue, I commented inwardly that the sculptor was very skilled. The hand looked as real as my own.

And in fact the Sculptor is the most skilled - as you probably have discerned by now, the 'statue' was in fact the incorrupt body of St. Charles Borromeo.


The subject of spanking came up in conversation this morning after Mass. The Curley's are firm believers in spanking - with certain ages and conditions.

But my purpose is not to discourse on this so much as the finer points of spanking: Hand or Rod?

In practical terms I find the hand is better. I know how hard I am striking if I use my hand - hard enough to hurt, as in sting - but not hard enough to hurt, as in damage.

Some people however say that a rod or belt or some other instrument is better to use because the child should be afraid of the rod and not the parent. Further, they say that the discipline instrument should be separate from the parent.

Personally, I want the hand that hugs to be the hand that spanks. If the child is truly afraid of the parent, then there may be something else amiss (or the spankings are too hard).

Not that there is a dogmatic theology to spanking, but I want my children to know that punishment is part of love. God punishes those he loves - in order for them to turn back to Him. Certainly God uses other "instruments" to do His work at times. However this nuance is lost on a simple child. Spanking (and punishing in general) is the worst and most difficult part of being a father (that I have experienced so far) - however - and I have told my children this right before the spanking is administered - it is also a sign and act of love.

From the small holding in Bethune ....

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Morality, Religion and the Law

I have heard it countless times from Republicans, Democrats, and others: "You can't legislate religion". What they really mean is that you can't legislate morality! If you point this out, you get a shrug, "What's the difference?"

I understand that religion is concerned with what you believe about God and how you worship Him.

Morality is the set of rules by which you live. Morality is based on Natural Law. We must legislate morality or society collapses. If we make laws which are an affront to Natural Law, those laws are unjust and bad for society.

Religion = Morality: Doesn't this go back to the beliefs of some of our country's founding fathers who were Deists? Isn't this idea rooted in American Protestantism? That is: "Religion is good because it brings order to society", not because it is good in and of itself as the worship of God.

Am I wrong about this? Why do I know so many "good Catholics" who equate religion and morality?

This deepset belief that morality equals religion and therefore is part of the so-called 'separation of church and state' (another discussion) results in this type of illogical reasoning:

"We can't legislate religion, it is un-American. But we will say (to get your vote) - and understand, now we are really sticking our necks out: Abortion is the killing of a fetus who is an innocent human being, depriving them of their inalienable rights; unless of course the father of the fetus is a rapist, then the fetus is not a human being at all and has no rights." Makes good sense huh? We can't legislate morality - it would be immoral.

Isn't this just another way of stating this gem from ethics class: "What is true for you may not be true for me"?; or Dick Cheney's recent comment on homosexual marriage: "As long as it does't hurt anyone it should be legal". (Note: not an exact quote).

I am confounded when I get into these discussions because there is no common ground to begin the discussion.

But today we should rejoice that the Mexico City policy remains intact with Mr. Kerry's defeat. We should rejoice that we have at least 2 new US Senators who believe that all abortions are wrong - no exceptions - and are pledged to fight this evil scourge.

Today let us pray for our country, and as always ....

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

All Souls Day -

Today in the Curley family we will pray for the souls of Stanley Roland Curley - my dearly beloved father; Grandparents (and Great Grandparents): Anna & John Curley, Richard & Dorothy Shaw, Grandpa & Ocenia Long, William & Catherine Latter, Alice Hoyt, Nana Coswell, Elmer Mitchell; Aunts and Uncles: Chet & Grace Curley, Walter & Donna Curley, Bobby Curley, Peggy Curley, George Latter, James Long, John Curley, Mary Curley, Robert & Margaret Shaw, Lawrence & Virginia Merchant.

We will also pray especially today for others we think of, who may have passed long ago - but who may not have anyone praying for their souls. The names mentioned in past years have ranged from neighbors to such as Davy Crockett.

This is also a special feast for Requiem Press, as we take our name from the prayers for the dead - because our family commitment to praying for the Holy Souls, and we ask protection from those souls we help. In keeping with this commitment, our first published book(let) was Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering - a daily committment to praying for the holy souls in purgatory. Our next book (set to be released this week) is The Maccabees - Forgotten Heroes of Israel - 2 Machabees provides the primary scriptural support for praying for the dead: "It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." 2 Mac. 12:46.
May the souls of your departed loved ones be brought into the Beatific Vision for eternity this day!

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen. -- Eternal rest grant to them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Cup Custard and All Saints Day

I normally don't spend much time in the kitchen (other than an occasional breakfast). It's not that I don't like to cook, (I can vaguely remember my bachelor days of hot dogs and beans every night), but when you have a Mrs. Curley who cooks like she does, there is no reason, normally. There have been a few times when Mrs. Curley has been on bed rest or other thankfully short occasions when I have donned the apron. Few of my younger children remember these times because the last was several years ago.

So yesterday, with Mrs. Curley feeling sick (along with a couple of the kids), and with baking to be done for the first All Saints Day party Mrs. Curley is running at our new parish, I had to step in the gap and do some baking. The youngest children looked at me with a mixture of confusion and amusement as I started whipping things together. (The best compliment I received was that I was neater than Mom.)

As a few of the kids were sick, I also made some cup custard. Cup custard is a wonderful but strange concoction. It was always a favorite of mine when I was a child - but you only got it when you were sick - making the eating always a mixed blessing. It is full of protein (eggs) but has a mild and subtle taste. The taste is so subtle in fact that you just can't seem to grab hold of it - making you want more. But it never quite satisfies.

The rest of the evening was spent putting together saints costumes for the kids. This year we have a St. Patrick, St. Bernadette, St. Rita, St. Padre Pio, St. John Birchman, and St. Gabriel Lalemant.

It was a quiet night - no tricker-treaters on country roads, but we did have a visit from a pack of coyotes, wolves, or wild dogs. We scared them off before knowing exactly what they were.


"After this I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: And they cried out with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb. ..... And he said to me: These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night ..." Rev. 7: 9-10, 14-15

A blessed feast of All Saints!

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!