Wednesday, May 31, 2006

UPDATE: Forgot to mention the highlight of the afternoon, when oldest daughter started yelling, "Get out of the water--Shark! Shark! She and Mrs. Curley had seen a fin lurking in the water some 15-20 feet from me. I did see the fin myself but not at such a close distance. After talking to some locals, it appears it was more likely a dolphin than a shark. But we did stay out of the water for a bit after that.

When hear from my office voices and feet at 6:15 AM there is either a fire, or a beach trip is being assembled. This morning it is fortunately the latter. Isle of Palms just outside of Charleston was the destination. We found a quiet and uncrowded stretch of beach and swam and played for several hours. This was the first family beach trip in a couple years where I didn't edit a manuscript on the beach (although I brought one with me.)

Great fun, but back to work tomorrow.


Looks like we may get some more chickens this very soon. I was down buying rabbit feed the other day at the local feed store and they had some week old Rhode Island Reds-mostly hens. It has been some months since we had chickens around here. I need to fix the doors to the hen yard/coop, but other than that, I think we're ready for them again.

Having your own supply of eggs and the occasional bird for the pot is worth (at least for me, maybe not for the child with the chores) the trouble they are.

On that note, we haven't planted yet on the portion of our garden where the chicken tractor was rotated. Probably this week (we are a little late in some of our planting). Can't wait to see how it goes (or grows).

Surprisingly some of the small apple trees we inherited are giving fruit this year. Our area is good for peaches but not apples, so we will see how this goes.

That's all for now. Back to work.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Battleground

Was cruising around st. blogs this afternoon and read this in the comment box of the Pertinacious Papist:

I think funerals are the big battleground for the faith - after all, this is what we teach the faith for.

How true. We all need to die well. Also, funerals are a chance to reach many lapsed Catholics.

I think I will leave instructions for the priest who is preaching at my funeral that he better not come out with: "He's in Heaven now" (cause I probably won't be) . Preach a homily on purgatory and offering Masses for the dead. Preach the 4 last things.

Historical Perspective

One of the great errors of our times is judging all of history by today's customs and standards (some of whose standards are pretty lousy anyway). So it was with some joy I read these words from our Holy Father in a ZENIT dispatch last week:

..."we must guard against the arrogant claim of setting ourselves up to judge earlier generations, who lived in different times and different circumstances.

"Humble sincerity is needed in order not to deny the sins of the past, and at the same time not to indulge in facile accusations in the absence of real evidence or without regard for the different perceptions of the time."


"As we ask pardon for the wrong that was done in the past, we must also remember the good accomplished with the help of divine grace which, even if contained in earthenware vessels, has borne fruit that is often excellent."

The Weekend

Summer finally arrived this weekend in our neck of the woods. May can be very hot, but not this year. We didn't hit 90 (F) until this weekend.

We spent Saturday catching up on some neglected areas-the lawn, a little cleaning, etc. I think I did something else, but it seems so long ago, I don't remember. I know I worked hard, whatever it was.

We also learned some great friends of ours who had moved away a couple years ago for a job will be moving back to SC sometime this summer. This is great news. The head of the family along with myself and another friend used to have novena and beer nights (after the sacraments, two of the greatests things invented by God) here and there.

Sunday we again were blessed with the opportunity to say the rosary with friends. We had a belated May Crowning - followed by the rosary and much fun for the adults and the children (although it may be some time before my joints recover fully from the soccer game.)

Monday, I slept later than I have in many months. Played a few games with the younger children, spent a couple hours weeding the garden, napped after lunch, took the dog for a walk in the woods, and ended the day watching the classic, (Leslie Howard version) The Scarlet Pimpernal. (Quite timely as I am reading about the French Revolution in Warren Carroll's "The Revolution Against Christendom" presently.)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Two Friends are back!

After a short hiatus, both Jeff at Hallowed Ground and The Moon Wanderer - or the Wandering Moon are back writing. Thanks to both for returning to share their thoughts.

Mrs. Curley & I took our CCD class to tour the St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Charleston, SC. We had been trying to see if Bishop Baker would have a few moments to speak with us. We were finally told that we could meet the bishop only if we could be there by 10:15 because Bishop Baker was leaving town. (It is 3 hours from our parish). At 10:00 it was apparant we would be late due to traffic, and so called from the road with our apologies. We rolled into the Cathedral parking lot at 10:30 sharp, and there was Bishop Baker and our tour guide waiting.

Bishop Baker spent about 15 minutes with our group and then left. The tour guide gave us an an 90 minute tour. We heard Mass, and then went on to the beach for a few hours before heading home.

It was a great way to wrap up the CCD year.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Quick Note

I know I've been scarce-this will probably continue through the weekend-but who knows?

Review of Giving Up Stealing ... for Lent! was posted on Amazon today: here. Check it out.

In other news, there seems to be a battle going on in my comment box slightly below regarding the prank being played on me. I will let the "conspirators" work it out amongst themselves and await an informer....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More reviews...

Catholic Online and North West Indiana Catholic (official paper for the diocese of Gary Indiana) have printed reviews (here and here) of Russell Shaw's book: Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church-available of course here .

New in the family!

Welcome to my new nephew in Kentucky: John Paul who was born this Thursday last-birthday of John Paul II.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Okay, Whoever you are, It Has Gone Far Enough!

If you are a regular reader, you may recall this post from April. Well I got a new installment of the prank today...Rabbits for Dummies at my PO Box in town. The return address turns out to be the Holiday Inn in Clearwater, FL (and yes, it was mailed from there.) Apparently someone in my family has been reading our rabbit travails and is rubbing it in to this failed rabbit farmer. (see any number of posts in the last few months, especially around Easter, I think.) Or maybe they are trying to help, (I think one rabbit is pregnant now-of course I have wrong before.)

Well, whoever it is better watch out. One of my sons runs a detective agency (ala Encyclopedia Brown), "no case too small." I'll set him on the track! I have my ideas-in fact I believe that Mrs. Curley has joined the opposing forces and knows a little bit more about this then she's let on. That's why she has been afraid to show her face up here in the office since my daughter delivered the package to me. We shall see.

(And I thought it was new manuscript to evaluate.)

Father's Day...(advertisement-sorry)

Father's day is coming up.... sometime in the near future (I am really bad with these Hallmark holidays-we don't really celebrate them much here-but if you do, have I got a deal....)

A great present you can get any Dad on Father's Day is a subscription to Catholic Men's Quarterly (CMQ). [You can get it at the CMQ website (see previous link) or order through RequiemPress - although you can't get it at our website, only by mail or phone order.] Here's the blurb:

CMQ fills a gap in the world of Catholic publishing. Among all the excellent and not-so-excellent journals available, not one (so far as we know) is a general interest men’s magazine. CMQ makes an ideal Father’s Day gift for Catholic Men of all ages.

Catholic Men’s Quarterly, a one-of-a-kind general interest men’s magazine written by Catholic men for Catholic men. 48 pages every quarter devoted to defending the Faith against unjust attack, clear and concise explanation of Catholic doctrine, and stories of heroic and saintly Catholics, CMQ is distinguished by its aggressive and humorous tone and the inclusion of other content of interest to men: sports, humor, travel, military history, etc. Whether you are practicing or lapsed, devout or disaffected, this is the magazine for you. So give us a try and treat yourself (or someone you love) to the magazine for Catholic men, the Catholic Men’s Quarterly.

Browsing through the latest issue I read the likes of Charles Coulombe, Michael Greaney, Mitchell Kalpakgian, J.M. McCarthy, John Zmirak, and other great Catholic writers of our time.

1 Year US: $20 / 1 Year Canada: $25 / 1-Year rest of the World: $33

[Another good gift-if you need more than one-would be Giving Up Stealing ... for Lent! - see the sidebar ]

Hurrah!...Let's stick to it now

From CWNews via CatholicExchange :

In a letter to the president of the US bishops' conference, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has strongly underlined the importance of proper translations for liturgical texts.

Cardinal Francis Arinze warned Bishop William Skylstad that his office could not approve new translations unless they conform to the principles set forth in Liturgiam Authenticam, the Vatican instruction of March 2001. The cardinal also said that existing texts must be brought into conformity with Liturgiam Authenticam, and the US bishops will not receive permission to continue using defective texts.

...Apparently hoping to ward off the possibility of major amendments to the proposed texts, Cardinal Arinze warns Bishop Skylstad that his office is "not competent to grant the recognitio for translations that do not conform to the directives of Liturgiam Authenticam.

In defense of existing translations, liturgists (again including Bishop Trautman) have suggested that a change in translations could prove unsettling to Catholics who have become accustomed to the current liturgical texts. Cardinal Arinze's letter anticipated that argument, responding that "it is not acceptable to maintain that people have become accustomed to a certain translation for the past thirty or forty years, and therefore that it is pastorally advisable to make no changes.

Cardinal Arinze reminds the USCCB president that the Vatican has found "good and strong reasons for a change" in the translations of the Roman Missal and other liturgical texts. While indicating a willingness to discuss minor amendments to the proposed translations, he insists that "the revised text should make the needed changes."

This is a long time coming. If we finally get proper translations AND the a document (rumored for October) directing the choice of proper music for the liturgy... then we can finally take a look to see how the Novus Ordo, celebrated as intended, fits the reform of the liturgy envisioned by Vatican II.

Monday, May 22, 2006

condoms and lesser evils

Meant to link to this on Saturday, but ran out of time. Russell Shaw is discussing the recent news from the Vatican on studies concerning whether married couples can use condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS. The argument for such a permission is a flawed one of course, based on a theory of 'lesser evils' usually in the context of being "pastoral". I liked this line from the article especially:

But what about the pastoral tactic of urging someone bent on doing something very bad — assassination, let's say — to do something not quite so bad — a little knee-capping instead, perhaps? Isn't that a case of choosing the lesser evil?


The Rosary

I keep repeating myself, but sometimes, it is worth it...not my words, but the message.

Once again this weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to say the rosary with another family (as well as eat and dance and talk and talk...)

I can not recommend often enough or with enough vigor the practice of the family rosary and especially the practice of families coming together to say the rosary. It centers the day of fun and camraderie on prayer and on God. It brings families closer together than otherwise possible.

Praying together, whether it be with spouse, friends, siblings, etc. is one sure way to get close-to cement your relationship with God as center.

Joy revisited...

On Thursday last, I posted a quick thought about joy-how it is often when our heart is burdened in sorrow, God shows us the joy that should replace our sorrow. I used the example of my Dad's passing (may his soul rest in peace.) However, it was an impending announcement which brought this thought to mind last week.

This weekend our beloved pastor, Fr. John O'Holohan SJ announced he was being transfered to another parish by summers' end. So I grieve at our loss-but rejoice in how God has abundantly blessed St. Catherine's parish and the Curley's personally in these past few years with Fr. John's presence in our midst.

We are not sending him off yet-he still has a month or two with us-but may God bless Fr. O'Holohan in his new parish and bless St. Catherine's with another good and holy priest!

Friday, May 19, 2006

There is no pleasure in this...

Of course most of us have read "the statement" from the Vatican by now. (I read it at Amy Welborn's.)

"After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided - bearing in mind Fr. Maciel's advanced age and his delicate health - to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions."

This of course is the result of an investigation into certain crimes alleged against The founder of the Legionnaires of Christ and the lay movement Regnum Christi. As you can read in the comment boxes, many think this is solution leaves much in the air. The LC themselves have released a statement saying in essence (my interpretation - read it at the first link for yourself) this is an unjust penance (basically denying any allegations), but which coming from the Vatican, they will obey. Of course the Vatican statement implies the founder's guilt, but does not specifically either identify the crime or the weight of evidence.

Most religious orders, especially during the time where the founder is alive and the few generations following his death, rely tremendously on the spirituality of the founder's words and writings. Fr. Marciel was not just the head of the order, he is the founder. I have been on several (wonderful I might add) condensed Ignatian Retreats with the LC. When they do the stations of the cross, they use meditations from the founder. When we ate, we listened to readings from the Founder. You get the picture. I think their weekly (Regnum Christi) meetings also rely heavily on the founder's meditations. The founder's spirituality permeates their lives.

How do they go on? They can either deny (as they seem to have been doing) any wrong-doing by their founder (and the Vatican statement almost gives them this option by its vagueness); or they can try to purge the order of his influence. Either way, it seems to me irreparable damage is done.

I have met many good LC priests. I have several good friends in Regnum Christi. I am sad this day especially for them.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I haven't done much linking to other blogs recently. I think it is partially because I am realizing that more people already read them than they do me-so the link becomes circular? But there is some good stuff out there at the usual suspects, (see my sidebar).

We had a May Crowning and pizza party for the last night of CCD yesterday. Our pastor took 5 minutes to urge the children to develop their prayer life.


Have you ever noticed that it is just when your heart is starting to be heavily burdened with sorrow at a loss that God lifts you with joy? One example: this happened when my Dad died, which was sudden and unexpected. I loved him and missed him right away-and yet joy filled my heart because I knew he had been faithful to God and I knew how much I had been blessed by having him as my father. The joy overcame the grief...

Something to try at home ...

From yesterdays ZENIT dispatch:

Finally, Benedict XVI invited newlyweds "to make the praying of the rosary in the family a moment of spiritual growth under the maternal gaze of the Virgin Mary."

(Also, try it with your friends...)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

When it rains...

Last CCD class tonight; looking at a consulting job; considering the job that we interviewed for last week; planning meeting (CCD) ; meeting with author this morning; last minute book changes, fired then re-hired on another 'let's make ends meet' odd-job; figuring out which order to pay the bills; ship a couple orders out the door. Everything bin happ'n at once. Got some stuff to say, but no time to say it til tomorrow....

Martyrs & Saints

Lost a long post last night on Pope Benedict's letter to the Congregation for Causes of Saints. Sort of old news, (letter was written in April and blogged about in a few places), but the text was on my ZENIT dispatch last night, so I thought I would comment again. However, if you want to know more about it, I did post on it with links at my other blog on April 28th (by the way, my last update over there.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Revolution Against Christendom

I am reading it-even if I haven't posted on it yet. I note that there appears almost to be a mini-war betweem the reviewers on Amazon. (See my original post - actually the comments attached to it from a week or so ago.) Thus, I will let them wage their war and enjoy the book myself.

Stay tuned...

Worth Repeating

This photo appeared in the local paper in a story about Ash Wednesday (see my original post here). I got my hands on an original so I thought I would post it again.

Of course this is Fr. John O'Holohan S.J. , pastor of St. Catherine's in Lancaster, SC. He is also the author of several books (2 of which we carry.)

Perhaps one of Fr. John's best books is entitled "Enjoy Your Bible". Not many copies are still available (outside our parish CCD program) ...


Furrow No. 234

You asked the Lord to let you suffer a little for Him. But when suffering comes in such a normal human form-family difficulties and problems...or those awkward things of ordinary life-you find it hard to see Christ behind it. Open your hands willingly to those nails...and your sorrow will be turned into joy.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Weekend

Saturday we took the CCD class on a hike to 40-acre rock just outside of Lancaster. It was a beautiful day; it felt more like a late spring day in New England than May in SC. We hiked about 3/4 mile in. The waterfall had little water running down it-but there was a stream, and it was slippery as one of the group found out the hard way. He cut his leg-it wasn't so bad, but it was big enough and my first aid kit was deficient enough that we decided to turn back. (Fixed the deficiency in my first aid kit. I should know better with all the times I have been out in the wilderness.)

We went back to St. Catherine's cleaned the cut and decided to have field day there. We ate lunch, said the Rosary (Feast of our Lady of Fatima), and then played volleyball much of the afternoon. Interesting that when divying up the decades of the Rosary before starting, there were plenty of vocal volunteers for each decade. These are good kids and a credit to their families. Despite our early return to the parish, I think the day went very well and was fun for all.

Sunday, went to Mass. While most of the his sermon focussed on our Heavenly Mother, Father made the very true observation that Mothers are the joy of the home-and that if Mom is happy the house is happy; if Mom is unhappy, the household is miserable. A good point we husbands (and kids) should keep in mind....

We still have a few under the weather at home-but things are improving as I write this Monday morning. Our first year here we were virtually the picture of health (except one bug early on). This year we have had a few nagging sicknesses run through the house.

Talked to my brother in NH this weekend. His newly finished basement spent several hours submerged in water this weekend. Hope the rains stops up there soon.

We had a hail storm ourselves yesterday. It rained on and off most of the afternoon. But had a period of hail. It was in between golf-ball and marble-size. It really scared the dogs. For a while afterward they were afraid to leave the porch.

Busy week coming up. We have a couple necessary trips into the city-unfortunately. Last week of CCD for the year -and planning meeting for next year.

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

Friday, May 12, 2006

Heard this on the news in my travels this week. The discussion was about who should get vaccines if the there was a Asian Bird flu pandemic-as there would not be enough to go around. The conventional wisdom was that after first responders and health care workers were vaccinated, the young and elderly would be next. However, the current of issue of Science Magazine (subscription required apparently, summary here) has an article which argues differently: Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Alan Wertheimer contend that "Rather than thinking only about saving the most lives when considering vaccine rationing strategies, a better approach would be to maximize individuals' life span and opportunity to reach life goals."

According to the radio piece I heard, the authors recommend that those 13 - 40 should be the first for vaccines based on 2 principles: 1. everyone should have the opportunity to live through an entire lifespan (thus don't save the elderly, they have already had their chance); and 2. those who have already an 'investment' in life should benefit before those who haven't (thus don't safe the young).

Funny how the very young and the very old (the weakest) are always the ones to be shifted aside for the benefit of others.

But the fundamental problem with this philosophy is the propostion that some lives are somehow more valuable than others. Don't even save the most people, save certain segments. Today it is the 13-40 age group, tomorrow it is the group with the right ethnic background and political or religious beliefs. (Disclaimer: the whole value of vaccinations in general is an entirely further discussion.)

Update on things

Well, had the interview this morning. It went well I would say. Should know something in a week or so. It is teaching position. One comment about my resume was, "Well, if he taught nuns before and survived, he should do okay here."

It is true, I used to teach college classes in science and math to some wonderful nuns part-time in the evenings some years ago. Their convent wanted them to get a college education and it was cheaper to bring in teachers than to enroll them all in the local college. I taught Physics twice, Chemistry once, and College Algebra once. The Physics was by far the most fun for both the students and myself. I don't think any of them will ever forget the cartoons I drew of a pregnant Mrs. Curley on the blackboard when I was explaining why pregnant women have backaches (hint: it has to do with center of gravity).

Want to be part of a revolution?

Okay, maybe revolution is a bit exaggerated. Yesterday I read this over at People of the Book. (If you go to the link and read the comments there, maybe this isn't exactly what it appears to be, but that be as may...) It got me thinking.

So here's the deal. I have a half a dozen or so "review copies" left of our latest release: "Giving Up Stealing for Lent!" (and other family stories). (Review copies may have slight damage, or may have minor uncorrected errors in them.)

If you have your own blog, I will send you a review copy for free-all you have to do is:

1. promise to read it within the next month or so, and
2. Write at least a one paragraph review of it (the paragraph should include a link to RequiemPress as publisher) on your blog.

The review must be honest (does NOT have to be positive-although we like good reviews. But in this business a bad review is better than no review. Controversy sells books also.) Including a picture of the book in review post is helpful-and you can use an Amazon link too as it is available there.

So if you have the time and want a free book, email me with your address [infoATrequiempressDOTcom] or fill out the comment box at the "Contact Us" section of the RP website.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sitting here with a Pabst Blue Ribbon...

Mrs. Curley had to stop somewhere for medicine on the way home from the doctors' (2 down with walking pneumonia-I know, it this sob story for real?) and got some medicine for me in the form of PBR. In different parts of the country various brands of beer have great popularity. Coors in the Rocky Mountain States, etc. etc. In the South it's "Ice Cold Beer". It don't matter the brand as long as its ice cold. (This actually was the result of a professional survey some 20 years ago.) So PBR-ice cold-well its not as good as Guiness, but then again, what is?

Was in Columbia on Tuesday and heard an old Merle Haggard favorite on the radio. I heard it in years-mostly cause I seldom listen to radio anymore. But hearing this song prompted me to listen to the country radio station for a bit longer. In some senses I am sorry I did, cause there was not much else on there to celebrate. Here goes, if listen hard you can hear me singing it:

I've been throwing horseshoes
Over my left shoulder
I've spent most all my life
Searching for that four-leafed clover

Yet you ran with me,
Chasing my rainbows
And honey I love you, too
that's the way love goes.

Speaking of country music, I am more partial to folk/bluegrass. I really don't know exactly what you would call what I like, but I know what I like when I hear it.

I need to find a copy (I think I sold mine in a yard sale by mistake one time) of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken Vol. II album. There is a Volume I, which I would probably like but never had a copy. The album is basically a bunch of country singers and players sitting around a living room singing songs-hosted by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. There was some really good country music on that (those) albums.

Taking stock and other things

As regular readers are aware, I run RequiemPress. I also take on other jobs as necessity demands to make ends meet; because a two year old Catholic publishing company (unless a well-funded non-profit) does not easily support a family of our size (if any). Thus, I have run newspaper routes, sold crafts, done some patent consulting work (my former profession) etc. on the side.

I have a job interview tomorrow morning for a position which would provide steadier and regular pay (maybe benefits too!) - but still allows a flexible enough schedule for us to continue the RP endeavor here. I won't get too specific, but it is a job with some long seasonal periods off, which would allow us to continue to put out new books-albeit maybe at a slower pace at times. But we could grow the business and put some $$ back into the business instead of using it all to feed us. Certainly, I am not thrilled to work away from home, but I need to do whatever it takes. And this would be a position, if I get it, I would enjoy. (My youngest daughter who is 4 doesn't remember me going off to work every morning, as my office is at home.)

Now if I had 10,000 readers or so a day here at Bethune Catholic, I would simply put up a 'PayPal' button and ask for donations once in a while (ala Mark Shea) and we'd probably be fine-our needs are very modest; and I would do this because I do believe we are doing (or at least trying) something important and worthwhile-and slowly but surely, with God's help, Requiem Press is succeeding.

However, readership here is only a few dozen a day; amazingly even with these small numbers the readers here have generously bought more than their share of books from us-especially last Sept-October, when you literally provided our groceries and paid our critical bills for a month or so by answering our appeal to purchase the Holy Souls prayer books.

I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Catholic community-both locally in my parish, and here in st. blogs. When I initially read Deus Caritas Est, I was deeply moved when I realized that we, the Curley's, (though we are ourselves had often been selfish in past times when our money was in plentiful supply), were benefiting from Christian charity like that of the early Christians-charity as described in Acts 4: 34-35 ("For neither was there any one needy among them. For as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the price of the things they sold, And laid it down before the feet of the apostles. And distribution was made to every one, according as he had need. ")

So today, and in the coming days as we try to discern God's will, please say a prayer that we are open to God's will for us. If your prayers are even half as effective as your material generosity has been-we will be rich indeed. We have just completed our 2nd year in business, and certainly (God-willing) are looking forward to many more books and many more years.

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

Parish Life and New Movements

I'm sure that anyone who reads this blog reads Amy Welborn's first, so what am I doing linking to a post (here) she put up a few days ago? But this part really struck me:

It's a fascinating moment, comparable to the 12th and 13th centuries, which saw the flourishing of not only mendicant orders, but a variety of lay spiritualities, as well as the post-Reformation era.

But what's up with them? Why have they been encouraged so? Shouldn't the parish be the locus of lay religious life?

Well, yes, but one of the theories behind analysis of JPII's support for New Movements was that he sensed that in Europe at least, parish life was hopeless and dead, and even seriously off the rails spiritually and theologically. The only hope for spiritual revival among the laity in Europe would be from movements external to parishes.

In the US, there have been tensions between "new movements" and "regular" parish life, dating back to the days of the Charismatic Renewal, to be honest. The Legionaries of Christ in the present day are mentioned frequently as a source of problems in this regard. It can definitely be a problem.

And then some samplings from the comments:

I have mixed feelings about the role of the new movements in the American Church. I suppose any movement that has the ability to bring one closer to Christ in communion with His Church is a good thing, but I think the individuals who have separated themselves from the institutional church might be better served by working to improve the institutional Church.

And another:

At the same time, as I've been reading about Opus Dei lately, I've been wondering, 'Why does it have to exist? If it claims that its main purpose is to help the faithful strive after holiness in their daily lives in the middle of the world, shouldn't this be something that every parish should be doing?'

And another:

If a movement is merely a refuge, I say to hell with it. And, certainly, movements are not immune to the sin and weakness found everywhere in the Church. Instead, a movement is a way of fostering a shared way of life within the Church.

And interestingly, one comment directs us to this blog - see especially the series on 'Parish vs. Lay Movement" or the mission of a parish which were posted in February.

Now, after all that, my two cents. First, if the movement is inspired by God, then it has a purpose in the life of the Church-whether we can discern the purpose or not. (God's ways are not our ways....). Related: if the movement is inspired by man-then flee.

Maybe it is not apparent in the Northeast where I am from originally, but in the deep South you see a unique phenonmenon. Go through any town-big or small (and it really doesn't matter how small)-and count the Baptist Churches. You have the 1st Baptist Church of XX, the 2nd Baptist Church of XX, the reformed Baptist Church of XX---you get the idea. Here there are splits due to theology and sometimes (probably) spirituality of the pastor and congregation.

Yet in the Catholic Church different spiritualities do not (if they are from God) spawn different churches, but different movements within the Church. The Church recognizes that there are (within certain parameters) different possible journeys or paths to God because He made us individuals. The parish is the center of our normal Catholic community-but it can not always satisfy every individual spirituality. We are unified in the Eucharist and in our Faith. Those are constant. But within that, there are many legitimate ways to pray, to plan your life around God, etc.

So for my two cents, the parish and the movements must exist and cooperate side by side. The movements are usually a special call to a deeper prayer life-which then often blossems into a new apostolate. It is good that the Church 'allows' God to be in charge-to call individuals to live their vocations in unique ways instead of trying to box everyone in the same package. The parish cannot be fall prey to petty jealousy (as is often the case), but should embrace the new movements. The movements must recognize the central role of the parish and not set up shop in competition.

Certainly today, some people try to use a new an orthodox movement as a refuge. (I have read how some Roman Catholics have fled to Eastern Catholic parishes as a refuge from heterodox Roman parish-with not so good results. The Romans tried to "romanize" the Byzantines. Bad case of taking refuge outside your own vocation.) Sometimes going cross town, (or farther) is necessary to safeguard the faith of your children if craziness rules in the home parish. But such steps should be taken with care-realizing that God had put you in a certain place and time for a purpose.

I guess much more could be written...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


We are going to take our CCD class to "forty acre rock" someday soon. Hike, lunch, rosary, catch the 'sights', and then hike and home. Should be a fun time.

I have to plan a hiking/camping trip with the family sometime. It is one of those activities which we have not had time to do since we moved to Bethany. (It is ironic how the some of the changes we made in moving here affected so many things we didn't anticipate: like time and means to go on hiking and camping trips-but this is the subject for its own post someday.)

In researching the present trip (which is a day trip) I came across information on Mount Crowder in NC (link here). This looks like it may have some potential for a trip... We have never been hiking in NC before and this doesn't look too far away.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Reading now...

I am reading Warren Carroll's "Revolution against Christendom" (see Saturday's entry) and will post on it periodically-although my review will be tainted by the Amazon review discussed in the comments to my original post. I say tainted because my reviews will probably particularly address those things mentioned in the Amazon review instead of simply focussing on what struck me.

In the meantime, I had already started El Dorado, further adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernal by Baroness Orczy (Dover Classics). My long-time readers (if any) may recall this post from over a year ago where I discussed two great love stories on film and literature, both of which involved a married couple-one being the original Scarlet Pimpernal. (If you see the movie, make sure it is the Leslie Howard version-a true classic.) Well, this current read is a sequel. As far as I have read, it may not be a classic as the original (few sequels are), but it does hold the attention.

Lofty heights

Giving Up Stealing .... For Lent! (and other family stories) reached the lofty heights of a 52,261 ranking yesterday on (See sidebar for cover.) One point of note: this really isn't meant to be a book for children. (I have been asked-probably because the cover illustration may make you think it could be). While a good number of the stories could be read to children, there are a handful of quotes in the book which use cruder language. This is after all, the true story of the author's family adventures, and while much is humorous, life and death and other serious issues are also part of the history.

Russell Shaw's book (Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church) hit these heights also once-I think it was back in December.

Of course I would rather you buy our books directly from the RequiemPress website or your local Catholic bookstore, but I'll take the sales either way.

Midlands Holy Family Fund

I help out publishing the newsletter for the subject organization. The Midlands Holy Family Fund (MHFF) was established to assist families (especially Catholic families in the local community) in a temporary financial crisis. It is local to the Columbia area. Someone loses a job, gets a debilitating disease, etc. the MHFF is there to tide them over while they figure out how to adjust to the new situation. (A lot of organizations won't help you until you are almost destitute. MHFF tries to step in before this so that finances don't cause an additional disruption to family life during the greater crisis.)

MHFF was started a few years ago when the father of 11 children was diagnosed with MS. His health deterioration was accelerated by the active nature of his job-he was no desk jockey. The family 'developed' large medical bills and he soon had to retire as a relatively young man. MHFF was formed to provide a conduit for people in the community to support this family until they could again support themselves (and other families like them). The idea is that if all (many) families give just a little on a monthly basis, a monthly stipend can be used to support the family in need. (In writing the cover article this time for the newsletter, Benedict's first encyclical and the description of the early Christian communities in Acts kept popping up.)

The concept has worked pretty well so far. That first family is almost out of the woods (father has retired, disability has started to kick in, and mom has finished going back to school and working part time in the medical field.) Other families have received temporary help also.

I give all this as way of introduction. Following is the draft for the cover article in this quarter's newsletter. I post it here, not because the article is profound-in fact my contribution is simply garnish around the main dish: the quote from Deus Caritas Est. In final form the quote will probably be reduced and the garnish enhanced-however maybe this shouldn't be the case: The Pope has more to say about charity than I do.

Anyway, here it is:

In his historic first encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI defines for us what Christian charity is and how the early Church responded:

Love of neighbour, grounded in the love of God, is first and foremost a responsibility for each individual member of the faithful, but it is also a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level: from the local community to the particular Church and to the Church universal in its entirety. As a community, the Church must practise love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community. The awareness of this responsibility has had a constitutive relevance in the Church from the beginning: “All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:44-5). In these words, Saint Luke provides a kind of definition of the Church, whose constitutive elements include fidelity to the “teaching of the Apostles”, “communion” (koinonia), “the breaking of the bread” and “prayer” (cf. Acts 2:42). The element of “communion” (koinonia) is not initially defined, but appears concretely in the verses quoted above: it consists in the fact that believers hold all things in common and that among them, there is no longer any distinction between rich and poor (cf. also Acts 4:32-37). As the Church grew, this radical form of material communion could not in fact be preserved. But its essential core remained: within the community of believers there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life.
(-Deus Caritas Est No. 20)

In fact, this account from the Acts which our Holy Father references above is the inspiration for the existence of the Midlands Holy Family Fund: that we share our goods so that in our community (and especially for our mission to families) there is never “room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life.”

We thank you again for your support of MHFF-especially our plea in the last newsletter. You have come with your goods in service to the community. ...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mark Twain

I like to think that I am well-read. I look at my book shelves and see the quantity and variety of my library and confirm my 'well-readness', sometimes even thinking (pompously) that I have read almost all that is worth reading....And yet I am constantly surprised by new authors, or old authors who show me how much I am missing.

Case in point this weekend. My son had got Tom Sawyer from the library (we have a copy of Huck Finn from my youth, but somehow we never aquired Tom Sawyer.) He also borrowed the Prince and the Pauper and a collection of short stories of Mark Twain. (I guess he is on a Mark Twain kick.) I have read Huck Finn, but not much else of Twain.

The short stories are a bit of a pleasant surprise. Last night I entertained Mrs. Curley and my oldest son and daughter with the reading of Twain's Diary of Adam and Eve. (The laughter was heavy.)

Of course Mr. Twain has a totally different perspective of what pre-fall life was like for these two in the Garden of Eden than Catholics do-but I suspect he was simply trying to point out the oddities and differences between man and woman had their origins from the beginning. (And perhaps he didn't appreciate women as much as he should have.) Here's a sample from Adam:

The new creature (Eve) eats too much fruit. We are going to run short, most likely...She fell in the pond yesterday when she was looking at herself in it, which she is always doing...Built me a shelter against the rain, but could not have it to myself in peace. The new creature intruded. When I tried to put it out, it shed water out of the holes it looks with, and wiped it away with the back of its paws, and made a noise such as some of the other animals make when they are in distress. I wish it would not talk; it is always talking...... (and after the fall) She accuses me of being the cause of our disaster!

From Eve:

All week long I tagged after him and tried to get acquainted. I had to do the talking, because he was shy, but I didn't mind it....

Music again...

A clip from a post at Openbook:

The history of liturgical music in the West is rather complex and has always been marked by the tension between prayer/worship and performance. There have been several times throughout history in which bishops and Popes have felt the need to step in and say "Whoa" to certain musical trends and developments.

Amy goes on to quote a document from Saint Pope Pius X. I recall reading a biography of Pius X where he wanted to reform music in the liturgy from concert-type performance with all kinds of instruments, (but still classical music) and restore Gregorian chant.

The Weekend

Will start with the best (and the last) first. We went to St. Joseph's, our old parish in Columbia, on Sunday. Built by the same architect as our home parish, St. Catherine's, St. Joseph's is 'a little' grander. St. Joseph's and St. Catherine's share various details including the granite exterior, exposed beams, inset stations of the cross, and a few other details. Yet St. Joseph's is home to some 1800+ families, while St. Catherine's is home to around 100 families.

Each has its place: the simplicity and the grandeur. I generally favor the simplicity, but the grandeur can move you at times and remind you of the majesty of God-while the simplicity is at times easier to pray in.

After Mass we talked too briefly with some old friends. Then we went over to another friends' house in Columbia, ate breakfast, talked, and said the rosary together. This last is a very special experience for the whole family. Two Sundays in a row we have been able to pray the rosary with another family. Several years ago this was a weekly experience as we had a group of 2-5 families (depending on the week) that met virtually every Sunday for breakfast and the rosary after Mass. Great friendships have been born of these times. (and hopefully great prayers were offered.)

Saturday we finally got those tomato plants in the ground and got some other neglected areas of the holding in better shape, including the chicken coop. We plan to get some more chickens, but the coop needs a little sprucing up. We got this at least started on Saturday.

We also re-mated one of the rabbits. Will do it agian today just to make sure it 'took'.

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

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I got it!

An unexpected box arrived in the mail today from my mother. I opened it: The Revolution Against Christendom by Warren Carroll. It is Volume 5 of 6 in his History of Christendom series.

I called my Mom today to thank her; she meant to get it for me for Christmas, but it was on backorder (actually not at the printer yet) at that time. I know what I will be reading the next few weeks-and know what you will be hearing about at Bethune Catholic.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Blessed John Kemble

Was pleasantly surprised to find out that a wonderful lady at our parish has a martyr in her family tree-on her mother's side. Blessed John Kemble was the 'grand old man' of the English and Welsh martyrs, being 80 years old when he was martyred. He was a priest from the seminary at Douay. Some 4 years after celebrating his 50th Jubilee as a priest, he refused the urgings of his friends to flee England when the persecution instensified, saying: "According to the course of nature I have but a few years to live; it will be an advantage to suffer for my religion and therefore I will not abscond."

Fr. Kemble was arrested and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. On the day of his execution, he asked to finish his prayers. Then he requested one last smoke on his pipe before leaving for the execution site. This request was granted by the sheriff who joined him in a smoke and "produced some wine as well." This incident was the origin of the Herefordshire custom of calling the last pipe in a sitting the "Kemble pipe". The hangman was an old friend of Fr. Kemble and was loathe to carry out the sentence, but Fr. Kemble encouraged him, telling him that by carrying out his duty he would "do me a greater kindness than discourtesy." He was martyred on August 22, 1679. (Note: this account was based on the information in Clement Tigar's Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.)

Swiss Guards

I have to believe that if I had grown up in Switzerland, I would have aspired to be a Swiss Guard. Here, from the Vatican website is some of their history.

Yesterday's dispatch from Zenit had a story on the pilgrimage made to Rome by former Swiss Guards on the occasion of their upcoming (tomorrow) anniversary. Here's a piece of it:

The week surrounding their May 6 anniversary has been filled with celebrations marking their service to the papacy and the Church.

One former Swiss Guard explained the reason for this mass movement. "For us Swiss, it's an identifiable privilege to have this job charged only to us," Graziano Rossi told me. "And the guards still continue to give witness back home, even when their Rome days are long gone. We even dress in our uniforms for special occasions like Corpus Christi processions, weddings or ordinations."

Rossi served in the corps from 1989 to 1992. "Once you're a guard, you're a guard for life," he said. "It's like a definitive calling. … You renew your vows annually and are supposed to be on the ready for action at any stage." ...

Rossi said that a lot of the Guard's potency depends on a "secret weapon."

"While in service, we have an intense spiritual life," he revealed. "Our chaplain takes care of our personal spiritual direction. We go on beautiful retreats, have mandatory Mass requirements and are offered daily rosary and vespers."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Blogs are funny things...

Last year Ignatius Insight did a series on why Catholic bloggers blog, what blogs they read, etc.

Then there was this post of mine, quoting an article on blogging-the possible dangers.

So we come to a day like today and I have nothing to say-but feel compelled to post something-anything.

Is it vanity? Got to get a post up to keep those unique hits climbing? Is it a sense of duty to my readers (all 16 of you)!

There are some posts I need to write-having been meaning to write. But some of these will take more time than I have of late. Hopefully these will come.

So I will leave you with this thought to ponder, it being May... From Furrow (#180):

Auxilium christianorum!-Help of Christians, says the litany of Loreto with confidence. Have you tried to repeat that aspiration in time of difficulty? If you do it with faith, with the tenderness of a daughter or a son, you will discover the power of the intercession of your Holy Mother Mary, who will lead you to victory.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The English Martyrs

Tomorrow, being May 4th, this was the original (and maybe still locally in England) the feast of the 40 martyrs of England and Wales. (Now the feast is celebrated on the 25th of October.)

In honor of this feast, RequiemPress is offering our book "Witnesses to the Holy Mass and other sermons" by Dom Bede Camm at discount ($6.95 - normally $8.95) for 24 hours only.

This was first book for us. I remember sitting at the computer on that first day of editing it and suddenly noting with surprise that it was exactly 200 years to the day from the day those sermons in the book were first preached. (I admit, I took it as a sort of sign...)

Saturday I made one last stop downtown (Bethune) on my errand run (probably to buy a couple beers at the corner store. They sell expired beer for 50 cents per can in whatever variety has recently expired, so I sometimes pick up a can or two on my way home). When I got back in the car, it wouldn't start. I wasn't too surprised: this car stalls frequently, needs a couple gallons of water in the radiator every 70-100 miles, and I was told by my mechanic that someday it would just never start again. I was just grateful that it didn't die somewhere out on Horton-Rollins Road at 4:00 AM while doing the newspaper route.

Anyway, back to the story....I opened the hood and the belt which drives the AC and maybe?? something else way down in there was missing. It was broken and lying down below. When I picked it up, parts crumpled in my hand like stale cake. Well, I thought, I can replace a belt....

As an aside, I should be a whiz at car engines, but am not. I took Naval Engineering in college which explains how most ship engines work, but car engines never interested me. I change my own oil, can flush a radiator (whooped de do, huh) , and even helped my father-in-law replace an alternator once. I can follow directions in a book (usually) flawlessly. But diagnosis and complicated repairs intimidate me in cars-which don't in other areas (plumbing, electricity, etc.)

So I replaced the belt Monday morning after the car had sat all weekend at the convenient store. I did have to buy a 15mm socket. My set had 18 mm and 14 mm, but nothing in between. Half the engine was in English sizes, but the bolts to loosen the pulley I had to work on was in metric-go figure. When I put the new belt on, I knew it wasn't as tight as it had been before. But I was hoping it was tight enough to get going, and maybe my mechanic down the street could tighten it without costing me an arm and a leg.

Wishful thinking, the whole thing. The car didn't start.

Went to visit my mechanic: "Well that belt has nothing to do with the car starting." (Duh, the AC unit? What was I thinking?) Here I was so proud to replace the belt without even thinking whether this could possibly be the problem.

Current status on the car?: really unimportant, we are still trying to figure out the best way to go in 'fixing' the car. The point is more of a point of pride. Sometimes you want to show people (or even yourself) that you know what is going on.

Or more importantly, if I translate this experience to my spiritual life, how often do we stop to think about root causes instead of just trying to put out whatever fire is infront of us. I think prayer life is the key (not to fixing the car). We need to slow down and bring our struggles before God instead of deciding to fix everything ourselves as it presents itself. It is about realizing that wherever we are today, God has a purpose for us being there, and we need to rely more on Him.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


At breakfast this morning my son commented that we shouldn't call ourselves Requiem Press, but Requiem Quest - as we are on a quest for success...

From my bishop...

an historical novel (hat tip to Annunciations)


One problem I have seen in the promotion of NFP within Catholic circles is the attitude that it is approved "Catholic" birth control and should be used anytime and even often. I read one popular Catholic marriage counselor push the notion that Catholic (married) couples should prayerfully evaluate or re-evaluate their decision not to use NFP as often as every week . (I think he has it backwards. The decision to use NFP should be considered and reconsidered carefully-buy only when serious reasons are present which indicate a need for this consideration; the decision to not use NFP is the norm and would usually not need such careful consideration and prayer.)

While the Church has never made a specific list of reasons to practice NFP, certainly guidance has been given. Serious reasons (which include a number of areas) must be the basis of practicing NFP. (John Paul II notes somewhere in his "Theology of the Body" Angelus series that responsible parenthood includes first and foremost the openness to children and a large family.) Yet with all this, the rush to NFP seems unabated. And except for a few rare instances, the Catholic media has seemed to cooperate with this NFP anytime/anywhere view.

However, this article on CatholicExchange this morning takes another view:

Early in marriage preparation or in the early years of marriage, many, if not most, Catholic couples learn about Natural Family Planning. They learn that NFP can be a real blessing in helping to understand better how a woman’s body works. They learn that it is a valuable tool when trying to conceive. And they learn that it is also very effective when trying to prevent conception. Unfortunately, what they often don’t learn is that abstinence in Natural Family Planning is to be regarded as a privation. Too often, they come away with the belief that using NFP to space babies or prevent them is the default mode for a holy marriage and not the exception.

What many parents of large families have discovered is that NFP has its place, but that it’s a very limited place and not the usual day-to-day mode of operating.

Read the rest of the article. I am sure the CE discussion boards will be full on this topic in the next few days.

Monday, May 01, 2006


First, regarding this post below: while I can enjoy parodies, I usually don't go for making fun of hymns, even bad hymns personally. But here is the difference: first, I could argue that you could hardly call "Gather Us In" a hymn to begin with. The more important point is that the songs we sing at the Liturgy should be about HIM and not about us. The grand majority of the songs in the "Gather" hymnal celebrate US more than God. Even the ones which do praise God tend to find a way to center most of the attention on US-of course to make us feel good. There are some of course that are worse than others. Rumors have it that we will see reform of the Liturgy, including a strong directive on the music, come from Rome in October...

(Speaking of parodies, The Curt Jester posts about Liturgical Anonymous for abusers of the the liturgy...)

Master and Commander: never really happened Saturday night. The copy of the tape we got had major tracking problems: the picture would go B&W and the sound would go off every minute or so. The only cure was to eject the tape each time and put it back in. This gave us another minute or so. Too frustrating. We went about 1/2 hour hoping it would get better, but no such luck. (We ended up watching the James Hilton classic Lost Horizon with Ronald Coleman which someone had gotten from the library this week. Funny, we watched two movies about people trying to create perfect societies this weekend. Both, like the hymns discussed above, relied on man instead of God.)

Spent much of Sunday afternon with friends from Columbia who came out to Bethany. Prayed the rosary doesn't get much better than that.

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