Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Songs and school

I have to link this article by Mark Shea on Catholic Exchange this morning. Somehow my senior class in high school selected "Imagine" for the class song. I recall being upset & of course refused to sing it on graduation day. (Of course most of the rest of the class refused to sing the school song.) Here's a piece (from the article, not the song):
You can see imbeciles swaying to this tune, eyes closed in beatific bliss, at everything from school assemblies to soccer matches to September 11 commemorations. How does it honor the dead to "Imagine there's no heaven"? How does it honor the firefighters who sacrificed their lives to mewl about "Nothing to...die for"?


As mentioned before, (and speaking of high schools), I am doing a little teaching this fall at our "local" Catholic high school. Doesn't leave me much time for other things, but it is interesting. We had school lockdown-random drug search last week. They herded everyone to the gym and brought in dogs and searched the school. The principal had heard rumors-so decided to check it out. A couple things were found and action taken. Today we have our monthly Mass during 7th period. After teachng here a month, I must say I give a lot of credit to full-time teachers. One thing you have to be (which I am not great at-even with 7 kids) is FLEXIBLE. You never know when they are going to cancel your class for a lock-down, assembly, etc.


Finally, to leave you with some summer fun...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Nothing to say...

I wish I had a poem to write or a story to tell. I don't have enough quiet in my life right now to think-to write...

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Weekend

Nothing too exciting. It had been a long and exhausting week, so rest was in order-and was achieved. Sunday after Mass we came home and alternately read stories and played games ("Sorry!") with my youngest two in between naps.

Last evening we gathered after dinner and sang some songs-many of them songs of Ireland, and some hymns. After we sang "Our Lady of Knock" we discussed that even though Our Lady is the patroness of America, we don't seem to have a uniquely American hymn honoring her-just English translations of other hymns. Is this true?


While it has been occurring to me with greater and greater clarity for several years now (and discussed in previous posts), it is a fact that the I am left without a political party to champion my beliefs. I do remember those days gone by when I thought being an orthodox Catholic and being a Republican were almost synonymous-of course it was a delusionment even then-but I was in ignorant bliss. (The errancy of the advice given by William Buckley's "National Review" -that I could safely ignore John Paul II's social encyclicals because economy was not an area of competence (faith and morals) did not hit me until a few years ago-when I actually read them, I am ashamed to say.)

Today's particular disappointment with politicians in general stems from the failed Republican stand-off with the Bush Administration's interrogation bill. My understanding is that while the Republican Senators McCain (never been a fan), Warner (don't know much about him), and Graham (one of my senators-and I have been a fan), did win on the important issue on the accused being able to see the evidence presented against him, they seem to have lost on the torture. To say that the US and the CIA will abide by all the Geneva Conventions on interrogation-yet if a CIA operative tortures a prisoner, he cannont be prosecuted for it-means business (er.. torture) as usual.

I read somewhere this weekend that the Democrats have introduced a 'pro-life bill' in the House: giving support to pregnant women so they won't necessarily seek an abortion. I applaud those who have introduced this (if it is what it seems), but I have no illusions.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I have been so pressed for time recently that I haven't been reading my favorite blogs, have not been able to put together a coherent post myself for sometime-other than posting general news. So bear with my muddling around for these weeks and hopefully I will be back on an even keel shortly.

Today is the feast of St. Matthew. We have a Matthew here, so we will do something to celebrate his name saint's feast. St. Cornelius was Saturday (we have Connor-the Irish version of Cornelius).

While it is only September, let me take this opportunity to remind everyone November-the month to especially remember the holy souls in purgatory in our prayers-will be on us. It would be a good time to start a daily rememberance of the holy souls. Our booklet (which can be purchased at our website ) is a good resource. It is only $1.85, or you get a free copy with the purchase of any other book we sell. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

weighing in

Of course everyone else has commented on the now-famous (or in some quarters, infamous) speech by Pope Benedict XVI. Yesterday NPR had a piece on it, with John Allen commenting. Mr. Allen noted repeatedly that the quote had to be taken in context-and in fact that the entire speech was more a criticism of the West than of Islam. (He mentioned in hindsight, like others, that perhaps a different illustrative quote would have been used to avoid the uproar).

I can't remember who represented the opposing view-some professor from some prestigious university-someone who should be able to read. But this expert on Islam essentially kept repeating the outrage at Pope Benedict for daring to say this about Islam (of course giving the impression that the statement was Benedict's own thought and/or view.)

I continually amazed by intellectual dishonesty, and/or intellectual sloppiness. People are either unwilling or unable to understand anything but the most simple statement-and in general don't want to look at something indepth. Therefore, everything is open to spin.


and from Morning Prayer for Wednesday Week IVwe pray:

Give us strength in temptation, endurance in trial and gratitude in prosperity

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

Monday, September 18, 2006

The weekend

It sure seems a long time since I posted anything. Many things to say-but I may have to split it into smaller pieces. First, this weekend....

Oh boy! Went shrimping off a deep water dock in Georgetown, SC on Friday night with a friend who has access to this dock through family. Got a load of shrimp. Saturday, when I got home, as a family we 'headed' the cooler full of shrimp, cleaned it and flash froze it. I also brought home 9 crabs, 3 croakers, a ladyfish, and another which slips my mind.

And best of all-good company. How can you beat saying the rosary with a friend (for your wives) as you finish a day of fishing?


Sunday there was an insert in the parish bulletin lsiting 15 'directives' from the bishop about the Mass. Our paster said, "If read any of these and see were are not doing them, let me know."

Two points which we need to work on...The first is that the bishop has asked that some of the prayers be said in Latin as often we have two language groups at Mass. (1/2 the Catholic population of SC is Hispanic.) He specifically suggested the Pater Noster and the Creed. I would think that the Gloria, Sanctus and the Agnus Dei would easily be done also. (The Creed would be the most difficult.)

The second point has to do with music, directing that the Responsoral Psalm be played and sung as in the missal as opposed to other songs being played and sung (which happens-including this past Sunday.) In my mind, the directive on the music doesn't go far enough. But one step at a time...

More tomorrow.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

All Seasons...

Haven't had a lot of time to post recently-or to read much of anyone else either. However I have a bit of time this morning.

The weather has cooled the last few days-not that I think that summer weather is gone for the year, but it is nice to have a few days of cool weather.


We are showing A Man for All Seasons for the Youth Group at the parish in a week or so-acompanied by pizza of course. I love the film, and it did spark my initial interest in St. Thomas More, however each time I watch the film, I do find more problems with it.

The biggest problem is that it seems Robert Bolt (author of the play) has a different idea of conscience that Thomas More had (or the Church has). Conscience in the play/film is more personal-there is a primacy of conscience almost in the absence of the requirement of its proper formation. The whole play is about primacy of conscience. Yet even with this flaw, it is a good film. And certainly this flaw can be discussed with the group afterwards.

My other problems with the film have to do with historical accuracy. Thomas More is portrayed as being the father of one instead of several. Son-in-law Roper is portrayed as having Lutheran leanings in the film-he did, but had reaffirmed his Catholicism and rejected Luther by the time the events of the film take place. There are other small errors, but within the license of dramatization with limited scope.

After this, we will move on to some other good films (any suggestions?)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The first thing the Holy Father did when arriving in Altoetting was to prostrate
himself at the foot of the Blessed Virgin.

(from Zenit)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This morning...

...two great posts from Mr. Culbreath: one on music and the other on homeschooling.

Of course we've weighed in on these topics a number of times here also.

TS talks about funerals here.

It reminds me that we need to get our special discounts ready for the holy souls in purgatory booklets-as November is coming up.

Have not finished my thoughts from yesterday, will perhaps get back to them before the week is over...

Monday, September 11, 2006


There was a time not so long ago when getting married and starting a family-having kids-were prtetty nearly synonymous....Those who weren't yet in a position to start families-because of money problems or further schooling-put off marrying until their situation changed.

So goes Russell Shaw's last column for the Knights of Columbus' Magazine Columbia. I remember as a young man being told by a priest that if you weren't ready or prepared to have children, you weren't ready to get married. (Besides the obvious-Who is ever really prepared for children?) Of course when marriage is viewed apart from having children, then what follows (and what we have today) is that children are had apart from marriage and that marriage itself becomes nothing of true value (no-fault divorce and now homosexual unions).

But here is another debate. I am a believer that young people should not date one-on-one, but should go together in groups. When a young person is ready to be married (in a theoretical sense) then a more serious courtship can occur-but should occur primarily in the context and the setting of the family as opposed to a series of 'dates' where one spends more and more time alone with the boyfriend/girlfriend. (Granted in many situations, there may practical limits to this-but theoretically the ideal-but grant the more ideal for the moment.)

In this situation, then, the couple should not be dating unless it is with a view to marriage, and unless they are in positions to get married. So let's say the man is carrying a load of debt and in school. He doesn't seem ready until the debt is cleared and he has a job.

Yet in contrast to this-we know that marriage has been occurring later in life because of a "pattern of prolonged adolescence". This does not seem to be a good thing either.

So where is all this leading? Actually I can't say because I am out of time this morning-but will ponder these points today and maybe pick up tomorrow with either more confusion or wisdom. (Maybe the comment boxes will give me direction.)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Is anybody fooled?

I have been following President Bush's recent speech tour on terrorism and the ongoing threats to America. Of course yesterday he revealed what has been reported for some time: that the CIA has had secret interrogation camps overseas. He told us that he can not tell us the methods of interrogation at these camps for fear that the opposition would train their people against these techniques-but then assures us that the interrogations were tough but legal. Yeh! How many people believe that? And these camps were necessary to keep America safe. The ticking bomb scenario. No doubt many people agree with President Bush-torture is okay if it saves American lives.

But being Christian says that our treasure is in Heaven. That we'll avoid sin, avoid doing things that are wrong, that are an affront to human dignity, in order to gain everlasting happiness in Heaven. "Love your enemies" doesn't mean we do not put them in prison if they are criminals; but it does mean not to torture them. This exhortation appears over and over-especially in the New Testament-in different forms.


Now with respect to Mr. Bush's claim that we can not afford to stand by as Islamic terrorism grows-that if we ignore it, we are akin to Europe ignoring the rise of Hitler-I think he has a point. (However his term Islamic-Facism is unrelated and is probably ridiculous-although I would not be the expert.) The world must face the fact that much of Europe will have a Muslim majority sometime in this century, and that that history shows Muslim majorities rarely tolerate Christianity and move towards Islamic states. This concern is not the same as the one stated by our President-but it is related to it.

This situation must be faced. Europe is not facing it. However, Mr. Bush seems to believe that the war Iraq somehow addresses the issue of Islamic terrorism. (He doesn't address the issue of Islamic domination of Europe). I might buy Mr. Bush's argument if we were pursuing regime change in Syria and Iran. (Not that I am advocating either at this time.) But not in Iraq.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Tonight is the first night of CCD at St. Catherine's for the year. I've heard that the program has several more students this year. Our class (high school) should be about 12-14. As you see, we are a small parish. As in the past, we are using the Bible, the Catechism, and several resources on prayer. Hopefully we can do a play this year-as we did last year.


In my teaching job, I start every class with a prayer-it had been the Our Father everyday up to last week. During the opening Mass (a couple weeks into the year) for the school said by Bishop Baker last week, he talked to the students about prayer (among other things). Inspired by some of his words I decided to mix things up a bit and familiarize the students with the Psalms. Thus, now for two week stretches we will open class with a Psalm. Once it is familiar to us, we will move on to another. I selected Psalm 22 (23) to begin as I figured it would be most familiar to all. I think I am getting more benefit out of it than the students-after praying it at the beginning of every class for almost a week now.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Yesterday I spend much of the day getting shipments ready for our newest release. It is not high concentration work for the most part, so I asked each child to come up to the office individually during the day. We said two decades of the rosary and then talked about whatever they wanted for a half and hour or so. This is something I should have been doing all along.


Read the Fr. Lane posts here, here, and here over at TS' place.


Something to remember from the The Deliberate Agrarian

The point is, if you read this blog, or my recently published agrarian book, and that is all you ever knew about me and my family, you would think ours is a perfect little family and our agrarian life is nothing but beauty and sweetness.

In so thinking, you might look at your own life situation and compare your reality to the agrarian perception you have of my life. And, in so comparing, you may think you are coming up short of the agrarian ideal that you so desire but can’t seem to attain. That, my dear reader, would be a mistake—a very serious mistake.

I say that because the perception and the imagined ideal that could grow from it is not reality. The picture-perfect cheeseburger does not exist and the picture perfect agrarian life does not exist either, at least it does not in my experience and I’m quite certain it doesn’t in anyone else’s
experience either.


Finally, I must say I agree with Long-Skirts' analysis (in fact I wrote my bishop about this some years ago):

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- This year because All Saints Day, Nov. 1, falls on Saturday, the usual obligation of U.S. Latin-rite Catholics to attend Mass that day is abrogated, said the July newsletter of the bishops' Committee on Liturgy


Ascension Thursday's Sunday.
Corpus Christi got the boot.

And this year, since it's Saturday,
All Saints' Day will be moot.

'Cause Saturday's by Sunday.
And Monday just won't scoot

And two days in a row for God...
That's yielding too much fruit.

So if we play our cards right,
Let money trump all suits,

We'll end all militant Sundays
Obliging happy pursuits.


Have a blessed day. From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 04, 2006

At Mass...

At Mass this morning Fr. John used the readings for St. Gregory the Great (whose feast would have been yesterday but was supplanted by the Sunday liturgy). In the Gospel, Christ says that those who stood by Him in His trials will be rewarded.

Father commented that we can stand by Christ in His trials, His Passion, by our attendence at Mass; as it is the re-presentation of His sacrifice on the cross.

The Weekend-not quite over

Saturday was pretty much a work day. I was mostly in the office, taking care of some neglected business-although, there were a few household fix-it jobs to do also. At the same time, the land next door was being leased to a hunt club for a dove shoot. (Labor Day weekend starts the dove hunting season here in SC.) The dove shoot is annual event. Our neighbor usually runs it himself, but this time let a local hunt club do it. In years past, we had a few pellets find their way into our yard. This year it was an almost constant rain. I tried to find the organizer but he seemed to always be 'someplace' else. I talked to several hunters-but it didn't slow the rain. I don't know if they'll be shooting again today-sometimes they do Monday and sometimes they don't....If they're out there today, so will I.

Sunday we went to Mass at St. Catherine's (as usual) in Lancaster. The boys served, as one of the scheduled altar boys was out with a broken foot. After Mass we did something we hadn't done in several years-that is go out to eat for breakfast after Mass. This was something we used to do in former days, maybe 4-5 times a year. Not too often, but often enough that it was remembered well by the older kids. It has been at least 2 and a half years, and possibly more since we done this. It was only a Waffle House, but still quite enjoyable. The sausage was not too good, but the cheese eggs were the best I've ever had. Go figure.

Getting home, we decided to have another one of our homegrown talent shows. We had about an hour to prepare and then gathered together to entertain each other. Two sons did a western skit (the Lone Ranger saves the day), Mrs. Curley and daughter did a skit on how stories and misunderstandings get started; Mrs. Curley and I recited "The Children's Hour" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; daughter played a rhapsody (can't remember the composer) on piano; sons and I sang a stylized version of "If I Were a Rich Man" (Fiddler on the Roof) which we entitled "If We Were Rich Men"; and there were a few other acts. It was great time.

Then we watched a couple family movies from 2000. Boy how these kids have grown. Then, I used up our last bit of charcoal and cooked some hot dogs and chicken breast on the grill while Mrs. Curley prepared potatoes and vegtables. We said the rosary while waiting for the grill to heat up, had a late dinner and bundled off to bed.

A good weekend overall. Now back to work....

Friday, September 01, 2006

The collar

Mr. Culbreath mentions a dinner guest on his blog today-the dinner guest being a priest without his collar. It brings to mind an experience we once had....

We have had many priests over the house for dinner in the past 10-15 years. On one occasion, (and only one occasion), the priest came without his collar/clerical garb. (To be sure, some came with the collar undone, but each wore their clerics). He wore a sweatshirt and dark pants. As we sat down in the living room and talked before dinner, the kids had a few moments to get Father's attention. Number two son gained the floor, and seeing that Father was not wearing his clerical garb, he asked his question prefaced by, "Father-when you used to be a priest...."

Father came over to dinner at least twice more-but those times he wore his clerics. My son had addressed the issue in an innocent but more effective way than I ever could have.


This whole issue is certainly one that raises strong opinions on both sides. I view clerical garb of priests and religious as sort of a wedding ring-a sign of their vocation. Especially for priests, it means when in public, they are always on call. A person sees a priest in the airport, they may go to confession or begin a conversation which leads to conversion-which would not have happened if the priest was in 'street clothes'. Also too the clerical garb is a sign for the world-a sign of contradiction. The more one sees easily identified religious in public, the more you are aware of God's presence and the willingness of some people to give up 'the world' for God. This must have an effect on people-even if unmeasured.

On the other hand, to be sure I like to take off my tie and let my hair down (some people would laugh hysterically at that last). So why not a priest? I suppose part is determined by the occasion and closeness of the friendship. A parishioner inviting the parish priest to dinner is different than having over a brother or very close friend who is a priest. And the company matters too. Is the dinner party just the family and the priest, or are other individuals invited also-some of which may not know the priest well or may not be Catholic. I think all these things come into play. Priest and relgious are people too, to be sure, needing time to relax etc., but they are different from the laity also in their role and their sign to the culture.

Just to beat a dead horse...When I am out in public or at someone's house, I d0 not with my dress, demeanor, accessories (re: wedding ring), or actions wish to confuse anyone about my state in life-that being a married man. In my opinion, priest and religious should do the same.

I don't think all the lines are black and white, but they are more black and white than grey. I'm sure some of my readers will disagree-let's hear it.