Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A tale of two books ...

Exhibit A: The Amazon Sales Rank since July '06 of "Loyal Dissent" (released May '06): by Rev. Charles Curran.

Exhibit B: The Amazon Sales Rank since release of "Standing with Peter" (released November '06) by Dr. William May.

Now of course it is my job as the publisher of "Standing with Peter" to get the 2nd chart similar to the first chart. But we start at a disadvantage. The Rev. Curran, being a prominant Jesuit and a theologian who dissents from several moral teachings of the Church, almost automatically gets reviews from secular as well as more left-leaning Catholic publications. He even gets a few reviews from more orthodox publications (a bad review is better than no review.)

Dr. May's memoirs, on the other hand is not 'interesting' to the secular press. If you rely on sales generated by the Catholic press only, your numbers can look as good as the first chart, but it is an uphill battle. We do hope and expect reviews from the Catholic press. It is early yet.

One thing bigger publishers do that we don't, is that they send out their review copies before the book is officially released (or sometimes before the final edited version is printed.) As a small publisher (like Requiem Press), we don't have such a budget. So our review copies generally go out with the book release. Thus our reviews will straggle in during the first year instead of coinciding with release.

Even so, we need to get those numbers up. So what am I going to do about it? Well we have to get the word out. I am starting .... here. Of course you have all helped with this book before-helping to select and fine-tune the cover. I ask for help again. Spread the word: Read "Standing with Peter" by Dr. William May. - blurb and endorsements below:

In 1968, William May signed a document dissenting from Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae, in which the Pope reaffirmed the Church’s teaching against artificial birth control. In Dr. May’s own words, “Signing this document was on my part a cowardly deed.” But God, in his providence, used this mistake to launch the career of one of the Church’s outstanding moral theologians-who now ‘stands with Peter’ on Humanae vitae. This is his story.

In these reflections, Dr. May takes us from his early years in the seminary, the illness which precluded his ordination, his first career as a book editor, the cataclysmic events of 1968-especially those surrounding Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, and finally his academic career at Catholic University of America and the John Paul II Institute.

With personal anecdotes, humor and humility, William May shows how God takes care of us and has plan for each of us; how God in his providence can bring good from our mistakes, if we are willing to co-operate with his grace. Dr. May also illuminates the errors of moral relativism and other questionable theological “innovations” so fashionable in recent decades.

Dr. William May for many years has been one of our most important moral theologians. He also is a man who has served the Church and her people long and well. Standing With Peter is a fascinating memoir of a lifetime of scholarship in action–a warmly human account told with Dr. May’s famous gusto, integrity, and passionate commitment to the truth. It’s a joy to read. –RUSSELL SHAW (author, CATHOLIC LAITY IN THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH)

Dr. Bill May, perhaps America’s most outstanding moral theologian of the twentieth century, has written a memoir of his personal and professional life that forms an important part of the developing history of the pre- and post Vatican II era in the Church in the US. For well over 40 years, he has been inside the Beltway at Catholic University and the John Paul II Center at the heart of, and on both sides, of the conflict between loyal Catholics and ‘dissenters’ on magisterial teaching. There is no one better to tell the inside story particularly surrounding the events of that pivotal year 1968 and also of his role and charge of heart and mind.REV C. J. MCCLOSKEY III, Research Fellow, Faith and Reason Institute, Washington D.C.

For the past three decades and more, William E. May has stood among the very best moral theologians in the world–always standing with Peter. He has demonstrated how standing with Peter is a sure guide to straight thinking.PATRICK G.D. RILEY (author, Civilizing Sex: On Chastity and the Common Good)

92 pp. $9.95 US Order here

Saturday, January 27, 2007


In June this past year, I commented here about an article by Dr. Alice VonHildebrand on friendship - the duties of friends and especially about gratitude. (Here is the original post with a link to the orginal article.)

To recap, here are some of the basic attitudes expected in a true friendship: 1. A friend should be ready to give to a friend in need-and should notice the need even before being asked; 2. The friend in need, should ask his friend for help; 3. The friend receiving help should be grateful-overly so; 4. The giving friend should downplay their help; 5. It is a violation of friendship to NOT ask for help when we need help.

I woke up this morning contemplating this (who knows why-although lately I have been the receiving friend-and while my heart is grateful to no end-I am not sure I always express it well in words). Anyway, my contemplation this morning related these points to our relationship with God.

If we are in need-God notices without our asking for help. Yet, we need to pray and ask for help. We should also be eternally grateful for the help God provides us-as He does provide everything-even when we don't think we need help. And this is where we violate our "friendship" with God most often-not asking for help because we think we can do it on our own. Yet there is nothing we can do on our own.

I think the lesson here is what it always is-we need to trust in God more and pray more. On that note-maybe I should do my own prayer before I go any further today....

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wish I had posted this first....

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it...(hat tip to Domenico Bettinelli) ... John Paul secretly escaped the Vatican more than 100 times!. I loved this man. In so many ways he seemed to be spiritual father to me. I have gone to his apostolic exhortations (especially Familiaris Consortio) more than once for guidance.

The picture shows how I remember him - especially when I saw him in 1979 on the Boston Common. It's somehow strange that my kids don't remember him like this. When they see a video clip of him as a young pope, they are amazed it is the same man. I don't think of him ravaged by Parkinson's disease. I always picture him like this.

May his soul (and the souls of all the faithful departed) rest in peace. Amen.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Great Divorce ... recap

Update: First, is a coincidence? I saw over at People of the Book that The Great Divorce is #5 on the January "Catholic Bestseller" list for paperbacks.

2ndly, I forgot something in my review below. Some years ago I read Fr. Benedict Groeshel's The Reform of the Renewal (Ignatius Press). Let me quote a piece from it:

While the battle between what are styled as traditional Catholics and liberal Catholics goes on apace, actual participation in the works of the Christian life, such as the observance of the Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, actually diminish. On average, many suspect that those who consider themselves good Catholics-clergy, religious and laity-spend less time and energy on prayer, meditation and religious studies and on works of charity and justice ..."

This came to mind reading The Great Divorce because there was some reference to the possibility that one may be surprised at who one finds in Heaven and who one finds in Hell. The exact reference is vague, but the above quote came to mind as soon as I read it.

Now that I have spent so much time talking about others' books, let me just put in a plug for our books. .... Oremus pro invicem!

In the comment boxes below TS asks about the subject and comments:

I just read on Pontifications blog this comment: "There is more good theology on this topic contained in C.S. Lewis' whimsical fantasy, 'The Great Divorce', than in a dozen theology books I have seen that try to figure out how to hold together the mercy and justice of God."

Yes! among other things. This point is made especially at the end, let me try to paraphrase: Heaven (or the happiness enjoyed by a soul in Heaven) can not be held hostage by Hell (or because a particular soul is damned.) But surely, read Lewis for the fuller and illustrated explanation.

Probably what struck me the stongest was the oft-"quoted" idea here that when (if) we reach Heaven we will see that Heaven started for us on earth; and if we go to Hell, we will see that our Hell started on earth. I have quoted this idea of Lewis' several times on Bethune Catholic without ever having read The Great Divorce. This idea is a central theme of the book, and while I did not use the idea in my posts erroneously per se, I didn't understand the idea sufficiently to give it justice.

Two points on this: 1) We should (through regular examines of conscience) determine those most prominent habits and tendencies which are barriers to Heaven-or which would not be compatible with a Heavenly existence. We can't just let these slide, but always be working on virtue to eliminate our sinfulness-lest we start to enjoy our vices more than God's love. 2) We should realize all is grace, and so let God's grace help us fan those embers of love in our hearts.

But mostly we should love God and man with all our power and trust God (leaving all worries of the day behind) with all that we have. Our level of love and trust determine our compatibility with Heaven.

And maybe all I have written before this last (in this post) is garbage. If our souls are not compatible with Heaven-we won't enjoy Heaven and will chose Hell. Our time on earth is the opportunity to we mold our future by our decisions-mostly decisions on whether to love and trust God or self.

Lewis' book explores these big ideas and also looks at several types of faults and shows how they are barriers to happiness in Heaven-and how it is our choice.

But read it yourself. It is short and easy reading.

What am I reading now? Well through the good luck of visiting a library just when they are cleaning the shelves for newer books, I came home the other day with a goldmine (and the price was real right). I have just started Louis de Wohl's last novel David of Jerusalem. (Sometimes I love deWohl's historical novels, sometimes I hate them. "Throne of the World" was my favorite. As I started it, I just noticed that I had started but never finished The Death of Christian Culture by John Senior. So I will read them in as much parallel as possible.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Great Divorce....

Okay, not today. But I have finished it and plan to make a statement or so on it very soon-like this week. Stay tuned if you can bear the suspense.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The school I teach at is very crowded this year. I move from classroom to classroom throughout the day (low man on the totem pole). One of my classes is in the loft over the gym. Not ideal, but we deal with it. It is also the only room I teach in without a crucifix. I have been meaning to get one all year-but have never seemed to get the time.

I mentioned this at home and my 6-year old son offered to draw me an icon. Displayed is the image. (I am a proud father, not above bragging occasionally.) I will be tacking it up in the loft today.

Request for prayers... Jim Madden, brother of author Bro. Charles Madden OFM passed away a few days ago. Please pray for his soul and the consolation of his family.

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.

Jumping on the bandwagon (and will add it eventually to my sidebar) is to note the new blog: Grant Them Rest. Of course this is a cause very dear to our hearts here.

Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tales of a DIY auto mechanic

Located and picked an alternator for the Subaru on Friday. Since it was a long week, I decided to start in early on Saturday morning. The book said a pretty handy guy could change an alternator in about an hour. So I figured it would take me no more than 2 hours as I am pretty handy, but a careful worker.

Old alternator came out with no problems. New alternator wouldn't go in. If I put the botton bolt on, it wouldn't rotate enough to get belt on. If I put the belt on first, couldn't get the bottom bolt in.

Finally called the autozone where I got the alternator (45 miles away). They said it should be the same, part numbers were identical.

Upon close examination (after several hours of struggle), I did discover the casing on the new alternator had slight differences,-but those differences were enough to cause the problem.

Consulted a motorhead friend. He told to try a different auto parts store such as Advance Auto Parts, as each chain has different re-manufacture suppliers. Well, Advance auto parts had one alternator of the same number-but it was in Pontiac (almost 60 miles away). After Mass today we returned the faulty one to Autozone and went on to Pontiac and picked up the new one-comparing with our old one. It was a perfect match. (Usually I wouldn't be doing such shopping and work on a Sunday, but number one daughter starts a new job on Monday and the other car is without an engine. I figured this was the equivalent of having your ox stuck in a ditch.)

Long story with a good ending. We installed the new alternator in about 30 minutes. And all is well again. Total time: 1.5 days. (Oh yes, the 2nd alternator we bought was cheaper than the first.)

Friday, January 19, 2007

The projected sleet/ice didn't turn out to be much more than cold rain. School was delayed for 2 hours, but no cancellation. Today it is back to "normal".

It looks like the alternator for the secondary car. I put one in a K-car with my father-in-law many years ago. Have located one locally (its a '89 Subaru) so number one son and I will give it a shot after work today. Prayers needed....

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

cars, sleet, wood, and praising God

What a day was yesterday!!!! Car trouble (worn piston rings-uh oh) on the primary and had it towed from the first garage who diagnosed to the 2nd garage who can do the work. Then driving home (~60 miles away) in the secondary, the brake fluid light and then the charge light come on. Brake fluid is okay. Belts are okay. Call Mrs. Curley tell her I am going to try to get the car home (don't know why, our (and only) mechanic in Bethune closed up shop several months ago). Mrs. Curley is concerned and also unhappy cause this means she will have to run CCD alone. Warning lights go out while I drive on the highway and never come back on, but I notice the battery charge drops below 12V for the entire ride home (alternator???). This is a very good reason to work at home. (Mrs. Curley-from all reports received-ran CCD without a hitch.)


Speaking of work, my dream was never to run a company to publish Catholic books. My dream since I was very young was to make things from wood: toys, boxes, furniture. My calling card would look something like the picture. Never had any formal training and never thought it practical ...

I used to watch Norm Abrams alot, but he got ever and ever more expensive power tools. Personnally I am more of a handtool man. I don't own a router, but can do the same job with a hand plane. I do have a few power tools, but prefer to do without for most jobs.

Why I bring this up today? I don't know. I just found a bunch of these business cards lying around from our ill-fated venture at the Bethune Chicken Strut festival last spring. I still have a bunch of walking sticks and my daughter still has a bunch of wreaths. Maybe we should sell them on ebay?

For me, there is just something about the smell of the wood shop and the satisfaction of building something with your hands-seeing almost immediate results I suppose.


One of my favorite Eucharistic hymns is "Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All". I was talking to a coaxed-out-of-retirement theology teacher at my school yesterday. In just 3 weeks (he is filling in for someone who left over Christmas) he has his classes singing. He told me that yesterday he taught them this favorite. Makes me think we should do that in math class too. During Advent I had my homeroom class singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel every day. The theology teacher told me that he just gave them the words and told them to follow along with him. He said he told the class, "If you don't like my voice, tough. It is the voice God gave me, and I will sing with it." Inspiring....


Sleet and ice overnight. 2-hour delay for school start this morning. I am hoping it turns into a cancellation. After the car stuff yesterday, I started the taxes when I got home-hoping I could find some sources of refund to fund this stuff. It will be hard. I don't think I have paid too much to get much of a refund (although I am sure I won't owe Uncle Sam anything either-neither teaching or Catholic publishing will make you rich quickly.). If school gets canceled maybe I can finish them today.


Will end this morning with the hymn penned by convert and priest Father Fredrick William Faber:

Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all,
How can I love Thee as I ought?
And how revere this wond'rous gift,
So far surpassing hope or thought.
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.
O make us love Thee more and more!
O make us love Thee more and more!

Had I but Mary's sinless heart,
To love Thee with, my dearest King;
O with what bursts of fervent praise,
Thy goodness, Jesus, would I sing!
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.
O make us love Thee more and more!
O make us love Thee more and more!

O, see, within a creature's hand,
The vast Creator deigns to be,
Reposing infant-like, as though
On Joseph's arm, on Mary's knee.
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.
O make us love Thee more and more!
O make us love Thee more and more!

Thy body, soul, and Godhead, all--
O mystery of love divine!
I cannot compass all I have,
For all Thou hast and art are mine.
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.
O make us love Thee more and more!
O make us love Thee more and more!

Sound, sound His praises higher still,
And come ye Angels to our aid;
'Tis God, 'tis God, the very God,
Whose power both man and angels made.
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.
O make us love Thee more and more!
O make us love Thee more and more!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A couple days ago received my Catholic Men's Quarterly in the mail. Once again, some good articles. For instance, I had never known much about Joyce Kimer for instance (other than what I leaned in the James Cagney/Patrick O'Brien movie "The Fighting 69th". The current issue also has a great article on St. Arnold's lifelong promotion of beer: "From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into this World". Check it out.


Heard on the radio yesterday:

Interviewer: Would Dr. Martin Luther King's style of bringing his religious beliefs into politics be appropriate today?

Expert: Oh yes. We must bring our deepest beliefs into the political life.

Interviewer: Does this apply to everyone?, even the religious Right?

Expert: Well I must caution you-and Dr. King would agree with me if he were here today-that only beliefs that are about love and inclusion should enter the political arena.....


Curley's have been fighting colds for a week or so. I finally caught mine over the weekend and am miserable. Hopefully my voice will last through a day of teaching.

One dog had puppies of the weekend (6) and another is due any day now. The first we only figured out was pregnant about 2 weeks ago. So now we have a bunch more dogs to get rid of. What to do? Have a yard sale with free puppies. (Hey it worked with the kittens.)

Odd weather around here for January. It was 75 (F) here yesterday. We finished covering the garden with a black tarp. It may be a little late. One section has been covered for several months. The idea is that the black will heat up the soil and drive out (or kill) unwanted insects and bacteria (or something) in the soil. We will see how it works. Last year's crop was disappointing.

That's all for today. Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 12, 2007

March for Life-Columbia, SC

Update: We took 16 members of the youth group to the march on Saturday. Weather was good. Saw many old friends. I do note that homeschooling families show up in much greater numbers than families which attend Catholic schools. (There were Catholic schools represented-NONE from Columbia, embarassingly enough.) Gianna Jessen is a very happy and charismatic person. She ended her talk by speaking of the lack of modest dress in today's society and the folly of the feminization of the masculine.

Almost forgot to post this. We go every year. At times I have been upset as some years the rally has been more a Bush-rally than a pro-life rally, but last year it reverted to its roots. We are taking our CCD class. I am sure a contingent from the school I teach at will be there also.

Usually, we get several turkeys during the pre-Thanksgiving Day sales. We have one on Thanksgiving day, one at Christmas, one at Easter. If there are any left, we have it at some other convenient time. Well, this year as usual, we got 4 turkeys. We ate one at Thanksgiving; we ate another on Christmas-day; then our refridgerator had a problem.... I had to order a part (arrived yesterday), but in the meantime, the leftover turkeys defrosted and have been cooked. So, what to do for Easter dinner (I know it is a little early to plan, but usually this is settled some 8 months ahead of time.) ?

I suggested to Mrs. Curley that we slaughter and feast on our non-productive rabbits for Easter. She was aghast. Eat rabbits on Easter? To me the irony makes it very appealing-as well as fodder for a good story.


From yesterday's Liturgy of the Hours (morning prayer):

Rejoice in the wonderful works of the Lord for he has given us hope through the birth of his Son. Let us all cry with great joy:

Glory to God in the highest.

With the angels and patriarchs and prophets - we praise you, Lord.

With Mary, the Virgin Mother of God - our whole being proclaims your greatness, Lord.

With the apostles and evangelists - we give you thanks, Lord.

With all the holy martyrs- we offer our bodies to you as consecrated victims.

With all your holy witnesses in the Church - we dedicate our lives to you in deepest faith.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Timber...and get out your shotgun

A tree fell in the wind today and knocked down part of our goat/dog pen fence. Our dog, Challenger (of the slaughter fame) escaped and has not been seen since this afternoon. I hope none of the neighbors have chickens....

On the left is a picture of him (the large dog), with yours truly and Mrs. Curley. On the right is the poster a son made some months ago when we were contemplating trying to start the dog thing over again. Both have been posted here before. (The poster is so good I had to put it up again.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Who needed another reason?

Check out this post (Hat tip to TS). Just one more reason to raise a glass of Guinness....

Friday, January 05, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It has been several days since any new entry has appeared here. No excuses....

A couple days left in the "official" Christmas season-although I am sure our tree will be up for a while-maybe til the Presentation of our Lord on 2 February. Once school and work start up again, it is hard to remember you are still in the Christmas season.

At the school where I teach, I mentioned in class that we were still within the twelve days of Christmas. Several students were confused, thinking those twelved days PRECEEDED the 25th of December. Could blog more about this phenomenon-but others (most recently here and a tremendous reprint editorial on the subject in The Wanderer a couple weeks ago) already have.

We did remember to sing Christmas carols last night before saying our nightly prayers. And when I sing songs to the kids in bed, I insist on Christmas songs until the Epiphany has passed. (Although I made an exception last night when my youngest insisted that the song "Cradle of Ice" was a Christmas song. What's that you say? "Cradle of Ice"-you have never heard it? It is more commonly known as "Edelweiss". The confusion lies on two fronts. It is thought of as a Christmas song because it is the music box movement in a Christmas gift I made for daughter number 2. Who knows how the other confusion came to be on its name.)

Ormeus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

January 2

My last official day off. Requiem Press is up and running (making books at a breakneck pace), but I will take some time off to fish as yesterday proved too rainy. My Vektor Fish & Game Activity Table says that the Major feeding time today for fish is 4:16 PM. So we will be ready. The boys are gathering crickets and earthworms as we speak.

Yesterday was quite enjoyable. As a family, we played a court game. The kids presented a court case from a book and Mrs. Curley & I as the jury had to find the verdict (sort of like a whodunit or a "2-minute mystery"-there is a correct verdict to render based on the evidence.)

After the young ones were in bed we had our annual New Year's Eve/New Year Evening party depending on the year. If we are too tired on New Year's Eve, we have it the following evening on New Years Day. This year was such a case. So Mrs. Curley, myself, and number one son and daughter gathered at the piano for some songs and then danced some polka, waltz, and big band music. We finished the evening (much too late) by watching a video of Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur. If it seems we have been watching a lot of movies this week-it's true. This always happens during the Christmas season-which is not over yet.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, January 01, 2007

After Mass this morning, someone commented that what you do on the first day of the year you end up doing all year. I hope not: I backed into another car in the church parking lot. (Fortunately it looks like no damage-the picture is from another accident and is just there for effect.)

Was going fishing today with the boys, but looks like the fish in the Little Lynches River get a reprieve as it is too rainy this morning (although aren't they supposed to bite better in the rain?).

Am now working on "Fairest Lord Jesus" as my second harmonica tune. I heard on the radio a couple months ago that a gentlemen taught himself to play the harmonica on long commutes...

Am now well into CS Lewis' The Great Divorce. I came across one quote I have used here several times in one form or another. I think maybe I will have to rethink how I used it. It may be deeper than I thought. I warned Mrs. Curley last night that this book may be dangerous: I may get some crazy ideas after reading it. Will keep you informed...

Happy feast day! Oremus pro invicem!