Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Dear God, don't let my Daddy go to jail...

That was one of the prayers we heard last night in our living room! Here's the story.

Apparently I received a jury summons many days ago in the mail, along with a questionaire which had to be returned 3 days after receipt. Whoever brought the mail in the day it arrived never delivered it properly and it was 'discovered' last evening when doing some cleaning.

In using this incident to 'teach' my children the necessity of being responsible-like delivering the mail, I read to the children from the instructions: "Failure to obey this summons may result in $100 fine and or 3 days imprisonment." Thus the prayer in the heading. At least I know one of them cares...

Back to the jury questionaire. This is a summons for Federal Court. Just as I posted in November 2005 (here) there are some odd questions to be answered. Although I listed and we discussed them 1.5 years ago, I will list a few of them again.

17. What are your hobbies, special interests, recreational pastimes and other spare-time activities, including sports?

18. What magazines and newspapers do you regularly read?

20. What social, political, civic, religious, and other organizations do you belong to or are you assoicated with?

22. Have you displayed any bumper stickers on you automobile in the last twelve months? If yes, please list each bumper sticker.

and Question 45:

Regardless of any opinion you may have concerning a particular law, would you be able to set aside your feelings and follow the law as stated by the judge?

This year (as before) I answered Q45 with a 'No'. In the explanation I simply stated that no one in good conscience can uphold an unjust law, or hold someone else accountable to it; that I was not claiming that any unjust laws presently exist in the US, but that as a matter of theory and principle; and that I did believe there was some precedent for jury nullification of laws.

As last time, I am sure I won't get picked with the answers I have given, but who knows?

We I have some digging to do today. I have a drain line on the schedule this morning, so I better get cracking.

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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ducks and Divine Mercy

Great site: The New Agrarian (hat tip to Caelum et Terra). Mrs. Curley should check out what the New Agrarian has to say about raising ducks before we get the chickens. I think I am convinced already. The New Agrarian lives and works in NC-just a hop, skip and jump from here. And I got excited about his woodworking-something I have to get back to (of course my shop needs a good cleaning first.) Apparently he has a blog too, but I couldn't get the link to work. (Just what I need, another blog to check out every day.)


For years I have known about the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The first time I encountered it was when a realtor in Virginia asked me to say it with him while we were looking at houses. Mrs. Curley often says prays the DM Chaplet with the kids, but I had never prayed it often myself-only when organized by Mrs. Curley. Our pastor is a big fan of the DM Chaplet; and under his guidance have grown in my appreciation for Christ's mercy and my need of it.

This Lent I have begun praying the DM Chaplet on my drive to school. I do recommend it...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Harmonica News

For those interested....

I still only know one song by heart on the harmonica (Swanee or Old Folks at Home). But I can play it fast or slow (I never thought I would ever play it fast.) Number one son and I played a duet a few weeks back. He can learn songs by ear, so I will never catch up with him.

I was planning on learning 'Old Danny Boy' for St. Patrick's Day, but never had the time to finish learning it. I have (at least temporarily) shaved my mustache (still have the beard). Getting your mustache caught in the harmonica-which happens more often than you would imagine-is not pleasant.

If you are perceptive you may note (and if you go to the Requiem Press website) that Russell Shaw's Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church is temporarily unavailable. We have back orders and thus are doing a 2nd Printing! This has been a very good book for us-and I may say an important book overall. Of course readers of this blog had a lot to do with selecting and fine-tuning the cover of the book-for which I am grateful. (If you are desparate for a copy, I think has a couple left.)

Please pray for the success of this endeavor. 2nd printings are what small publishers like us dream for, but they do cost money, and cash is always in short supply in these parts.

We have several projects slated for release in 2007 [a new book by Russell Shaw, a sketch of the life of Thomas More (a little known work from 1920's), and a few other things. We would very much like to do a book on the Carthusian martyrs in England. I have several works to chose from. In fact the Carthusian Martyrs got me into this whole endeavor. At one time I fancied I would write a book on them. In the course of gathering material, I discovered a treasure trove of works which were unavailable to most readers-some of which had never been published on this side of the Atlantic. Thus (along with some prayer) was born Requiem Press. Witnesses to the Holy Mass by Dom Bede Camm OSB was the first of these uncovered treasures to be published. We have not published too many more of my uncovered treasures due to the opportunities to publish some of our other books by Dr. William May, Russell Shaw, and John Meehan for instance. But we will get to some of these (the Thomas More sketch for instance) soon.

I don't want the Carthusian martyrs to wait too long, but I still toy with the idea of writing my own account. I did complete the introduction to the book. If I find it, I will post it sometime soon.

In the meantime, I will be posting some specials at this week to fill those Easter baskets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back to school

Taxes are essentially done; just some signing and some number checking. I am glad that is over-it takes the whole day.

Boy, Lent has flown by. Will have to figure out what that means...

Monday, March 26, 2007


As I progress forward on the taxes, I went downstairs to get the assistance of number one daughter to total my post office receipts. (Yes my accounting method is: throw everything in a box and total it on tax day.)

Well, every time I come downstairs, Mrs. Curley wants to know if I have any "news" (of the existence and size of any refund.) For a few moments on this day, I hold everyone's attention. Do we get the new roof? How about that used pop-up camper for sale downtown? etc. etc.

Whatever it comes out to, it never stretches as far as one would like. Can wait til its over. I've got a couple hours left. Just took a break for a beer and some cheese....

7 year-old boy birthdays

I love them. They are so easy to buy for. Cowboy hat, guns, swords, and little plastic army men....or maybe not. Besides the fact that anyone reading this must think I am raising little Rambo; little green plastic army men are not so easy to find. I went to Wal-Mart (mea culpa), Dollar General, K-Mart, Big Lots, Fred's, and a host of others and came up empty. My sons have hundreds of these little green army men and each birthday is a chance ot build up their forces to exceed the others. Of course I could have found them online I am sure, but I usually don't plan birthday presents that far ahead-especially something I usually can find locally. (Is the war so unpopular-even in SC-that they are pulling little green army men?)

Well it was going to be a birthday without little green plastic army men. After morning Mass, I stopped by the pharmacy for tape and film. As I was checking out, I thought I'd just look down the toy aisle to see....And Yes! They had 4 bags of 50-count little green army men. Of course I snatched up all four (my apologies to other dads of 7 year-old boys). My son only got 2 bags for his birthday. But the other two will not go to waste.

Also had the boys watch "The Sons of Katie Elder" this weekend. Good movie to show them they need to appreciate and take care of their mother and each other. Hope they got the message.

Today, the Bishop gave us the day off from school. It is the feast of the Annunciation. However I think I will be trying to finish my taxes. It looks overcast, so at least I won't feel guilty being inside all day.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Had a few extra minutes this morning ...

... so I visited a number of blogs I haven't been to in a long time. There are a lot of stories to comment on and link to. But with great will-power and an eye on the clock, I refrain. Explore the Catholic blogsphere for yourself.

However, I do note this story . I guess my comment is: While you are in college learn some self-control and this won't be such problem-eh?

In this week's The Wanderer, James Fitzpatrick's column called "First Teachers..." quotes a reader:

I think many Catholics have forgotten the blessings of poverty. We pay no income tax... and can't afford multimedia extras, so remove ourselves from much of the guilt of indirectly supporting the government and corporate-funded culture of death.

Amen, sister! And how about happiness? We know money don't buy it-even though we try to keep proving that it will. "If only I had ____, I'd be content. That's it, I don't want anything else."-until the next time. St. Augustine cuts through all the hype and gets to the core of our being: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You".


Two of my children asked me to quit the teaching job this week. One was very imaginative about it. She asked if I ever went to confession. When I replied that I did indeed, she said, "Well we never see you go anymore." (Note: our pastor is available for confession anytime, so many of the family go directly before or after Mass during the week. Of course I have not been able to go to Mass during the week with the family since August.) She continues: "You should quit teaching so we can make sure you go to confession." Was the emphasis on quitting the job or my need for confession? Didn't want to take any chances, so I went to c0nfession downtown yesterday morning.

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Eternal Rest Grant to them O Lord ...

Please pray for the respose of the soul of Grace Doughney who died yesterday on the feast of St. Joseph. She was the oldest sister of Brother Charles Madden OFM Conv. (of Marytown). This is the 2nd of his siblings he has lost this year. Please pray for their souls and for their 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.


A couple weeks ago number 2 daughter was diagnosed with the chicken pox. It seemed unlikely: no one we had been in contact with that we knew of had them, they didn't look exactly like the chickenpox, and it came and went so quickly-too painless.

Well I guess she had them, cause number 4 son has a full-blown case of them.

Number 3 daughter hasn't come down with them yet, but she and number 3 son are the only other ones who haven't had them before.

When I was a kid, myself and 10 brothers and sisters had them all over Christmas. My oldest sister had already had them. That Christmas was a bit different with all of us sick. One sister had to be carried around as she had them on her feet. One sister had to wear sunglasses in the house as she had the pox all around her eyes and light hurt them.

I was the last to contract the pox and had a mild case.

I guess at least some of us are quarantened for a while.

Yesterday I mentioned a review of "Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church" at HPR, but never checked the website. Well, here it is. I clipped an excerpt at my other blog, which doubles as the official Requiem Press blog.

More later...

Monday, March 19, 2007

So we didn't go up to the parish hall Saturday night for corned beef and cabbage to celebrate the day. We stayed home and sang & danced around the house. Mrs. Curley and number one daughter cooked several potato dishes (scalloped and a souffle I believe.) After all, how often do Irish peasants have corned beef anyway?

Apparantly a (positive) review for "Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church" has appeared in the March issue of Homeletic and Pastoral Review. Its not a publication I get, but if any of my readers out there do get it, if they could confirm it, I would appreciate it.

Prayer request....Every so often you hear stories about a conversion of someone after a long absence from the Church and after many years of perserverance in prayer by friends and family members. I have seen this happen several times in my life, including a deathbed return to the sacraments a couple years ago. Perserverance seems to be the key. I have a dear friend whose mother needs our Lord. She is dying. Please pray for her and for my friend's family in this time of trial. My kids' prayers are often more effective than my own (their innocence and their perserverance: for over a year two of them prayed every night that the robbers who had held up the local gas station would return the money.)

Finally, Bishop Baker has declared that this year be the 'Year of the Family' in our diocese. He issued a pastoral letter a couple weeks ago urging us to keep the Sunday Holy, to refrain from shopping and labor and to read the Bible as a family and to spend our time on Sundays, first with the Lord and secondly with our families.

Happy feast of St. Joseph! From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day! (warning long post...)

If you think about it, St. Patrick's impact on the world even up to the present day, is surpassed by few saints (and I am not talking about green beer.) Even my humble parish in rural South Carolina is manned by an Irish missionary priest.

But as indicated in the post below about the decreasing demand for Guinness, this influence of St. Patrick is finally waning as the Irish seminaries are empty. Prosperity has started to make the Irish feel they no longer need God quite so much. This happened to Catholics in America after World War II when properity finally started coming to the 2nd & 3rd generation Irish and Italian immigrants with the GI bill and the end of the depression.

One of the reasons we started Requiem Press was to highlight the sacrifices Catholics have made over the centuries since the Incarnation to love God above all else. We have forgotten this in our daily struggles to take care of all these things we have-or in our struggle to aquire more things. I need to read these accounts so I don't forget. Some of the sacrifices are larger than others. Opening your heart to a big family, answering God's call to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth; enduring ridicule and discrimination because you hold to the moral truths of the Faith; embracing prison and martyrdom for the doctrines of the Faith and the chance to assist at Mass.

We have dealt in our books with other historical issues which impact the present (for example: the role of the laity in the Church, how the Church in America came to its present state and the road forward) - all in attempt to reinvigorate our dedication to our Lord.

For me, reading is the best way to do this. Reading opens a new world for me where my mind is still active in imagination and visualization. For others, listening to audio or watching movies may be the ticket. Hopefully readers will always be around.

Speaking of this, one book Requiem Press would like to do, either in entirety or in parts is Lives of the Irish Martyrs and Confessor (Also A Very Full and Complete History of the Penal Laws) by Myles O'Reilly (1878). But we have a full plate now, so it will have to wait a bit.

Here however is one excerpt:

CROMWELL landed on our shores in July, 1649, firmly resolved to acquire popularity among his fellow-Puritans by the extermination of the Irish papists. On his arrival in Dublin he addressed his soldiers, and declared that no mercy should be shown to the Irish, and that they should "be dealt with as the Canaanites in Joshua's time."

Drogheda was first attacked. It was defended by 3000 good troops, commanded by Sir Arthur Ashton, a Catho­lic. Three times did they repel the assaults of their 10,000 besiegers. At length, seeing further resistance useless, they surrendered on terms. Cromwell, writing to the Par­liament, makes it a boast that, despite the promised quarter, he himself gave orders that all should be put to the sword; ("Our men were ordered by me to put them all to the sword." — Cromwell's Letter) and, in his Puritanical cant, he styles that brutal massacre a righteous judgment of God upon the barbarous wretches; a great mercy vouchsafed to us; a great thing, done, not by power or might, but by the spirit of God. The slaughter of the inhabitants continued for five days, and the Puritan troops spared neither age nor sex, so much so that the Earl of Ormond, writing to the secretary of Charles II, to convey the intelligence of the loss of Drogheda, declares that "Cromwell had exceeded himself, and anything he had ever heard of, in breach of faith and bloody inhumanity;" and the Parliamentarian General Ludlow speaks of it as an extraordinary severity. The church of St. Peter, within the city, had been for centuries a place of popular devotion; a little while before the siege the Catholics had reobtained possession of it, and dedicated it anew to the ser­vice of God, and the Holy Sacrifice was once more celebra­ted there with special pomp and solemnity. Thither many of the citizens now fled as to a secure asylum, and, with the clergy, prayed around the altar; but the Puritans re­spected no sanctuary of religion. "In this very place," writes Cromwell, "near one thousand of them were put to the sword. I believe all the friars* were killed but two, the one of which was Father Peter Taaffe, brother to Lord Taaffe, whom the soldiers took the next day, and made an end of; the other was taken in the round tower; he confess­ed he was a friar, but that did not save him."

We read in Johnston's History of Drogheda :

Quarter had been promised to all those who should lay down their arms, but it was observed only until all resist­ance was at an end. Many, confiding in this promise, at once yielded themselves prisoners; and the rest, unwilling to trust to the mercy of Cromwell, took shelter in the stee­ple of St. Peter's; at the same time the most respectable of the inhabitants sheltered themselves within the church. Here Cromwell advanced, and, after some deliberation, concluded on blowing up the building. For this purpose he laid a quantity of powder in an old subterraneous passage, which was open, and went under the church; but, chang­ing his resolution, he set fire to the steeple, and as the garrison rushed out to avoid the flames they were slaughtered. After this he ordered the inhabitants in the church to be put to the sword, among whom many of the Carmelites fell a sacrifice. He then plundered the building and defaced its principal ornaments."

Thomas Wood, one of the Puritan officers engaged in the massacre, relates that a multitude of the most defenceless inhabitants, comprising all the principal ladies of the city, were concealed in the crypts or vaults of the church ; thither the bloodhounds tracked them, and not even to one was mercy shown. Lord Clarendon also records that dur­ing the five days, while the streets of Drogheda ran with blood,* "the whole army executed all manner of cruelty, and put every man that related to the garrison, and all the citizens who were Irish — man, woman, and child — to the sword;" and Cromwell himself reckoned that "less than thirty of the defenders were not massacred."

Note: Down to the present century the street leading to St. Peter's Street retained the name of Bloody Street. It is the tradition of the place that the blood of those slain in the church formed a regular torrent town the street.

So, what are the Curley's doing for St. Patrick's day? Well for the morning we are in various places. Daughter is working in the morning. 3 sons are serving a funeral Mass with our beloved Irish pastor. Youngest ones are home with Dad pretending to work on cleaning up the house. Myself is supposed to be filling Requiem Press orders, but of course I am blogging. But I will get to it and then get some other work done around the house. I have however decreed that our Lenten sacrifices will cease at about 3:30 today and we will sing and eat and celebrate. We may go to the St. Paddy's day dinner at the parish this evening. This has not yet been finalized.

Last night we previewed the day by watching "The Quiet Man". If you haven't seen it, you must. Humor, love, fighting, and Catholicity, and John Wayne. What more could you want?

Friday, March 16, 2007


The first is not good news (from TS O'Rama):

Guinness consumption, like church attendence, is falling in Ireland. 'Nuff said.

The second is my kind of joke - hilarious, (from TS' newsyoucanuse blog)

I was in a pub in Texas the other day and I was challenged by a man named Gus who said, "I hear you Irish are a bunch of hard drinkers. I'll give you $500 if you can drink ten pints of Guinness back-to-back."The room was quiet, like before a shoot-out in a Western. I said that I would do it for his vote rather than the $500 but that I had something to do first.. Thirty minutes later I was back.The bartender lines up ten pints of Guinness. Immediately I tore into all ten of the pint glasses drinking them back-to-back. The other pub patrons cheered.

Gus promised me his vote but says, "If ya don't mind me askin', where did you go for that 30 minutes you were gone?"

I said, "Oh...I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first".

The third is worth pondering. It is from St. Augustine, but appeared recently in a column of our diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Miscellaney:

“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need: The remainder which you do not require is needed by others. The superfluities of the rich are the necessities of the poor. Those who retain what is superfluous possess the goods of others.”

Have a great weekend! From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune ... Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Can you believe it?

Lent is about 1/2 over. Time to take stock and recommit.

Got rid of the last puppy yesterday. Now we need to do something about the adult dogs...We would like to get chickens this spring.

Speaking of spring, it is almost time for planting. You can start to smell the cow manure in the air as you pass farms in the area. I remember the first spring we were here. Both Mrs. Curley and I thought the septic was backing up. Now the smell of manure is a welcome sign of spring (although, we are supposed to have sub-freezing weather over the weekend.

More later....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Finished reading ...

House of Exile by Joseph Coyne. Not a classic and not a page-turner, but quietly enjoyable. Story of some priests from the 'Brunite' order who have escaped from behind the Iron and Bamboo curtains and have found their way to a quiet monastery in a small Massachusetts diocese. One of these priests knows too much for the Communists to let lie. And thus the story.

Not typical Lenten reading I know. This was another salvage from the school library trash bin.

More later...

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Weekend

The Family Life Conference (referenced below) was very good. Attendence was low (thus book sales were low), but the talks were very good-especially Dr. Hess on stem cell research and the others. Bishop Baker attended for one talk and spoke briefly, on his way to the diocesan youth retreat.

Sales were enough to pay for gas, dinner for two (at Hardees), a show (South Pacific), and donuts after Mass Sunday morning.

South Pacific was a good production. The two leads were excellent, as was the actor who played Luther. For a student production, it greatly surpassed expectations.

Sunday we made homemade pizza (truly a family effort) and then watched "You Can't Take it With You" (another Jimmy Stewart effort). We had seen it before, but it was worth another look. (Picture will follow later tonight.) More later (hopefully).

Friday, March 09, 2007

One dafodil on our lawn has bloomed. Several plants have buds. Spring is almost here...

An old friend is back blogging. I need to update my roll on the sidebar and will include him when I do.

Mrs. Curley and I are supposed to go to a production of "South Pacific" this weekend in Columbia. This play was the first show we ever went to together; in fact before we were married, so many years ago at the "Oktoberfest theatre" in Hudson, MA. This weekend's effort is a student production, but I am told is very good. The final lyrics to "Some Enchanted Evening" inspired a shy young man to ask his sweetheart to marry him....

Still have two free puppies to unload. If you are in the area....

Remember the Family Life Conference mentioned in my post below. Requiem Press will be there too!

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

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Every once in a while I look back and see I have a comment on posts from weeks ago. I apologize for not noticing and responding to these sooner. I do get an email every time a comment is posted, but it is one of many email addresses, so I don't check it as often as I should. I will try to get to these in the next few days-there are a couple interesting comments out there for discussion....

This weekend the diocese of Charleston is holding its 2007 Family Life Conference. (Bishop Baker has declared this year the 'year of the family' in our diocese.) Topics include: stem cell research, link between breast cancer and abortion, family finances, addiction to pornography, and "Hope Takes Flesh in the Family" (Rev. Fabio Refosco).

There will be a few tables where you can buy some Catholic gifts/goods. Of course Requiem Press will be there. It takes place in Columbia at St. John Neumann School on Saturday March 10th. All the details here. If you're in the area....

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, March 05, 2007

So, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Mrs. Curley hears the pitter-patter of feet run to the bathroom. She goes to investigate and catches youngest (~7 years old) son popping a Reese' Peanut Butter Cup into his mouth in the bathroom. Mrs. Curley asks son where he got this prohibited food: "Cleaning out the car on Saturday" (Who knows how long it had been there). Mrs. Curley asks him why he is eating it now: "Because Saturday is Lent and Sunday is not."


Watched the "Glen Miller Story" with Jimmy Stewart last night. Made me want to do some dancing with Mrs. Curley. Several years ago I took my oldest son and daughter (both played in a band; trumpet and clarinet respectively) to see the Glen Miller Band on tour. They sounded just like the original-but it seemed funny to sit there and listen and not dance. The movie itself is not a particular classic (and possibly not particularly accurate), but a good time with some good music-including Louis Armstrong playing (and singing) "Basin Street Blues". Number one daughter says this is her favorite scene in the movie.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Back least momentarily. Lots has been going on. Our house, through the hard work of a couple dozen friends, has been transformed this past week. All those jobs which need to get done someday-got done this weekend. There are some wrap-up items, which is keeping me busy. And putting the house back together is taking some time. I still have a coat of varuthane to put on our kitchen floor and I have a bathroom floor to lay. Otherwise, the jobs are minor (some baseboard here, some caulk there.) Wow. We have been blessed.

Am starting some consulting work this week also. In my former life I was a patent agent. I have kept my hand in here and there (my registration is still active) over the past couple years, but nothing serious. This consulting work, while not full time, will be more longterm and more demanding. We hope this works out for the family. Please pray for us. I still am doing some teaching and of course Requiem Press.

Speaking of the latter, the Mini-Catechism (a revision of the Penny Catechism) is doing well and into its 2nd printing. A couple typos are fixed, but otherwise it is the same good stuff. We have a few more decisions to make in the coming weeks, so please pray that we joyfully follow God's will in all matters.

Finally, another quote from the Writing of Biography by Catherine Bowen:

As author, I have my private motto: Will the reader turn the page? Traced on yellow cardboard the words hang over my desk-an awful warning. At times the warning seems indeed so awful that I take the placard down and hide it until I have safely crossed whatever technical chasm confronts me at the moment.

From the small-holding in Bethune.... Oremus pro invicem!