Friday, February 29, 2008


Just got word that our efforts to obtain tickets to attend Pope Benedict XVI's Mass in Washington, DC on April 17th were successful!!!!! Blessed be God!!!!!

Oremus pro invicem!

Couldn't resist posting this

I found this hanging around; it must be at least 6-7 years old. (photo is undated.) They are still playing Cowboys and Indians.

Oremus pro invicem!


Well, last week I promised 2 surprises this week. One I actually let out of the bag last Friday (new release: The Story of Our Lady of Victory) and since weeks end is here, I figure I better get the other one out of the way-although I am still undecided on how to approach this...

Got these bumper stickers in late last week. (Certainly a frivolous buy, especially with the pure speculation of it all-but...):

I haven't decided yet how to distribute them, but if you are interested, email me. I don't have many, but I may get more if they go over well. At first I was going to put a PayPal donate button up there for the bumper stickers, but then people might take it too seriously. This is the first generation bumper sticker. The 2nd generation is in the works, with bigger lettering and smaller border.

I am going to lay out my platform over the coming weeks. (I know: promises, promises.)

Just to explain the symbolism of the choice in motif and colors: The border is reminiscent of Celtic weave. This symbolizes not only my Irish heritage but the fact that my family (as most us) were immigrants to this country. It also brings to mind simple crafts done by "small" people. In the spirit of "small is beautiful", I am for small government, more local control, so each small person really has a voice-in other words a return to self-government.

The green background symbolizes the land. This is a recognition that we need to become a more agrarian society (big farming with its antibiotics and factory farming must go) with local farms and local economies (again recognizing the individual).

The white lettering for my name is a promise of purity from the temptations of special interests, bribes, other nefarious political practices.

The black-lettering for "president" is a recognition that to become president and to be president will involve lots of muck and dirt-but I am used to working in muck and dirt anyhow.

So, my kids and their friends want to know if I am serious? I wish I was; the idea of a 4 year vacation traveling the country in an RV campaigning (because I would start now) is romantically attractive to me. The kids would get an education and there would be lots of fun. But I am too shy to get up on the stump, and our chickens and dogs wouldn't last long without much attention. (Besides that money-making machine of a business I run wouldn't survive 4 years of neglect.

Never-the-less, I will lay out my platform and beliefs over the next weeks covering life, economy, foreign policy, immigration, the military, health care, etc. etc. I myself am interested to see what I'll say.

Oh yes, finally: about the '012 notation. I think "Curley in O-12" is much more catching than "Curley in 12". Don't you?

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's cooooooooold here. Last night the lows were in the 20's -especially rare at this time or year. I guess I am spoiled by living in the South for so long. I was going to till the garden today and plant tomorrow or Saturday. I might have to put it off a few days...

O My dying Jesus, I devoutly kiss the cross on which You would die for love of me. I deserve, because of my sins, to die a terrible death; but Your death is my hope. By the merits of Your death, give me the grace to die embracing Your feet and burning with love of You. I yield my soul into Your hands. I love You with my whole heart. I am sorry that I have offended You. Never let me offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(picture courtesy of Holy Cards for Your Inspiration)

On the passing of WFB

I have read a bunch of tributes and thoughts concerning the accomplishments and the passing of William F. Buckley. I am sure there will be more and more. But the one that moved me the most was this by Stephen Hand. There are several parts I would like to excerpt, but I will limit myself to one (or two):

As I grew into adulthood I found myself with very mixed feelings about this father of American Conservatism who, on the one hand, was a devout Catholic who counseled his son Christopher through the latter's crisis of faith, but then, on the other hand I feared that imperial America seemed something of a religion to him too. At the old TCR I expressed my misgivings more than once. But today I found myself praying for a brother Catholic who loved and thought seriously about all of life, existence, and who had somehow despite the zeitgeist, in the words of Chesterton, rethought his way back to thought itself in matters of faith, even questioning old Mr. Darwin and facilitating public debate on that old ape's theory. I feel like we have lost a friend with whom we at times quarreled.

...He wanted to go Home. To God. The lesson for me is to be careful whose ideas we may quarrel with passionately today, because tomorrow, when he or she passes, we may despite these differences find tears welling up in our eyes for the loss of someone we actually loved in our own way, even if we never met him or her.

But read the entire thing. It is worth it.

May his soul, and all the faithful departed, rest in peace, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr.-Rest in Peace

Read it on Fox then went over to NRO. May he rest in peace!

Book notes

Although I am in the middle of reading a couple books, library books tend to take an urgency because you have a deadline. So I have put down Swords Around the Cross and am reading (as mentioned below) Living the Good Life-how to live sanely and simply in a troubled world by Scott and Helen Nearing (1954, 1970).

I believe they were atheists ("Scott Nearing was a kind of deviant Marxist-he had just been expelled from the Communist Party"-from the introduction). At any rate, halfway through the book there are somewhat lengthy explanations on why they don't keep, use or eat animals, treatises on the injustice of the economic system in America---but never a mention of God. However, I note that they worked six days a week and on the 7th rested:

On Sundays we varied our schedule by having no schedule and by doing no regular bread-labor. Usually there was a period of music Sunday morning and often a group discussion Sunday evenings.

It reminds me of something Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy:

And only when they made a holy day for God did they find they had made a holiday for men.

Still, the Nearing's experiences in living and building are fun to read.

A friend gave me a couple of practical books worth noting here: Handy Farm Devices (new edition, but originally published in 1909) and Farm Appliances (also 1909). There are a couple of devices I have already found will be useful. For instance:

I made a simple trough this past weekend. Even though there is plenty of room for all of them to feed at it, they still try to push each other out of the way and climb into the trough. This one should solve both problems. I plan to have this model ready when we rotate the pigs to their next pen in a week or so.

Oremus pro invicem!

Russell Shaw Day!

I didn't see this article when it came out in January, but it is worth taking a look at (I am biased of course.) It also appears on as a review.

Speaking of Russell Shaw, he had a piece yesterday at on Eucharistic Adoration. Here's a snip:

One of the genuinely hopeful developments in Catholic life in recent years has been the spread of Eucharistic adoration. Parishes across the country have begun to offer opportunities for people to meditate and pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

...Adoring the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar is not an action separate and apart from participating in the Eucharist. On the contrary, it's a way of continuing and extending that participation beyond the sacramental act itself. This is what Eucharistic adorers are in fact doing.

Another plug for Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church from Intentional Disciples (albeit appearing almost a year ago):

Russell Shaw is one of the best popular writers on the whole subject of the theology of the laity and the lay apostolate around. We strongly recommend reading Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church if you'd like to understand the Church 's teaching on that subject.

And the final Russell Shaw installment: Requiem Press is pleased to announce that our next release will be a new Russell Shaw book about the 2nd Vatican Council-due out in April.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A couple notes

Boy those pigs create manure! I don't think we'll need to obtain any off site ever again. They are really starting to eat too. They are noticeably heavier than when we got them the last week. My youngest son helps me care for the pigs. Mrs. Curley is taking charge of the composting after I muck the pen.


Small review of Standing with Peter the memoirs of William May in The Catholic Answer. Get your copy at here .


Heard on my ride today (I am on the road a bit) that about 50% of Americans have left the religion they grew up with-that only 51% of Americans are now Protestant, and the largest growth is the "unaffiliated". The comment was also made that contrary to the belief that Americans do not like change, Americans change religious affiliation as they often as they change jobs. We are a transient culture. Hmmm...

Update: Appears I am not the first to consider this. Crunchy Con has a couple posts on the study starting yesterday.

Oremus pro invicem!


This morning from Ephesians (the Knox Bible):

See then, brethren, how carefully you have to tread, not as fools, but as wise men do, hoarding the opportunity that is given you, in evil times like these. No, you cannot afford to be reckless; you must grasp what the Lord's will is for you. Ephesians 5:15-17

There is an urgency in this preaching. Sometimes I need to be reminded of this urgency. We have limited time-we must use it well. I heard that Fr. John Harden SJ (may his soul rest in peace) made a resolution to waste not a minute. How hard that would be, eh!

There are so many things we put off-but seldom things concerning our own comfort. I will start my prayer life tomorrow!-seems often to be the battle cry. How pitiful!

May God have mercy on me, a poor sinner.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 25, 2008

New Release!

In case you missed Friday's last post, here's the new cover for The Story of Our Lady of Victory. Scroll down to Friday's post for more info on the book and the author. It is available for order and shipment today!

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us!

Apostle, Prisoner, Ambassador

I am reading and praying through St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians in the Knox bible. I have noted that St. Paul refers to himself differently in his various letters. Sometimes it is "apostle" (Galatians, Corinthians, Colossians, Timothy); "servant" (Romans, Philippians, Titus); and "prisoner" (Philemon). (I have heard that Fulton Sheen has a comment on this, but can't remember what it was-something to do with St. Paul's growing humility.)

Although I have read Ephesians several times, I never noticed that Paul changes or clarifies his "title" in the course of the letter:

Paul, by God's will an apostle of Jesus Christ ... (Ephesians 1:1)

I, Paul, of whom Jesus Christ has made a prisoner for the love of you Gentiles. (Ephesians 3:1)

Here then is one who wears chains in the Lord's service ... (Ephesians 4:1)

...for I am an ambassador in chains...(Ephesians 6:20).

I don't know what all this means-just something I noticed.

Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So Saturday I built a new laying house for our Plymouth Barred Rocks (we got six eggs today.) I built it with some pallet wood, some posts I scavenged off some large crates, and some other lumber I had hanging around. The roof is tin.

My children think its funny that our pigs and chickens have tin roofs, and we don't.

I also built a small trough for the pigs (our of pallet wood.) Before they were eating out of a bucket, but they couldn't all eat at once. Now they can.

I had more stuff to do, but daylight burned quickly.

Youngest son learned how to ride a bike today! We have two more to go.

Mrs. Curley and I took a turn around the property today to do some planning. I am going to research if I can build and half-cellar structure (about 3-4 inground) that we can use as a slaughter/butcher house and maybe a root cellar. Our soil is sand, so underground structures are tricky.

The pen we built for the pigs is in a larger pen which the previous owner kept goats. I don't think they cleaned out the manure much. In digging the holes for the posts, we noticed that the soil was very, very rich. I think we planted our garden in the wrong spot.

We have some more projects for the spring. We aim to get this place in tip-top shape and more productive this year. Stay tuned...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Surprise #1-a bit early

Almost 2 years ago we were just about to publish our first book for children. Even though we got a great quote on it, we just ran out of money. Children's books-having so much color-just were too expensive. Yet we still wanted to do it.

Well God found a way-especially as concerns His Mother.

So quite unexpectedly, but with great joy, we release on Monday: The Story of Our Lady of Victory by Agnes M. Penny.

About the book:

This book, for pre-schoolers and early readers, told in rhyme, will introduce the child to the rosary, the power of prayer and heroic Christian soldiers at the battle of Lepanto.

About the author:

Agnes M. Penny was born and raised in Norwood, Massachusetts, the youngest of twelve children. In 1997 she graduated from Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, where she received a degree in English Literature. She and her husband Daniel, who teaches Theology at Allentown Central Catholic High School, live in Whitehall, Pennsylvania with their six children. Agnes Penny is also the author of Your Labor of Love: A Spiritual Companion for Expectant Mothers and Your Vocation of Love: A Spiritual Companion for Catholic Mothers (Both from TAN).

You may also want to know that Agnes M. Penny is my youngest sister. She has been patient with me-but I think I surprised her by telling her that the book will release next week.

Look for it on our website: on Monday. It won't be available other places for a little bit. This happened so fast that we have done no pre-publicity or even planned it.

Looking ahead a few weeks, it would make a great gift for the pre-reader and early-reader in their Easter basket.

Oremus pro invicem!

Last Evening and the Library

Last night we attended the VFW awards banquet in Camden, SC. As reported here last month, our two oldest boys won first place in their district for the Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen scholarship contests respectively.

We met some very nice people. There is a hall of honor (in the American Legion Hall where the banquet was) where there are pictures of all the men from that AL post who were killed in action. We spent some time with looking through the pictures. The boys were amazed at how young most of them were-"They don't look any older than me." commented oldest son-an upsetting remark for Mrs. Curley.

Unfortunately it was another late night-so my resolution for getting to Mass at least on Fridays was broken this morning.


Before the banquet, we got to Camden way early. So we went to the library. I could spend all day there. As a kid we would go every week or every other week. We would take our limit of books and be finished long before our next trip. However, as an adult in the lucrative 80's and 90's, I seldom went to the library. If there was a book I wanted to read, I simply bought it. Those days are over.

Now the library is once again a treasure-trove. We spent over an hour there yesterday, and I didn't even get to the history or the fiction section. What did I come away with? 2 books by John Seymour on traditional crafts; a book on tanning and curing hides, 2 books on composting (something we need to be more successful with here); a book on pricing woodworking pieces; and a book called "Living the Good Life" by Scott and Helen Nearing.

This latter I think will be interesting. Scott Nearing was a pacifist, vegetarian, and possibly and anarchist and maybe a Communist. Scott and Helen moved from a small apartment in NY city to a broken down farm in Vermont and made a life whose goal was practical self-sufficiency which left 1/2 their time for intellectual and leisure pursuits. This book is their story. Their move was actually precipitated by Scott's inability to keep a teaching job (economics) due to his radical views. (This probably won't be the case today). Their book is credited with being an impetus for the American "back to the land movement".

So far, (in the book) there has been no mention of God-I assume they are atheists, but I expect some of their practical experiences will be interesting-I can't believe they will be as humorous as some of ours.

In researching this post, I looked up the back-to-the-land movement on Wikipedia. Here is an interesting comment:

Generally, the back-to-the-landers who stayed on the land had three attributes in common:

1. Source of regular cash income from external sources
2. Married or in a relationship with someone with a comparable level of commitment
3. Previous exposure to rural living

Those who succeeded were realistic about their financial needs. Many had flexible occupations—like writing and other creative work, or a trade—that they could engage in from their home. Others had steady, if less glamorous, jobs in a nearby town. Those who succeeded were people who could readily acquire skills in gardening or crop farming, the construction and maintenance of buildings, machinery maintenance, water-system development and maintenance, and the like. Also, they had chosen a homestead that was comfortable and practical.


Finally, I hope to have two big and exciting (at least for us) surprises next week. Stay tuned....

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Here's a snip from the book review in the NC(Register)

May's struggle during the 1970's to finally acknowledge his error and become a vocal defender of Humanae vitae is both cautionary and inspiring. He readily admits the world of academia is filled with politics and the tempation to go along with the latest fads and dissenting perspectives.

...Standing with Peter affirms that the truth and the Author of truth should be the desire of every Catholic, and that the gifts of the papacy and the magisterium are sure guides to grow more deeply and surely in that God-given disire.

Of course you can get a copy here

Oremus pro invicem!

Praying for a bishop

We in the diocese of Charleston are waiting for a new bishop. I remember our self-imposed promises to pray for a holy bishop, but to be frank, those times have been too few. So yesterday we decided to set a specific time and prayer for a new bishop. After the Angelus each day, we will pray and extra prayer and invoke Our Lady of Joyful Hope for a new and holy bishop.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The pigs seem to warming up to me a bit. Before, they would run at first sight of me. Now as long as I don't make sudden movements or talk to loudly they seem pretty comfortable with me as long as I am outside the pen. I tried making pig sounds and the looked at me an moved closer, but did not completely approach.

I need them to be real comfortable with me-otherwise, it will be hard to lead them to the slaughter in a few months....

Local interest

I am finding out a little about our local community history these days. I didn't know that Bethune was home to the "Big Springs Mineral Water Resort" some years ago. Here, a former proprietor explains:

Big Springs water should be used to bathe the affected parts (external) as well as drank [sic]. Recognizing the inability to do this successfully at the home, there (are) now large swimming pools for the pleasure-seekers, where the sick or well can have any kind of a bath needed or wanted. This is something that but few health resorts have, but this Spring, as the name implies, flows over 300 gallons per minute—ample for all needs, with a temperature of 57 degrees. You don’t need ice in this water.

It operated into the 1960's. Now I understand it is on private property. Here's a picture of bathers at the Big Spring's in the early 1900's.

Our county's historical society is going to have a driving tour of Bethune in early March. We plan to attend and learn some local history.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another place and time

How often are we guilty of wishing or thinking we should have been born in a different place or time? Oh yeah, most of the time, it is not serious wishing, but still, it is a temptation for those of us who read and dream alot about different years. But this morning I read (in the Knox Bible):

He has chosen us out, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to be saints, to be blameless in his sight, for love of him; marking us out beforehand (so his will decreed) to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ. ... In him it was our lot to be called, singled out beforehand to suit his purpose (for it is he who is at work everywhere, carrying out the designs of his will); we were to manifest his glory, we who were the first to se our hope in Chirst; in him you too were called, when you listened to the preaching of the truth, that gospel which is your salvation. -Ephesians 1: 4-6; 11-13

So I guess there is no mistake about where we were placed. We have a purpose in our present time and place. So let's get at it!

Oremus pro invicem!

I saw this the other day ...

.... and was reminded of a sermon I heard long ago at St. Catherine of Siena parish in Norwood, MA. It was the early Mass on Christmas morning and the priest gave a short but simple homily which went something like this: We are gathered here together today with joy to celebrate a great feast, the birth of our Savior. But let us not forget, even today, that Christ was born to die on the Cross. There would be no Christmas if Good Friday were not to come.

With an early Lenten season-falling right on the heals of the Presentation, this image seems appropriate. (Image courtesy of Holy Cards for Your Inspiration))

Oremus pro invicem!

Three Little Pigs ...

They're here! 3 little piggies-although one is not so little-about 60 lbs. The whole thing (getting them home) was not without a struggle and some harrowing moments.

First, it was pouring rain this morning when I left the house, which didn't bode well for a dry peaceful ride home. But it was clear by 10:00 AM. I first had some work to do in town til about noon, and then it was off to get our pigs. The boys and I had built a floorless cage out of 2X4's and some old dog wire that was hanging around. This we put in the back of my 1987 Chevy S-10 pickup. I secured it with bungee cords. We filled it with straw and threw a tarp over the top. (Supposedly pigs like to ride in the dark.)

After my work in town, I stopped by Price's Country Store in Gilbert. Jake Price is a former collegue of mine. He used to spend his days testing electrical cable. A few years ago he quit that and opened a country store next to his Grandfather's feed store which has been around for some 60 years.

I got some advice on pigs and feed. He sells some feed they make there. A small raiser like me doesn't need the antibiotics in the feed (which may leave residue in the meat), so I was happy I stopped by.

Turns out that he had seen the pigs I was going to buy and gave them the thumbs up.

I found my farmer without a problem. But it took us about an hour to get three little pigs out of his pen and into my truck.

He had a neat trick. He lured the ones I wanted into a cage with feed. Then he lifted the cage out of the larger pen (with a front end loader) and next to my truck. If my cage had a door, the rest would have been simple, just put the doors together and chase them from one cage to another. But my cage had no door. It was built with no floor, so you lift it on one end to create the opening, which made the possibilty of escapte greater when transferring the pigs.

After some 15-20 minutes trying to chase the pigs in without them escaping (there was one close call), my farmer decided to do it the old fashioned way. He crawled in the cage and grabbed a pig by its two hind legs (squealing and fighting all the way). He pulled it out and I simultaneously closed his cage's door and lifted my cage. He swung the pig in and we lowered the cage. This was the way to do it.

We talked a bit. He has a lot of pigs, but mostly he raises chickens. He mentioned the beef recall that was in the news yesterday and commented it much safer to raise your own. I think he was also concerned about me getting the pigs out of my truck and into our pen successfully, but I told him I had plenty of help.

The ride home was uneventful, but I had a warm homecoming.

Before we transferred the pigs, I still needed to attach the gate to their pen. I had made it on Saturday, but didn't have the hinges and latch I needed. I picked them up Monday while on the road and installed them quickly. Then came a bit of team work involving everyone.

We had two problems. First, I was hoping the bed my S-10 overhung the pig panel (pen fence), but it was too low. Secondly, the pig pen is in a larger pen (used for housing goats by the previous owners). My placement of the pig pen did not allow me to get my pickup all the way into the goat pen, thus if a pig escaped during transfer, it was possible it could find its way out of the larger pen via under the truck. So here was the plan: the three younges manned the 'goat pen' gate, holding it tightly on either side against the side of my truck. One son piled some logs under the truck to make it hard for a pig to escape and laid there with a stick to poke any pig who tried to make a run for it. Mrs. Curley's job was to "chase" the pigs (hopefully one at a time) towards the back of the truck. Two sons would lift the cage on the back end. I would grab the hind legs of the pig and swing him and lower him into the pen.

It went pretty well with one modification. These pigs pretty strong and heavy. One in particular must be pushing 60 lbs-which feels a whole lot more when its squealing and struggling. So as I pulled the first pig out, one son grabbed a large bucket and put the pig's head into it. Then son lifted bucket and I lifted the feet over into the pen. This worked wonderfully, and all three were deposited safely and without incident.

Then we backed off and watched the pigs. Amazing. I had heard they were rooters, but never really understood. They put their snouts deep into the earth and dig. We plan on moving their pen every few weeks, and I can see why we have to.

What a day! Thank God for all His blessings!

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 18, 2008

2 more eggs Saturday and 2 more on Sunday.

I literally will be bringing home the bacon today: we get our pigs! It is raining this morning, but it should be done by noon. I am hoping for a dry trip.

I have had a little chance to look at my borrowed copy of the Knox Bible. Since it is said that his translations of St. Paul's epistles are especially enlightening, I started with Ephesians as I am probably most familiar with this book.

Here's a comparision of Ephesians 6: 4 (with the Douay Rheims version):

And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord. (D-R)

You who are fathers, do not rouse your children to resentment; the training, the discipline in which you bring them up must come from the Lord. (Knox)

Not to much different, but you can see Msgr. Knox gives one a little more to think about-for want of better words.

Well, I am off.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Work Day

Boy, I wish there were more days like today. We started by changing the oil in two of the cars. Then we ate breakfast. Mrs. Curley went off to meet some friends and do some sewing (she returned in late afternoon). My 2 girls cleaned house and made the meals. My sons and I made a pig pen and rejuvanted a big old dog house for a new little pig house. We cleaned up and then I started on a wooden rifle for a birthday boy (not mine) tomorrow. We ate dinner, and I finished the rifle. Now showers, rosary, and bed. Everyone worked hard and we have grand results.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our first egg!

The blessed event happened today. The egg is pretty small, but its a start. It was from one of the Barred Plymouth Rocks.

The January 12th edition of the Fairfield County Catholic had a nice profile of Requiem Press author Cortney Davis-Is It a Baby-or just some cells? Unfortunately, the article is not online. Her pastor (she entered the Church only a year ago) had this to say about her in the article:

Cortney has a prophetic sense about her, " he says. "She's surrounded by a culture that doesn't respect the dignity of life, and there she is, a lone voice, trying to encourage those in the medical field to say, 'This isn't right.'"

Then, The Spectrum, publication of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT profiles Cortney in their 31 January issue.

And finally, The Catholic Transcript (not online) profiles her in an early February issue.

She has been talking at various parishes in CT this year with a few upcoming dates in this spring. (St. Leo's in Stamford on March 2 and St. Francis in Weston on April 20).

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stations of the Cross last night after CCD. I love the Stations. I used do them more often. Last night was a reminder.

Some time ago, we were given some numbered (1-14) crosses which had been used above the pictures of the Stations in a Church in Columbia. I would like to put them on posts (with maybe a roof) and make a Way of the Cross outdoors here. This would be a great thing.

And now this holy card courtesy of Holy Cards fro your Inspiration :

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Book news

This just in: Carl Olsen has written a review of Standing with Peter for the NC(Register). It's subscription-only, so when I get a copy I will post snip of the best stuff. Of course you can buy a copy of SwP at Requiem Press.

And in another subscription-only venue, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' column in the March issue of First Things is about (among other things) Russell Shaw and what he has written on clericalism and the abuse of secrecy in the Church. Clericalism is one of the topics covered in Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church.

Did I mention we have a new Russell Shaw title coming out this spring? More later.

Oremus pro invicem!

The Way #686:

All right: that person has behaved badly toward you. But haven't you behaved worse toward God?

I can't think of a single case in my life where this isn't true. Yet we (speaking only for myself) always want justice for ourselves before justice for God (or anyone else for that matter.)

I see this interest in justice for self in my kids too-but theirs is often (at least initially) more of a pure thirst for justice rather than merely self-interest.

Oremus pro invicem!

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us!

A chord struck

I read this by Caelum et Terra's Maclin Horton yesterday in his Sunday night journal; it struck a chord. Make sure you read it all, but here is a bit (a long bit)

Life itself is almost certain to be intensely painful at some point to everyone. Some amount of suffering will come to all of us, and much to some. But God has given us what may be the greatest gift possible in this life: a meaning for suffering. And not only a meaning, but the choice of making our suffering a positive good by actively offering it on behalf of others. We not only have a purpose for our own lives, but we can choose to make that purpose be the one which is universally acknowledged to be the highest: to give our own lives for the sake of others. And—here’s the best part—we are promised that our efforts will have an effect.

Here’s a little thought experiment: suppose you are standing by an icy river. A gang of thugs comes along and, out of sheer meanness, pushes you in. You are almost stunned by the shock of the cold, and the bank is too steep and slippery for you to climb out. You reach for a branch hanging near the water but you’re too heavy for it and it breaks. You have only minutes to live and will spend them thrashing around wildly in panic, succumbing slowly to hypothermia and/or drowning.

Now suppose you’re standing by that same river, and you see a drowning child. You jump in. You are almost stunned by the shock of the cold, but you reach the child and try to bring him back to the shore. You see that you will never be able to climb the steep and slippery bank, but there is a low-hanging branch which the child is able to grasp, and he pulls himself out of the water. As you are succumbing slowly to hypothermia and/or drowning, you see someone helping the child to safety.

One way or another, sooner or later, we’re all going into that river, and we’re not coming out alive. Would you rather be thrown in, or jump in of your own free will to save somebody else? Which way would you prefer to die?

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Book Notes

I mentioned the book Embryo - A Defense of Human Life by Robert George and Christoper Tollefsen some weeks ago. I still haven't read it, but it is in the on deck circle.

One review on Amazon says this (in part):

Finally, a book that confronts the dishonesty directly--by challenging those who continue to deny the humanity of the early human embryo. Drawing from science, philosophy, and the law--but not religion, George and Tollefsen make a compelling case that the early human embryo is not a "potential" human being, or a "pre human being" or a clump of unformed cells, but rather an individual member of the human species--deserving of respect and protection.

But I mention the book today because there is a debate on going about it. It started with a NY Times book review and continues on NRO (here) - with the authors replying. Check it out.


Speaking of books, I am reading now Swords Around the Cross: the Nine Years War. I am not very far in, but note this passage already:

The Nine Years Ware 1594-1602 was certainly a war of Gaelic independence, but primarily and most importantly a war fought in defense of the Roman Catholic Faith. When negotiations were opened and terms discussed, inevitably the first article demanded by the Confederates was the free practice ofthe Catholic, Apostolic, Roman religion....

Religious belief, when deep, is undoubtedly the strongest felling in the soul of man. It can endow a nation steeped in it with a fiery, unconquerable strength. History has shown time and again that Catholicism can be for a nation a profound emotion, capable of uniting a people and transcending their previous limitations.

Dr. O'Donnell credits the Nine Years War with keeping Belgium Catholic-that Elizabeth (or should we say, William Cecil) did not have the resources to assist Protestants in the low countries (Belgium) due to the the ongoing struggle in Ireland.


Finally this morning, in reading a book we are trying to secure reprint rights to, I found a piece of paper marking a page in the book. The paper listed (from the 1963 Congressional Record) "current Communist goals". I found a more complete list online here. Read:

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health
clinics, etc.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.(No, just give it to the control of Red China-ed.)

There are others on the list, but this is a sufficient cross-section. Some may say, "So what! Communism died in 1990." But, Red China is getting stronger.

While I believe Red China is a big threat, the means of their conquest will be our own weaknesses. We have increasing apathy and laziness about what we eat, and about how what we consume (food or otherwise) is produced. We care less about whose backs our consumption is breaking, as long as we can have what we want NOW and cheaply. A little economic hardship around here would do our souls a bit of good. We also allow a continued secularization of our society as demonstrated by the Communist goals listed above which are reality today in America.

When the crash comes-we will have no soul left: no God to cry to. He will not exist for many in a real way. Of course this is the great opportunity both sides of the struggle: for evangelization and for the economic takeover by China.

Eventually, (I believe) there will be a worldwide struggle between Communist China and Islamic Europe. Devote Christians will have no partner in the party (just as we increasingly have a hard time finding a date in the political workings of America today). But we will be there to pick up the pieces of the disillusioned and rebuild Christendom. Until then we should work on personal holiness.

Onwards! Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's settled...

We're getting a couple of pigs. The SC Markett Bulletin last week had advertised a couple good deals (the other was for pygmy goats.) We have a little fence work to do, and I need to fit a pen for the back of my truck to bring the 9-week old pigs home. Then we're all set. I go to pick them up early next week. I think they'll be ready to slaughter in August or so.

We are tempted by the pygmy goats too. They are just in milk, come with kids, and the best price we have seen. The owner has a large herd and wants to cut it in half. If we got a few, we would milk them (we use 2-3 gallons a day) any male kids I would cut and then raise for meat. We are praying about it. We can hire someone to come out and feed the animals, but maybe not milk them.

Til tomorrow.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday morning in the office has a routine all its own. First, I check email. Since I haven't checked it all weekend, and I don't have a great Spam filter, I spend at least an hour and maybe more, deleting hundreds of Spam emails on my several email accounts associated with the business.

Then I check book sales. This weekend they were pretty good because there was a review of Brother Charles OFM Conv. of Marytown The Mini-Catechism in The Catholic Review, a weekly newspaper in Maryland. You can read it here (page 3) :

"It's ridiculous to call it a penny catechism when it sells for $4.50" Brother Charles said with a laugh. "But its something thats needed. Its ideal-you can slip it into your pocket or purse, and its a handy way to get the essentials of the faith to many people."

... "What I'd really like to do is see it get in the racks in the back of churches", Brother Charles said.
(so would I-ed.)

This weekend was packed with work and fun. I already reported on some of the work on Saturday. Yesterday we went up to York County after Mass for a Families of Joyful Hope gathering. Our patroness is Our Lady of Joyful Hope-Our Lady of South Carolina. We ate and danced and talked and listened to a tape on apologetics. It was a great time for the whole family in many ways.

One of our friends brought their 2.5 month old baby. We haven't had a baby in the house for some years now. I like to hold one when I get the chance. I relieved Mom of her baby for an hour or so yesterday.

Now back to work.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Beautiful day here in Bethune, South Carolina. Our neighbor has his rows ready for planting.

We spent the day doing small jobs. I fixed a leaky faucet, a leaky kitchen pipe, a broken hinge, a broken chair, a broken end table, and a broken frame. We also pulled up a stump, cleaned the broken glass out of a broken door, pulled thorny vines out of our bushes, removed the chicken litter from the pen and put new straw down, went to the dump twice, did some minor car diagnostic work and probably a few other things. A lot of nagging little things accomplished.

Our neighbor stopped by (the one who we gave some chickens to as our dog had gotten at his). He said the chickens we gave him started laying this week. Ours have yet to lay, but he looked at them and told me it would be soon (as their crowns are getting pretty bright red.)

Next week some bigger jobs loom, but tomorrow we rest with Mass and then with friends.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Went to Mass this morning with the family and then spent much of the rest of the day on the road. Had a doctor appointment in NC. 3 months ago I was a seemingly pretty healthy guy taking no meds. Now I am (after today) taking 5 different pills everyday, on a restricted diet and don't know which doctor to believe (my GP or specialist.) Woe is me, right?

I'm just grousing-or maybe procrastinating cause I should be starting my income taxes.

Well I have always been blessed tremendously and have really never had anything bad happen to me. Even this (diabetes) is just a pain in the neck right now. In a few months I'll think nothing of it.

Mr. Culbreath is going on his usual Lenten blogfast. He blames his crankiness-but actually I found little crankiness on his recent posts. (Maybe I was too cranky in the comment box.)

Turns out we have two roosters. One is a "free rare chick" we got when we ordered the others. It has little of a comb and wasn't crowing, so we thought it a hen. But it is going at it now. But no eggs yet....

Okay, enough. Time for the taxes.

Oremus pro invicem!

The Way #'s 391 &393

If you have holy shamelessness, you won't be bothered by the thought of what people have said or what they will say.

A man-a gentleman-ready to compromise would condemn Jesus to death again.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I didn't know it was the anniversary of Thomas More's birth today (hat tip to Pro Ecclesia). This being the case, I will share a story about Thomas More as a babe. This is how Dom Bede Camm's life of Thomas More (soon to be republished by Requiem Press God-willing) begins:
A story is told of our martyr as a babe, which viewed in the light of his after-life seems specially characteristic. His nurse was carrying him on horseback during some journey, when they came to a river which had to be forded. On reaching the opposite side, the horse slipped while trying to mount it, and the nurse in her alarm threw her little charge on to the bank. The precaution turned out to be unnecessary, as the horse got out safely, and the nurse, recovering from her fright, ran in some trepidation to see what had happened to the babe. It had fallen over a hedge and into a ditch. But far from being hurt or even frightened, the little one lay there smiling, and as he was lifted out he laughed and crowed in his glee.

Oremus pro invicem!

So despite predictions (including by me) that Super Tuesday would NOT annoint the Republican nominee, apparently it has. With Mitt out, the way is clear for McCain (only Ron Paul stands in the way....).

It looks now like Hillary Clinton could be experiencing some cracks in the armor-which is bad news for McCain, methinks. Hillary's negatives are so high, and McCain popular enough with liberals (for good reason), that he may just be able to beat Mrs. Clinton in November.

Obama is a different story. He is inexperienced enough that he could self-destruct, but vague enough and charismatic enough that if he doesn't self-destruct he will steamroll Bob Dole-ahem I mean John McCain in November.

small once more

Okay, so I thought I was going to limit my posting to once per day, but old habits die hard. Here's a thought. I just finished small ... by Joseph Pearce this morning. One last quote:

Lust, envy, avarice, gluttony and pride are all employed as key marketing tools. Instead of sins to avoid, they have become pleasures to indulge. ... The deadly sins of Christianity have become the deadly virtues of consumerism.

Glad I have read small is still beautiful (economies as if families mattered). You would think with all the times I quoted from it, that is has become a favorite book. Not really so. There were parts that were all me. And other parts I could have let pass. Yet overall, I think it has some important messages for today's society and culture. And I would welcome much of the changes proposed therein; and in our own humble way we do try to make some of those changes to smallness here on our small holding in Bethune.

Oremus pro invicem!

Spent a couple hours yesterday cleaning my office. It's not finished, but I can work it in again without falling over things and seeing frustration in every direction. It's funny how a clean office can make you want to work in it-just for the pleasure of being in a neat place. (It's easier to pray in clean area too.)


Russell Shaw gives some advice to planner's of Pope Benedict's visit to the US in this month's Catholic World Report. The article is available online here. Here's a clip:

One indicator of how things stand is the frequently reiterated emphasis these days on the need to shore up Catholic identity. So, for instance, Chicago's Cardinal Francis George, president of the US bishops' conference and probably the brightest member of the American hierarchy, unburdened himself (in an interview with reporter John Allen) on the disappearance of an American Catholic subculture and what that means for "those third, fourth, fifth, sixth generation Irish, Germans, Italians, some Poles, whose only culture is that of this country….We're in some trouble in terms of Catholic identity."

But in other sectors of American Catholicism the happy-talk about educated laity and vibrant Church institutions still goes on. It's like serving drinks in the lounge while the Titanic sinks.


And finally, quote from St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer which sounds quite like one of the things my Dad said so often; compare:

Don't make negative criticism. If you can't praise, say nothing. - The Way No. 443

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. - Dad

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

So here we are. We have our ashes. We all went to confession. And now it begins.

I will be posting less in the forty days. No blogfast, but I have much work to do and need to spend more time in prayer. I don't know how this will play out in practice, but I suspect there will be less posting in general.

(Picture courtesy of Holy Cards for your inspiration )


I inquired at our Chancery if there would be any tickets available for the Papal Mass in DC. I was told that they don't know yet, but they have a few tickets for the Mass in NY. The drawing is on Monday!

Originally the DC diocese website said there would be no motorcade, but apparantly this decision has been reversed due to popular demand. I know the Curley's will be on the streets of DC in April waiting for a Papal blessing.


Finally, this post on family and civilization was long, but very interesting. Here's a clip:

Zimmerman was a prominent Harvard sociologist whose topic in F&C is to investigate the connections between the kind of family that predominates within a civilization, and the vitality of that civilization. He says there are three basic social types of family: 1) the trustee family, which is close-knit, tribal and clan-like; 2) the domestic family, which is centered around the nuclear family, but which maintains close ties to the extended family; and 3) the atomistic family, in which ties outside the nuclear family have been greatly attenuated. Dynamic civilizations pass from one to another at various stages in their ascendancy, and many civilizations have all three present at any given moment in their lifetime. But at the current moment, the atomistic family is the predominant type in the West. It was in 1947 when Zimmerman wrote this, and certainly is today, even moreso.

This is not good news at all from a historical and sociological point of view, Zimmerman writes. Greece and Rome both passed through all three stages before their respective final collapses. Why does the social predominance of the atomistic family form presage civilizational collapse? Basically, because of children.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


More than once I have quoted or paraphrased C.S. Lewis from The Great Divorce saying that when you look back from Heaven you will see that Heaven started on earth; or if you look back from Hell, you will see that your Hell started on earth.

Our pastor often quotes St. Catherine of Siena saying: The road to Heaven is all Heaven; the road to Hell is all Hell.

Thinking about these things and Father's homily on Sunday about happiness, it occurred to me that Aristotle in Ethics shows that happiness is a well-lived life.

Now doesn't this all just tie together nicely?

(Oh yes, finally got the Christmas tree down last night-just in time.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Picked our last turnips yesterday and most of our last radishes. I will probably get the spinach (which never really got as big as it should have) this week. Then we can get ready to start all over again.

More car trouble this weekend. While we didn't fix the car that broke, we fixed the car that was already broken (a smaller job.) A good excuse to spend the night with friends and once again learn how to diagnose and fix the car. I have my car work cut out for me for the next couple weeks.

I don't watch alot of football-for one thing we don't get any TV reception around here. But I am not the fan I used to be. Although we still play it quite a bit around here, and I enjoy that. Growing up the Patriots were seldom very good. So while I rooted for Steve Grogan and Andy Johnson and Randy Vataha (sp?) and Jim Nance, and Sam the Bam Cunningham, and Jim Plunkett, they weren't in a whole lot of big games. Thus I rooted for the Pats all season long and then during the playoffs I my other favorite team(s) to root for.

In New England, the NY Giants has a pretty big following because of their proximity. I liked the Giants myself.

Of course in recent years, the Pats have been more successful and put on the Hollywood look-ditching the ugly but inspiring Patriot Pat on the helmet. I also haven't lived in New England for 13 years. Some of my boys are loyal to the Carolina Panthers. My loyalty is really to the "Pat the Patriot team", and I like underdogs and hate blowouts.

So, as we found ourselves at a friend's house last night watching the game, I found myself rooting for the NY Giants last night-never thinking they would really pull it off. (I won't admit any of this to my brother-so don't tell him.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, February 01, 2008


Mass this morning was pretty full. First Friday is always a great time at our parish. I am lucky enough to have flexible schedule and can usually be there. Lots of kids of all ages were there (obviously homeschooled-as their schedule permits it). After Mass we pray for soldiers from the area and/or related to parishioners who are deployed overseas. Then we have breakfast. Afterwards there is talk and play. Today we practiced some square dancing. (I think it went okay-and people did have fun. My calling needs more work.)

After Mass, Fr. John addressed the congregaton, but especially the children (and maybe even more directed at the teenagers). He said (I am paraphrasing) that they will go out into the world someday soon, but they will cherish the memories of these First Fridays-which may remind them to attend daily Mass or First Friday Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart in the future.


Peggy Noonan captures my feeling on politics these days (read the rest here) when she writes:

If there is a part of you that loves politics, loves the sheer brunt force of it, the great game of it, you are waking up each morning with a spring in your step. "What happened last night?"


Speaking of First Friday above, unfortunately most men in the parish don't have my schedule and can't make it. But there usually is a few men (retired) who come, and we have a great time talking at breakfast. This week they both had surgery and thus couldn't be there. I think both surgeries were successful, but in case, keep Tom and Mike in your prayers this week so their recovery is full.


On tap for tonight? The Quiet Man. (A little early, but St. Pats day falls during Lent and who knows if we will be watching movies then.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Things you never notice

Just this week I have started to have trouble reading. You never realize that when reading that you tend to hold the book a certain distance from your eyes so you can focus properly. When your eyes change, this distance changes and it takes a while to get used to. Usually this change would gradual and so you hardly notice-at least for a while. However, my focus postion changed very suddenly this week, and it has confounded my reading for a few minutes when I initially pick up a book. (It may be age, it may be adjusting to new medication, etc.-At least I can read!)

I am very sorry I started checking in with NRO, especially The Corner. I can feel the old tug towards political junkyism. I want to be "engaged" and in the "know". But it takes time I just don't have. I don't think it makes me a better voter (or person), just a more cynical one (as if I wasn't cynical enough already.) In any case, my part of the voting is done until November and I can keep up-to-date minimally by checking the news on primary days.

I see my neighbor is starting to get his fields ready. This means I should be getting ready to plow up my own winter crop and get ready to plant the spring crop. I notice the brocolli being sold at the local feed and seed store are about the size that my brocolli (which I planted in the fall) is now. Maybe I will just leave them there and see if they grow as it warms. First planting will be spinach and cabbage. The squashes go in later in the spring.

My rooster is crowing away, but no eggs yet. They are overdue, but the cold weather we've had is probably retarding the first production.

That's it for now. From the small holding in Bethune .... Oremus pro invicem!