Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

March AD 2009
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

On this page:
Elevation Candle?
Prayer of Saint Francis?
Easter Confession and Communion
The Great Depression (Continued)

Elevation Candle?

Question:  Last Easter a new candle (not the paschal candle) on an angel shaped candlestick appeared on the credence table.  What is its purpose?

Answer:  The candle is called a “Sanctus candle” or “Elevation candle.”  It burns from the time during Mass when the Host is consecrated until the last person has received Holy Communion.[1]  The ambiguity of its name results from the impracticality of the server lighting the candle at the precise moment of the consecration, for he is otherwise occupied.  The Sanctus is a little too early and the Elevation is a tiny bit late.  In practice, the candle is usually lighted a minute or two after the Sanctus, so that the server can return to his position to ring the single bell at Hanc igitur.  The candle is not required, but we were fortunate to receive it from the estate of a deceased parishioner, who received it as a gift from another former (but still living) parishioner.  The angel candle stick is a close match to the one we have on the Gospel side of the tabernacle. The pair on the altar, appearing female (Gospel side) and male (Epistle side) are reproductions of a pair made by Michelangelo for the Dominican basilica in Bologna, Italy where Saint Dominic is buried.

    At Solemn Mass the Sanctus candle is replaced by two candles or torches carried by acolytes.

Prayer of Saint Francis

Question:  Is it true that Saint Francis did not write the prayer which starts out: “O Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace”?

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


    Answer:  According to the WIKIPEDIA:[2]  An article by Egidio Picucci on the 19-20 January 2009 issue of L'Osservatore Romano says that the earliest record of the prayer is its appearance, as “a beautiful prayer to say during Mass” in the December 1912 number of the small devotional French publication La Clochette, “the bulletin of the League of the Holy Mass.” In 1915, Marquis Stanislas de La Rochethulon, president of the Anglo-French association Souvenir Normand, which called itself “a work of peace and justice inspired by the testament of William the Conqueror, who is considered to be the ancestor of all the royal families of Europe,” sent this prayer to Pope Benedict XV. The Pope had an Italian translation published on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano of 20 January 1916. It appeared under the heading, “The prayer of Souvenir Normand for peace,” and with the explanation: “Souvenir Normand has sent the Holy Father the text of some prayers for peace. We have pleasure in presenting in particular the prayer addressed to the Sacred Heart, inspired by the testament of William the Conqueror.” On 28 January 1916, the French newspaper La Croix reprinted, in French, the Osservatore Romano article, with exactly the same heading and explanation. La Rochethulon wrote to the newspaper to clarify that it was not a prayer of Souvenir Normand, but he chose not to mention La Clochette, the first publication in which it had appeared.  Because of its appearance on L'Osservatore Romano and La Croix as a prayer for peace during the First World War, this prayer then became widely known.


    Mother Teresa of Calcutta made it part of the morning prayers of the Roman Catholic religious order she established, the Missionaries of Charity. She attributed importance to it when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1979 and asked that it be recited.  Margaret Thatcher, who in that same year won the 1979 United Kingdom general election, paraphrased the prayer on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, surrounded by a throng of reporters, as she set out the aims of her Government after having “kissed hands” with Queen Elizabeth II and become Prime Minister.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, declared that it was “an integral part” of his devotions. In October 1995, President Bill Clinton quoted it in his welcoming speech to Pope John Paul II on his arrival in New York to address the United Nations.  Nancy Pelosi used it when she became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007.

Easter Confession and Communion?

    Question:  What is the “Easter Duty”?  Does it require a sacramental Confession in addition to Holy Communion?  Even if one can remember no serious sins to confess? (A.H.)

    Answer:  The Easter Duty is the obligation of Catholics who have reached the use of reason (about seven years of age) to receive Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter Season.  In these United States the Easter Season extends from the First Sunday of Lent (March1 this year) through Trinity Sunday (June 7 this year).

    The obligation to make an annual Confession is separate from the Easter duty.  Canon 906 says that “All members of the faithful of either sex after attaining the age of discretion are bound faithfully to confess their sins at least once a year.”  New (1983) Canon 989 says substantially the same thing, omitting only the reference to “of either sex.”  If one were a legalist, he might claim that the canon did not apply to one who was absolutely without sin, for then there would be nothing to confess—but apart from Jesus Himself and the Blessed Virgin Mary, I don’t suspect we have too many of those.  If a man honestly could not think of anything he did wrong during the course of the year, it would be appropriate to make a general Confession:  “In the past I have had trouble with the sins of gossip and theft (or whatever), and I am sorry for any sins I may have committed either in the past or more recently, but of which I am unaware or cannot remember.”

    I strongly suspect that a man who “honestly could not think of anything he did wrong” is simply not making an examination of his conscience, or never learned what is sinful and what is not.  Modernism has left a lot of people with the idea that as long as they are not ax-murderers or adulterers they are without sin.  (Some modernists include eating non-union lettuce and emitting green-house gasses along with or in place of adultery and ax-murdering.)

    The Easter duty is separately prescribed in Canon 959 (new Canon 920).  Obviously it assumes that the recipient of Holy Communion is in the state of grace, and most people make their annual confession just prior to their Easter Communion.  Obviously, both Sacraments are beneficial and ought to be received with far greater frequency!

    The requirement for an annual Easter Communion goes back at least to 1215 and the Fourth Council of the Lateran.  It is included in the Canons approved by Pope Innocent III:

21. On yearly confession to one's own priest, yearly communion, the confessional seal

All the faithful of either sex, after they have reached the age of discernment, should individually confess all their sins in a faithful manner to their own priest at least once a year, and let them take care to do what they can to perform the penance imposed on them. Let them reverently receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least at Easter unless they think, for a good reason and on the advice of their own priest, that they should abstain from receiving it for a time. Otherwise they shall be barred from entering a church during their lifetime and they shall be denied a Christian burial at death. Let this salutary decree be frequently published in churches, so that nobody may find the pretence of an excuse in the blindness of ignorance. If any persons wish, for good reasons, to confess their sins to another priest let them first ask and obtain the permission of their own priest; for otherwise the other priest will not have the power to absolve or to bind them. The priest shall be discerning and prudent, so that like a skilled doctor he may pour wine and oil over the wounds of the injured one. Let him carefully inquire about the circumstances of both the sinner and the sin, so that he may prudently discern what sort of advice he ought to give and what remedy to apply, using various means to heal the sick person. Let him take the utmost care, however, not to betray the sinner at all by word or sign or in any other way. If the priest needs wise advice, let him seek it cautiously without any mention of the person concerned. For if anyone presumes to reveal a sin disclosed to him in confession, we decree that he is not only to be deposed from his priestly office but also to be confined to a strict monastery to do perpetual penance.[4]


The Great Depression

[Continued from last month:]

    Question:  Were there moral aspects to the Great Depression?  A lot of people suffered for well over a decade.  Shouldn’t someone be held responsible?  Can we prevent such a thing from happening again?

● “Federal” Reserve Operations Begin ●

    The Federal Reserve System began operations in November of 1914, just a few months after the outbreak of World War I.  In many people’s minds the Fed is thought to be a part of the U.S. government—in reality it is a public chartered cartel of private bankers.  However, the relationship between the Fed and the government is symbiotic.  The government has granted the Fed the exclusive right to create “money” and to set interest and reserve requirements among the member banks, while the Fed creates this “money” in response to the needs of the government.  Since the “money” is created in exchange for Treasury bonds, the government is able to finance its operations through currency devaluation instead of direct taxation.  The increased money supply gives the appearance, but not the substance, of prosperity, and is far more easily obtained than it would be through direct taxation.  The loss of wealth to those holding dollars is gradual, not associated with any one government program, and not accounted for on anyone’s pay stub.

● World War I ●

    War often gives the illusion—but not the reality (except for bankers and arms merchants)—of prosperity.  The nation unites to fully employ its workforce and productive capacity to field a well equipped army.  Everyone has a job.  World War I was particularly deceptive in simulating American prosperity, in that for the years before the U.S. entered (April 1917), our productive resources went to supply Britain and France, and our agricultural resources grew in order to feed a war-torn continent unable to raise its own crops and livestock.

    J.P. Morgan maintained family ties to England and the English bankers.  He was chosen to sell British war bonds in the U.S.—and with the proceeds to procure supplies for the British from the American market.  A $3-Billion British war debt to Americans insured an American interest in the British winning the war.

    In October 1914, President Wilson allowed a $500 Million dollar U.S. loan to the Allies of the Triple Entente (Britain, France, and Russia). In spite of American neutrality, the U.S. eventually loaned the Entente $2.3 Billion. U.S. loans to the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austro-Hungary, Turkey, and (sometimes) Italy) were about 1 percent of that at $27 Million.  Ultimately it came down to economics—exports to Europe were too valuable to curtail.  By 1915 the New York Times reported annual exports of over $1-Billion.[5]

     On 7 May 1915 British Liner RMS Lusitania sunk carrying American passengers (and, most likely, military supplies) and acting as a Naval Auxiliary vessel) after warning by German Embassy that blockade running ships might be sunk.  Americans remained unwilling to enter what they perceived as a squabble between the ruling families of Europe.

    German submarine victories made it difficult to supply the Entente, portending a great economic loss to American investors, farmers, and producers.  In February 1916 Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve, Walter Lord Cunliffe of the Bank of England, and the Bank of France agreed to coordinated inflation to finance the war.[6]  In November 1916 President Wilson won re-election with the slogan “He kept us out of war,” but by January of the next year was claiming to have proof of German offers to ally with Mexico against the U.S.  By April 1917 the U.S. entered the war on the side of the Entente.

    Of the roughly $33‑Billion cost of war, $7.3‑Billions were raised through taxes, $24‑Billions were borrowed through bond issues, $1.6‑Billion was created by the Fed’s purchase of bonds.  The $1.6‑Billion created by the Fed (sometimes called "high powered money") was multiplied by the fractional reserve banking system to approximately $11.4‑Billions.  The M2 money supply rose about 70 percent, from $20.7‑Billion in 1916 to $35.1‑Billion in 1920.[7]  American territory went untouched by the war, there seemed to be great economic opportunities in the rebuilding of Europe and the re-tooling of American industry for peacetime.  The increased money supply gave most people the illusion of prosperity.  A responsible policy would have had the Fed reigning in some of that money.

    If we think of inflations as “too few goods chasing too many dollars,” we can see how the 70 percent increase in the money supply would induce investors to fund enterprises to boost productivity.  But the growth in the money supply had been artificial, not being supported by a proportional increase in demand for consumer goods.  This already bloated money supply would be further enlarged (as we will see) in the 1920s, with additional inflation and lowered interest rates, in an attempt to boost the British Pound relative to the dollar.  Both served as false signals for investors to buy the shares of producing companies on the stock exchange, driving the stocks of producer goods far out of proportion to the real demand of consumers.

    Before the cease-fire, agricultural production in the US grew at phenomenal rates in order to provide food for war-torn Europe.  American farmers cultivated more acreage using modern machinery.  With the end of the war and the resumption of farming in Europe, large US agricultural surpluses severely depressed prices paid to farmers at the market.  The problem of farm price supports would last all through the Depression, would return in the post-WWII era, and remains today.

    In January 1918 post-war Britain determined to return to the gold standard, and did so in 1925, insisting that the pound sterling exchange at £1.00 = $4.86, when in reality the pound had dropped to lower than $3.50.  Low production and high unemployment, fueled by unrealistically high wage rates, government funded unemployment compensation, and social benefits, would keep the pound low until the Fed agreed to domestic inflation and consequent devaluation of the U.S. dollar.[8]  By the mid‑1920s, instead of decreasing, the U.S. money supply was made to increase!  An economic bubble was forming that would certainly burst—not many years hence.

[To be continued]


[1]   Ritus servandus, VIII. 6;  Rubricæ Generales XX;
In the 1960 Missal,  Rubricæ Generales 530.

[3]  Note well.

[6]   Murray N. Rothbard, , A History of Money and Banking in the United States. (Auburn: Mises Institute 2005), pp. 372-373

[7]   Rockoff, Hugh. “US Economy in World War I”.

[8]   Rothbard, History, pp. 356-367




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