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Q&A  April AD 2010
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

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Morality of
The Great Depression (Continued)

Q&A Archives

Our Lady of the Rosary

    Question:  The Latin Mass Magazine had an article that suggested that “concelebration” reduced the graces that we would receive from the celebration of Masses.[1]  What is “concelebration” and why might it be a problem.

    Answer:   Concelebration is the celebration of Mass in which two or more priests simultaneously consecrate the Host and Chalice, and later receive Holy Communion consecrated at that Mass.  In the traditional Roman Rite concelebration is restricted to Masses at which the priesthood or the episcopate are conferred.  It is more common in the Eastern Rites, and seems to have become the norm for the Novus Ordo, replacing private Masses when more than one priest is available.  In spite of its name, The Latin Mass Magazine supports the Conciliar Church and assumes that most of its priest-readers will “switch hit” at the Novus Ordo, and may in fact be required to do so, and may be required to concelebrate.  The article in question avoided all of the serious questions—matter, form, minister, and intention—that should be raised about the Novus Ordo, and dealt only with the issue of concelebration and its supposed reduction of graces.  Predictably, it ignored the question, raised in large scale concelebrations, of whether or not it is possible for a priest to consecrate bread and wine that are at a distance, and perhaps out of sight. (“That, over there, somewhere, is my body....”)

    It is generally a mistake to apply quantitative measurements to sacred things.  The article seemed to say, in effect, that (say) a dozen individual Masses produce twelve times as much grace as a Mass concelebrated by the same twelve priests.  The writer seemed to miss the fact that each concelebrant offers Mass as truly as if he celebrated separately.  This is not altered by the fact that they do so within one common ceremony.  One can justifiably say that all of the Masses ever offered in Christendom are but one—they all participate in the infinite graces of the one Sacrifice of the Cross, but even in human mathematical terms it is meaningless to multiply infinities.  No number of Masses will ever add up to make two Sacrifices of the Cross, or even a tiny fraction more than one!  If each concelebrant validly offers Mass, would more graces be conferred by stationing them at twelve separate altars, with twelve separate Hosts and Chalices?

    This is not to deny that there are some drawbacks to concelebration, even if we ignore the “large scale” problem mentioned above.  If more than two or three priests are involved the rest will appear to be merely functionaries—performing a supremely noble function, yet appearing to be almost non-participants, having little to do.  This appearance is multiplied insofar as they wear only some of the sacred vestments.  It would also seem to contribute to the modern perception of the Mass as a gathering of the assembly rather than a renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross.  And, of course, if all of the priests in a parish concelebrate Mass, there can be no other Masses, earlier or later, for the faithful who cannot fit the concelebrated Mass into their schedule.

    In any event, concelebration is a non-issue for traditional Catholics.  Authentic Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral teaching—don’t do without them—don’t accept one without all three!

Our Lady of the Rosary
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?

    Answer:  The statist policies of Hoover and Roosevelt kept the Great Depression going for over a decade before the nation’s entry into World War II.  At least one contemporary suggested that the War was to be the ultimate public works project:

... after six years of extravagance, deficits and debt, of so many wild schemes which had to be abandoned as failures, Roosevelt should find himself in 1938 with 11,800,000 unemployed on his hands, business still showing no spark of recovery and his whole cabinet split, angry and surly....

... This was Roosevelt. And it landed him in 1938 back pretty much where he began and without a single compound left in his little satchel of remedies save spending and more spending.

    But how would he spend and on what? Bridges, roads, a few more dams? These would consume a few billions at most. On what, then, could it be? He already had a definite idea in his mind on what it would be. He had denounced Hoover, among other things, for spending so much on the military establishment. He had warned that if the Republicans were not stopped, they would soon expose the people to the burden of "a billion dollars a year on the military and naval establishment." Now, looking up at the world from the hole in which he found himself, he had to swallow all that too. Half thinking aloud in a chat with Farley he said "The danger of war with Japan will naturally cause an increase in our armaments program, which cannot be avoided." He had only recently warned Americans against those politicians who would tell them that a military industry would produce work for the people and profits for business. But it would be hard, he had said at Chautauqua only two years before "for Americans to look beyond, to realize the inevitable penalties, the inevitable day of reckoning that comes from a false prosperity." Yet now he was playing with that very war motif. [2]

    The factors surrounding American entry into World War II differed somewhat from those of the first War.

●  England and the U.S. still shared a common language and something of an historical bond, but Irish, German, and Italian immigrants had taken their places in American society, so fewer people thought of themselves as being of British ancestry or loyalty.

●  The Kaiser had facilitated Lenin’s campaign against his WWI enemy, the Czar, only to abdicate in 1919—Lenin had also received strong financial support from the moneyed elites of the U.S. and Europe, including Germany.

●  In August of 1939 Hitler and Stalin entered into a non-aggression pact, making American Communists in and outside of US government reluctant to wage war on Germany until the treaty was abrogated in June of 1941.

●  During the 1930s, Alcoa, Dow, General Electric, IT&T, International Harvester, General Motors and Ford all had plants in Germany. DuPont partnered with I.G. Farben; Standard Oil joined them in developing Ersatz gasoline, made from coal; there was even an American branch of I.G. Farben.  Yet, paradoxically, the Eastern financial establishment saw benefits in going to war—a viewpoint not shared in the heartland.

●  The United States were in far worse economic shape as they entered the second War then when they had entered the first..  While the inflation of the mid-1920s had supported the British Pound, the inflation of the 1930s and the rise in the international price of American gold, was beginning to threaten Britain’s own plans for inflation, particularly with France and a few other countries remaining on the gold standard.

●  As Keynes had predicted, the war reparations demanded of Germany at Versailles had wrecked the German economy and paved the way to another war.  Lacking gold, Germany imposed strict exchange and capital export regulations, and engaged in bilateral trade negotiations with countries in the Balkans and South America, freezing out American and other European trade.  The bilateral agreements were viewed both as economic and military sanctions by the U.S. and Britain.

●  In August-September 1941 74% of Americans wanted to stay out of WWII;  68% even if this meant  a German victory over both England and Russia.

●  In their presidential bids before going to war, both Wilson and Roosevelt campaigned against entry.

    The extensive campaigns that made up World War II are well documented elsewhere, as are the moral arguments for and against the tactics employed by the belligerents—they are well beyond the scope of this paper on the moral aspects of the Depression—and they raise emotionally charged issues for all who consider themselves participants or victims.  In some places one can go to jail for discussing certain of those issues.  Here, we will discuss only one—the way in which three-quarters of the population could be led into war against their will and better judgment—the way in which they could be sold on this one great last “public works” project..

● Remember the Maine! ●

    Peaceful people will endure a lot of provocation, particularly if they don’t feel mortally threatened by the provocateurs.  American colonists put up with taxes, trade restrictions, and lack or representation for some time.  Without the Boston Massacre in 1770 it is unlikely that there would have been a Tea Party in 1773.  Without these being followed by the Intolerable Acts of 1774, there might not have been a Declaration of Independence in 1776.

    The War of 1812 might have been nothing more than a trade war (the New England States threatened secession) had the British not impressed American seamen into their Navy, and had not the British encouraged the Indians on the border, thereby hampering America’s westward expansion.

    On 15 February 1898 the USS Maine, in Havana harbor to protect American interests during the Cuban revolution against Spain, mysteriously exploded, taking 266 men (about three-fourths of the crew) to their deaths.  The sinking led to American military action against Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

    On 7 May 1915, the RMS Lusitania, an Auxilliary Merchant Cruiser of Great Britain, carrying over four million rifle cartridges and a number of American civilians was sunk by a German U-boat, precipitating US entry into World War I.  To no avail, the Gerrman government had posted advertisments in American newspapers warning civilians not to take passage on belligerent ships.

    Woodrow Wilson had campaigned successfully for a second term as the president who “kept us out of war,” but the economic implications of a German victory in World War I were serious indeed, and the US entered on the side of Great Britain.  Americans were at least as anxious to remain out of World War II, so it took considerable effort for President Roosevelt to connive American involvement.

    The opinion journals, both of the left and of the right, as well as the mainstream newspapers did their share to marginalize all whom they deemed “isolationists,” and who they labeled “fascists,” “reactionaries,” anti-Semites, and so forth.  Even the most noteworthy individuals could find no platform from which to deliver the non-interventionist message.[3]

    Hitler and Stalin both invaded Poland in September of 1939.  Honoring a guarantee made on 31 March of the same year, the British were soon to declare war on Germany, but not Russia.  Left wing sentiment in the US remained against entering the war until Germany invaded Russia in 1941.  The British guarantee to protect Poland turned out to be impossible, and may have been the fatal mistake that led to world war.  Although theoretically neutral, the US aided the British war effort in a number of provocative ways.

    In September of 1940 Roosevelt mobilized units of the National Guard, and asked Congress to begin conscripting soldiers.  Fifty American destroyers were transferred to the British Navy in return for leases on  naval bases in British Atlantic territories.  In April 1941 American officers began to serve on British and Dutch ships, and by May were involved in combat against German ships.  American troops occupied Iceland and later Greenland as proxies for the British.  American “lend-lease” war supplies to the British were convoyed by American ships and British ships received American escorts.  These forces reported directly to Roosevelt who euphemistically refered to them as “Neutrality Patrols” and “Support Forces.”  German, Italian, and Danish ships that fled from the British to American ports were taken into “protective custody,” and later turned over to the British.  Americans trained British pilots and repaired British war planes in England..[4]

    Roosevelt proclaimed the Altantic west of Iceland to be a “neutral zone,” and issued orders to shoot  at German boats “on sight” when in the zone.  In September 1941 the USS Greer stalked a German U-boat for several hours, provoking an unsuccessful torpedo attack.  Within the month came attacks on the USS Kearny and the USS Reuben James.  Between the two, a hundred twenty-six men died..  Roosevelt took the news excitedly to the radio and press, but Americans seemed to accept the losses as the price of staying out of the war.[5]

    Hitler was not terribly obliging in the Atlantic, but perhaps Tojo would help.  As a back up plan, Roosevelt also invited attack in the Pacific.  In 1940, apart from a squadron at Manila, the US fleet was stationed on the US west coast..  Early in 1941 ships were moved to the Atlantic, and in spite of top military advice, Roosevelt ordered the remaining ships to Hawaii.  Having the ships in Hawaii presented repair, personnel, and training problems as well as posing a threat to Japan.  The Fleet Commander, Admiral James Richardson, protested to no avail, was ordered to make the press believe it was his idea and not Roosevelt’s, and was ultimately relieved of command.[6]

    Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum was born in Japan to missionary parents and learned to speak Japanese before English.  By 1940 McCollum was the head of the Far East desk for Naval Intelligence.  In October of that year he prepared a memo detailing eight steps he felt necessary to goad the Japanese “to commit an overt act of war” against the United States.  The memo was forwarded through command to Roosevelt, who seems to have been guided by it.  The eight points may be summarized as a total economic blockade and the movement of warships into positions threatening to Japan.[7]

    McCollum reported to Captain Walter S. Anderson, who was to be promoted to Rear Admiral and Commander of Battleships for the Pacific Fleet.  Anderson arrived in Hawaii by 1 February 1941 and witnessed the ceremony in which Admiral Richardson was replaced by Admiral Husband E. Kimmel.  But while Kimmel took military quarters at Pearl Harbor, Anderson had the “foresight” to rent down at Waikiki where he spent December 7th.  Curiously, Anderson never made Admiral Kimmel aware that his people had broken both the Japanese military and diplomatic ciphers.  Had he done so, Kimmel might have been able to demand the intelligence necessary to defend Pearl Harbor.[8]

    Further discussion of who knew what and when about Pearl Harbor is beyond the scope of this writing.  A great deal has been written since WWII materials became declassified.  Interested readers are directed to the references given in the footnotes.

    Next month we hope to conclude this series with a summary of the things that caused the Great Depression and the mistakes made in dealing with it.

[To be continued]


[1]   Peter A. Kwasniewski, “Loss of Graces.” Latin Mass Magazine,
Vol 19, No. 1, Winter 20010, pp .6-9.

[2]   John T. Flynn, The Roosevelt Myth (NY: Devin –Adair, 1948) 127-128.

[3]   See Murray N. Rothbard, The Betrayal of the American Right (Auburn: von Mises Institute, 2007) 33-52.

[4]   George Victor, The Pearl Harbor Myth (Dulles Va: Potomac, 2007) 165-186.

[5]   Thomas Fleming, The New Dealer’s War  (NY: Basic, 2001) 89-90.

[6]   Victor, ibid. 154-164.

[7]   Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit (NY: Touchstone, 2001) 6-10. The memo can be viewed at

[8]   Stinnett, ibid.  8, 34-38.



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Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!