Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

June AD 2009
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

Lost Tribes of Israel?
Mass other then in Latin?
"From age to age...."
The Depression (Continued)



    Question:  I received a map that claims to trace “the migrations of the twelve tribes of Israel (The Caucasians)” via the Caucasus mountains to the Anglo Saxon, German, and Scandinavian lands, and then on to the United States and Canada.  The implication seems to be to portray Americans as God’s chosen people.  Is there any truth to this?  (J.S.)

    Answer:  Usually the “lost tribes of Israel are said to number ten, not twelve.  But let us digress.  The tribes of Israel are the descendants of the Old Testament patriarch Jacob, whom God renamed “Israel—the champion of God.”  Genesis 35 lists Israel’s sons:

    The sons of Lia: Ruben the first born, and Simeon, and Levi, and Juda, and Issachar, and Zabulon.  The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.  The sons of Bala, Rachel's handmaid: Dan and Nephtali.  The sons of Zelpha, Lia's handmaid: Gad and Aser.    Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manassas replaced their father as tribal heads, making thirteen tribes in all.  After the Exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Chanaan (c. 1400 B.C.) each tribe was assigned its own proper area within the promised land.  The Levites, however were to serve the Temple in Jerusalem and be supported through the efforts of the other twelve tribes.  Rather than receiving a tribal territory, the Levites received only individual cities, some of which were to be towns of asylum for those who had unintentionally killed another (Numbers 35, Josue 20‑21).

    With the death of King Solomon in 932 B.C. the kingdom split into two unequal parts, the northern tribes under Jeroboam I came to be called the Kingdom of Israel, and the Southern tribes (Juda, part of Benjamin, and the near-landless Levites) under Roboam came to be called the Kingdom of Juda (Cf. 3 Kings 12).

    In 722 B.C. the northern tribes were taken into captivity by the Assyrians (Cf. 4 Kings 17).  The Assyrians settled foreign people in the land of Samaria, roughly the southern half of the northern kingdom.  Even though the Samaritans adopted Jewish customs they were resented as outsiders.  They worshipped at their own temple on Mount Gerizim, instead of with the Jews at Jerusalem.  The idea of a “good Samaritan” was quite an innovation for the Jews of our Lord’s time.

    The southern kingdom under King Sedecias (607 B.C.) was taken into captivity by the Babylonians (modern Iraq), but the Babylonians were overthrown by Persia (modern Iran), and the southern tribes were allowed to return in 536 B.C.

    What became of the northern tribes is highly conjectural.  The Samaritans occupied a significant portion of the north.  The New Testament finds Mary and Joseph, and undoubtedly others of the southern tribe of Juda living north yet of the Samaritans.

    A marvelous Jewish legend holds that the lost tribes were exiled beyond a most violent river known as the Sambation.  The river is  not crossable for six days of the week—extremely rough rapids churn up rocks—but comes to a rest on the Sabbath—and of course the religious Jew will not undertake a journey on the Sabbath, so they remain in permanent exile.[1]

    There are a surprising number of groups claiming decent from the lost tribes of Israel.  Some do so seeking to gain religious legitimacy—the map our questioner received (there are a number of others) tries to connect the tribes with the Protestant countries of northern Europe whose settlers populated North America.  A similar map is used by White Supremacists.  The Mormon Church claims that the descendents of the tribes settled in the American West, and were visited by our Lord after His Resurrection.

    Some claimants to lost tribe status are from impoverished or war torn countries, and are interested in exercising modern Israel’s “right of return” in order to take up residence and citizenship in that country.  Among such refugee groups are the Beth Israel Jews, airlifted from Ethiopia in the 1970s and 80s.  Other claimants are simply proud to be Jewish, in spite of coming from places not generally associated with that religion—South Africa, the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and Japan for example.  The Spanish settlers of the Americas suspected that the indigenous people were descendents of the lost tribes.[2]

    Maps can be drawn, claiming to represent the migrations of the lost tribes, but arrows on a map prove extremely little.  Even when they represent actual patterns of migration they generally fail to prove the migration of a single unitary body—the peoples moving out of a particular territory are often evicted by the different people moving into it.  And migration is often known to take place in response to the climate changes the earth has experienced over the past centuries.  Climate change—warming and cooling—is not a post industrial phenomenon.  The barbarian invasions, for example, were triggered by cooling in the Scandinavian and Germanic countries, whose people moved south into the Roman Empire and northern Africa in force, seeking warmer climates with their more productive agriculture.  A medieval warm period allowed farming in extreme northern countries for a while, but then came the “Little Ice Age” from about 1650-1850 AD.


    Modern research has made use of DNA testing to determine the similarities (or lack thereof) of lost tribe claimants to those of known Jewish stock.  The Lemba tribe of South Africa, and particularly its Buba clan carry Y‑chromosomes with genes that match those of known Jews and particularly Jews of the hereditary priestly family of the Cohanim.  For both groups the gene occurs in ten percent of the entire population, and in fifty percent of the priestly clans, Cohanim and Buba.[4]  The NOVA web pages referenced in the footnotes make interesting reading indeed.  Perhaps future research will help to distinguish fact from fiction with respect to the lost tribes.

Mass other than latin?

    Question:  In the “good ole days” was Mass ever said in any language but Latin? (A.H., New York)

    Answer:  From our perspective, we still live in the “good ole days” of Catholic worship.  A variety of languages are employed by the various rites of the Catholic Church.  But, generally speaking, the language of Western Rite Catholics has been Latin for many centuries.  A significant exception is the permission, confirmed by Pope Urban VIII in 1631, for Roman Rite Catholics living along the cost of the Adriatic in Dalmatia and Croatia to offer the Mass and Office in the Old Slavonic tongue.[5] 

    The Slavic language used in the Roman Rite is the same language used by the Russians and Ukrainians in their Byzantine Rite liturgy, but written in Glagolitic letters instead of Cyrillic.  Glagolitic resembles Cyrillic in some of its letters, but others are wildly different.  There is even some significant difference between the forms of Glagolitic—the “round form” is used for Church Slavonic and a newer “square form” is used for Croatian.  Here is the (modern) Cyrillic: 

а б в г д е ё ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я

And here is the “round” form of Glagolitic.[6]

    The Dominican Rite is Western but not Roman, strictly speaking.  In 1356 Pope Innocent VI approved an order of Friars of Saint Gregory the Illuminator to use the Rite in the old Armenian Language in Armenia, Persia, and Georgia—they were absorbed into the Dominican Order in the 18th century.  In 1398 Pope Boniface IX authorized the Rite’s use in Greek for a single monastery.  Old Armenian was used in parts of Transylvania before the Communist revolution.[7]

    If memory serves, there are also places in Southern Italy where the Roman Liturgy is offered in Greek, and a few instances where Hebrew is permitted.


From age to age you gather a people to yourself?

    Question:  In the Novus Ordo there is a prayer that says: “From age to age you gather a people to yourself, so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name.”  Are the people thus gathered the “perfect offering”?  Shouldn’t it by Jesus Christ instead of the people?   (A.H., New York)

    Answer:  The prayer quoted from the Novus Ordo is from Prex III, which is the most synthetic of the four Eucharistic Prayers.  I, II, and IV are based on ancient sources—often abominably translated or mistranslated.  But III is the work of the “Liturgy Factory.”

    Of course I see conspiracy in everything modern, but it looks to me that the phrase was made deliberately ambiguous in the ICEL “translation”(below at right).  The phrase in Prex III “ut a solis ortu usque ad occásum oblátio munda offerátur nómini tuo.” corresponds to the “clean oblation” mentioned in Malachy 1: 11 “For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.”  In Latin, anyone with a knowledge of the Bible would recognize that the “perfect offering” is the one predicted of Jesus Christ—in the English it is easier to envision the congregation worshipping itself.  No doubt you have heard NovusOrdoites use the phrase “we are the body of Christ.”

Vere Sanctus es, Dómine, et mérito te laudat omnis a te cóndita creatúra, quia per Fílium tuum, Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Spíritus Sancti operánte virtúte, vivíficas et sanctíficas univérsa, et pópulum tibi congregáre non désinis, ut a solis ortu usque ad occásum oblátio munda offerátur nómini tuo.

Father, you are holy indeed, and all creation rightly gives you praise. All life, all holiness comes from you through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, by the working of the Holy Spirit. From age to age you gather a people to yourself, so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name.

    Perhaps substituting “from east to west” for “from the rising of the sun even to the going down,” is part of the obsession with brevity.  Or maybe they don’t expect government school grads to know where the sun rises and where it sets!

The Great Depression

[Continued from last month:]

    Question:  Were there moral aspects of the Great Depression?  A lot of people suffered for well over a decade.  Shouldn’t someone be held responsible?

● Facts and Fallacies ●

    Government dominated education gives most Americans the idea that the Great Depression was caused by an inherent weakness in free enterprise, that Herbert Hoover failed to exercise enough government intervention to keep the economy from contracting after the decade of prosperity nicknamed “the roaring twenties,” and that only the massive government spending programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt pulled the United States out of the Depression.  We have seen that the first two of these ideas are manifestly false.  But before we have a look at the Roosevelt years, it will be useful to examine some of the fallacies underlying the economic policies that contributed to the Depression, and the facts that were ignored.

● The Aggregation Fallacies ●

    The only indubitable “common good” of every person on the planet is eternal salvation.  “For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?”[8]  But “progressive” thinking holds that it is somehow possible to take the myriad needs and wants of everyone in a nation;  to reduce them to a few pages defining “the common good,” or “the will of the people”;  and then to build a society that works toward that “common good” without regard to the needs, wants, or rights of individual citizens.  Invariably, this “will of the people” is expressed in material terms—in reality, it is dictated by a small elite pretending to speak for society while enriching itself at the expense of everyone else.

    This fallacy of aggregation spills over into the economic thinking of those trying to plan the society for “the common good.”  It is presumed that one can measure economic factors like supply, demand, price, interest rate, employment rate, and so forth, and aggregate them together on a industry wide, region wide, or even nationwide basis without losing knowledge of all the minute details active at the level of individual transactions among real people.  For example, one can measure national unemployment, but such a figure tells us almost nothing about why a real person was offered a job or not, why he accepted it or not, and what part wages, benefits, working conditions, personal needs, future expectations, and so forth played in his decision.  Setting national targets based on such aggregations will always be more wasteful than allowing the free market among thousands or millions of people to set it own goals.  The “optimal,” “sustainable,” “desirable” levels of such things are meaningful only at the level of the individual.  Setting the levels of any of these factors by governmental fiat will invariably cause real world individuals to act incorrectly and to waste the resources of society.

● Fallacy: Economic Decisions Made By Fiat ●

    Neither president nor prelate can make economic decisions without regard to the laws of economics..  Civil and moral laws are prescriptive, telling us what we ought or must do.  Economic laws are descriptive, telling us what will happen if we do one thing or the other.  Like the laws of gravity they cannot be over-ruled except at grave peril.

“Economics ... is the science of tracing the effects of some proposed or existing policy not only on some special interest in the short run, but on the general interest in the long run.”
~ Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson, p.191

 ● The Subsidization Fallacies ●

    Seemingly with motives of compassion, central economic planning makes bad times worse by subsidizing a problem—or, much more accurately, by making people and firms in the private sector subsidize the problem.  Subsidization programs almost always violate Hazlitt’s principle (box above).  Laws requiring minimum or maximum wages, prices, rents, hours of work, levels of production, as well as those that “protect” some group from another, consistently work to make the perceived problem worse, or to pass it on to some other group of people.

    By establishing artificial minimums or maximums the economy will be distorted in one way or another.  Rent control will guarantee housing shortages.  Minimum wages will raise unemployment.  Maximum prices will guarantee shortages; minimum prices will leave some unable to buy even when there is surplus; and both are likely to create a “black market.”

    Paying someone not to produce may raise the seemingly “unfair” depressed price of a commodity to a “fair” level—but it won’t seem “fair” to the consumer who has to pay more than the market price, or may not be able to obtain the commodity at all—and the fellow paid not to produce at his land or factory may invest the payment at his brother-in-law’s land or factory, altogether defeating the control of production.

    A “protective” tariff may indeed keep an inefficient industry in business, wasting resources, but the consumer will be faced with higher prices.  If the tariff is significant, foreign nations will retaliate, harming the market for our exports, perhaps forcing the producers of goods for export to lay off workers, buy fewer materials on the domestic market, and perhaps to go out of business altogether.

    Unions, guilds, and professional licensing structures may (or may not) guarantee product quality and protect members from exploitation.  They will generally bring higher wages for their members, but only at the expense of those who must pay more and those who are denied entry into the union, guild or profession.

    Government forced subsidization is always paid for by someone else in the economy, either directly or by lowering overall productivity.  Consistently it adds the costs of its own bureaucracy, and the costs of complying with the regulations produced by that bureaucracy.  It creates new areas for corruption.

● Fallacy: Government is Productive ●

    One might make the statement that good government enables production—chiefly by defending individuals from aggressors foreign and domestic, and by enforcing contracts—but rarely if ever does government produce anything.  Generally government takes wealth from the private sector by means of taxes, inflation, and costs of compliance;  consumes a significant portion of that wealth in its bureaucracy;  and redistributes what is left over.  Whatever is taken from the private sector in money or manpower cannot be enjoyed in consumption, nor invested in productive activities.

    Even the claim that “government investment” in infrastructure is productive remains dubious.  A community might prize a new road, bridge, or hospital, but have no need for more than one or two.  Some citizens and businesses are likely to be uprooted by such projects, being told that the “common good” makes up for their inconvenience and under-compensation.

    In theory, the new road, bridge, or whatever is an asset to the community—in reality it is a liability.  It will never be sold at a profit, and must be maintained at considerable expense, even long after the central government has lost interest.  Money raised through tolls or taxes on the use of the infrastructure might be used to pay for the maintenance, but governments are sorely tempted to spend such monies on more glamorous and politically promising projects.  (Replacing rivets and painting a fresh coat of dull color on a bridge never got anyone re-elected.)

    The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any nation is overstated by adding the costs of government to the total amount of private productivity instead of subtracting it.  GDP figures during wartime are particularly deceptive in that they include large outlays for material and manpower that are destructive rather than productive.  But, of course, we know who publishes the GDP figures!

    Politicians often describe government spending during an economic downturn as “pump priming,” “jump starting,” or “recovery stimulus.”  While government may employ people who would otherwise be without work, it will be far less productive of real goods than would be the private sector, and will divert manpower and capital away from already suffering productive enterprises.  It will dig its hole deeper and deeper until war, revolution, or general collapse bring it to an end.

● Fallacy: More Money = Greater Wealth ●

    Money is not wealth, especially if it has no intrinsic value.  Wealth includes things like food, clothing, shelter, luxuries, and the means to defend one’s community, family, and property.  Wealth is produced only by making use of the resources of nature and society.  “Printing”—in quotes because most money today is in the form of bank ledger entries and not currency—“printing” additional money does not add to the wealth of society and, in fact, defrauds those who have been holding money with the expectation that it can be redeemed for tangible wealth when needed.  The inability to reliably store wealth as money decreases savings, investments, and consequent productivity.

● Fallacy: Inflation is Caused By Greed ●

    This fallacy holds that people bid up the prices of goods because they have given themselves over to unbridled wants.  In a market economy such a thing is impossible.  Given hard currency, market based interest rates, and lenders who will be forced out of business if they make many bad loans, there is no way to consume more than one possesses.  Inflation is caused by the “printing” of more money.  As no new wealth has been produced, more dollars will chase the same number of goods.  New money takes some time to make its way through the economy, being spent into circulation by government at full value;  reaching the well connected first, while its value is still close to what it was before;  reaching the poor last of all, when it has fallen to its new value (q.v. “Cantillon effect”).

    Worse—the new money is spent into existence on government programs which often decrease productivity, lead to scarcity and higher prices.

● Fallacy: Easy Credit = Greater Wealth ●

    If the Federal Reserve or other central banks lower interest rates below market levels it gives investors the false impression that great profits can be made by borrowing and investing in productive enterprises.  Low rates may trigger a temporary boom (e.g. the “roaring 20s”), but ultimately it becomes clear that enterprises have grown beyond the desire or ability of consumers to buy their goods.  When this does become clear, all but the efficient firms must go out of business, often selling their assets at fire-sale prices (e.g. “Black Thursday,” 1929).

● Fact: You Can’t Redistribute What is Not Produced ●

    Neither the cruelest, nor the most benevolent, dictator can redistribute the wheat that has not been planted, grown, and harvested;  nor the flour that has not been milled;  nor the bread that has not been baked.  Nor can the dictator redistribute what has not been invented and brought to production by someone who has seen its need and taken the risks to fulfill that need.

● Fallacy: Depression is Caused by Lower Wages ●

    Quite the opposite: lower wages and “under-consumption” are caused by failure of the market to remain productive.  A productive economy produces more wealth and purchasing power for everyone involved.  The chief enemies of productivity are irresponsible monetary and fiscal policies, over-regulation, and cartelization of industry—war and pestilence may have similar effects but are usually temporary rather than permanent factors in the economy.  When a downturn in the economy is experienced, additional tinkering with the economy will only delay the process of market reorganization of productive resources, prolonging the misery for most.

● Fallacy: Free Enterprise Must Be Government Controlled and Subsidized ●

    Monopolies and cartels cannot form or last in free enterprise.  Anyone who attempts to “corner the market” and raise prices will lose to firms willing to charge lower prices.  Historically, the only free market monopolies have been those firms that were so efficient that they could afford to sell, even in the long term, at prices below those of their competitors—but such a happy state of affairs does not last forever, and eventually new firms take the lead in selling high quality at low cost.

    Inefficient monopolies and cartels can form only with the aid of government.  Usually this comes about through regulation, often lobbied for by the larger firms which are capable of profiting from patent holdings, exploitation of political issues (e.g. global “warming”), and the sheer size necessary to cope with the legal, accounting, and bureaucratic requirements—requirements that will sink smaller firms; even firms more efficient in the absence of political influence.

    American history is filled with free market firms that succeeded at enormous enterprises that many people assume could be successful only with government subsidy—including turnpikes, canals, transcontinental railroads, shipping firms, refineries and chemical works, automobile and airplane makers .  Only when politicians perceived the power that could be derived from subsidizing such enterprises did they become less efficient while simultaneously driving out more efficient competition.[9]

[To be continued]



[5]   C.E. s.v. “Slavonic Language and Liturgy,”

[7]   Archdale A. King, Liturgies of the Religious Orders (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1955),  p.345-346

[8]   Matthew 16: 26.

[9]   Cf. Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Real Lincoln (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003);  DiLorenzo, How Capitalism Saved America (2004);  Thomas E. Woods, Jr.,  The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Washington: Regnery, 2004).




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