Usury & the Catholic Church

Vix Pervenit is the last official word on the topic of usury from the Catholic church, written in 1745 for Italy and affirmed in 1835 for the universal church.  I've demonstrated contrary to writers far and wide, there is nothing that overcomes the church prohibition on usury.  Catholics are obliged to familiarize themselves with the teaching, and assent to it.

And usury is what we call interest today.  I am quite familiar with the arguments on present value theory, natural rate of interest, Austrian economics on time-preference, and so on, better than most.  And I know the difference between money and credit, where most have not thought it through.

I am also familiar with the argument that the world is different now, and how we cannot have what we have without these modern financial instruments.  The arguments are DOA in regards to anything that is good or true or beautiful.  Further, we'll soon see what we "have" when in fact we have not paid for "it" nor is it possible to ever pay for whatever assortment we now "have."  Some reckoning other than payment is in our future, probably on us, but certainly unto the third and fourth generation.

Your credit cards, mortgage interest, auto loans, are all abominable according to the teachings of the Bible and the Church.  This is not debatable, because the law is clear.

So the question posed to me was:  "Is it possible that far and wide, from top to bottom, the entire church is permeated with cardinals, bishops, priests, abbots, etc, not to mention God-fearing parishioners, and the Knight of Columbus, all inculpably ignorant of the law?"  (Or consider the possibility of "invincibly ignorant.")

No.  What is likely is to whatever extent the usury has permeated the Church, it is not a matter of inculpable ignorance, but simple corruption.  There is plenty of precedent for this, starting with Jesus.  Judas handled the money for Jesus and his crew, and swayed by guilty wealth, betrayed all.

Another instance was the reformation wherein corruption, selling indulgences, etc, a corruption that spread far and wide, top to bottom.  Luther rebelled, and Pope Adrian replies directly to Luther:

 Pope Adrian VI (1522-1523), replies directly to Luther,

We know well that for many years things deserving of abhorrence have gathered around the Holy See; sacred things have been misused, ordinances transgressed, so that in everything there has been a change for the worse. Thus it is not surprising that the malady has crept down from the head to the members, from the Popes to the hierarchy.
We shall use all diligence to reform before all things the Roman Curia, whence, perhaps, all these evils have had their origin. Thus healing will begin at the source of sickness. We deem this to be all the more our duty, as the whole world is longing for reform.

Were not matters far worse back then, is not a little usury mild corruption in comparison?

Hold that question for a moment, as I take a profitable diversion.  As Benedict XVI retires from the papacy, the state owned media, which means all media, has returned to 24/7 coverage of "clergy child abuse."    I was there when these crimes were supposedly committed.  They did not occur.  Those who claimed they did are either lying for profit, or simply to do damage to a Church they hate.  If and when some crime occurred, it was reported quickly and dealt with thus. And within the Church such crimes occurred at a far lower rate than any other entity.  What is not true is any sense that the Catholic Church has a child-molestation problem more than any other human entity.  The point of this calumny is to divert the Church, which was anti-murder-for-oil from speaking truth to power.

One would think from the manufactured scandal the Catholic hierarchy is dirty old men sending altar boys around to each other, with compliments, for nefarious ends.  Under the self-inflicted zero-tolerance policy of the USA Catholic Church, a Cardinal finds himself bereft of faculties, and the idea of widespread child-molestation corruption finds affirmation.

Now, back to the question - were not matters far worse back in the pre-reformation times, is not a little usury mild corruption in comparison?  And compared to what the Church hierarchy is accused of, usury is downright laughable.

But the Church does teach usury is an abomination.  And when one Bishop finds with "modern finance" he can have a new Cathedral today if he will assign collection proceeds of tomorrow, plus interest, then the next bishop sees this and is encouraged to follow suit.  Then the provincial of an order sees that a school can be refurbished by similar means.  And so it goes, decade after decade, century after century, apparent progress proceeds in the great commission, with new churches and schools and hospitals etc.

Except, with such "EZ Credit" when was the last time a beautiful church was built?  Where have Catholic hospitals gone?  Where are the faithful, if not in church?  Where is the beautiful music and art? When was the last time a Catholic university produced a world class scholar? In particular the USA, why are church members citizens first and Catholic second?

What inspires us in Church art, architecture, music, theology and so on was all produced when usury (interest) was verboten.

Usury is forbidden not because someone says so, but because it does damage.  It took revelation from God and endorsement from Jesus to condemn it for the simple reason it is so very subtle, like a snake. Although a human mind can conceive of usury as the means to aggregate power unto himself, no such wit could apprehend on its own that it is wrong to do so.

Usury is the means by which the few aggregate power unto themselves, and promote an agenda of war, bailouts, eugenics, poverty, injustice, and whatever malady extent.  Usury, what we call interest today, is wrong because it does damage.  It is also very corrupting.

If one demon is cast out, seven return to take its place.  There is a task at hand.  Eliminate usury from our lives.  It will be tougher than just renting and cancelling credit cards and paying cash for your next car.  Those things are easy.  The hard part will to be to say no to the ephemeral advantages, the freedom to reject God for the ephemeral security of usury-won plenty, and to return to trusting God for all good things.

It only took one demon to keep you on the usury plantation.  It will take several to hunt you down once you gain your freedom.  Some demons are cast out only by prayer and fasting.

As the reckoning unfolds, we'll need people who are aware that usury is wrong, so they can build a more just society form the ashes.

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