10 February 2016

An Interesting Remark from Pope Francis to Begin Lent: Did the Pope Just Revive Teaching against Usury?

Rome Reports has a story on the Pope's remarks to begin Lent. The style and substance of these remarks is consistent with His Holiness' past statements, but I noticed one little wrinkle that I hope gets amplified by the press:


"And often, in desperation, many men end in suicide because they fail and don't have hope. They don't find a helping hand but a hand that asks them to pay interest. The biblical message is clear: open up courageously and share. This is mercy. And if we want God to be merciful to us it must come from us first.”

Usury is typically defined these days as the charging of excessive interest on loans. But it wasn't always seen that way by the Church. She forbade lending at any interest. The Mohammedans still adhere to this principle, which in effect causes profit without work. A most appropriate reflection on Ash Wednesday, recalling the expulsion from Eden and the curse to man of having to work by the sweat of his brow to gain the fruits of the earth.

Pope Francis didn't say the desperate man received a hand that asks for "excessive or heavy" interest. He said a hand that asks for "interest". The giving he is asking for is precisely that giving in charity and love on the part of Christians, and not a system of institutionalized redistribution founded on the lending of money at interest.

Whether or not His Holiness even realizes it, this giving courageously-- without interest-- is the system of a Catholic society, the kind the Henry VIIIs of the world seek to replace with the state usurping the Role of Church and charities.

Isn't that that society we want to have?

I wonder how bankers feel about interest-bass lending being criticized by the pope?


Innocent Smith said...

Thank you for catching this. I doubt I would have seen it without visiting your blog.

For the record, I have always suspected that this issue, usury, would one day be brought up by this Pope. In times when I wonder just what Francis is doing, it has given me a solace to try and just worry about myself and understand that he knows things that I do not.

Let us hope that this is the first of many statements to bring this teaching back. Or at least to understand the ruin it causes in societies. I have been interested in this topic for about 5 or 6 years now and I believe many traditional minded Catholics are also starting to understand it.

Barren Metal by E. Michael Jones is a very good book. I haven't read it, but I have read many excerpts in Culture Wars magazine and have listened to talks by Jones and Anthony Santelli.

thetimman said...

Thanks, Innocent. I echo your sentiments; in assessing an undeniably troubled pontificate I would rather say that I must remember that -God- knows lots of things I do not. He brings good from evil everywhere and in all times, in history, in my own life. Why not here? So, if Pope Francis follows the thread where it leads, it ought to bring him into conflict with the systematized usury we have. Then he will find himself not so popular, I think, with Leviathan.

May God bless and defend him, and us all, in the time that comes.