Usury: Frequently Asked Questions

Category: Business & Finance
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by tom-dickson   2018-02-16

Usury

by tom-dickson   2018-02-16

Here you go - or here (same content).

by tom-dickson   2018-02-16

Exactly - so the Church cannot change doctrine; because that would be the gates of hell prevailing against Her. Even if she stopped talking about doctrine or changes pastoral responses doctrine never changes.

>Of course when the Church spends centuries pastorally acting in a way obscuring rather than illuminating doctrine, doctrine tends to be forgotten: it becomes an embarrassing decorative historical oddity which nobody really believes anymore. Positive law, not natural law or doctrine, most closely shapes what people treat as morally true in practice.

>This is the fruit of the Jesuit method. The Jesuit method is to attempt to find an absolute minimum requirement for technical orthodoxy as a way of making their job as an order — counterrevolution against the Protestant revolt — as easy as possible. The perceptive may notice that this is a form of positivism, and anyone with any sense at all can see that it has been a pastoral disaster. “Minimum daily requirement” Christianity is contrary to the Gospel: is contrary to taking up the Cross and following Christ.

by tom-dickson   2018-02-16

You've activated my usury card!

What the person is sensing but not able to articulate is that usurious debt is bad, and we shouldn't tempt people to be usurers (the sin of usury is on the lender). But Aquinas says:

>Accordingly we must also answer to the question in point that it is by no means lawful to induce a man to lend under a condition of usury: yet it is lawful to borrow for usury from a man who is ready to do so and is a usurer by profession; provided the borrower have a good end in view, such as the relief of his own or another’s need. Thus too it is lawful for a man who has fallen among thieves to point out his property to them (which they sin in taking) in order to save his life, after the example of the ten men who said to Ismahel (Jeremiah 41:8): “Kill us not: for we have stores in the field.”

So, yes, it can be possible for the borrower to borrow money at usury for a good end.

However, there are other distinctions. Not all of what we call debt is usurious - it's only if it is personally guaranteed (which much of it is these days). But a non-recourse mortgage is not usury - in fact, it's not debt the same way we think of it. In the old days it was called a societas - you and the bank bought a house together, and had a contract detailing the rent you'd pay to the bank for their portion of the house, and how you would slowly buy it from them over time. If you failed to continue to pay, you'd be evicted from the house you jointly own, it would be sold, the bank made whole, and the remainder given to you. If there was no remainder, the bank would eat the loss. If the bank can go after you personally for the difference, it is full-recourse and usurious.

The key to the whole thing is that personally-guaranteed loans are acts of charity and we shouldn't charge for charity.

by tom-dickson   2018-02-16

If you're completely honest with the Pastor it could be OK - he has some discretion in using Church funds for charity.

He must not charge interest on such a charitable loan, unless it is a business loan backed by property and not a personal guarantee. See Usury .

If the borrower intends to take the money and never repay it, a debt of justice is owed and it's a serious matter.