And if you love them that love you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also love those that love them. And if you do good to them who do good to you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also do this. And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thanks are to you? for sinners also lend to sinners, for to receive as much. But love ye your enemies: do good, and lend, hoping for nothing thereby: and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest; for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
The Church has always taught that usury is prohibited, incorporating the prohibitions of the Old Testament.1 By no means an exhaustive listing: Apostolic Canons, the Council of Arles (314 A.D.), Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.)2, First Council of Carthage (345 A.D.), Council of Aix (789 A.D.), Council of Vienne (1311 A.D.), Second Lateran Council (1139 A.D.)3, the decretal In civitate tua of Pope Alexander III (1159-81 A.D.)4, the epistle Consuluit nos of Urban II (1185-87 A.D.)5, the edict Ex gravi ad nos of the Council of Vienne (1311-12 A.D.) that abolished the order of moneylender (and sodomite) knights, the Templars6, the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas7, and the encyclical Vix pervenit, Benedict XIV to the bishops of Italy, November 1, 1745.8
Catholics are bound to the Magisterium against usury:
“Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed at which are contained in the written Word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the church, either in a solemn pronouncement [ex cathedra Extraordinary Magisterium ], or in her ordinary and universal teaching power [a.v., ‘what has always and everywhere been taught,’ Ordinary Magisterium ], to be believed as a divinely revealed.”
Vatican Council, Session III Dogmatic Constitution Concerning the Catholic Faith (April 24, 1870) in Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, §1792
Since the infallible teaching of the Church is that usury (profiting even a little from a loan of money) is a mortal sin, the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (“IOR” or “Vatican Bank”) is indeed one of the great scandals of our Church. While there are many who have proposed that interest that is not “biting” may be acceptable, there are no magisterial documents that allow any profit on a simple loan of money. There are no magisterial documents that allow “non-biting” interest. Vix pervenit8 acknowledged that there may be “intrinsic titles” that may be recovered in addition to the principal (for example, the apportioned expense of storing pawned goods in a mons pietas), but interest is definitely not one of those “intrinsic titles.” A lender may recover the actual out-of-pocket expenses for making a loan (honestly apportioned office rent, clerical salary for accounting to service the loan, notary fee, etc.), but the lender may not profit over and above the actual out-of-pocket cost of making the loan—No “lost investment” premium, no “time value of money,” no interest, or any of the synagogue’s money-changer tricks.
That said, an investor in a business may profit from a bona fide investment, but cannot simply structure a loan without risk and pretend it is an investment. Guaranteed profit without risk to the investor is the critical determinant.
“The Jewish people fell from the heights because of their faithlessness and condemned their Redeemer to a shameful death. Their godlessness has assumed such forms that, for the salvation of our own people, it becomes necessary to prevent their disease. Besides usury, through which Jews everywhere have sucked dry the property of impoverished Christians, they are accomplices of thieves and robbers; and the most damaging aspect of the matter is that they allure the unsuspecting through magical incantations, superstition, and witchcraft to the Synagogue of Satan and boast of being able to predict the future. We have carefully investigated how this revolting sect abuses the name of Christ and how harmful they are to those whose life is threatened by their deceit. On account of these and other serious matters, and because of the gravity of their crimes which increase day to day more and more, We order that, within 90 days, all Jews in our entire earthly realm of justice -- in all towns, districts, and places -- must depart these regions.”
Pope St. Pius V, Hebraeorum gens
Libertarians and other champions of the whatever-the-market-will-bear “free market” insist that the “Austrian” school is “science” without religious or moral judgments. That is a lie.
“…[T]he Protestant Church still tries to delude itself [that the Bible is relevant to theology].… [The Gospels] offer no rules of life except practical ones.… Jesus offers no rules of earthly action and struggle; his [sic] Kingdom is not of this world…” and then in the same breath Mises contradicts himself, “Such rules of conduct as he [sic] gives are valid for only the short interval of time which has still to be lived while waiting for the great things to come.” Ignoring the fishermen and The Carpenter Himself, Mises opines, “The primitive Christians do not produce, labour, or gather anything at all.” Ignoring the Beatitudes, the Two Greatest Commandments, and Luke 6:32-36, Mises pronounces, “The historical Christ and his [sic] teachings are quite indifferent to all social considerations.… The expectation of God’s own reorganization when the time came and the exclusive transfer of all action and thought to the future Kingdom of God, made Jesus’s teaching utterly negative. He rejects everything that exists without offering anything to replace it. He arrives at dissolving all existing social ties.… Hence his [sic] passionate attack upon everything that exists.… [T]he new order [of Christianity] demands therefore from its adherents no system of ethics, no particular conduct in any positive direction.… The clearest modern parallel to the attitude of complete negation of primitive Christianity is Bolshevism.… Jesus’s teaching in this respect…is merely negation…His teachings had no moral application to life on earth.…”
Ludwig von Mises and J. Kahane (translator), Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, Part IV, Chapter III, “Christianity and Socialism.” New Haven: Yale University Press, 1951. pp 413-416
A dozen papal encyclicals have damned Communism in all its manifestations. One salient and succinct example: Pope Pius XI taught that socialism is “irreconcilable with true Christianity.…no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.” Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, §120
Mises’ penchant for turning white into black and black into white is, like Mises himself, quintessentially Jewish. The “Austrians” spew plenty more such upside-down rubbish, but I will leave the anti-Christian Mises and his “scientific” co-religionists to your own reading and analysis.
Time, Alchemy, Usury, Debt, Slavery, and the Catholic Church
Too few Christians understand the explicitly anti-Christian roots of libertarianism, particularly as espoused by the Jewish founders of the “Austrian” (read “Jewish”) school of economics, von Mises and Rothbard.
Libertarianism and its anything-goes “free market,” like predatory capitalism and communism, is just the latest iteration of the Jewish weaponization of money against Gentiles.
For detailed specifics, see:
The Church and the Libertarian: A Defense of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on Man, Economy, and State, by Christopher A. Ferrara, J.D.
1 Exodus 22:25, Leviticus 25:35-40, Deuteronomy 23:19-20, Psalm 14:1-5, Ezekiel 18:8-13
2 “§17 Forasmuch as many enrolled among the Clergy, following covetousness and lust of gain, have forgotten the divine Scripture, which says, He has not given his money upon usury, and in lending money ask the hundredth of the sum [as monthly interest], the holy and great Synod thinks it just that if after this decree any one be found to receive usury, whether he accomplish it by secret transaction or otherwise, as by demanding the whole and one half, or by using any other contrivance whatever for filthy lucre’s sake, he shall be deposed from the clergy and his name stricken from the list.”
3 “§13 Moreover the detestable and shameful and, I say, insatiable rapacity of money lenders, forbidden both by divine and human laws throughout the Scripture in the Old and in the New Testament, we condemn, and we separate them from all ecclesiastical consolation, demanding that no archbishop, no bishop, no abbot of any rank, nor anyone in an order and in the clergy presume to receive moneylenders except with the greatest caution. But during their whole life let them be considered disreputable and, unless they repent, let them be deprived of Christian burial.”
4 “In your city you say that it often happens that when certain ones are purchasing pepper or cinnamon or other wares which at that time or not the value of more than five pounds, they also promised to those from whom they receive these wares that they will pay six pounds in a stated time. However, although a contract of this kind of according to such a form cannot be considered under the name of usury, yet nevertheless the sellers incur sin, unless there is a doubt that the wares would be of more or lesser value at the time of payment. And so your citizens would look well to their own interests, if they would cease from such a contract since the thoughts of men cannot be hidden from Almighty God.”
5 “Your loyalty asks us whether or not in the judgment of souls he ought to be judged as a usurer who, not otherwise ready to deliver by loan, loans his money on this proposition that without any agreement he nevertheless received more by lot; and whether he is involved in that same state of guilt who, as is commonly said, does not otherwise grant a similar oath, until, although without payment, he received some gain from him; whether or not that negotiator ought to be condemned with a light punishment, who offers his wares at a price of far greater, if an extension of the already extended time be asked for making the payment, then if the price should be paid to him that once. But since what one must hold in these cases is clearly learned from the Gospel of Luke in which you said: “give mutually, hoping nothing thereby” [cf. Luke 6:35], men of this kind must be judged to act wrongly on account of the intention of being which they have, since every usury and superabundance are prohibited by law, and they must be effectively induced in the judgment of souls to restore those things which have been thus received.”
6 “If anyone shall fall into that error, so that he obstinately presumes to declare that it is not a sin to exercise usury, we decree that he must be punished as a heretic.”
7 Summa, Second Part of the Second Part, Question 78, Article 2, Pt. II-II, Reply Obj. 5: “He who lends money transfers the ownership of the money to the borrower. Hence the borrower holds the money at his own risk and is bound to pay it back: wherefore the lender must not exact more.”
8 “...(Sec 3), I. That species of sin which is called usury, and which has its proper seat and place in a contract of lending, consists in this: that someone, from the loan itself, which of its very nature demands that only as much be returned as was received, which is more to be returned to him than was received, and therefore contends that some profit beyond the principal, by reason of the lending, is due to him. Therefore, all profit of this sort, which surpasses the principal, is unlawful and is usurious.
“2. Nor may any defense be summoned to justify that guilt, either from this fact that the gain is not excessive and overmuch, but moderate, is not great but meager; or from this, that he from whom that profit is asked, because of the loan itself, is not a poor man but rich, who is not going to leave this sum given to him as a loan idle but is going to spend it advantageously to increase his fortune either by buying new estates or by transacting profitable business. Indeed, that person is convicted of acting contrary to the law of lending, which necessarily is concerned with the quality of what is given and returned, who, while that same equality has already once been rendered, does not fear to demand something more from someone, by reason of the lending itself, for which satisfaction has already been made on equal terms; and hence, if he should receive it, he will be obligated to restitution by reason of his obligation in justice, which they call commutative justice, and whose purpose it is both to preserve inviolably inhuman contracts to a quality property each one, and to repair it exactly when it is not observed.”
Money Manipulation and Social Order
by Fr. Denis Fahey, C.S.S.p.,
available at http://isoc.ws/bookcategory/author/fr-denis-fahey/
Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism as the Conflict between Labor and Usury
by Dr. E. Michael Jones,
Usury in Christendom: The Mortal Sin that Was and Now is Not
by Michael Hoffman,
The Church and the Usurers: Unprofitable Lending for the Modern Economy,
by Prof. Brian McCall,
The Church and the Libertarian: A Defense of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on Man, Economy, and State, by Christopher A. Ferrara, J.D.
Usury in Catholic Theology, by Fr. Lewis Watt, S.J.
Oxford: Catholic Social Guild, 1945. out of print
Unprofitable Lending: Modern Credit Regulation and the Lost Theory of Usury, by Prof. Brian McCall,
Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2008.