Answering charge Church has changed teaching on Usury

I’m working on another Amazon review regarding another dissident’s book that hits all the mandatory tropes: women’s ordination, pro-homosexuality, pro abortion, etc…

However the author quite confidently says that the Catholic Church has changed its position on usury–in other words, allowance for any form of interest on any sort of loan means the Church has changed its position on something infallible declared

Can anyone help me in refuting this charge or leading me to sources that can?

All you need to know here:


Thank you! (and Treaclegloch my devilish nome de guerre thanks you as well!)

Lending money at interest gives us the opportunity to exploit the passions or necessities of other men by compelling them to submit to ruinous conditions; men are robbed and left destitute under the pretext of charity. Such is the usury against which the Fathers of the Church have always protested, and which is universally condemned at the present day.

Among other things, Father Dempsey explained clearly what seems to present a problem to the author: the difference between a mutuum and a commodatum. The former (meum-teum) is the loan of something which of its nature must change ownership when it is loaned, because it is used up by the borrower (money, food). Therefore it is no longer the property of the lender. The commodatum involves a loan of something where the same thing is returned with compensation for use (a horse, tools). In the mutuum, only an equivalent amount must be returned to the lender barring the eventuality where he suffers some loss arising from the loan of, e.g., money (damnum emergens). He cannot be expected to pay for what by consumption or spending became his own. Woods finds “peculiar” St. Thomas’s position about charging for something you no longer own. He wonders “(W)hat exactly is wrong with … selling the same thing twice?”(111). Perhaps in the grubby world of neoliberal economics that is acceptable, but not in the Christian world to which the Angelic Doctor spoke.

while this reviewer ( Dr.Rupert Ederer ,who passed away this past Thanksgiving Day :signofcross:) doesn’t address usury in depth, his life’s work was translating from the original german the work of the preeminent Catholic economist Fr.Heinrich Pesh if one wishes to learn the Church’s teachings on economics, this is a good place to start

It is useful to point out that the Church still condemns usury in its modern forms, including in documents as authoritative as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, along with individual writings and speeches of the most recent popes.

From Pope John Paul II, Address to the Members of the National Council of Anti-Usury Foundations (1999):I know well, dear friends, the difficulties that you face. But I know that you are determined and united in fighting this serious social evil. Continue to combat usury, giving hope to individuals and families who are its victims. The Pope encourages you to pursue your generous work to build a more just society, one of solidarity, and more attentive to the demands of the needy.From Pope John Paul II, General Audience (4 February 2004):Finally, three final precepts are listed for our examination of conscience: to be faithful to our word and to our oaths, even in those cases where the consequences will be detrimental to us; not to practice usury — a plague that is a disgraceful reality even in our days that can place a stronghold on the lives of many people; and finally to avoid all corruption in public life, another commitment that we could also rigorously practice in our time . . .From Pope John Paul II, General Audience, (10 Nov 2004):The first false god [is] the violence which humanity unfortunately continues to resort to even in these bloody days,. . . Accompanying this idol is an immense procession of wars, oppression, perversions, torture and killing, inflicted without any trace of remorse. . . . the second false god is robbery which is expressed in extortion, social injustice, usury, political and economic corruption.From the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church §323 and 341 (2004):The prophetic tradition condemns fraud, usury, exploitation and gross injustice, especially when directed against the poor . . .
Although the quest for equitable profit is acceptable in economic and financial activity, recourse to usury is to be morally condemned: “Those whose usurious and avaricious dealings lead to the hunger and death of their brethren in the human family indirectly commit homicide, which is imputable to them”.[714] This condemnation extends also to international economic relations, especially with regard to the situation in less advanced countries, which must never be made to suffer “abusive if not usurious financial systems”.[715] **More recently, the Magisterium used strong and clear words against this practice, which is still tragically widespread, describing usury as “a scourge that is also a reality in our time and that has a stranglehold on many peoples’ lives”.[716]**From the Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church §508 (2005):508. What is forbidden by the seventh commandment?

Above all, the seventh commandment forbids theft, which is the taking or using of another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. This can be done also by paying unjust wages; by speculation on the value of goods in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; or by the forgery of checks or invoices. Also forbidden is tax evasion or business fraud; willfully damaging private or public property; usury; corruption; the private abuse of common goods; work deliberately done poorly; and waste. From Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience (2005):The heart of this fidelity to the divine word consists in a fundamental choice of charity towards the poor and needy: ‘The good man takes pity and lends … Open-handed, he gives to the poor” (vv. 5, 9). The person of faith, then, is generous; respecting the biblical norms, he offers help to his brother in need, asking nothing in return (Deuteronomy 15: 7-11), and without falling into the shame of usury, which destroys the lives of the poor.’ From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, §2269 (1993):The acceptance by human society of murderous famines, without efforts to remedy them, is a scandalous injustice and a grave offense. Those whose usurious and avaricious dealings lead to the hunger and death of their brethren in the human family indirectly commit homicide, which is imputable to them.

Thanks again for all your kind and informative replies!

Can you link us to the book you are reviewing?

Here we go…

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