The Church, Loans, Interest, and Sin


#1

As this brief summary points out, newadvent.org/cathen/15235c.htm, the Catholic Church has in its history condemned profiting from loans, usury, in Church councils and in canon law. The Catholic Church has, in recent history, gone in a totally different direction, not forbidding only excessive interest (at least as far as I can tell, someone may know more on this than I do).

How can the Church just change its position on this? Isn’t the Church overturning centuries of established Christian tradition based on Jewish law?


#2

the Church has not changed its veiws on this, the people have gone their own way.

Borrowing of money is only one of many issues that people(including many who deem themselves part of the arm of the church that are totally ignorant of what the church calls them to) uneducated to what their faith calls them to..

Borrowing of Money is recognized by the Educated as merely perpetuates borrowing of Money.

The Christian Church, in its early days and until the end of the Middle Ages utterly forbade the charging of interest. Reformation was the first questioning of devine law against charging of interest. Calvin proposed that being against extracting interest was mistakenly taken from Mosaic Law..

People of early days considered the extracting of interest, usary as wrong. Mosaic law was very explicit to interest being worng, and still holds that today.

quotes over time are, It is against nature for money to breed money.

bible quotes against interest are, Exodus 22 25 If you lend money to any of my People that is poor, you shall not be to him as a usuer, nor shall thou lay upon him usary ....

Deuteronomy 23 19-23
Nehemiah 5 7
Psalms 15 5

Borrowing of money/usary/wars of revenge/ would all be against the Christian faith, but have been modiified and are a big part of what reformation was about.

Many (deemed) poor nations are lent money to which its before the lending of money noted that they cannot repay the loans, but in turn when the loans are not payed back, the land is then seazed from the people.

the Laws of Property which enable a few to accumalate vast wealth while the masses live in poverty. today the US (as Mexico has already) races to aceive this Aristocratic soceity were a few emass the wealth, and the rest are mere slaves, as Europe made itself by the laws of property, and so many fleed from after reformation...


#3

The Church hasn't changed.

The monetary system has.

When you loaned someone a cow and they gave you back a cow, they were giving you back something of the *exact same value *as what they borrowed.

When loans became monetary, and the rulers discovered how they could inflate currency, "interest" became necessary to make the loaner "whole". If I loan you a dollar today and you pay me back in a year, you must pay me $1.05 or else I am not made whole because it takes $1.05 to buy what $1.00 bought a year ago.


#4

and to that, its good to note the facts that borrowing is seen as wrong, not prudent, and immoral of political leaders to do so, for it then makes slaves of the people.

and in that recognition, its good to note, that todays so called universities of what is supose to be of knowledge, rather are great institutions of Ignorance and Superstition in the promotion of borrowing of money, more directly in the waging of war, war of the rich on the poor.

If a sin is envolved, its the ignorance of those that deem themselves leaders, and fail to stand against this attrocity,, borrowing by govenrments to wage UNJUSTIFIED wars, and to murder people in wars, but more directly the people sending their children off to wars that stand totally agaisnt the CAtholic faith. they are excused by their ignorance, and failure to listen the Pope who speaks out agaisnt this..

NObody today can decry Hitler seen as a vilian, and then condon the attrocities of todays evil leaders that wage wars of etermination in today across the Middle East and AFrica, to which US leads the charge of war of..


#5

[quote="wanabesaint, post:2, topic:316665"]
the Church has not changed its veiws on this, the people have gone their own way.

Borrowing of money is only one of many issues that people(including many who deem themselves part of the arm of the church that are totally ignorant of what the church calls them to) uneducated to what their faith calls them to..

Borrowing of Money is recognized by the Educated as merely perpetuates borrowing of Money.

The Christian Church, in its early days and until the end of the Middle Ages utterly forbade the charging of interest. Reformation was the first questioning of devine law against charging of interest. Calvin proposed that being against extracting interest was mistakenly taken from Mosaic Law..

People of early days considered the extracting of interest, usary as wrong. Mosaic law was very explicit to interest being worng, and still holds that today.

quotes over time are, It is against nature for money to breed money.

bible quotes against interest are, Exodus 22 25 If you lend money to any of my People that is poor, you shall not be to him as a usuer, nor shall thou lay upon him usary ....

Deuteronomy 23 19-23
Nehemiah 5 7
Psalms 15 5

Borrowing of money/usary/wars of revenge/ would all be against the Christian faith, but have been modiified and are a big part of what reformation was about.

Many (deemed) poor nations are lent money to which its before the lending of money noted that they cannot repay the loans, but in turn when the loans are not payed back, the land is then seazed from the people.

the Laws of Property which enable a few to accumalate vast wealth while the masses live in poverty. today the US (as Mexico has already) races to aceive this Aristocratic soceity were a few emass the wealth, and the rest are mere slaves, as Europe made itself by the laws of property, and so many fleed from after reformation...

[/quote]

Not to get political, but you do realize that the nations who have established for-profit banking systems are nations who have the most wealth, many of which are historically Christian nations, and have done more charity and development for the world than all other non-banking nations in history combined?

Going back to theology....You are saying the Church has never changed its position on this. Is this true? They surely seem to tolerate it more now than they did 1,000 years ago. Maybe someone who knows the history on this can provide a source.


#6

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:316665"]
The Church hasn't changed.

The monetary system has.

When you loaned someone a cow and they gave you back a cow, they were giving you back something of the *exact same value *as what they borrowed.

When loans became monetary, and the rulers discovered how they could inflate currency, "interest" became necessary to make the loaner "whole". If I loan you a dollar today and you pay me back in a year, you must pay me $1.05 or else I am not made whole because it takes $1.05 to buy what $1.00 bought a year ago.

[/quote]

Again, so you're saying the Catholic Church still teaches interest on loans is a sin? Because I have never heard them make this statement.


#7

I find John Salza's article on usury very helpful in understanding this topic.

scripturecatholic.com/usury.html


#8

[quote="wanabesaint, post:4, topic:316665"]
and to that, its good to note the facts that borrowing is seen as wrong, not prudent, and immoral of political leaders to do so, for it then makes slaves of the people.

and in that recognition, its good to note, that todays so called universities of what is supose to be of knowledge, rather are great institutions of Ignorance and Superstition in the promotion of borrowing of money, more directly in the waging of war, war of the rich on the poor.

If a sin is envolved, its the ignorance of those that deem themselves leaders, and fail to stand against this attrocity,, borrowing by govenrments to wage UNJUSTIFIED wars, and to murder people in wars, but more directly the people sending their children off to wars that stand totally agaisnt the CAtholic faith. they are excused by their ignorance, and failure to listen the Pope who speaks out agaisnt this..

NObody today can decry Hitler seen as a vilian, and then condon the attrocities of todays evil leaders that wage wars of etermination in today across the Middle East and AFrica, to which US leads the charge of war of..

[/quote]

Alright...I would love to debate you on American foreign policy but its off topic and inflammatory given the nature of this thread. I agree that the U.S. has, at times, engaged in unjustified wars, as have all nations. However, MANY wars the U.S. has fought were justified, including some of the wars you are referencing in your post. I suppose you would prefer to have terrorist organizations attacking American citizens on United States soil without a response? I suppose we should close our eyes to the rest of the world as dictators and tyrants murder millions of people? It's absurd and it's off-topic.


#9

[quote="jinc1019, post:6, topic:316665"]
Again, so you're saying the Catholic Church still teaches interest on loans is a sin? Because I have never heard them make this statement.

[/quote]

No, I am saying you misunderstand what the teaching is.


#10

[quote="ericc, post:7, topic:316665"]
I find John Salza's article on usury very helpful in understanding this topic.

scripturecatholic.com/usury.html

[/quote]

Thank you for providing this source on the Church's teaching on the matter.

However, I do not believe its conclusions are correct. Essentially, it argues that money used to be "barren," meaning that when it was "idle," it had no value. The Church's view of money is factually incorrect, at least from the article you cited. Money, in any context, regardless of the situation, has value. That value could be very little or could be very great, but there is no such thing as money which has no value, unless of course a currency ceases to be a currency, in which case it no longer qualifies as money at all.

It is true that there are more opportunities today to invest money, but there plenty of opportunities to invest money in the ancient world as well. Once the property-landowner system was established, for instance, all property was purchased with money or work or with something else of value. Using the standard the Catholic Church set forth as described in that article, usury would still apply today because MANY people have money just sitting in bank accounts for 30 or 40 years collecting interest without actually being used. Many more people never save any money and feel compelled to spend it right away. I am not sure how this is different from the eras in history the Catholic Church seems to be differentiating between. Perhaps someone can describe their position in a better way.

Otherwise, it just seems like a complicated way of "getting out" of trying to explain why the Church has seemingly changed its position on this issue.


#11

[quote="1ke, post:9, topic:316665"]
No, I am saying you misunderstand what the teaching is.

[/quote]

If I am, I don't believe your point illustrates that. What you are talking about are loans with interest that keep pace with inflation. Most loans exceed inflation so it doesn't apply. If you borrow $10,000 for education and pay 8% interest on the loan, you begin paying interest immediately, which means that $10,000 investment on their part is earning them $800 in the first year for doing nothing other than offering the loan. This is far more than making up for the fluctuation in the currency. Also, your example doesn't take into account times in history when deflation occurs and money actually becomes MORE valuable based on the market.


#12

From the Catholic Encyclopedia: "What is the reason for this change in the attitude of the Church towards the exaction of interest? As may be more fully seen in the article USURY, this difference is due to economical circumstances. The price of goods is regulated by common valuation, and the latter by the utility that their possession ordinarily brings in a given centre. Now, today, otherwise than formerly, one can commonly employ one's money fruitfully, at least by putting it into a syndicate. Hence, today, the mere possession of money means a certain value. Whoever hands over this possession can claim in return this value. Thus it is that one acts in demanding an interest."

This makes absolutely no sense. Money ALWAYS has value and ALWAYS has. Otherwise, it wasn't money at all.


#13

Again from the Catholic Encyclopedia: “Even today one can still sin against justice by demanding too high an interest, or usury, as it is called. What interest then is just and moderate? Theoretically, and in an abstract way, the fair rate of interest nearly corresponds to the average gain that those engaged in business may generally expect in a determined centre. It nearly corresponds, for the interest being guaranteed, whilst the profit is uncertain, we must discount the value of an insurance premium from the average profit. Accordingly, in a determined centre, if those who sink their money in buildings, land, or industrial undertakings generally look for a profit of 6 percent, the just rate of interest will be about 4 or 5 percent. This rate covers the risks and ordinary inconveniences of lending. But if one had to run special risks or had to give up an extraordinary premium, one might in all justice exact a higher rate of interest. Such, therefore, is the theoretical rule. In practice, however, as even the answer of the Sacred Penitentiary shows (18 April, 1889), the best course is to conform to the usages established amongst men, precisely as one does with regard to other prices, and, as happens in the case of such prices, particular circumstances influence the rate of interest, either by increasing or lowering it. In this way, the security offered by advances to the governments of wealthy countries and those that cover mortgages diminish the rate for public loans and loans on mortgage. On the contrary, the interest on shipping, and mercantile business is higher than that in civil business, on account of the greater uncertainty in sea voyages and in commercial enterprise.”

As it is clearly stated here, loans with interests which surpass the normal rate of return on investment in a given area are immoral. There are several problems with this logic…First, nearly ALL loans are given with the intention of attaining MORE than what the money is capable of producing in any other capacity. That is why banks loan money and don’t invest it in some other kind of endeavor. The purpose of lending is to produce income above and beyond normal rates of return. All credit cards, therefore, are especially immoral because the rates of return on credit cards far surpass the rates of normal investment. Secondly, the normal rate of return against which we are judging the fairness of interest is itself based on attaining a profit beyond the normal costs associated with an investment or inflation, etc. Thus, we are using a false standard if our goal to only allow loans which have interest rates tied to inflation and the costs of producing the loan. Third, it is true that particular kinds of loans produce varying interest rates depending upon the item being purchased. For instance, a mortgage will have a different interest rate than a new car might. These differences, however, are based on free market supply and demand and are thus always linked to making a profit.

In essence, all loans are designed to make a profit beyond the normal rate of return for investments in a given community and are thus loans that qualify as “usury.” I don’t believe this is valid by the way, but this is the position of the Church.


#14

charging interest <> usury

The Church condemns usury, and rightly so. The Church does not condemn as instrinsically evil lending with interest. It never has.

The Church has, in the past, produced various canon laws restricting its members in this area. Canons are disciplinary, not doctrinal.


#15

[quote="1ke, post:14, topic:316665"]
charging interest <> usury

The Church condemns usury, and rightly so. The Church does not condemn as instrinsically evil lending with interest. It never has.

The Church has, in the past, produced various canon laws restricting its members in this area. Canons are disciplinary, not doctrinal.

[/quote]

Councils are doctrinal though (correct?) and they have addressed this at numerous councils as well.

So we agree then? You are saying interest is wrong, or profiting on investment beyond inflation or normal rates of return, but loaning with interest that matches these costs is fine because no profiting is actually occurring. Correct?


#16

NObody today can decry Hitler seen as a vilian, and then condon the attrocities of todays evil leaders that wage wars of etermination in today across the Middle East and AFrica, to which US leads the charge of war of…

A lot of those wars are funded by Western and Asian “aid” money that is given out carelessly so that liberals, evidently even some of the ones on here, can feel good inside about their intentions.


#17

[quote="jinc1019, post:15, topic:316665"]
Councils are doctrinal though (correct?) and they have addressed this at numerous councils as well.

[/quote]

"Councils" are not doctrinal, no. They are meetings. Documents produced by councils can define doctrine. Documents produced by councils can issue canons that are disciplinary and not doctirnal. Councils can issue documents that are neither defining doctrine nor issuing disciplinary canons.

[quote="jinc1019, post:15, topic:316665"]
So we agree then? You are saying interest is wrong, or profiting on investment beyond inflation or normal rates of return, but loaning with interest that matches these costs is fine because no profiting is actually occurring. Correct?

[/quote]

No we do not agree.

And no I am not saying that interest is wrong. I am saying that usury is wrong.


#18

The Fifth Lateran Council defined usury like this:

"For, that is the real meaning of usury: when, from its use, a thing which produces nothing is applied to the acquiring of gain and profit without any work, any expense or any risk."
papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum18.htm

So, non-productive loans that require no work, risk, or expense on the part of the lender cannot be subject to interest. That being said, interest can be charged to account for those things if they are present.

The principle has not changed, but applying it to different facts will yield a different outcome.


#19

[quote="1ke, post:17, topic:316665"]
"Councils" are not doctrinal, no. They are meetings. Documents produced by councils can define doctrine. Documents produced by councils can issue canons that are disciplinary and not doctirnal. Councils can issue documents that are neither defining doctrine nor issuing disciplinary canons.

No we do not agree.

And no I am not saying that interest is wrong. I am saying that usury is wrong.

[/quote]

I think we do agree. As I mentioned in my last post, you say USURY is wrong. USURY is defined by the Church, essentially, as PROFITING beyond normal costs, risks, and changes in value, from loans. Correct? This is precisely what I am saying. The Church argues that usury is any loan which exceeds these normal costs and changes in the value of money. Yet, VIRTUALLY ALL LOANS in the modern world are designed to turn a profit beyond those costs and therefore qualify as USURY under the Church's definition. How can you say you disagree with this when that is precisely what you said?


#20

[quote="Genesis315, post:18, topic:316665"]
The Fifth Lateran Council defined usury like this:

"For, that is the real meaning of usury: when, from its use, a thing which produces nothing is applied to the acquiring of gain and profit without any work, any expense or any risk."
papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum18.htm

So, non-productive loans that require no work, risk, or expense on the part of the lender cannot be subject to interest. That being said, interest can be charged to account for those things if they are present.

The principle has not changed, but applying it to different facts will yield a different outcome.

[/quote]

Thank you for the definition. As I said though, almost all loans are designed to turn a profit, and many do, beyond those costs and risks.


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