Did you know the Roman Catholic Church once excommunicated members of both laity and clergy for practicing usury? In the Third Council of the Lateran (1179), usury was declared heretical. In 1745, Pope Benedict XIV issued the encyclical, Vix Pervenit, condemning the practice.
The papal prohibition on usury meant that it was a sin to charge interest on a money loan. As set forth by Thomas Aquinas,
the natural essence of money was as a measure of value or intermediary
in exchange. The increase of money through usury violated this essence
and according to the same Thomistic
analysis, a just transaction was one characterized by an equality of
exchange, one where each side received exactly his due. Interest on a
loan, in excess of the principal, would violate the balance of an
exchange between debtor and creditor and was therefore unjust (Wikipedia).
Now, why is this significant? Well, it simply reminds us that the teachings of Jesus were antithetical to the practice of usury, as well as a lot of other things that we experience everyday in the USA. And they say we are a Christian nation! Jesus would never approve of capitalism. Fundamentalist Christians should re-read their Bibles. Pay close attention to the book of Acts:
- All that believed were together, and had all things in common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as
every man had need.
- There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned
lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.
They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as
any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom
the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of
encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the
money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
That’s pretty straightforward. I wonder how they explain this away?