Questions on Usury
From D.L., Omaha, Nebraska:Michael,
I have just completed reading your excellent book Usury in Christendom: The Mortal Sin that Was and Now is Not, and am re-reading and researching various sections for further clarity. Here are questions and comments which I hope you can assist me with in whatever spare time may allow.
1. If the popes from 1515 were manifest heretics on the issue of allowing, condoning and promoting the practice of usury in any form whatsoever, from the standpoint of it being mortally sinful, then the Catholic Church was absent of s valid papacy all these centuries. Exceptions most likely, would be popes who served brief reigns e.g.: Adrian VI, Marcellus II, Urban VII, Innocent IX and Leo XI.
2. Pius VIII served only 20 months and near the end of his office was troubled by revolutionary activities in France and Italy. Could these events have led to a hasty and not well thought out decision given to the Bishop of Rheims? Perhaps those advisors in the Curia advised him falsely, and through ignorance and bad trust/judgment he sinned lacking due diligence, but not by way of heresy?
3. Do you see exceptions of heresy with regard to Pius VI and Pius X? The Church cannot err in Canonizations which would violate Her principle of Indefectibility.
4. Trent and Vatican I would have been promulgated by two antipopes, Pius V and Pius IX. Do you see these councils partially or entirely illegitimate?
Dear Mr. L:
I write history. I am not a theologian, nor do I contemplate the theological consequences of my historical research, which is based solely on the pursuit of truth wherever it leads, on the basis that where there is truth there is Jesus Christ. If my book Usury in Christendom is true, then it is of Christ.
Remaining faithful to the True Church of All Time, the ecclesia of SS. Basil, Chrysostom, Aquinas, Anthony of Padua, King Edward the Confessor, Pope Innocent IV, etc., does not make one a traitor. Treason to traitors is no treason. The Catholic Church cannot nullify sacred dogma, or betray Christ, but rather, the post-Renaissance Church of Rome, or "newchurch," as some term it, appears to have done so. The bane of Christian society is their situation ethics, their substitution of human financial standards relative to the circumstances and context of the times, for immutable divine law against interest on loans. No pope after Leo X reversed the tide of usury in the Church. Even the famous "Vix Pervenit" of Benedict XIV consisted of toothless semantics. It had no provision for enforcement. Usury among Catholics flourished in the wake of it.
Any pope after Leo X had the power to enforce the immemorial Catholic dogma on what usury is and the mortal sinfulness of it. Any pope after Leo could have promulgated the following as law, as it had been law for fifteen hundred years:
"All interest on loans of money is a grave transgression against the law of God. In order to obtain absolution, reception of the Eucharist and a Catholic burial, all usurers must confess their mortal sin, avoid the near occasion of sin by halting their involvement in usurious trade and operations, and make restitution for the interest they took. Practicing usurers are not to receive the Eucharist and are to be refused a Catholic burial. In Catholic nations, the civil authorities are urged to seize the assets of usurers after death to repay interest to debtors. Obstinate usurers are excommunicated." -Pontifex Maximus.No such statement (or anything approximating it), has ever been issued in the past 498 years by any pope since a form of usurious operation was incrementally empowered by Medici Pope Leo X's Bull Inter multiplices of May, 1515.
Ergo, despite whatever pious, nostalgic or sentimental feelings one may have for any pope from Leo X onward, it grieves me to say that whatever good those popes may have done cannot override their condonation of the worst of all sins. By their papal permission (by silence, inaction, apathy or active conspiracy) for the love of money that is usury --said love being, according to the Gospel the root of all evil (as it is, by its sterility and the plague of situation ethics that must accompany it in order to justify it) they acted as wolves, not shepherds . We cannot say "he was a good pope but he permitted adultery. He was a good pope but he permitted idolatry. He was a good pope but he allowed for robbery." Any permission for any one those grave sins renders the pope involved a devil in the shape of a pontiff, and this is true of permission for the root of all evil, the love of money, which is what very obviously motivated the Church of Rome in letting the Catholic usurers ply their trade.
Moreover, in the wake of the exposure of the child molestation rings in the Catholic hierarchy, which predate Vatican II, we must wonder about the extent to which even supposed "hero" popes of the past may have shielded malefactors by means of the terrible secrecy in which the Vatican bureaucracy and curia have dwelled these many centuries. Many questions are now being raised of the extent of sodomy in the hierarchy of Rome long before Vatican II. The true history of the papacy from the Renaissance onward, has yet to be written.
As for Pius X, recall that the Code of Canon Law of 1917, which permitted usury, though promulgated by Benedict XV, was largely composed during Pope Pius X's papacy.
As for the infallibility of canonizations, I wonder. Alphonsus Liguori argued for the rights of those who charge interest on loans, and advocated a most devious form of lying, and he is esteemed by "traditionalists" as one of the most eminent and holy of all Catholic saints.
The winds of truth are only beginning to blow through the Church of Rome. Let us hope that the sum effect is more than the Cryptocracy's notorious Revelation of the Method.