Keeping the record straight

January 30, 2015 § 34 Comments

Some folks who don’t agree with my writing on usury, while apparently lacking any argument against, are reduced to slander:

“I’m just some guy. I have an MBA, I’ve started and run a few small companies, and I have quite a bit of experience as an investor.  I became interested in usury in 2008 during the financial crisis, and was surprised to find myself in perfect agreement (as best as I can tell) with St. Thomas Aquinas on the subject.  I’ve read every single Magisterial statement on the subject in Denzinger, everything I could find by Aquinas, a number of old books, some academic papers, and a bunch of stuff on the web.  I think I have it right, but I’m not some high-falutin authority.”

Above translated using Google Life Experience.

I was wiped out in 2008 and wanted to intellectually justify not paying my debts, rather than simply being declared a bankrupt and starting over with no debts and no credit.  With all my spare time I read Denzinger and then Aquinas.

Had I made a ton of money with my leveraged gamble, rather than losing, it I wouldn’t be against usury.  I am the fox without a tail.  If I can pin the blame on others then I won’t have to change myself which I would find difficult and scary.

Since I cannot borrow money for the next 5-10 years because of my poor Credit Rating I don’t want anyone else to either.

They can just delay starting families and buying homes until they have saved up 500,000 dollars in cash, in a zero interest environment.  Maybe by the time they are 40, with a little luck, they’ll be able to have a child.

For the record I’ve never been ‘wiped out’ financially, no investor other than myself has ever lost money investing in one of my personal ventures (though not many have had the opportunity), I actually made money during the 2008 crisis because I was in a position to buy when everyone was selling, and I’ve never failed to repay a debt (whether usurious or not).

Oh, and I don’t give financial advice.

Commenter TM Lutas is now posting in the linked forum too. Feel free to check it out. When he posted a comment here calling me a liar (among other things) I put him into moderation. Folks can feel free to engage in that sort of content-free discourse somewhere other than here.

Modern “vocations” murder the spirit

January 24, 2015 § 52 Comments

A fairly typical comment in casual conversation:

“He was considering becoming a priest, but chose to pursue a career in medicine instead.”

The vocational alternatives to vowed religious life are not careers.

The vocational alternatives to vowed religious life are family life and bachelorhood/spinsterhood.

There is nothing wrong with these latter vocations: they really are the right place for those who are called to them.

And there is of course nothing intrinsically wrong with pursuing a career, just as there is nothing intrinsically wrong with building a house or working a farm.

But by overwriting the conceptual place reserved for vocations with careers, modernity takes one more step forward in its project of murdering the spirit.

No comment

January 23, 2015 § 10 Comments

First a bit of free advertising for an article on usury by David Warren at The Catholic Thing, which buckyinky pointed out in the comments below.  It is a good article and worth a read.

I attempted to comment on the article, and the following ensued:

Me (in the combox):

One of my readers pointed out this article to me. Folks interested in usury might find my Usury FAQ (also available as a free ebook) topical:

Result: Comment removed.

Me (combox):

My comment was not SPAM.

Result: Comment removed.

That Catholic Thing representative (hereafter “R”) via email:

Subject: Sorry

We don’t allow links un (sic) Comment section at The Catholic Thing. – R

Me (combox):

Apparently links are not allowed here, but my usury FAQ and (free, not selling anything) ebook cover this subject in detail. Aquinas was exactly right and modern people are financially ignorant.

(A reader of mine referred me to this article).

Me: (email):

Subject: Re: Sorry

My bad.  I posted a new comment without a link.

Result: Comment removed

Me (email):

Subject: Re: Sorry

Apparently commenting without a link wasn’t sufficient?

I’m on the author’s bloody side, for crying out loud.

R (email):

Subject: Re: Sorry

You’re also doing advertising. Sorry.

Me (email):

Subject: Re: Sorry

It isn’t advertising.  Sharing ideas and documented references is not advertising.

But whatever.  I’m not pushing on a rope anymore.  One of my readers thought the article was right in line with what I’ve been writing lately, but you’ve definitely succeeded in making me not care.

The “clarifications” will continue until divorce and “remarriage” are approved

January 23, 2015 § 10 Comments

Notice the framing of this question:

There is bitter dispute over the meaning of the Encyclical Letter, “Vix Pervenit.” …

“… the penitent perseveres in his plan of giving money as a loan to business men, and objects that an opinion favorable to such a loan has many patrons, and, moreover, has not been condemned by the Holy See, although more than once consulted about it.” (Emphasis mine)

Notice this part of the encyclical in question:

“One cannot condone the sin of usury by arguing that the gain [on a mutuum loan] is not great or excessive, but rather moderate or small; neither can it be condoned by arguing that the borrower is rich; nor even by arguing that the money borrowed is not left idle, but is spent usefully, either to increase one’s fortune, to purchase new estates, or to engage in business transactions.” (Emphasis mine)

If your goal is to get ‘pastoral’ approval for your favorite sins, one of the most effective ways to do so is to build the answer you want into the questions you ask; even when that means turning the questions themselves into lies.

Against the stenchus fidelium we declare “invictus manure!”

January 22, 2015 § 16 Comments

I’ll attempt to clarify the point I made below.

Compare this:

“If a penitent does not confess the gain from money given in a loan, and appears to be in good faith, these confessors, even if they know from other sources that gain of this sort has been taken by him and is even now being taken, they absolve him, making no interrogation about the matter, because they fear the penitent, being advised to make restitution or to refrain from such profit, will refuse.”

to this:

“The principle according to which it is preferable to let penitents remain in good faith in cases of error due to subjectively invincible ignorance, is certainly to be considered always valid, even in matters of conjugal chastity. And this applies whenever it is foreseen that the penitent, although oriented towards living within the bounds of a life of faith, would not be prepared to change his own conduct, but rather would begin formally to sin.”

If the former constitutes a reversal of doctrine on usury, then the latter constitutes a reversal of doctrine on contraception.

Did the Church reverse course on contraception in 1997?

January 22, 2015 § 20 Comments

If you buy that the pastoral changes of Pius VIII and Gregory XVI reversed Church doctrine on usury, you might also be inclined to buy that John Paul II reversed Church doctrine on contraception:

The principle according to which it is preferable to let penitents remain in good faith in cases of error due to subjectively invincible ignorance, is certainly to be considered always valid, even in matters of conjugal chastity. And this applies whenever it is foreseen that the penitent, although oriented towards living within the bounds of a life of faith, would not be prepared to change his own conduct, but rather would begin formally to sin.

Guest post: Usury and chattel slavery

January 21, 2015 § 13 Comments

The usurer says, Care for my property and pay me for the opportunity. Keep it intact. Make good every loss and return to me an increase which you by your energy and effort may produce.

Not only does financial slavery exact more labor for the amount invested, but it is more heartless than chattel bondage. The master had a personal interest in the slave he bought. His health and strength was an object of his care and his death a great loss. There was also often a mutual affection developed, as is sometimes found between a man and his horse or affectionate dog. There was sometimes real unfeigned mutual love. The master had a tender care over his slaves in their sickness and in their decrepit age, and sorrowed at their graves. The slaves were inconsolable in their grief at the death of their master.

The usurer has no personal interest in his slave. He has no care for his health or his life; they are of no interest to him. He may live in a distant state and has no anxiety about those who serve him. Their personal ills give him no concern.

Many faithful, industrial and honest borrowers are unable to return the loan. It is as difficult to retain property as it is to earn it. New inventions, new processes, new methods, new legislation and the changing fashions and customs, often sweep property from the shrewd and careful. “Riches make themselves wings; they fly away.” If for any cause the borrower fails there is scant sympathy from the usurer.

Usury: a Scriptural, Ethical, and Economic View, Calvin Elliott (1902)

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