The Usury FAQ as a tangible asset

March 16, 2017 § 23 Comments

Reader TomD is preparing to make a print version of the Usury FAQ available.  He is doing all of the work (he has a nice shiny shovel made of mithril), but in preparation for this ‘third edition’ I’ve added Question 56, “Isn’t criticism of usury just veiled anti-semitism”.

Regular readers may notice that the answer is a modified version of this blog post.

§ 23 Responses to The Usury FAQ as a tangible asset

  • TomD says:

    Technically, it’s more made of LaTeX but that sounds weird if you don’t use the Greek pronunciation.

  • Phaethon says:

    You have to use the right symbol, which is (appropriately enough) very easy to do in LaTeX. Looking forward to it!

  • Terry Morris says:

    Isn’t criticism of usury just veiled antisemitism?

    Oh good grief! Yeah, it’s veiled antisemitism in the same sense that criticism of Hollywood in general, and pornography in particular, is really just veiled antisemitism.

  • donnie says:

    Zippy, have you considered compiling an anti-liberalism FAQ?

  • Zippy says:

    Terry Morris:

    I don’t ask the questions, I just answer them. I debated whether the question does or does not belong, since as you suggest it is really rather ridiculous. But if lots of hard copies of this are going to start showing up in clerical in-boxes, well, I have to address even the irrational objections which are likely to arise.


    I’ve considered a somewhat more systematized presentation of my critique of liberalism, but I’m not sure an FAQ is the right format. Usury is, at the end of the day, a very simple subject. It only seems complicated because of some of the basic things we modern people have to unlearn. But the subject matter is pretty well defined and coherent.

    Liberalism is a difficult subject precisely because it is incoherent, and so “means” (in a truncated sense) whatever the person you are talking to or writing for wants it to mean. This makes it a much harder subject to present, even to a sympathetic audience. Blogging in bite-sized concepts — more or less ‘triggering’ and dealing with one objectively invalid defense mechanism at a time — has been the best vehicle for dealing with it so far, for me. But those invalid defense mechanisms are legion, and it just isn’t even clear that a Summa approach would even get read or be readable.

    Aquinas wrote for an audience which was mostly sympathetic and just looking for clarity on various questions. But most modern people live in their IMAX mind-theaters, in an entirely different universe from me.

    In any case liberalism and usury are pretty orthogonal, intersecting at modernity’s “when it is mutually consensual it must be morally good” fallacy to be sure, but it isn’t as though only liberals would commit usury.

  • TomD says:

    If you write it, I will typeset it, yea, even if it go to a hundred volumes.

    (I like typesetting.)

  • I really appreciate this effort. I’ve long held onto the idea of usury being wrong, contrary to the bible, sure to lead to grief. It would have been nice to have had some pastoral support in the days of old, some more people willing to stand.

  • Mike T says:

    Isn’t an accusation of veiled anti-semitism an even deeper psychological trick to get people to associate the Jews with something negative?..

  • Advenedizo says:

    Your idea to deliver the book to all the priest in the world is excellent. I would like to help if necessary.

    If you plan to deliver the in electronic format, I can compile a list of email addresses of all the priest in my country. If you plan to send it in dead-tree format, I can gather the names and addresses and either send them to you so you post the books, or you can send them all to me and I will post them to save international rates. I am willing to cover the mail charges myself.

    Just note that my country is not very big, so it will be less than 100. Send me an email if you are interested in my help.

  • Zippy says:


    You can consider yourself deputized as the ambassador to your country on behalf of the Friends of St. Martin de Porres. (We need a name for this distribution project. “Operation Big Dig”? Any ideas, anyone?)

    After things have gotten a bit further along I’ll contact you via the unpublished email in your comment form. If I fail to do so feel free to come kick me to get my attention.

  • donnie says:

    Certainly compiling an anti-liberalism FAQ would be hard but I’m not sure I agree that it’s the wrong format or would be impossible to follow. I don’t see why it couldn’t adhere to the following outline:

    PART I: What is liberalism?

    PART 2: Is liberalism incoherent?

    PART 3: What consequences do our commitments to liberalism have on ourselves and our societies?

    PART 4: Where do we go from here?

    No doubt each part would be lengthy and cover a number of arguments and counter-arguments, but I don’t see why it would necessarily be impossible to follow. And I’m sure many of us here, myself included, would be happy to help in any way we could.

  • TomD says:

    I suggest Rootin’ Tootin’ End the Mutuum but I should probably stick to typesetting.

  • Advenedizo says:

    I am glad I could help, but do not get your hopes too high. My country is a very small country.

  • TomD says:

    Ah, but so was Israel.

  • donnie says:

    While you, Tom, and Advenedizo are busy sending copies of the Usury FAQ to all the bishops and priests the world over, I am considering the merits of sending it to every American Catholic lawmaker, executive, and judicial arbitrator at the federal and state levels.

    Obviously I am considering whether there is material cooperation with evil inherent in this act. My initial view is that there is none, I see it as comparable to mailing copies of Denzinger, which I don’t think would involve any material cooperation and is probably actually a really great idea now that I think about it.

    But I figured I’d run it by you, especially after our earlier conversation in the ‘Earl of Meadistrad’ post. There seems always to be a danger that doing anything in the hopes of affecting Good through our liberal system will actually do nothing but provide validation to that liberal system.

  • TomD says:

    I personally don’t feel that proclaiming the truth is ever wrong, even if we don’t know or like the consequences. Bulk copies will be available.

  • donnie says:

    Yes Tom, I think I am in agreement with you. My reservation is probably a holdover from my days as a right-liberal, where my natural inclination after sending my Congressman a letter or something is to phone his office and ask to know how he plans to address the specific issue I want him to address, in the obvious hopes that my phone call will spur him to act as I want him to. But as Zippy and I were discussing in the other thread, phoning your Congressman with the intent to have him put forth a bill, or vote a certain way on an existing bill, likely involves an instance of material cooperation with evil and would need to be justified by the principle of double effect.

    I think the answer is to just send the book and then spend some time in front of Blessed Sacrament, trusting Him to do the rest.

  • MMPeregrine says:

    I have a suggestion that you add two articles as separate Q&A to the Usury FAQ, especially since it sounds like it might be more widely distributed. The two articles are
    1. The Simple Usury Test –
    2. Usury for Dummies –

    Those two helped me comprehend what you were saying and I imagine they would also help others. Not that these ideas aren’t included in the FAQ, but emphasizing them separately could be helpful.

    I also am wondering if you are willing to read a 2 page paper I wrote for school on the topic of usury? It is due tonight so it’s no big deal if you can’t or if you couldn’t get it back to me within a few hours. If yes, you probably have my email address so maybe you could send me an email and then I will send you the paper. I don’t really want to post my email publicly as I imagine you don’t want to do either.

    Thank you.

  • Zippy says:


    Email sent. I just got proofs of the book today, but I’ll discuss your suggestions with The Typesetter.

  • TomD says:

    The Typesetter likes the idea of making the book longer, but needs permission to add additional non-released works.

  • Zippy says:

    Hah! Later today perhaps.

  • […] the suggestion of reader MMperegrine, in preparation for the print version/3rd Edition of the Usury FAQ, I added a couple […]

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