Countdown to launch

April 6, 2017 § 28 Comments

At the suggestion of reader MMPeregrine, in preparation for the print version/3rd Edition of the Usury FAQ, I added a couple of questions and answers:

57) This all sounds so complicated, and use of the terms “loan” and “interest” to mean so many different things is confusing. Is there a straightforward way to tell if a simple loan for interest is usury?

58) Is there something that the government can do about usury without creating a whole bunch of complicated regulations?

UPDATE:  The Typesetter has made the current revision available in PDF here.  If you are interested in proofreading the manuscript feel free to post any errors you find in the combox here, or send email to

§ 28 Responses to Countdown to launch

  • TomD says:

    Anyone who can look at the Latin is especially appreciated, because as is said of Sam, “his voice cried in a language which he did not know” and I cannot see typos (and spellcheckers just give up entirely).

  • […] Source: Zippy Catholic […]

  • vetdoctor says:

    1. Is profitable interest charged on the loan?

    To lowbrows like me the word interest means % of loan added over time. Not monthly fees that leave the loan “interest free”

  • Zippy says:

    The central issue is personal IOU versus co-claims against security/collateral, and labeling profits “fees” doesn’t make profiting from personal IOU’s licit.

    The problem with simple questions and answers is that they have to assume common ground and charitable reading, neither of which may be present. My options, I suppose, are to make Q57 and its answer more complex or to just leave it, since the balance of the FAQ ought to clarify any confusion which arises from merely labeling profits “fees” as opposed to “interest”.

  • Zippy says:


    I reworded Question 57 slightly based on your feedback.

  • donnie says:

    A suggestion for the cover:

  • donnie says:


    I realize that Saint Matthew was not a usurer that we know of, but I often think that tax collectors of the ancient world and the usurers of today are guilty of the same sort of sin, and are each called to the same sort of conversion.

  • TomD says:

    Currently I’m going with stark black but perhaps there’s an argument for a limited-edition special hardback run for the cognoscenti. Or maybe that cover should be even starker.

    All churches shall be required to have a “whip of cords” in a glass case with a “break glass in case of moneylenders” sign on it, when We are Pope. (We are more and more unlikely to be Pope every day).

  • donnie says:

    All churches shall be required to have a “whip of cords” in a glass case with a “break glass in case of moneylenders” sign on it, when We are Pope.

    I look forward to that day 🙂

    BTW – shouldn’t the back cover read, “Understanding usury requires an understanding of how the nature of some contracts differ…”? Currently it reads differs.

  • Zippy says:

    “… the nature … differs” is how I read it. But I never claimed to grammar too good.

  • TomD says:

    It’s one of those sentences that is grammarly correct, but probably should be taken outside the woodshed and worked over with a clue-by-four.

    If you look at it as “understanding of how some contracts’ nature differs” it might be clearer.

  • Wood says:

    I laughed when I realized that “usurybook” was a readily available handle on gmail. No suggested “usurybook7539,sd1@gmail” needed in this case. Blessings to everyone involved in this endeavor. I’m late to the dance, but if I can offer any meager financial support I’d be happy to.

  • P.B. says:

    Looking forward to it! There is something nice about having a physical book.

  • TomD says:

    We don’t really need financial support to get these printed (though distributing them far and wide may need some) – and they’ll be available through Amazon or directly in bulk.

    I am thinking of making a few hardback copies for personal use, but those are more expensive, closer to $20 than $6. We’ll see.

  • halt94 says:

    Who all are these being distributed to? I currently attend Texas A&M and would be willing to supply the college parish and the surrounding parishes with copies of it. My home is in the Dallas area so I would also be willing to supply copies to the University of Dallas in Irving. I just don’t want to double-bag.

  • TomD says:

    There’s no huge overarching plan at this time that I know of beyond a general plan to do something once we have it; I’ll leave that to others.

  • halt94 says:

    Got it. Thanks.

  • Zippy says:

    The Friends of St Martin de Porres have an ambition to get this into the hands of as
    many clergy as possible. It isn’t concrete enough to be a plan as yet, but there will be a substantial effort with substantial funding. There is no inkling to extend this to university professors, etc.

  • halt94 says:


    Well let me know if I’m needed to distribute the book to the clergy in the Bryan/College Station area. Is there a recommended method of distribution? Is the book just being mailed to the clergy?

  • TomD says:

    That’s something that the plan will need to consider; the idea I had was something like a database/google doc where we could track as much as possible; for certainly a letter of introduction or a personally delivered copy would be more than one mailed from Usury, Inc.

  • Zippy says:

    Previous “Friends” projects have been mostly one-offs. This is a whole different kind of deal. Some sort of organized tracking will be needed, if only a quick and dirty rails front end on a mysql database, or some sort of open source CRM, and maybe a mailing list or private forum on a VPS. I expect it to be a step at a time over time sort of thing, not something that happens all at once. It is a marathon not a sprint.

    But the hard copy book makes it possible.

  • Step2 says:

    Throwing the book at them makes a bigger difference when it has a certain heft to it.

  • TomD says:

    Wow, the Usury FAQ is like a playbook – discussions head down the same paths predicted from the beginning. (My totally coincidental-soon-to-be-retired nom-de-bloggue can be seen.)

  • Zippy says:


    There are plenty of disadvantages to the FAQ format as developed over years of interactive Internet discussions. But one of the clear advantages is that it deals with all of the usual questions that arise when boots-on-the-ground folks are struggling to grasp the subject in the first place.

    It is something of an oddity that I am fairly regularly accused of being hyperintellectual and academically disconnected from reality. The Usury FAQ is an eminently practical bit of pedagogy written by a guy with several metric craptons of practical experience in finance and entrepreneurship. How many of my critics have personally created companies whose public market cap at one point exceeded a billion dollars? I’m not the most successful entrepreneur ever by a long shot, but I’ve personally trod paths – ruthlessly practical paths – that the vast majority of my critics will never dream of treading.

    Sure the FAQ is rooted in what the Magisterium and Aquinas actually said (as opposed to all of the usual mischaracterizations, misunderstandings, and appeals to incompetent authority); and that may create a superficial impression of it being ‘academic’.

    But really, the knee-jerk notion that it is airy and academic and disconnected from reality is one of the great ironies of the whole public debate.

  • TomD says:

    What’s really sad to me is the people on our side if you will, the Catholics, who insist that doctrine has developed and such. The highest authority they can cite is the Catholic Encyclopedia.

    Final pre-press checks are being done; if anyone wants to glance at the Latin for obvious typos I’d greatly appreciate it.

  • Advenedizo says:

    I am currently on holidays, and the pace is a little surprising, but i will take a look to the book if possible.
    When distributing, we cover seminaries? Maybe one for the library?

  • Zippy says:


    I don’t intend to suggest limits on what folks want to do on their own initiative. What the Friends actually fund doesn’t imply any objection to what anyone wants to do themselves, of course.

    Some coordination/collaboration would probably be helpful though. We’ll have some resources on a virtual private server for that sort of thing — ways for Friends to communicate and track, etc. Just starting to look at those things though: baby steps.

  • Scott W. says:

    A suggestion for the cover

    I was think a parody of a Jack Chick tract. 🙂

    Get Jeff Harris of or David Ives of B-movie Catechism to do it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Countdown to launch at Zippy Catholic.