Christians urged to reject usury and injustice

In his weekly ‘general audience’, on 30 October 2005, in front of 30,000 people at St Peter’s in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI urged Christians to make a “fundamental option” of generosity towards their neighbours, and to reject false ways of life based on debt-systems (usury).

To be happy, the leader of the world’s 1.5 billion Catholics declared, it is necessary “to follow a morally unexceptionable life, against any illusory alternative of success obtained via injustice and immorality.”

Echoing the constant call of the Hebrew prophets to side with the marginalized, he explained that for Christians, “loyalty to the divine word consists of a fundamental option, which is active love towards the poor and needy: respecting the biblical call to be generous towards the poor and to those in need.”The pontiff spoke of the corrosive impact of a culture of self-interest, highlighting “the usury that destroys the lives of the poor.”

The Christian Tradition contains deep-rooted critiques of lending with interest, some of which have come to the fore through the recent Jubilee 2000, since the Old Covenant Jubilee involved forgiveness of debt.

Earlier this year Benedict XVI said that Christians are called to renounce power and wealth and should choose instead to serve others with Christ's humility.


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