In the first century, Christ cast the moneylenders out of the Temple, but they gradually arose again during the thirteenth century, which created economic panic among the peasants.[Hat tip to L.S.]
For example, the French town of Villefrance wrote to King Philip IV in the thirteenth century, saying that moneylenders “are absolutely and utterly destroying the town and district.”
The moneylenders throughout the Middle Ages were involved in exploiting the peasants, and thus were hated. Even philo-Semitic historians such as James Parkes admitted that this was the case, where interest rates ranged between 22 and 173 percent.
Similar exorbitant interest rates were widespread throughout medieval England and France. The people behind all of this of course were Jewish moneylenders. During that period, the word “Judaize” took a radical meaning.
Historian W. C. Jordan declared that it meant “to act like an outsider, to regard others not as brothers but under a different set of rules that permitted forms of exploitation that were forbidden to the circle of brothers and friends.”
... the monasteries were dedicated for people who would follow the principle of not only self-denial, celibacy, and obedience, but would also abstain from worldly attractions such as wealth.
Celibacy was important because “those who did not marry did not need money to support their families, nor did they need the autonomy necessary to use that money wisely as heads of households.” As E. Michael Jones points out,The monasteries became wealthy in the mundane sense by ignoring wealth. The individual monks renounced money, but their labors produced enormous wealth for the monasteries. The wealth grew over generations because the monks did not have children or the expenses they require.By the time Charlemagne was crowned in 800, usury was already forbidden in the monasteries and Charlemagne reinforced that teaching. Charlemagne was a powerful force for spreading literacy and he even instructed those in the monasteries:
More importantly, their lands were not constantly divided as children inherited the land from their father....
“Take care to make no difference between the sons of serfs and of freemen, so that they might come and sit on the same benches to study grammar, music, and arithmetic.”
... [Few scholars] take into consideration the fact that kings and queens appointed their own “bishops” and “monks,” many of whom were sinful people that ended up following the course of this world, something that was radically different than the ways early monks saw the monasteries.
There is ample evidence which shows that lending money at interest was even practiced among some bishops in the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but in every case these people were appointees who had been seeking an earthly kingdom.
Durant declared, “As wealth mounts, religion declines,” a statement which seems to reflect what the early church stood for ....
Businessmen of course were the first to shout for joy when the teachings of the church with respect to usury declined....
Yet seldom are these practices placed in comparison to those monks who actually repudiated the practice of usury and even indulgences.
The only person able to do such differentiation (to my knowledge) is Edward Gibbon. Gibbon blamed the Church for the fall of the Roman Empire, calling those monks “unfaithful stewards” who were involved in “rapacious usury.”
But Gibbon also suggested that this was not a widespread phenomenon. Pagans were in awe of the Church’s charity in taking care of the poor and needy; this “materially conduced to the progress of Christianity.”
A final point we should emphasize here is that during the Middle Ages and beyond, the Church established the most highly regarded institutions in the world.
Oxford and Cambridge, along with other universities in places such as Toulouse, Orleans, Naples, Salamanca, Seville, Lisbon, Grenoble, Padua, Rome, Perugia, Pisa, Modena, Florence, Prague, Cracow, Vienna, Heidelberg, Cologne, Ofen, Erfurt, Leipzig, and Rostock were founded solely for the glory of God and the benefit of His creatures.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
"How monks and monasteries saved civilization and killed usury"
Jones E. Alexis, "How monks and monasteries saved civilization and killed usury" (Veterans Today, February 12, 2014) -- a few excerpted passages: