In Leviticus 25, God commands Israel to observe a sabbath year every 7 years–not working at all–and a jubilee year every 50 years. One of the reasons for the Babylonian Exile was the failure to observe the sabbath years. Part of the Jubilee Year was the neutralization and forgiveness of debts.
Since this command has never been fully observed at the national level, in the Great Jubilee of 2000, John Paul II started calling on nations to engage in debt forgiveness.
The US population is in debt. To whom are we in debt? Corporations. But the corporations are in debt. To whom? Other corporations, who are also in debt. Who are they in debt to? Governments. Who are governments in debt to? Other governments, and big corporations.
Ultimately, all debt is to the future. In The Abolition of Man , C. S. Lewis warns against creating a future where all people are the slaves of their ancestors. One way of doing that is by our current system of usury.
The Bible is very clear on interest and usury. Traditionally, both Jewish and Christian interpreters have tried to say that the Bible condemns “usury” specifically, and that “usuary means exorbitant interest.” Yet Lev 25:36 says, “Do not exact interest from your countryman”.
Psalm 15:5 says, “[Happy the man who] lends no money at interest, accepts no bribe against the innocent.”
In Luke 12:20, Jesus says, of the man who saves his surplus rather than sharing it, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”
So, whom, exactly, are we, collectively indebted to? With no gold standard, money only has the value governments give it. Everyone is indebted to someone else, with a few exceptions.
The continuation of the debt cycle is absurd. Interest upon interest upon interest, charged to our children’s children. . . . Isn’t that just slavery? It’s definitely indentured servitude.
John Paul called for international debt cancellation, and no one listened. Did anyone even take the lead and engage in unilateral debt cancellation?
This is just one more way in which Holy Mother Church had the foresight to warn the world against its coming implosion.
If I ever struck it rich, I would start the Psalm 15 Foundation, and give no-interest loans to help get Catholic families out of debt.