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Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, Indicts International Monetary Fund and World Bank on Usury

Pope Benedict’s Secretary of State for the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, recently gave an interview to the Italian journal 30 Giorni in which he condemns the practices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as usury.

Several Catholic news services have reported on his recent interview. The National Catholic Reporter reminded readers that even in 1997 when he worked for Cardinal Ratzinger as secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith then Bishop Bertone suggested that it was time to publish a new encyclical on the subject of usury and, on the use of money in general, and that this document should be proposed both to people involved in pastoral activity as well as to those in economic endeavors. At that time Bishop Bertone not only denounced the critical aspects of usury, but also “the problem of loans among nations which ends up by creating the problem of international debt.” His recent interview echoes these criticisms of usury and the international financial institutions:

“I’ve repeated many times the judgment of experts and entire bodies of bishops: the international loans made by the World Bank and the Inter-national Monetary Fund, as well as bilateral loans, are by now a form of usury and should be declared illegal,” Bertone said.

The Catholic News Agency also published Cardinal Bertone’s views on the economics of these international financial institutions as usury from the 30 Giorni interview, including his commentary that some technocrats, especially those of multinationals the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, have imposed unacceptable conditions on the poor populations.

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXVI, No. 5, September-October 2006.