St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province


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Deinde considerandum est de peccato usurae, quod committitur in mutuis. Et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor.    We must now consider the sin of usury, which is committed in loans: and under this head there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum sit peccatum accipere pecuniam in pretium pro pecunia mutuata, quod est accipere usuram.     (1) Whether it is a sin to take money as a price for money lent, which is to receive usury?
Secundo, utrum liceat pro eodem quamcumque utilitatem accipere quasi in recompensationem mutui.     (2) Whether it is lawful to lend money for any other kind of consideration, by way of payment for the loan?
Tertio, utrum aliquis restituere teneatur id quod de pecunia usuraria iusto lucro lucratus est.     (3) Whether a man is bound to restore just gains derived from money taken in usury?
Quarto, utrum liceat accipere mutuo pecuniam sub usura.     (4) Whether it is lawful to borrow money under a condition of usury?


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Whether it is a sin to take usury for money lent?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod accipere usuram pro pecunia mutuata non sit peccatum. Nullus enim peccat ex hoc quod sequitur exemplum Christi. Sed dominus de seipso dicit, Luc. XIX, ego veniens cum usuris exegissem illam, scilicet pecuniam mutuatam. Ergo non est peccatum accipere usuram pro mutuo pecuniae.   Objection 1: It would seem that it is not a sin to take usury for money lent. For no man sins through following the example of Christ. But Our Lord said of Himself (Lk. 19:23): "At My coming I might have exacted it," i.e. the money lent, "with usury." Therefore it is not a sin to take usury for lending money.
Praeterea, sicut dicitur in Psalm., lex domini immaculata, quia scilicet peccatum prohibet. Sed in lege divina conceditur aliqua usura, secundum illud Deut. XXIII, non faenerabis fratri tuo ad usuram pecuniam, nec fruges nec quamlibet aliam rem, sed alieno. Et, quod plus est, etiam in praemium repromittitur pro lege servata, secundum illud Deut. XXVIII, faenerabis gentibus multis; et ipse a nullo faenus accipies. Ergo accipere usuram non est peccatum.   Objection 2: Further, according to Ps. 18:8, "The law of the Lord is unspotted," because, to wit, it forbids sin. Now usury of a kind is allowed in the Divine law, according to Dt. 23:19,20: "Thou shalt not fenerate to thy brother money, nor corn, nor any other thing, but to the stranger": nay more, it is even promised as a reward for the observance of the Law, according to Dt. 28:12: "Thou shalt fenerate* to many nations, and shalt not borrow of any one." [*'Faeneraberis'—'Thou shalt lend upon usury.' The Douay version has simply 'lend.' The objection lays stress on the word 'faeneraberis': hence the necessity of rendering it by 'fenerate.'] Therefore it is not a sin to take usury.
Praeterea, in rebus humanis determinatur iustitia per leges civiles. Sed secundum eas conceditur usuras accipere. Ergo videtur non esse illicitum.   Objection 3: Further, in human affairs justice is determined by civil laws. Now civil law allows usury to be taken. Therefore it seems to be lawful.
Praeterea, praetermittere consilia non obligat ad peccatum. Sed Luc. VI inter alia consilia ponitur, date mutuum, nihil inde sperantes. Ergo accipere usuram non est peccatum.   Objection 4: Further, the counsels are not binding under sin. But, among other counsels we find (Lk. 6:35): "Lend, hoping for nothing thereby." Therefore it is not a sin to take usury.
Praeterea, pretium accipere quo eo quod quis facere non tenetur, non videtur esse secundum se peccatum. Sed non in quolibet casu tenetur pecuniam habens eam proximo mutuare. Ergo licet ei aliquando pro mutuo accipere pretium.   Objection 5: Further, it does not seem to be in itself sinful to accept a price for doing what one is not bound to do. But one who has money is not bound in every case to lend it to his neighbor. Therefore it is lawful for him sometimes to accept a price for lending it.
Praeterea, argentum monetatum, et in vasa formatum, non differt specie. Sed licet accipere pretium pro vasis argenteis accommodatis. Ergo etiam licet accipere pretium pro mutuo argenti monetati. Usura ergo non est secundum se peccatum.   Objection 6: Further, silver made into coins does not differ specifically from silver made into a vessel. But it is lawful to accept a price for the loan of a silver vessel. Therefore it is also lawful to accept a price for the loan of a silver coin. Therefore usury is not in itself a sin.
Praeterea, quilibet potest licite accipere rem quam ei dominus rei voluntarie tradit. Sed ille qui accipit mutuum voluntarie tradit usuram. Ergo ille qui mutuat licite potest accipere.   Objection 7: Further, anyone may lawfully accept a thing which its owner freely gives him. Now he who accepts the loan, freely gives the usury. Therefore he who lends may lawfully take the usury.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Exod. XXII, si pecuniam mutuam dederis populo meo pauperi qui habitat tecum, non urgebis eum quasi exactor, nec usuris opprimes.   On the contrary, It is written (Ex. 22:25): "If thou lend money to any of thy people that is poor, that dwelleth with thee, thou shalt not be hard upon them as an extortioner, nor oppress them with usuries."
Respondeo dicendum quod accipere usuram pro pecunia mutuata est secundum se iniustum, quia venditur id quod non est, per quod manifeste inaequalitas constituitur, quae iustitiae contrariatur. Ad cuius evidentiam, sciendum est quod quaedam res sunt quarum usus est ipsarum rerum consumptio, sicut vinum consumimus eo utendo ad potum, et triticum consumimus eo utendo ad cibum. Unde in talibus non debet seorsum computari usus rei a re ipsa, sed cuicumque conceditur usus, ex hoc ipso conceditur res. Et propter hoc in talibus per mutuum transfertur dominium. Si quis ergo seorsum vellet vendere vinum et seorsum vellet vendere usum vini, venderet eandem rem bis, vel venderet id quod non est. Unde manifeste per iniustitiam peccaret. Et simili ratione, iniustitiam committit qui mutuat vinum aut triticum petens sibi duas recompensationes, unam quidem restitutionem aequalis rei, aliam vero pretium usus, quod usura dicitur.   I answer that, To take usury for money lent is unjust in itself, because this is to sell what does not exist, and this evidently leads to inequality which is contrary to justice. In order to make this evident, we must observe that there are certain things the use of which consists in their consumption: thus we consume wine when we use it for drink and we consume wheat when we use it for food. Wherefore in such like things the use of the thing must not be reckoned apart from the thing itself, and whoever is granted the use of the thing, is granted the thing itself and for this reason, to lend things of this kin is to transfer the ownership. Accordingly if a man wanted to sell wine separately from the use of the wine, he would be selling the same thing twice, or he would be selling what does not exist, wherefore he would evidently commit a sin of injustice. In like manner he commits an injustice who lends wine or wheat, and asks for double payment, viz. one, the return of the thing in equal measure, the other, the price of the use, which is called usury.
Quaedam vero sunt quorum usus non est ipsa rei consumptio, sicut usus domus est inhabitatio, non autem dissipatio. Et ideo in talibus seorsum potest utrumque concedi, puta cum aliquis tradit alteri dominium domus, reservato sibi usu ad aliquod tempus; vel e converso cum quis concedit alicui usum domus, reservato sibi eius dominio. Et propter hoc licite potest homo accipere pretium pro usu domus, et praeter hoc petere domum commodatam, sicut patet in conductione et locatione domus.    On the other hand, there are things the use of which does not consist in their consumption: thus to use a house is to dwell in it, not to destroy it. Wherefore in such things both may be granted: for instance, one man may hand over to another the ownership of his house while reserving to himself the use of it for a time, or vice versa, he may grant the use of the house, while retaining the ownership. For this reason a man may lawfully make a charge for the use of his house, and, besides this, revendicate the house from the person to whom he has granted its use, as happens in renting and letting a house.
Pecunia autem, secundum philosophum, in V Ethic. et in I Polit., principaliter est inventa ad commutationes faciendas, et ita proprius et principalis pecuniae usus est ipsius consumptio sive distractio, secundum quod in commutationes expenditur. Et propter hoc secundum se est illicitum pro usu pecuniae mutuatae accipere pretium, quod dicitur usura. Et sicut alia iniuste acquisita tenetur homo restituere, ita pecuniam quam per usuram accepit.    Now money, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 5; Polit. i, 3) was invented chiefly for the purpose of exchange: and consequently the proper and principal use of money is its consumption or alienation whereby it is sunk in exchange. Hence it is by its very nature unlawful to take payment for the use of money lent, which payment is known as usury: and just as a man is bound to restore other ill-gotten goods, so is he bound to restore the money which he has taken in usury.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod usura ibi metaphorice accipitur pro superexcrescentia bonorum spiritualium, quam exigit Deus volens ut in bonis acceptis ab eo semper proficiamus. Quod est ad utilitatem nostram, non eius.   Reply to Objection 1: In this passage usury must be taken figuratively for the increase of spiritual goods which God exacts from us, for He wishes us ever to advance in the goods which we receive from Him: and this is for our own profit not for His.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Iudaeis prohibitum fuit accipere usuram a fratribus suis, scilicet Iudaeis, per quod datur intelligi quod accipere usuram a quocumque homine est simpliciter malum; debemus enim omnem hominem habere quasi proximum et fratrem, praecipue in statu Evangelii, ad quod omnes vocantur. Unde in Psalm. absolute dicitur, qui pecuniam suam non dedit ad usuram; et Ezech. XVIII, qui usuram non acceperit. Quod autem ab extraneis usuram acciperent, non fuit eis concessum quasi licitum, sed permissum ad maius malum vitandum, ne scilicet a Iudaeis, Deum colentibus, usuras acciperent, propter avaritiam, cui dediti erant, ut habetur Isaiae LVI.   Reply to Objection 2: The Jews were forbidden to take usury from their brethren, i.e. from other Jews. By this we are given to understand that to take usury from any man is evil simply, because we ought to treat every man as our neighbor and brother, especially in the state of the Gospel, whereto all are called. Hence it is said without any distinction in Ps. 14:5: "He that hath not put out his money to usury," and (Ezech. 18:8): "Who hath not taken usury [*Vulg.: 'If a man . . . hath not lent upon money, nor taken any increase . . . he is just.']." They were permitted, however, to take usury from foreigners, not as though it were lawful, but in order to avoid a greater evil, lest, to wit, through avarice to which they were prone according to Is. 56:11, they should take usury from the Jews who were worshippers of God.
Quod autem in praemium promittitur, faenerabis gentibus multis etc., faenus ibi large accipitur pro mutuo, sicut et Eccli. XXIX dicitur, multi non causa nequitiae non faenerati sunt, idest non mutuaverunt. Promittitur ergo in praemium Iudaeis abundantia divitiarum, ex qua contingit quod aliis mutuare possint.    Where we find it promised to them as a reward, "Thou shalt fenerate to many nations," etc., fenerating is to be taken in a broad sense for lending, as in Ecclus. 29:10, where we read: "Many have refused to fenerate, not out of wickedness," i.e. they would not lend. Accordingly the Jews are promised in reward an abundance of wealth, so that they would be able to lend to others.
Ad tertium dicendum quod leges humanae dimittunt aliqua peccata impunita propter conditiones hominum imperfectorum, in quibus multae utilitates impedirentur si omnia peccata districte prohiberentur poenis adhibitis. Et ideo usuras lex humana concessit, non quasi existimans eas esse secundum iustitiam, sed ne impedirentur utilitates multorum. Unde in ipso iure civili dicitur quod res quae usu consumuntur neque ratione naturali neque civili recipiunt usumfructum, et quod senatus non fecit earum rerum usumfructum, nec enim poterat; sed quasi usumfructum constituit, concedens scilicet usuras. Et philosophus, naturali ratione ductus, dicit, in I Polit., quod usuraria acquisitio pecuniarum est maxime praeter naturam.   Reply to Objection 3: Human laws leave certain things unpunished, on account of the condition of those who are imperfect, and who would be deprived of many advantages, if all sins were strictly forbidden and punishments appointed for them. Wherefore human law has permitted usury, not that it looks upon usury as harmonizing with justice, but lest the advantage of many should be hindered. Hence it is that in civil law [*Inst. II, iv, de Usufructu] it is stated that "those things according to natural reason and civil law which are consumed by being used, do not admit of usufruct," and that "the senate did not (nor could it) appoint a usufruct to such things, but established a quasi-usufruct," namely by permitting usury. Moreover the Philosopher, led by natural reason, says (Polit. i, 3) that "to make money by usury is exceedingly unnatural."
Ad quartum dicendum quod dare mutuum non semper tenetur homo, et ideo quantum ad hoc ponitur inter consilia. Sed quod homo lucrum de mutuo non quaerat, hoc cadit sub ratione praecepti. Potest tamen dici consilium per comparationem ad dicta Pharisaeorum, qui putabant usuram aliquam esse licitam, sicut et dilectio inimicorum est consilium. Vel loquitur ibi non de spe usurarii lucri, sed de spe quae ponitur in homine. Non enim debemus mutuum dare, vel quodcumque bonum facere, propter spem hominis, sed propter spem Dei.   Reply to Objection 4: A man is not always bound to lend, and for this reason it is placed among the counsels. Yet it is a matter of precept not to seek profit by lending: although it may be called a matter of counsel in comparison with the maxims of the Pharisees, who deemed some kinds of usury to be lawful, just as love of one's enemies is a matter of counsel. Or again, He speaks here not of the hope of usurious gain, but of the hope which is put in man. For we ought not to lend or do any good deed through hope in man, but only through hope in God.
Ad quintum dicendum quod ille qui mutuare non tenetur recompensationem potest accipere eius quod fecit, sed non amplius debet exigere. Recompensatur autem sibi secundum aequalitatem iustitiae si tantum ei reddatur quantum mutuavit. Unde si amplius exigat pro usufructu rei quae alium usum non habet nisi consumptionem substantiae, exigit pretium eius quod non est. Et ita est iniusta exactio.   Reply to Objection 5: He that is not bound to lend, may accept repayment for what he has done, but he must not exact more. Now he is repaid according to equality of justice if he is repaid as much as he lent. Wherefore if he exacts more for the usufruct of a thing which has no other use but the consumption of its substance, he exacts a price of something non-existent: and so his exaction is unjust.
Ad sextum dicendum quod usus principalis vasorum argenteorum non est ipsa eorum consumptio, et ideo usus eorum potest vendi licite, servato dominio rei. Usus autem principalis pecuniae argenteae est distractio pecuniae in commutationes. Unde non licet eius usum vendere cum hoc quod aliquis velit eius restitutionem quod mutuo dedit. Sciendum tamen quod secundarius usus argenteorum vasorum posset esse commutatio. Et talem usum eorum vendere non liceret. Et similiter potest esse aliquis alius secundarius usus pecuniae argenteae, ut puta si quis concederet pecuniam signatam ad ostentationem, vel ad ponendum loco pignoris. Et talem usum pecuniae licite homo vendere potest.   Reply to Objection 6: The principal use of a silver vessel is not its consumption, and so one may lawfully sell its use while retaining one's ownership of it. On the other hand the principal use of silver money is sinking it in exchange, so that it is not lawful to sell its use and at the same time expect the restitution of the amount lent. It must be observed, however, that the secondary use of silver vessels may be an exchange, and such use may not be lawfully sold. In like manner there may be some secondary use of silver money; for instance, a man might lend coins for show, or to be used as security.
Ad septimum dicendum quod ille qui dat usuram non simpliciter voluntarie dat, sed cum quadam necessitate, inquantum indiget pecuniam accipere mutuo, quam ille qui habet non vult sine usura mutuare.   Reply to Objection 7: He who gives usury does not give it voluntarily simply, but under a certain necessity, in so far as he needs to borrow money which the owner is unwilling to lend without usury.


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Whether it is lawful to ask for any other kind of consideration for money lent?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod aliquis possit pro pecunia mutuata aliquam aliam commoditatem expetere. Unusquisque enim licite potest suae indemnitati consulere. Sed quandoque damnum aliquis patitur ex hoc quod pecuniam mutuat. Ergo licitum est ei, supra pecuniam mutuatam, aliquid aliud pro damno expetere, vel etiam exigere   Objection 1: It would seem that one may ask for some other kind of consideration for money lent. For everyone may lawfully seek to indemnify himself. Now sometimes a man suffers loss through lending money. Therefore he may lawfully ask for or even exact something else besides the money lent.
Praeterea, unusquisque tenetur ex quodam debito honestatis aliquid recompensare ei qui sibi gratiam fecit, ut dicitur in V Ethic. Sed ille qui alicui in necessitate constituto pecuniam mutuat, gratiam facit, unde et gratiarum actio ei debetur. Ergo ille qui recipit tenetur naturali debito aliquid recompensare. Sed non videtur esse illicitum obligare se ad aliquid ad quod quis ex naturali iure tenetur. Ergo non videtur esse illicitum si aliquis, pecuniam alteri mutuans, in obligationem deducat aliquam recompensationem.   Objection 2: Further, as stated in Ethic. v, 5, one is in duty bound by a point of honor, to repay anyone who has done us a favor. Now to lend money to one who is in straits is to do him a favor for which he should be grateful. Therefore the recipient of a loan, is bound by a natural debt to repay something. Now it does not seem unlawful to bind oneself to an obligation of the natural law. Therefore it is not unlawful, in lending money to anyone, to demand some sort of compensation as condition of the loan.
Praeterea, sicut est quoddam munus a manu, ita est munus a lingua, et ab obsequio, ut dicit Glossa Isaiae XXXIII, beatus qui excutit manus suas ab omni munere. Sed licet accipere servitium, vel etiam laudem, ab eo cui quis pecuniam mutuavit. Ergo, pari ratione, licet quodcumque aliud munus accipere.   Objection 3: Further, just as there is real remuneration, so is there verbal remuneration, and remuneration by service, as a gloss says on Is. 33:15, "Blessed is he that shaketh his hands from all bribes [*Vulg.: 'Which of you shall dwell with everlasting burnings? . . . He that shaketh his hands from all bribes.']." Now it is lawful to accept service or praise from one to whom one has lent money. Therefore in like manner it is lawful to accept any other kind of remuneration.
Praeterea, eadem videtur esse comparatio dati ad datum et mutuati ad mutuatum. Sed licet pecuniam accipere pro alia pecunia data. Ergo licet accipere recompensationem alterius mutui pro pecunia mutuata.   Objection 4: Further, seemingly the relation of gift to gift is the same as of loan to loan. But it is lawful to accept money for money given. Therefore it is lawful to accept repayment by loan in return for a loan granted.
Praeterea, magis a se pecuniam alienat qui, eam mutuando, dominium transfert, quam qui eam mercatori vel artifici committit. Sed licet lucrum accipere de pecunia commissa mercatori vel artifici. Ergo licet etiam lucrum accipere de pecunia mutuata.   Objection 5: Further, the lender, by transferring his ownership of a sum of money removes the money further from himself than he who entrusts it to a merchant or craftsman. Now it is lawful to receive interest for money entrusted to a merchant or craftsman. Therefore it is also lawful to receive interest for money lent.
Praeterea, pro pecunia mutuata potest homo pignus accipere, cuius usus posset aliquo pretio vendi, sicut cum impignoratur ager vel domus quae inhabitatur. Ergo licet aliquod lucrum habere de pecunia mutuata.   Objection 6: Further, a man may accept a pledge for money lent, the use of which pledge he might sell for a price: as when a man mortgages his land or the house wherein he dwells. Therefore it is lawful to receive interest for money lent.
Praeterea, contingit quandoque quod aliquis carius vendit res suas ratione mutui; aut vilius emit quod est alterius; vel etiam pro dilatione pretium auget, vel pro acceleratione diminuit, in quibus omnibus videtur aliqua recompensatio fieri quasi pro mutuo pecuniae. Hoc autem non manifeste apparet illicitum. Ergo videtur licitum esse aliquod commodum de pecunia mutuata expectare, vel etiam exigere.   Objection 7: Further, it sometimes happens that a man raises the price of his goods under guise of loan, or buys another's goods at a low figure; or raises his price through delay in being paid, and lowers his price that he may be paid the sooner. Now in all these cases there seems to be payment for a loan of money: nor does it appear to be manifestly illicit. Therefore it seems to be lawful to expect or exact some consideration for money lent.
Sed contra est quod Ezech. XVIII dicitur, inter alia quae ad virum iustum requiruntur, usuram et superabundantiam non acceperit.   On the contrary, Among other conditions requisite in a just man it is stated (Ezech. 18:17) that he "hath not taken usury and increase."
Respondeo dicendum quod, secundum philosophum, in IV Ethic., omne illud pro pecunia habetur cuius pretium potest pecunia mensurari. Et ideo sicut si aliquis pro pecunia mutuata, vel quacumque alia re quae ex ipso usu consumitur, pecuniam accipit ex pacto tacito vel expresso, peccat contra iustitiam, ut dictum est; ita etiam quicumque ex pacto tacito vel expresso quodcumque aliud acceperit cuius pretium pecunia mensurari potest, simile peccatum incurrit. Si vero accipiat aliquid huiusmodi non quasi exigens, nec quasi ex aliqua obligatione tacita vel expressa, sed sicut gratuitum donum, non peccat, quia etiam antequam pecuniam mutuasset, licite poterat aliquod donum gratis accipere, nec peioris conditionis efficitur per hoc quod mutuavit.   I answer that, According to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 1), a thing is reckoned as money "if its value can be measured by money." Consequently, just as it is a sin against justice, to take money, by tacit or express agreement, in return for lending money or anything else that is consumed by being used, so also is it a like sin, by tacit or express agreement to receive anything whose price can be measured by money. Yet there would be no sin in receiving something of the kind, not as exacting it, nor yet as though it were due on account of some agreement tacit or expressed, but as a gratuity: since, even before lending the money, one could accept a gratuity, nor is one in a worse condition through lending.
Recompensationem vero eorum quae pecunia non mensurantur licet pro mutuo exigere, puta benevolentiam et amorem eius qui mutuavit, vel aliquid huiusmodi.    On the other hand it is lawful to exact compensation for a loan, in respect of such things as are not appreciated by a measure of money, for instance, benevolence, and love for the lender, and so forth.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ille qui mutuum dat potest absque peccato in pactum deducere cum eo qui mutuum accipit recompensationem damni per quod subtrahitur sibi aliquid quod debet habere, hoc enim non est vendere usum pecuniae, sed damnum vitare. Et potest esse quod accipiens mutuum maius damnum evitet quam dans incurret, unde accipiens mutuum cum sua utilitate damnum alterius recompensat. Recompensationem vero damni quod consideratur in hoc quod de pecunia non lucratur, non potest in pactum deducere, quia non debet vendere id quod nondum habet et potest impediri multipliciter ab habendo.   Reply to Objection 1: A lender may without sin enter an agreement with the borrower for compensation for the loss he incurs of something he ought to have, for this is not to sell the use of money but to avoid a loss. It may also happen that the borrower avoids a greater loss than the lender incurs, wherefore the borrower may repay the lender with what he has gained. But the lender cannot enter an agreement for compensation, through the fact that he makes no profit out of his money: because he must not sell that which he has not yet and may be prevented in many ways from having.
Ad secundum dicendum quod recompensatio alicuius beneficii dupliciter fieri potest. Uno quidem modo, ex debito iustitiae, ad quod aliquis ex certo pacto obligari potest. Et hoc debitum attenditur secundum quantitatem beneficii quod quis accepit. Et ideo ille qui accipit mutuum pecuniae, vel cuiuscumque similis rei cuius usus est eius consumptio, non tenetur ad plus recompensandum quam mutuo acceperit. Unde contra iustitiam est si ad plus reddendum obligetur. Alio modo tenetur aliquis ad recompensandum beneficium ex debito amicitiae, in quo magis consideratur affectus ex quo aliquis beneficium contulit quam etiam quantitas eius quod fecit. Et tali debito non competit civilis obligatio, per quam inducitur quaedam necessitas, ut non spontanea recompensatio fiat.   Reply to Objection 2: Repayment for a favor may be made in two ways. In one way, as a debt of justice; and to such a debt a man may be bound by a fixed contract; and its amount is measured according to the favor received. Wherefore the borrower of money or any such thing the use of which is its consumption is not bound to repay more than he received in loan: and consequently it is against justice if he be obliged to pay back more. In another way a man's obligation to repayment for favor received is based on a debt of friendship, and the nature of this debt depends more on the feeling with which the favor was conferred than on the greatness of the favor itself. This debt does not carry with it a civil obligation, involving a kind of necessity that would exclude the spontaneous nature of such a repayment.
Ad tertium dicendum quod si aliquis ex pecunia mutuata expectet vel exigat, quasi per obligationem pacti taciti vel expressi, recompensationem muneris ab obsequio vel lingua, perinde est ac si expectaret vel exigeret munus a manu, quia utrumque pecunia aestimari potest, ut patet in his qui locant operas suas, quas manu vel lingua exercent. Si vero munus ab obsequio vel lingua non quasi ex obligatione rei exhibeat, sed ex benevolentia, quae sub aestimatione pecuniae non cadit, licet hoc accipere et exigere et expectare.   Reply to Objection 3: If a man were, in return for money lent, as though there had been an agreement tacit or expressed, to expect or exact repayment in the shape of some remuneration of service or words, it would be the same as if he expected or exacted some real remuneration, because both can be priced at a money value, as may be seen in the case of those who offer for hire the labor which they exercise by work or by tongue. If on the other hand the remuneration by service or words be given not as an obligation, but as a favor, which is not to be appreciated at a money value, it is lawful to take, exact, and expect it.
Ad quartum dicendum quod pecunia non potest vendi pro pecunia ampliori quam sit quantitas pecuniae mutuatae, quae restituenda est, nec ibi aliquid est exigendum aut expectandum nisi benevolentiae affectus, qui sub aestimatione pecuniae non cadit, ex quo potest procedere spontanea mutuatio. Repugnat autem ei obligatio ad mutuum in posterum faciendum, quia etiam talis obligatio pecunia aestimari posset. Et ideo licet simul mutuanti unum aliquid aliud mutuare, non autem licet eum obligare ad mutuum in posterum faciendum.   Reply to Objection 4: Money cannot be sold for a greater sum than the amount lent, which has to be paid back: nor should the loan be made with a demand or expectation of aught else but of a feeling of benevolence which cannot be priced at a pecuniary value, and which can be the basis of a spontaneous loan. Now the obligation to lend in return at some future time is repugnant to such a feeling, because again an obligation of this kind has its pecuniary value. Consequently it is lawful for the lender to borrow something else at the same time, but it is unlawful for him to bind the borrower to grant him a loan at some future time.
Ad quintum dicendum quod ille qui mutuat pecuniam transfert dominium pecuniae in eum cui mutuat. Unde ille cui pecunia mutuatur sub suo periculo tenet eam, et tenetur integre restituere. Unde non debet amplius exigere ille qui mutuavit. Sed ille qui committit pecuniam suam vel mercatori vel artifici per modum societatis cuiusdam, non transfert dominium pecuniae suae in illum, sed remanet eius, ita quod cum periculo ipsius mercator de ea negotiatur vel artifex operatur. Et ideo licite potest partem lucri inde provenientis expetere, tanquam de re sua.   Reply to Objection 5: He who lends money transfers the ownership of the money to the borrower. Hence the borrower holds the money at his own risk and is bound to pay it all back: wherefore the lender must not exact more. On the other hand he that entrusts his money to a merchant or craftsman so as to form a kind of society, does not transfer the ownership of his money to them, for it remains his, so that at his risk the merchant speculates with it, or the craftsman uses it for his craft, and consequently he may lawfully demand as something belonging to him, part of the profits derived from his money.
Ad sextum dicendum quod si quis pro pecunia sibi mutuata obliget rem aliquam cuius usus pretio aestimari potest, debet usum illius rei ille qui mutuavit computare in restitutionem eius quod mutuavit. Alioquin, si usum illius rei quasi gratis sibi superaddi velit, idem est ac si pecuniam acciperet pro mutuo, quod est usurarium, nisi forte esset talis res cuius usus sine pretio soleat concedi inter amicos, sicut patet de libro accommodato.   Reply to Objection 6: If a man in return for money lent to him pledges something that can be valued at a price, the lender must allow for the use of that thing towards the repayment of the loan. Else if he wishes the gratuitous use of that thing in addition to repayment, it is the same as if he took money for lending, and that is usury, unless perhaps it were such a thing as friends are wont to lend to one another gratis, as in the case of the loan of a book.
Ad septimum dicendum quod si aliquis carius velit vendere res suas quam sit iustum pretium, ut de pecunia solvenda emptorem expectet, usura manifeste committitur, quia huiusmodi expectatio pretii solvendi habet rationem mutui; unde quidquid ultra iustum pretium pro huiusmodi expectatione exigitur, est quasi pretium mutui, quod pertinet ad rationem usurae. Similiter etiam si quis emptor velit rem emere vilius quam sit iustum pretium, eo quod pecuniam ante solvit quam possit ei tradi, est peccatum usurae, quia etiam ista anticipatio solutionis pecuniae habet mutui rationem, cuius quoddam pretium est quod diminuitur de iusto pretio rei emptae. Si vero aliquis de iusto pretio velit diminuere ut pecuniam prius habeat, non peccat peccato usurae.   Reply to Objection 7: If a man wish to sell his goods at a higher price than that which is just, so that he may wait for the buyer to pay, it is manifestly a case of usury: because this waiting for the payment of the price has the character of a loan, so that whatever he demands beyond the just price in consideration of this delay, is like a price for a loan, which pertains to usury. In like manner if a buyer wishes to buy goods at a lower price than what is just, for the reason that he pays for the goods before they can be delivered, it is a sin of usury; because again this anticipated payment of money has the character of a loan, the price of which is the rebate on the just price of the goods sold. On the other hand if a man wishes to allow a rebate on the just price in order that he may have his money sooner, he is not guilty of the sin of usury.


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Article: 3  [<< | >>]

Whether a man is bound to restore whatever profits he has made out of money gotten by usury?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod quidquid aliquis de pecunia usuraria lucratus fuerit, reddere teneatur. Dicit enim apostolus, ad Rom. XI, si radix sancta, et rami. Ergo, eadem ratione, si radix infecta, et rami. Sed radix fuit usuraria. Ergo et quidquid ex ea acquisitum est, est usurarium. Ergo tenetur ad restitutionem illius.   Objection 1: It would seem that a man is bound to restore whatever profits he has made out of money gotten by usury. For the Apostle says (Rm. 11:16): "If the root be holy, so are the branches." Therefore likewise if the root be rotten so are the branches. But the root was infected with usury. Therefore whatever profit is made therefrom is infected with usury. Therefore he is bound to restore it.
Praeterea, sicut dicitur extra, de usuris, in illa decretali, cum tu sicut asseris, possessiones quae de usuris sunt comparatae debent vendi, et ipsarum pretia his a quibus sunt extorta restitui. Ergo, eadem ratione, quidquid aliud ex pecunia usuraria acquiritur debet restitui.   Objection 2: Further, it is laid down (Extra, De Usuris, in the Decretal: 'Cum tu sicut asseris'): "Property accruing from usury must be sold, and the price repaid to the persons from whom the usury was extorted." Therefore, likewise, whatever else is acquired from usurious money must be restored.
Praeterea, illud quod aliquis emit de pecunia usuraria debetur sibi ratione pecuniae quam dedit. Non ergo habet maius ius in re quam acquisivit quam in pecunia quam dedit. Sed pecuniam usurariam tenebatur restituere. Ergo et illud quod ex ea acquirit tenetur restituere.   Objection 3: Further, that which a man buys with the proceeds of usury is due to him by reason of the money he paid for it. Therefore he has no more right to the thing purchased than to the money he paid. But he was bound to restore the money gained through usury. Therefore he is also bound to restore what he acquired with it.
Sed contra, quilibet potest licite tenere id quod legitime acquisivit. Sed id quod acquiritur per pecuniam usurariam interdum legitime acquiritur. Ergo licite potest retineri.   On the contrary, A man may lawfully hold what he has lawfully acquired. Now that which is acquired by the proceeds of usury is sometimes lawfully acquired. Therefore it may be lawfully retained.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, res quaedam sunt quarum usus est ipsarum rerum consumptio, quae non habent usumfructum, secundum iura. Et ideo si talia fuerint per usuram extorta, puta denarii, triticum, vinum aut aliquid huiusmodi, non tenetur homo ad restituendum nisi id quod accepit, quia id quod de tali re est acquisitum non est fructus huius rei, sed humanae industriae. Nisi forte per detentionem talis rei alter sit damnificatus, amittendo aliquid de bonis suis, tunc enim tenetur ad recompensationem nocumenti.   I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]), there are certain things whose use is their consumption, and which do not admit of usufruct, according to law (ibid., ad 3). Wherefore if such like things be extorted by means of usury, for instance money, wheat, wine and so forth, the lender is not bound to restore more than he received (since what is acquired by such things is the fruit not of the thing but of human industry), unless indeed the other party by losing some of his own goods be injured through the lender retaining them: for then he is bound to make good the loss.
Quaedam vero res sunt quarum usus non est earum consumptio, et talia habent usumfructum, sicut domus et ager et alia huiusmodi. Et ideo si quis domum alterius vel agrum per usuram extorsisset, non solum teneretur restituere domum vel agrum, sed etiam fructus inde perceptos, quia sunt fructus rerum quarum alius est dominus, et ideo ei debentur.    On the other hand, there are certain things whose use is not their consumption: such things admit of usufruct, for instance house or land property and so forth. Wherefore if a man has by usury extorted from another his house or land, he is bound to restore not only the house or land but also the fruits accruing to him therefrom, since they are the fruits of things owned by another man and consequently are due to him.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod radix non solum habet rationem materiae, sicut pecunia usuraria, sed habet etiam aliqualiter rationem causae activae, inquantum administrat nutrimentum. Et ideo non est simile.   Reply to Objection 1: The root has not only the character of matter, as money made by usury has; but has also somewhat the character of an active cause, in so far as it administers nourishment. Hence the comparison fails.
Ad secundum dicendum quod possessiones quae de usuris sunt comparatae non sunt eorum quorum fuerunt usurae, sed illorum qui eas emerunt. Sunt tamen obligatae illis a quibus fuerunt usurae acceptae, sicut et alia bona usurarii. Et ideo non praecipitur quod assignentur illae possessiones his a quibus fuerunt acceptae usurae, quia forte plus valent quam usurae quas dederunt, sed praecipitur quod vendantur possessiones et earum pretia restituantur, scilicet secundum quantitatem usurae acceptae.   Reply to Objection 2: Further, Property acquired from usury does not belong to the person who paid usury, but to the person who bought it. Yet he that paid usury has a certain claim on that property just as he has on the other goods of the usurer. Hence it is not prescribed that such property should be assigned to the persons who paid usury, since the property is perhaps worth more than what they paid in usury, but it is commanded that the property be sold, and the price be restored, of course according to the amount taken in usury.
Ad tertium dicendum quod illud quod acquiritur de pecunia usuraria debetur quidem acquirenti propter pecuniam usurariam datam sicut propter causam instrumentalem, sed propter suam industriam sicut propter causam principalem. Et ideo plus iuris habet in re acquisita de pecunia usuraria quam in ipsa pecunia usuraria.   Reply to Objection 3: The proceeds of money taken in usury are due to the person who acquired them not by reason of the usurious money as instrumental cause, but on account of his own industry as principal cause. Wherefore he has more right to the goods acquired with usurious money than to the usurious money itself.


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Question: 78  [<< | >>]
Article: 4  [<< | >>]

Whether it is lawful to borrow money under a condition of usury?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non liceat pecuniam accipere mutuo sub usura. Dicit enim apostolus, Rom. I, quod digni sunt morte non solum qui faciunt peccata, sed etiam qui consentiunt facientibus. Sed ille qui accipit pecuniam mutuo sub usuris consentit usurario in suo peccato, et praebet ei occasionem peccandi. Ergo etiam ipse peccat.   Objection 1: It would seem that it is not lawful to borrow money under a condition of usury. For the Apostle says (Rm. 1:32) that they "are worthy of death . . . not only they that do" these sins, "but they also that consent to them that do them." Now he that borrows money under a condition of usury consents in the sin of the usurer, and gives him an occasion of sin. Therefore he sins also.
Praeterea, pro nullo commodo temporali debet aliquis alteri quamcumque occasionem praebere peccandi, hoc enim pertinet ad rationem scandali activi, quod semper est peccatum, ut supra dictum est. Sed ille qui petit mutuum ab usurario expresse dat ei occasionem peccandi. Ergo pro nullo commodo temporali excusatur.   Objection 2: Further, for no temporal advantage ought one to give another an occasion of committing a sin: for this pertains to active scandal, which is always sinful, as stated above (Question [43], Article [2]). Now he that seeks to borrow from a usurer gives him an occasion of sin. Therefore he is not to be excused on account of any temporal advantage.
Praeterea, non minor videtur esse necessitas quandoque deponendi pecuniam suam apud usurarium quam mutuum accipiendi ab ipso. Sed deponere pecuniam apud usurarium videtur esse omnino illicitum, sicut illicitum esset deponere gladium apud furiosum, vel virginem committere luxurioso, seu cibum guloso. Ergo neque licitum est accipere mutuum ab usurario.   Objection 3: Further, it seems no less necessary sometimes to deposit one's money with a usurer than to borrow from him. Now it seems altogether unlawful to deposit one's money with a usurer, even as it would be unlawful to deposit one's sword with a madman, a maiden with a libertine, or food with a glutton. Neither therefore is it lawful to borrow from a usurer.
Sed contra, ille qui iniuriam patitur non peccat, secundum philosophum, in V Ethic., unde iustitia non est media inter duo vitia, ut ibidem dicitur. Sed usurarius peccat inquantum facit iniustitiam accipienti mutuum sub usuris. Ergo ille qui accipit mutuum sub usuris non peccat.   On the contrary, He that suffers injury does not sin, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 11), wherefore justice is not a mean between two vices, as stated in the same book (ch. 5). Now a usurer sins by doing an injury to the person who borrows from him under a condition of usury. Therefore he that accepts a loan under a condition of usury does not sin.
Respondeo dicendum quod inducere hominem ad peccandum nullo modo licet, uti tamen peccato alterius ad bonum licitum est, quia et Deus utitur omnibus peccatis ad aliquod bonum, ex quolibet enim malo elicit aliquod bonum, ut dicitur in Enchiridio. Et ideo Augustinus Publicolae quaerenti utrum liceret uti iuramento eius qui per falsos deos iurat, in quo manifeste peccat eis reverentiam divinam adhibens, respondit quod qui utitur fide illius qui per falsos deos iurat, non ad malum sed ad bonum, non peccato illius se sociat, quo per Daemonia iuravit, sed pacto bono eius, quo fidem servavit. Si tamen induceret eum ad iurandum per falsos deos, peccaret.   I answer that, It is by no means lawful to induce a man to sin, yet it is lawful to make use of another's sin for a good end, since even God uses all sin for some good, since He draws some good from every evil as stated in the Enchiridion (xi). Hence when Publicola asked whether it were lawful to make use of an oath taken by a man swearing by false gods (which is a manifest sin, for he gives Divine honor to them) Augustine (Ep. xlvii) answered that he who uses, not for a bad but for a good purpose, the oath of a man that swears by false gods, is a party, not to his sin of swearing by demons, but to his good compact whereby he kept his word. If however he were to induce him to swear by false gods, he would sin.
Ita etiam in proposito dicendum est quod nullo modo licet inducere aliquem ad mutuandum sub usuris, licet tamen ab eo qui hoc paratus est facere et usuras exercet, mutuum accipere sub usuris, propter aliquod bonum, quod est subventio suae necessitatis vel alterius. Sicut etiam licet ei qui incidit in latrones manifestare bona quae habet, quae latrones diripiendo peccant, ad hoc quod non occidatur, exemplo decem virorum qui dixerunt ad Ismahel, noli occidere nos, quia habemus thesaurum in agro, ut dicitur Ierem. XLI.    Accordingly we must also answer to the question in point that it is by no means lawful to induce a man to lend under a condition of usury: yet it is lawful to borrow for usury from a man who is ready to do so and is a usurer by profession; provided the borrower have a good end in view, such as the relief of his own or another's need. Thus too it is lawful for a man who has fallen among thieves to point out his property to them (which they sin in taking) in order to save his life, after the example of the ten men who said to Ismahel (Jer. 41:8): "Kill us not: for we have stores in the field."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ille qui accipit pecuniam mutuo sub usuris non consentit in peccatum usurarii, sed utitur eo. Nec placet ei usurarum acceptio, sed mutuatio, quae est bona.   Reply to Objection 1: He who borrows for usury does not consent to the usurer's sin but makes use of it. Nor is it the usurer's acceptance of usury that pleases him, but his lending, which is good.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui accipit pecuniam mutuo sub usuris non dat usurario occasionem usuras accipiendi, sed mutuandi, ipse autem usurarius sumit occasionem peccandi ex malitia cordis sui. Unde scandalum passivum est ex parte sua, non autem activum ex parte petentis mutuum. Nec tamen propter huiusmodi scandalum passivum debet alius a mutuo petendo desistere, si indigeat, quia huiusmodi passivum scandalum non provenit ex infirmitate vel ignorantia, sed ex malitia.   Reply to Objection 2: He who borrows for usury gives the usurer an occasion, not for taking usury, but for lending; it is the usurer who finds an occasion of sin in the malice of his heart. Hence there is passive scandal on his part, while there is no active scandal on the part of the person who seeks to borrow. Nor is this passive scandal a reason why the other person should desist from borrowing if he is in need, since this passive scandal arises not from weakness or ignorance but from malice.
Ad tertium dicendum quod si quis committeret pecuniam suam usurario non habenti alias unde usuras exerceret; vel hac intentione committeret ut inde copiosius per usuram lucraretur; daret materiam peccanti. Unde et ipse esset particeps culpae. Si autem aliquis usurario alias habenti unde usuras exerceat, pecuniam suam committat ut tutius servetur, non peccat, sed utitur homine peccatore ad bonum.   Reply to Objection 3: If one were to entrust one's money to a usurer lacking other means of practising usury; or with the intention of making a greater profit from his money by reason of the usury, one would be giving a sinner matter for sin, so that one would be a participator in his guilt. If, on the other hand, the usurer to whom one entrusts one's money has other means of practising usury, there is no sin in entrusting it to him that it may be in safer keeping, since this is to use a sinner for a good purpose.

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