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USCCB committee chairman speaks out against payday loans

November 18, 2013

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called upon the executive director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to “act with your authority to protect consumers and families living in or near poverty from predatory financial products, especially payday loans.”

In his November 13 letter, Bishop Blaire added:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church equates exploiting economic hardship with theft: “Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another” (no. 2409). Payday lending seems to meet these criteria, to the extent that it preys on the financial hardship of poor and vulnerable consumers, exploits their lack of understanding, and increases economic insecurity.


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  • Posted by: msorensen71798 - Nov. 18, 2013 10:59 PM ET USA

    If every payday loan outfit and pawn shop were closed, we'd still have predatory lending. Loan sharks have been around since before recorded history. The solution is education and community-based, co-op style lending. Most credit unions started out that way, tho they are now nearly identical to banks. Go back to the subsidiarity principle: where we are lending to our literal neighbors, and holding them to their promises. Without gov't intrusion, please!

  • Posted by: Colonel Joe - Nov. 18, 2013 5:28 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the good Bishop could propose an alternative that the Church might take a lead by example. I do not condone payday loans, but may folks believe they have no recourse--the good Bishops could establish a fund themselves?

  • Posted by: unum - Nov. 18, 2013 5:24 PM ET USA

    Here's hoping that "Senator" Blair will take a leave of absence to run for office soon. His continued efforts to involve the Church in the progressive exploits of the liberal left undermines the fight for religious freedom and is contrary to the Holy Father's request that the bishops stay out of politics. Blair needs to decide if he is a Catholic or a progressive. We now have proof from President Obama and the Democrats that he can't be both.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2013 5:13 PM ET USA

    Bp Blaire again ?? And again??