A disturbing scenario emerged from the conference promoted in Rome by the National Anti-usury Council, regarding the socio-economic difficulties generated by the pandemic and in particular, the dramatic consequences for families.
The updated estimates of the Consulta, explains in his message the Secretary General of the CEI, Msgr. Stefano Russo, “they speak of about 2 million over-indebted families and another 5 million just ‘above the threshold’, that is, in a precarious balance between disposable income and ‘ordinary’ debts”. Of these, “about 800 thousand people or 350 thousand families are in the usury area”. With realism, Russo denounces, it can be estimated that the shock of the pandemic has made the number of families in varying degrees of suffering rise to at least 6 million: from those pressed by a state of financial or credit insolvency to those gradually more exposed to the trap of wear “.
Companies are also at risk
“Even companies are at risk of usury, especially due to the pandemic: 40,000 (Confcommercio data) could end up in the hands of organized crime”, underlines the number two of the CEI, for which the Foundations gathered in the National Anti-usury Council “are a alarm bell “:” how many are already resorting to usurious loans that feed the mafias and corruption in the country? “.
“We know that usury – notes Msgr. Russo – is a phenomenon whose dimensions cannot be quantified due to the extent of demand and supply. It is a phenomenon that is still submerged with very few complaints throughout Italy”. The problem, in short, “is quite complex and requires a careful and aware awareness. Above all by those who have responsibility to avoid that those in difficulty are forced to turn to unscrupulous usurers”.
Protect weaker and more fragile subjects
In this context, “Can we imagine a unanimous, virtuous and effective reaction?”, He asks, noting that “various subjects are already working in this direction, and we have confirmation of this from the commitment and dedication of health institutions, from the decisions taken by various political institutions, with generous responses that come from educational realities, from many local administrations, from volunteers, from the Christian communities themselves which, with generosity, have taken steps to be close to those in need “. In times like these “, there is also an urgent need to protect with particular care the weakest and most fragile subjects, those who, perhaps even before the pandemic, experienced poverty, suffering, loneliness, marginalization, all situations worsening precisely with the advent of Covid “, adds Msgr. Russian.
Hence “the invitation to take actions that help overcome this phase without forcing the next generations to carry the weight of heavy debts, not only financial, accumulated in the current emergency”. Finally, hoping for the opportunity to “forge alliances and collaborative networks between institutions and organizations, committed to common goals”, the CEI secretary sees positively how “for the future we can increasingly activate a fruitful collaboration” between anti-usury associations and local Caritas , “in the sign of that proximity, which often sees you in contact with the deep wounds of humanity of our time”.