Pope John Paul II appealed for banks to stop charging such high interest rates to borrowers. Addressing 40,000 people at his general audience, he expressed his concern over the growth of usury. He called for help for victims of "this spreading plague" which he described as a: "merciless abuse of others' need". Delegates of several regional foundations and members of the Italian Association of Foundations Against Usury heard the Pope say: "Usury is a social plague that is spreading and it is totally necessary to go to the aid of all those who are trapped in this net of injustice and grave suffering." He added:"I sincerely hope that, in the context of the Jubilee Year, with everyone's co-operation, concrete steps may be taken to eliminate this grave scourge." Pope John Paul II has spoken out on several occasions on the subject of foreign and domestic debt and unfair bank charges and interest rates. A few days ago, his views were supported by the Italian Supreme Court which condemned some Italian banks for imposing interest rates on clients with overdrawn accounts that were "higher" than those of "usury".
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