Good for Crisis Magazine for even taking this on.  There isn’t space in either article for a thorough and systematic debate, but for most of us these articles are a good introduction.  An introduction to what?  To how to view the Church’s consistent condemnation of usury (the charging of [excessive, in one view; in the traditional view, any at all] interest on loans or on other uses of money.

I think nearly every Catholic who even gives the subject a thought just assumes that due to the modern banking systems in place all over the world, that usury isn’t implicated on small amounts of interest.  But from where did that assumption come?

If you are interested, these two articles, written by Catholics, give you a start.  Here is the article from the Austrian Economics perspective.  Here is the article from the Distributist perspective.