The medieval papacy's benevolent interest in the Jews corresponded to a dual consideration, simultaneously theological and financial. In a nutshell, the Christian ideal decreed that Jews be protected, and also that Christians be turned away from the sin of active usury. The financial interests of the Holy See ordained that this protection be paid for as dearly as possible. Faced with two such discordant themes-or so they seem to modern ears-one needs to know where to draw the dividing line between protection of the Jews' lives and religion, and protection of their business, which is hardly easy, for the problem was all of a piece. After all, poor Jews (to adop: a witticism of Sixtus V) would have commanded even less respect than a poor pope. In any case, at the end of the middle ages, financial considerations persistently prevailed over theological considerations-which is not surprising.