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  #1  
Old Oct 12, '11, 7:15 pm
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Pieman333272 Pieman333272 is offline
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Default Is Stealing ever justified?

Is stealing ever justified? For example, if you need to steal to feed your family? What about stealing something back which was stolen from you?
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  #2  
Old Oct 12, '11, 7:18 pm
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ATeutonicKnight ATeutonicKnight is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

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Originally Posted by Pieman333272 View Post
Is stealing ever justified? For example, if you need to steal to feed your family? What about stealing something back which was stolen from you?
No. Even in extreme cases, stealing can never be justified I don't believe. Unless you're a soldier and you steal a gun from your enemy before he shoots you, I don't believe stealing is ever justified. There are better options than stealing.
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  #3  
Old Oct 12, '11, 8:07 pm
Catholic90 Catholic90 is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

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Originally Posted by Pieman333272 View Post
What about stealing something back which was stolen from you?
Is that just not getting your property back?

Depending on the circumstances and the item involved, police may need to get involved, but if someone takes something off my desk at school and does not return it, and then I later retrieve it off their desk, I am simply retrieving my property, not stealing!
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  #4  
Old Oct 12, '11, 8:37 pm
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Balian Balian is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

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Originally Posted by Pieman333272 View Post
Is stealing ever justified? For example, if you need to steal to feed your family? What about stealing something back which was stolen from you?
Unjustly taking or keeping the property of another (theft) is a violation of the seventh commandment, however with regard to your specific question, taking property of another in extreme circumstances of need is not theft if consent of the owner could be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. (CCC 2408). Extreme circumstances would involve meeting the essential needs for food, shelter or clothing. So, yes taking food to keep your family from starving if you had no other recourse would not be theft. Not trying to encourage anyone to steal but just giving you the benefit of the teaching of the Church.

As far as the second question, stealing something back that was stolen from you, I think it would depend on the particulars of the circumstances. If someone actually stole your private property then the transfer of custody and control doesn't negate your ownership so in most cases I'd say that you wouldn't be stealing but simply resuming custody of your own property by taking it back. This however is just my own opinion.
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  #5  
Old Oct 12, '11, 8:50 pm
carn carn is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

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Originally Posted by Balian View Post

As far as the second question, stealing something back that was stolen from you, I think it would depend on the particulars of the circumstances. If someone actually stole your private property then the transfer of custody and control doesn't negate your ownership so in most cases I'd say that you wouldn't be stealing but simply resuming custody of your own property by taking it back. This however is just my own opinion.
But you could violate the thiefs property in other respects, e.g. trespassing. Because someone stole from you, does not mean he agreed with anything you might do to return you property. That is especially relevant as third persons might misinterpret your act. E.g. you wait to get from the others desk what he stole from you till he leaves his workplace late at night. The nightguard sees you doing something at the desk of someone else and fears that you might do something illegal (especially likely if the other has a higher or different security level) and acts accordingly (which in security sensitive enviroments might be drawing his gun).
So the circumstances are very important for the question whether taking the property back is allowed.

Besides, the law of most lands state that you should seek to return you property via the judical system.
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  #6  
Old Oct 12, '11, 8:57 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is online now
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

See Catechism 2408

Theft is not justified.

But not all things are theft by definition....

see the CCC.
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  #7  
Old Oct 12, '11, 9:02 pm
VonDerTann VonDerTann is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

ATeutonicKnight:

So stealing can "never be justified," "even in extreme cases?"

You see a friend stumble out of a bar at 1am. He smells like a brewery. He's falling down drunk and has a half-empty whiskey bottle in one hand...and his car keys in the other. He's stumbling toward his car.

Are you really. REALLY saying that "taking his keys" not just is unjustified, but can "never" be justified?

IMHO, yes, there are all sorts of scenarios where stealing is not just morally defensible but imperative. Saying "there are better ways!" (if true) does not mean that I am unjustified in stealing the keys away from my friend. Besides, sometimes there aren't "better ways." In my scenario, "calling the police," for example, while perhaps constituting a "better way," is in fact one of the worst things you could do IMHO:

1. The police may take an hour to arrive if they come at all. Just try getting the police to come at you beck & call at 1am in any major US city on a Saturday night, for anything less than a murder.
2. It is a waste of police resources. You're there. Protect the public and your friend. Take the keys.
3. [etc.] Point is, there are many reasons why "stealing the keys" is the best thing to do.

God gave us a brain to use it, and IMHO there are very, VERY few absolute moral absolutes in this life.

I'll steal the keys. I hope you would, too.
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  #8  
Old Oct 12, '11, 9:09 pm
Alder Alder is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balian View Post
Unjustly taking or keeping the property of another (theft) is a violation of the seventh commandment, however with regard to your specific question, taking property of another in extreme circumstances of need is not theft if consent of the owner could be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. (CCC 2408). Extreme circumstances would involve meeting the essential needs for food, shelter or clothing. So, yes taking food to keep your family from starving if you had no other recourse would not be theft. Not trying to encourage anyone to steal but just giving you the benefit of the teaching of the Church.
Balian, I'm interested how do you presume someone's consent? Also under what circumstances do you judge that a person's unwillingness to give up private property is against the universal destination of goods? This seems to me to be a very gray area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balian View Post
As far as the second question, stealing something back that was stolen from you, I think it would depend on the particulars of the circumstances. If someone actually stole your private property then the transfer of custody and control doesn't negate your ownership so in most cases I'd say that you wouldn't be stealing but simply resuming custody of your own property by taking it back. This however is just my own opinion.
Does this include income tax?
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  #9  
Old Oct 12, '11, 9:22 pm
VonDerTann VonDerTann is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

Followi up on my earlier post, it's easy to focus on the rights of a thief in need. What about, as in my scenario, stealing out of a desire to protect the innocent? I believe we probably do a moral good --or at least do not work an act of evil -- when we, for example, steal any instrument of violence from a person who might use the instrument for violence against the innocent or against society.

This could include:
--stealing a gun from a person who is violent
--same, but from somone who is drunk
--stealing the plutonium Iran intends to make into a nuclear bomb
--same, but only stealing the plans to such a bomb

I'd do all of the above, and feel not the slightest pang of remorse.

Heck, spies steal information all the time. Who says that stealing requires taking something tangible? Or are we to do away with national security, in the name of "never steal?"

It's a nasty world we live in, where people do bad things to the innocent. IMHO stealing is often morally correct when done to protect others, or at least morally neutral.
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  #10  
Old Oct 12, '11, 9:32 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is online now
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VonDerTann View Post
Followi up on my earlier post, it's easy to focus on the rights of a thief in need. What about, as in my scenario, stealing out of a desire to protect the innocent? I believe we probably do a moral good --or at least do not work an act of evil -- when we, for example, steal any instrument of violence from a person who might use the instrument for violence against the innocent or against society.

This could include:
--stealing a gun from a person who is violent
--same, but from somone who is drunk
--stealing the plutonium Iran intends to make into a nuclear bomb
--same, but only stealing the plans to such a bomb

I'd do all of the above, and feel not the slightest pang of remorse.

Heck, spies steal information all the time. Who says that stealing requires taking something tangible? Or are we to do away with national security, in the name of "never steal?"

It's a nasty world we live in, where people do bad things to the innocent. IMHO stealing is often morally correct when done to protect others, or at least morally neutral.
It is not that theft is "justified" in some things.

Some things look like theft..but are not. Like when I take a gun from someone who is trying to murder me or another.

Catechism:

2408 The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another's property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one's disposal and use the property of others.190
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  #11  
Old Oct 12, '11, 9:42 pm
someguy14 someguy14 is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

Nope.

Proverbs 6: 30 thru 31
30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry ;
31 But if he be found , he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.


Matthew 19:18
18 He saith unto him, Which ? Jesus said , Thou shalt do no murder , Thou shalt not commit adultery , Thou shalt not steal , Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
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  #12  
Old Oct 13, '11, 5:48 am
tafan tafan is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pieman333272 View Post
Is stealing ever justified? For example, if you need to steal to feed your family?


Stealing/theft is never justified, but the first case is not necessarily considered stealing/theft according to Catholic moral teaching. If a reasonable person would have given it to you for you needs, taking it is not theft.

Quote:
2408 The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another's property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods[/i]. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one's disposal and use the property of others.191
Too many people miss this point. If I must have a loaf of bread to feed my family, and another has extra bread, it would not be reasonable for him to refuse me the bread.

edited to add: whoops, I see others have already made this point.
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  #13  
Old Oct 13, '11, 6:01 am
someguy14 someguy14 is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

Luke 16: 19 thru 31

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores ,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass , that the beggar died , and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died , and was buried ;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said , Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said , Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted , and thou art tormented .
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed : so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot ; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said , I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said , Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent .
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded , though one rose from the dead.
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  #14  
Old Oct 13, '11, 12:02 pm
Jaypeeto4 Jaypeeto4 is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

I'm not condemning anybody,
but no, it is never right to steal from somebody.
Especially not knowingly and deliberately.
If you have to feed your family, it's definitely not nearly as serious
as stealing out of rank greed or to obtain luxuries. That is far more serious.
If you steal to feed your family or because you are afraid you will not
be able to make ends meet, confess it, ask the LORD for forgiveness,
and strive to find a way to make some form of reparation/restitution when you are able.

If you steal out of greed, ask God for the grace of profound repentance, Confess to the LORD, and seek to make reparations/restitution to the very best of your ability.

Stealing is always wrong. Do you like it when people steal from you?
Then don't steal from them.
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  #15  
Old Oct 13, '11, 1:28 pm
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Sonic Sonic is offline
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Default Re: Is Stealing ever justified?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pieman333272 View Post
What about stealing something back which was stolen from you?
That's called Occult Compensation. It's not stealing.

Occult Compensation

http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?ti...t_Compensation
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