Act of Charity and Moral Dilemma


#1

I will try to put this in a nutshell.

My roommate's son was about to be thrown out in the street because his wife was separating from him and he was being evicted from the place where they lived with no place to go. I rented an apartment for him under my name, as his credit is so bad they would not even accept me, good credit, as a co signer. I did a 6 month lease. I did this to keep from from being on the street. Now it looks like that he will be having female company, the woman of his first child before his marriage to his wife. I did not expect, nor think about this at the time I tried to help him. Is this a moral issue for me in anyway, as the apartment is in my name? Is there anything I should do. May sound stupid, but I am morally concerned that I am doing something wrong if he is committing adultery under the roof of the apartment that I got for him. I hope I have conveyed my thought so you understand on this. Any thoughts?


#2

No, you are not the parent of this adult and this person is an adult. Also, because you did a sincere act of charity, you did not come under any contractual obligation to watch over his soul since you are watching over him corporally (physical needs).

I mean, using your thought…you could kick him out of he uses the lords name in vein while he lives in this apartment. These are not your problems, this is his soul. Now, if the guy is getting into drugs or causing outward problems in the apartment…that IS your problem because this place is in your name.

Like I tell everyone who does not know if they should help out the poor for fear of them doing something bad with the money/help we give them.

Christ told us to give…“When I was hungry you fed me, when I was in prison you visted me, when I was naked you clothed me”

He never mentions to question them or look in their fridge or dresser to see if they actually have clothes and food. He simply says GIVE. The reason why we do these kind things are not really for the individual …we do it because we do to Christ Himself “whatever you do to these…you do to me”.

God bless


#3

One of the most difficult lessons for most of us to learn is that, in our compassion, we often become “enablers.” Sometimes, our kindness must exercise “tough love” so the person can hit their bottom and open themselves up to repentence and a change of life.

Reading between the lines, I don’t see that your charity helped this person. Maybe you could discuss the breaking of the lease with the management. For good reason, it can often be done without forfeiting a lot of money for the unused portion of the lease. You have enabled this guy to continue to use the good will of others to pay for his bad credit, illicit affiars, housing, and what not. What happens after the six months are up?

My parish does not give money or pay rent, but they do give vouchers for food purchases at the local market and/or pay for a good night’s sleep at a local motel. Most localities have community action programs that assist people in dire need, and you may need to steer him in that direction if you are fortunate in terminating the lease. Give notice to him that he needs to vacate after allowing him enough time to make these contacts.

May God give you prudence in this matter.


#4

This is mildly misleading. Notice that Christ said “naked and you clothed me, hungry and fed me,” not “dying for a beer and you got me a bottle.” Financing someone’s sin is not clothing or feeding them.

There is room for uncertainty at times, and it is true that we don’t need to higher a PI to check everyone out before giving them help, but our Lord did not tell us to be stupid. If you have come into knowledge that someone always uses “help” of a certain type for immoral purposes, then you now know that your “help” is not help at all and that you should find a way of helping that uses your finite resources in a way that actually does help and does not assist evil.

And failing that, you at least stop assisting evil and thinking that it is good simply because you’re taking stuff that was yours and making it not yours. Better to throw your money in the trash than to give someone “hooker money,” or otherwise help them to do evil. Charitable giving is more than just making property that was yours no longer yours.

(And the “we don’t do it for them, we do it for Christ” thing is, I think, just wrong. We do it for them and in so doing also do it for Christ. “Love one another as I have loved you,” sort of thing.)

To the OP: I think I agree with Sirach2, with perhaps the stipulation that you can mention to either him or his son that while you don’t mind helping him while he gets on his feet, such help is conditional on him not misusing it because you aren’t interested in helping perpetuate a state of decline, and then see if he stops misusing your generosity.


#5

The short answer is that you are not culpable for his sin.

Let the 6 month lease run it's course and do not renew it. Make sure that he knows this.

As mentioned above - sometimes the best love is also the toughest.

Peace
James


#6

Of course, the other option is to set up a security camera in every room, including the bedroom(s), and tell him, "See those cameras? If they are damaged, removed, or their power turned off, I will have to evict you from this apartment. If I see you engaging in (censored) activities, you cannot stay in this apartment."

(This post is meant in all facetiousness, even though it would probably work.);)


#7

[quote="Iron_Donkey, post:4, topic:317600"]
This is mildly misleading. Notice that Christ said "naked and you clothed me, hungry and fed me," not "dying for a beer and you got me a bottle." Financing someone's sin is not clothing or feeding them.

There is room for uncertainty at times, and it is true that we don't need to higher a PI to check everyone out before giving them help, but our Lord did not tell us to be stupid. If you have come into knowledge that someone always uses "help" of a certain type for immoral purposes, then you now know that your "help" is not help at all and that you should find a way of helping that uses your finite resources in a way that actually does help and does not assist evil.

And failing that, you at least stop assisting evil and thinking that it is good simply because you're taking stuff that was yours and making it not yours. Better to throw your money in the trash than to give someone "hooker money," or otherwise help them to do evil. Charitable giving is more than just making property that was yours no longer yours.

(And the "we don't do it for them, we do it for Christ" thing is, I think, just wrong. We do it for them and in so doing also do it for Christ. "Love one another as I have loved you," sort of thing.)

To the OP: I think I agree with Sirach2, with perhaps the stipulation that you can mention to either him or his son that while you don't mind helping him while he gets on his feet, such help is conditional on him not misusing it because you aren't interested in helping perpetuate a state of decline, and then see if he stops misusing your generosity.

[/quote]

I missed where the OP said he was actually paying the rent for this place; all I read, is that he leased it in his name, and I infer from that, that the tenant is essentially sub-leasing from/though him--hence the tenant appears to be paying his own way.

@ OP: I don't see how the sins committed by your tenant are attributable to you.

Further, we don't know what the terms of your lease are, as you didn't share such. But restrictions on a tenant's actions are usually within the perview of a lease agreement--restrictions as to the number of residents, activities engaged within, pets, condition of the premises, etc., are all subject to negotiation.

My suggestion--it's only a 6 mo. lease. Express your displeasure with his conduct, but don't evict him--just give him plenty of notice that you are not going to renew the lease. Let him know clearly that it was a short term assistance, and that he needs to make his own arrangements BEFORE the lease expires, so that you may tender the premises back to the owner/Landlord, timely.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


#8

Ah, I didn’t catch on to that.


#9

^^^follow up:

If you do not have anything in writing, I suggest you put something in writing, asap. In most jurisdictions, if you don't have anything in writing, the tenancy is enforced according to the payment period, and minimum notice of termination would be required (e.g.--month to month may require at least 2 weeks notice; week to week, 1 week notice).

Consider making tenancy week to week, rather than monthly; and place an expiration date of 2 weeks to one month before the lease that you signed, expires--so that if you have to evict him, the process won't cause you to overstay on the lease you signed; also, to allow you to fix whatever damage needs to be fixed, on your terms, rather than on the landlords--who will claim against your deposit.

Of course, during this process, you can also craft whatever restrictions you want, into the agreement, then seek to enforce as appropriate.

[edit]: Lost in answring your post....my sincere respect to you, for your apparently sincerely charitable, loving, merciful, Christian act. (but you still have to protect yourelf).

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


#10

It’s too bad your act of kindness has backfired somewhat, friends like you are hard to come by. In my life I always do the person I have a problem with the courtesy of attempting to talk it over with them. If you have not told him what your moral concerns are then why not try that first? If you are not able to make this point with him to your satisfaction then tell home when the lease is up you won’t be able to help any further. If this were my conscience I would not have any concern about sinning after this discussion took place.


#11

Donkey.

I did not make mention for someone to aid someone in sining. We don't know what an individual will do with ANY help we give them. We ARE called to be giving, to love, to assist........ALL of these things can be abused by someone. We ourselves abuse Christs aid and love yet He still loves and calls us to do likewise.

As I said, it's not between us and the other person....it's between us and God.

NOW OF COURSE......of course.....if you give aid to someone after/before the blatently come out and say " with this money.... i'm going to go buy drugs...thanks! " or " if you give me a place to stay..... I'm going to use it for adultry".....THAN OF COURSE ....we ought not to aid in that persons sin.

But when we meet a begger or someone who has no where to go .....we give in obiedence and love to Christ with some assumption that the individual will use our help for noble purposes.


#12

[quote="MichaelHowling, post:11, topic:317600"]
Donkey.

...

But when we meet a begger or someone who has no where to go .....we give in obiedence and love to Christ with some assumption that the individual will use our help for noble purposes.

[/quote]

This may sound a bit harsh, but whenever a beggar asks me for money (i.e.--begs), I ask: "what's in it for me?"/"why"/"what are you willing and/or able to do to earn it?"

Sometimes, it does get a negative reaction; sometimes--more often than not--I'm able to figure something out, to make the transaction, somewhat equitable (e.g.--clean shoes, car window, take some little trincket or easily replaceable thing or another).

It's not that I want or need something for my money; it's that I want to find some way to dignifiy the recipient--figure out some way in which we can both walk away feeling better for the exchange. Stated differently--if I throw some money at a beggar--I'm not seeing the human being--I'm paying not to have to deal with one, in a pathetic state.

But if I work with a beggar to find a way for him to be dignified in the exchange--I'm dealing with both the person and the need.

(there's also another aspect or rationale for this--and that is to filter out the truly needy, from the lazy. I studied in London one year, many years ago--and hung out with a bunch of the local beggars who worked our neighborhood, 'after hours'. They took me back to their 'flat'--holy ****, what a sweet spread! These guys were boasting about clearing 50,000 pounds per year, tax free--by pretending to be pitiful...and I had thrown a few pounds here and there, at these guys, before that! So now I dig a little deeper....try to verify the story they're selling me.).

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


#13

To clear up a couple of points.

I have know this person since he was about six years old, along with his mother. His mother is on disability and lives with me because she does not make enough between SS and pension to afford a place. I arranged for him to have an apartment at an apartment complex. Essentially, he is subletting from me. This was the apartment manger's solution to keep him from sitting on the curb in the street. He and his wife are going to have to file bankruptcy. He has four children by this marriage. I just do not like to see anyone put out on the street. He does have a job, but it did not support him, a wife and four kids. She would not work. He does not have a good education so he cannot make $80,000 to $100,000 a year.

Anyway, he will be paying for the apartment, but everything is in my name. I tried to be a co-signer, but the apartment complex manager would only accept it this way.


#14

There is something I don’t quite understand here. You are putting your name at risk for what reason? Is the kid showing signs of improvement?


#15

He is filing for bankruptcy in order to give him a fresh start so he can get on his feet and re establish his credit again. This is all I know at this time. I am just trying to help him out with his needs, not his wants.


#16

That’s good Goya.

For myself, if at all possible and if I’m in a very public place, … I always ask the person if they’re hungry. If they say yes, we walk to the nearest resturant/fastfood and I let them buy whatever they want and we both sit down, eat and talk.

I agree that the poor are usually more hungry to get their human dignity back than anything else.


#17

[quote="lakotak, post:1, topic:317600"]
I will try to put this in a nutshell.

My roommate's son was about to be thrown out in the street because his wife was separating from him and he was being evicted from the place where they lived with no place to go. I rented an apartment for him under my name, as his credit is so bad they would not even accept me, good credit, as a co signer. I did a 6 month lease. I did this to keep from from being on the street. Now it looks like that he will be having female company, the woman of his first child before his marriage to his wife. I did not expect, nor think about this at the time I tried to help him. Is this a moral issue for me in anyway, as the apartment is in my name? Is there anything I should do. May sound stupid, but I am morally concerned that I am doing something wrong if he is committing adultery under the roof of the apartment that I got for him. I hope I have conveyed my thought so you understand on this. Any thoughts?

[/quote]

In the old days (and, in some cases, I think still today), monasteries would take in the poor, the starving, etc. They'd wash them, give them a place to sleep and food to eat, etc. In return, they were expected to obey the "rules of the house": to attend Mass, avoid scandal, join with the brothers in prayer, observe the rules of silence, work to earn their keep, etc. Those who didn't do these things were not entitled to continued support from the brothers.

I don't think you're obligated to try to outdo consecrated religious in terms of charity!

He is essentially living in your house. Therefore, he should obey the rules of your house. So you should tell him that you don't want him doing evil things in your house. If he doesn't like it, he can find another living arrangement. (That said, I'm sure that he would agree to obey your rules, out of obligation and gratitude).

I don't know whether or not you are morally culpable for failing to set and enforce rules in this respect. That's a good question for a priest. My uninformed intuition is that you are responsible for him and should act like it, and that you are currently at least materially cooperating in sin.


closed #18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.