Take this as a theoretical case that involves only the circumstances and people mentioned: Bob is poor and he has very little to live on. Margo, who is very well off, takes away all of Bob’s money and possessions and hides them. Jane, Bob’s best friend who is also poor but braver than Bob, finds out what happened and is outraged. Jane then offers to help Bob and he accepts. Later that day Jane gets Bob’s money and things from where Margo hid them and returns them to Bob. Is Jane wrong for doing that? Is the retrieval of goods or money from a thief for the purpose of giving them back to their rightful owner considered stealing?
I figured that the thief didn’t have any legitimate claim on the objects she stole and so they did not belong to her. If something dose not belong to someone how can you steal it from them? Maybe if Jane kept the objects for herself or sold them it would be considered stealing but it would be stealing from Bob since it’s his possessions which are being withheld from him. So, since I don’t consider her to be stealing from Margo and she clearly retrieved the possesions so that she could return them to Bob it is not stealing and therefore not a sin.
[font=Arial]That is just my rationalization but I don’t know what the Church’s position would be in such a case. I can’t seem to find anything in the Catechism about it so if anyone knows what the official teaching is could they please tell me and possibly provide their source? :ehh: [/font]