Can you steal bread to feed your starving family?

The other day I got in a heated debate about stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family. I’ve studied a little bit of theology and understand the end cannot justify the means … but is there some point, if there are no other options, that the owner of the bread loses his right to possess the bread when ultimately everything belongs to God?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

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 (CCC 2408).

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