Hi all! I just walked out to my mailbox an found a book sitting on top (not inside) my mailbox. A quick glance at the table of contents made it quite clear that it was full of lies against the Church, almost certainly produced by Jehova’s Witnesses. I then looked around my street and saw that on top of most mailboxes there was one of these tracts. I figured I couldn’t allow these lies to spread, so I went around the neighborhood and gathered 14 books in all, with the intention of recycling them. Once I was back home, however, it occurred to me that this could arguable count as stealing, and that since we are not to do sin that good may come of it, I actually acted wrongly. At the moment of doing it, I was rather thinking that since the items were not in the mailboxes, and since no one had asked for them, so that they were, one might argue, just lying around the neighborhoods, I was merely gathering up some books rather than taking something that at that point actually belonged to someone. Afterwards I was not so sure.
With the exception of perhaps one or two houses, I don’t remember where specifically I picked up the books, so returning most of them is not really an option. I could, however, return those that I do remember about, if that were the right thing to do. Of course, having already removed them, it doesn’t seem clear to me that I should take it upon myself to redistribute those lies. I haven’t yet disposed of the books and am wondering what I should do with them.
I’d appreciate your thoughts on this, especially if you are trained in moral theology.