Finding and taking something and then seeing the owner appear


#1

Say we see something unattended somewhere in public and then take it for ourselves.
Then after we see the owner come back looking around trying to find what he lost.

Has this ever happened to you,and is it bad if we didnt speak up and give back the person the lost item but kept it for ourselves?

In some case what we found may have really been helpful to us at the time so we decided to keep it,plus if we own up to the person we may look like a thief and be scared to do so.

We could hand it in to the desk or offices or we could say ‘bad luck’ finders keepers and its the persons bad luck for leaving it behind and during that moment it belonged to nobody so i found it and now it belongs to me.


#2

[quote="Paul_theApostle, post:1, topic:323416"]
Say we see something unattended somewhere in public and then take it for ourselves.
Then after we see the owner come back looking around trying to find what he lost.

Has this ever happened to you,and is it bad if we didn't speak up and give back the person the lost item but kept it for ourselves?

In some case what we found may have really been helpful to us at the time so we decided to keep it,plus if we own up to the person we may look like a thief and be scared to do so.

We could hand it in to the desk or offices or we could say 'bad luck' finders keepers and its the persons bad luck for leaving it behind and during that moment it belonged to nobody so i found it and now it belongs to me.

[/quote]

It isn't finders keepers looser weepers. To keep something you found and you know who the owner is, is stealing.

There are things that you find that you can't possibly know who the owner is. A dollar for instance lying next to your car. In which case, you can keep it with a clear conscience.

If you find something valuable that can be identified you are obligated to look for the owner. I have found a camera, wallets, cell phones. It never occurred to me that they were mine to keep. In each case, I found the owner or turned them into authorities who found them. Think if it was you who lost it would you want someone to just keep it. If you keep it, knowing the owner you are a thief.


#3

Is this a serious question?

I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m pretty sure you know the answer here.

If it is a serious question, ask yourself what you’d like to happen if the roles were reversed. If you lost something and went back to try to find it, would you accept that if someone else had found it in the meantime, they should just keep it?

Say you actually went back to find the person picking it up; would you say to them:

“That’s mine, I accidentally left it here”

OR

“That used to be mine, but I left it here and you found it so now it’s yours”.

??


#4

It happened a while ago,i was in a waiting area yet to be called and i got up and walked around and saw on an empty seat a packet of smokes,no one was next to them so i took them and sat back down where i was at the front.

a bit later a boy came around searching the seats looking for something and i knew it was the smokes,i didnt have any smokes that day and no money to buy any so they were a good find for me to have smokes for a while,

i did think of giving them back to him or handing them in,but when he came back the second time i thought i would look like a thief giving them back to him

i was desperate for the smokes and kept saying to myself bad luck ,i found them there unattended and at that moment they belonged to nobody and anyone else wouldve taken them as well and that its his bad luck for being stupid enough to leave them behind

anyway i did feel bad for not giving them back and will confess it next time also


#5

You can't keep it if the owner comes back looking for it and you know they are looking for what you just picked up. If you find an ink pen on the ground with no one around and no one comes looking for it yes you can keep it, if you find a purse or wallet on the ground, whether someone comes looking for it or not, you need to turn it in. If you find $5 on the ground with no one around and no one comes looking for it, it's yours, if you find a credit card turn it in.


#6

Cigarettes, the path to hell.

SMOKE! SMOKE! SMOKE! (THAT CIGARETTE)


#7

[quote="Paul_theApostle, post:4, topic:323416"]
It happened a while ago,i was in a waiting area yet to be called and i got up and walked around and saw on an empty seat a packet of smokes,no one was next to them so i took them and sat back down where i was at the front.

a bit later a boy came around searching the seats looking for something and i knew it was the smokes,i didnt have any smokes that day and no money to buy any so they were a good find for me to have smokes for a while,

i did think of giving them back to him or handing them in,but when he came back the second time i thought i would look like a thief giving them back to him

i was desperate for the smokes and kept saying to myself bad luck ,i found them there unattended and at that moment they belonged to nobody and anyone else wouldve taken them as well and that its his bad luck for being stupid enough to leave them behind

anyway i did feel bad for not giving them back and will confess it next time also

[/quote]

As others have said....you need to ask yourself how you would feel if you were the one looking for your lost smokes.

While this may sound judgmental...I have to say that in this case, your addiction to smoking has turned you into a thief.

Given what you describe above I would lean towards classing this a mortal sin.
That matter might not seem "grave" on the face of it...but the fact that the owner came back twice indicates the importance the owner placed on the object.

You are not clear if, when you first picked them up, you honestly believed they were abandoned or not.
Assuming you did honestly believe them to be abandoned then you did not steal when you first picked them up.
However, when the owner returned twice looking for them you knew that your initial belief was wrong. They had not been abandoned. Your failure to return them to their rightful owner. Changes the matter and culpability is incurred.
At this point the three requirements for Mortal sin are satisfied.

Grave matter....The importance of the object to the owner (seen by his returning twice) gives it greater weight than simply the value of the cigarettes.

Knowledge...you know that stealing is a sin and in itself a grave matter.
Consent...You saw him return twice and deliberately kept the cigarettes.

Now - I will say that your addiction to smoking may act as a mitigating factor, clouding your judgement...but it remains a serious sin.

I'm sorry if the above sounds harsh...but you asked our opinion....

I strongly suggest you take this to your confessor.

Peace
James


#8

Knowing it belonged to someone else who was clearly searching for it and not giving it to them is indeed a mortal sin!

Please, next time be a good Catholic and hand it in. Now, also, go and confess your sin.

God Bless you


#9

Considering that he is questioning what he did indicates to me that mortal sin has not been comitted.
Knowledge would mean that he knew to keep the cigarettes was a mortal sin and did it anyway. I don’t see that being the case here.


#10

Such falls under theft.


#11

[quote="adrift, post:9, topic:323416"]
Considering that he is questioning what he did indicates to me that mortal sin has not been comitted.

Knowledge would mean that he knew to keep the cigarettes was a mortal sin and did it anyway. I don't see that being the case here.

[/quote]

He knew it belonged to someone else and decided to keep it, thus theft, thus he also knew it was wrong = Mortal Sin


#12

[quote="adrift, post:9, topic:323416"]
Considering that he is questioning what he did indicates to me that mortal sin has not been comitted.

Knowledge would mean that he knew to keep the cigarettes was a mortal sin and did it anyway. I don't see that being the case here.

[/quote]

I disagree. First one does not need to know that an act is a "mortal sin" - only that one know it is sinful. The Catechism says..."It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law." (CCC 1859)

This he knew when the owner returned looking for his property and he chose to not return it.

The OP said this....
a bit later a boy came around searching the seats looking for something and i knew it was the smokes,i didnt have any smokes that day and no money to buy any so they were a good find for me to have smokes for a while,

i did think of giving them back to him or handing them in,but when he came back the second time i thought i would look like a thief giving them back to him

i was desperate for the smokes and kept saying to myself bad luck ,i found them there unattended and at that moment they belonged to nobody and anyone else wouldve taken them as well and that its his bad luck for being stupid enough to leave them behind
Looking at the bolded....It is obvious that conscience stepped in and prompted the OP to return the smokes. He chose not to. The last paragraph tries to justify the theft...but this does not mitigate the fact that he acted with sufficient knowledge of the sinful character of the act and with "a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. **Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin." (CCC 1859) (Emphasis mine)

His heart knew what was right. His head acted differently - contrary to Love.

Peace
James


#13

I went to confession and must do a penance for it

When i saw the smokes ,nobody was around those seats and i thought someone left them behind

5 min later the boy came searching,the longer i didnt own up the harder it was because i didnt own up straight away

yes my addiction clouded things as i wouldve been without smokes for a day which wouldve been hard

i felt bad for the boy and was ashamed i did such a thing ,i thought i was better then that


#14

Well done you for realising your mistake and confessing it. Nothing as good as a pure soul.

God Bless You


#15

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

So Glad that you have been to confession. That is wonderful.

Just a comment on your last line…We all like to think we are “better than that”.
Just speaking for myself…and I know I was a bit hard on you…I truly wonder if I would have done any better in a similar situation - and I was wondering that even as I was typing my earlier responses.

Anyway - Well done brother - You’ve shown great courage and charity in how you have handled our critiques.

Peace
James


#16

[quote="ajecphotos, post:11, topic:323416"]
He knew it belonged to someone else and decided to keep it, thus theft, thus he also knew it was wrong = Mortal Sin

[/quote]

You must know that it is mortal, if you believe it is venial or if you don't know it is a sin than it cannot be mortal.

Mortal sin is
A serious, grave or mortal sin is the knowing and willful violation of God's law in a serious matter, for example, idolatry, adultery, murder, slander.

So what kind of Sins are Mortal?
Was this a theft? Knowing the owner and keeping it could be considered a theft. However, everyone is assuming the person who came back had lost the cigarettes. The OP might have been mistaken. Was he obligated to ask? I believe he was.

Did this rise to serious matter.

Theft—All persons have a right to lawful private property obtained by legitimate work, inheritance or gift. To violate a person’s right to property by theft is a grave sin, especially if the loss of the property will severely hurt the victim (CCC 2408). The gravity of theft is determined by the harm it does to the victim.

We have the question if it would severely hurt the victim? This could not have hurt the one who lost the cigarettes.

In order for a sin to be mortal, it must meet three conditions:

Mortal sin is a sin of grave matter
Mortal sin is committed with full knowledge of the sinner
Mortal sin is committed with deliberate consent of the sinner

The first criteria is not met
The second one is not met
The third one is met so it makes it a venial sin.


#17

[quote="JRKH, post:12, topic:323416"]
I disagree. First one does not need to know that an act is a "mortal sin" - only that one know it is sinful. The Catechism says..."It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law." (CCC 1859)

This he knew when the owner returned looking for his property and he chose to not return it.

[/quote]

One has to know that it is grave sin not just that it is sin.
emphasis mine

CCC 1857
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."

You didn't quote 1859 completley

1859 Mortal sin requires **full knowledge **and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

This does not support your statement that it one only needs to know that it is sinful since it requires full knowledge.

What you have not addresses is serious matter. It was not serious matter.


#18

Adrift,
I find it interesting that you and I look at the same paragraphs in the CCC but highlight different portions to support our respective viewpoints.

As Mr Spock might say…“Fascinating”…:smiley:

Peace
James


#19

[quote="JRKH, post:15, topic:323416"]
:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

So Glad that you have been to confession. That is wonderful.

Just a comment on your last line...We all like to think we are "better than that".

Just speaking for myself...and I know I was a bit hard on you...I truly wonder if I would have done any better in a similar situation - and I was wondering that even as I was typing my earlier responses.

Anyway - Well done brother - You've shown great courage and charity in how you have handled our critiques.

Peace
James

[/quote]

Alls good James ,thanks

it was good to go to confession thank God for that,

It could be hard in some cases where we may be desperate or in need of the thing we find,it could be money we may need or something that will tempt us to keep

but may the Lord keep us from temptation

Peace


#20

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