I stole stuff, confessed, was absolved, now what?

Ok, before I state what the item was in question, you all must know that I was in a wierd spiritual place when I did this. I stole a bible a while back. I confessed this of course and am sorry I did it. The priest only advised me to say a prayer for the store I stole from as penance. The problem is that, if I keep the bible, it seems as though I wasn’t truly sorry. But if I give it away, I have no Bible. I can’t afford one at the time. Should I give it away and go without?

Your Parish will give you a Bible. Heck, my parish will give you a Bible.

If the priest didn’t tell you to return it, then you are okay. Keep the Bible, but then maybe in the future (this is just an idea, and again, you don’t have to, because the priest didn’t require it) when you are doing better, maybe make a point of buying a Bible for someone who would like to have one, but can’t afford it. :slight_smile:

I think that sounds wonderful!

I admire your desire to make restitution (return stolen goods). I think your obligation ends with following your confessor’s instructions (praying for the store). But if you want to do more, that is fine.

You seem to be aware already that it is sometimes permissible to make restitution to someone other than the person you stole from. Perhaps if you want to do something along these lines, you could donate to a good charity a little bit at a time as your financial means permit (a dollar a week? whatever you can manage) until you reach the value of what was stolen. Or you could save a little at a time, buy a new Bible, and give the other one away.

Since you obviously have internet access, you always have a Bible available online. Here are the New American Bible usccb.org/nab/bible/index.shtml and the Douay-Rheims drbo.org/ .

Zehr gut! No, I’m not German, I just felt like saying it that way. Thanks for that advice! I don’t know what I haven’t thought to ask my priest these things. But basically, as I understand, if I’ve gone to confession with at least the fear of punishment as a motivation, and the priest absolves me, then I am forgiven in the eyes of God provided I perform my penance. Does this sound right?

Yes, that sounds right, as long as your contrition includes the intention to avoid sin in the future. (By the way, I think that’s SEHR gut.) :smiley:

One is obliged to do restitution. if it can be done --like the person does not know how to find the person he stole form or something… they can give alms for it has been the common understanding.

but there may be a way to handle it…

such as perhaps …if they will not recognize you (but they may have had you on video tape…)-- buy the same Bible …and then walk around a bit after you buy it and look at other books …and then and sort of leave it in the store. perhaps buy another book too so you still have something to carry out :slight_smile:

here is the brief form from the Catechism:

2454 Every manner of taking and using another’s property unjustly is contrary to the seventh commandment. The injustice committed requires reparation. Commutative justice requires the restitution of stolen goods.

From the Catechism:

2454 Every manner of taking and using another’s property unjustly is contrary to the seventh commandment. The injustice committed requires reparation. Commutative justice requires the restitution of stolen goods.

I got a bible for free from my parish. I am giving the one that was never rightfully mine to someone else that doesn’t have one.

Sorry, I can’t agree with the premise offered by a number of you in this forum.

The business was violated by you and thus, you have an obligation to make reparation whether the priest requires it or not. The sacrament requires contrition, confession and satisfaction. Until the harm that has been done to the business has been resolved, your role here is not complete.

I am not saying that you are not forgiven. That is certainly not for me to say. But, to suggest that saying a prayer makes satisfactory restitution is not sensible. I think if you were to ask the business owner, he would agree.

Find out how much it cost, do an odd job or forgo a special treat and send the required money to the store.

You will feel so much better…

Another way to make restitution to the store would be to mail a money order in the amount of the cost of the Bible you took anonymously, marked “conscience money.” They’ll know what to do with it.


If you are poor and can’t afford to contribute a couple of extra bibles to your parish gift shop put an extra dollar in the poor box every Sunday for the next year or two.:rolleyes:;)Carlan

I agree with the 'buy the bible again, but leave the new one there on the rack ‘accidently’, method as one possibility.

From what I have read, restitution when possible, is required, without at least the true will to do this if it is possible, one is considered unrepentant.

I also heard a little story about how a demon once was late to an audience with Satan, and when asked why, responded that he had spent his time urging the person not give back something he had stolen – And Satan excoriated that demon, replying, “You fool! Do you not know that no one makes restitution?” And that is the case… people ‘repent’ after stealing something, that is they think they wish they would undo it, but they are not willing to go through the actual pains necessary to do so.

Restitution is a sticky issue in some ways that I would like to look into further, because applied to such things as illegal downloads it opens up a number of difficulties, i.e. the downloads unlike the Bible might be immoral to purchase in the first place considered strictly (music, media with immoral content is most of TV, music today), the restitution may be very difficult but not impossible, how much injury was done how to even begin to estimate it, are illegal downloads actually ‘stealing’ in the moral sense or just breaking contract law, how then does it apply, etc.

I mean to ask a certain hardline priest about it one of these days once I’ve studied it enough myself. The messes people can get into!

Hopefully there are some easier outs that I have read so far for people who have done this.

On the other hand, to a certain degree we have to be able to trust our priest-confessor. Trying to second-guess everything he counsels us in the confessional can lead to (or aggravate) scrupulosity. People can go overboard in wondering whether they have made adequate efforts to make restitution.

Yes, that’s true. The problem is however, we do not in fact, always get good advice in the Confessional these days, just like we don’t always get good liturgy, etc.

So understanding the principles behind it is a good thing.

I don’t. :slight_smile: I intend to find out as best I can God willing, from what information is out there, in traditional circles mainly (that would be the most reliable info) and all around.

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great idea!

one could perhaps even say ‘money for bible that was stolen-I am sorry’

if they are Christians --it will make their day :wink:

(unless it is not a Christian store…and they may still come after you…somehow…i guess post offices may have camera’s etc or they may remember you…)

of course one may want to do this a post office in another area…if they do not have a camera etc …maybe.

and make sure the address is correct (do not call for it --for they may have caller id…)

and of course not include one address…

for as the Catechism says…one to return stolen goods. seeing that this is a store and they intended to sell the Bible --yours is the PERFECT response…

include perhaps a bit for sales tax …:slight_smile:

And something for the overtime that was paid to the stock boy who went searching for the lost Bible and never did find it … :slight_smile:

One thing you could do–go to the same priest for confession and ask the priest about this.

This might be difficult for someone who could not afford the Bible in the first place.

Heck **I will gladly ** give you a Bible, just PM me your mailing address.

I collect them. Rosaries, too. I have (sadly) found many perfectly good, new Catholic Bibles in Thrift stores and yard sales for pennies. The rosary bother me because they are Sacramentals if they’ve been blessed. They are my orphans, I buy them and send them to people who need them. :slight_smile: It’s a fun little hobby. Imagine the joy in donating a stack of untouched bibles to the Juvenile program at our Church where they are given to juvenile inmates.

In my personal experience, Confession and absolution without some kind of restitution leaves me feeling as though something is missing. Perhaps this is why in many programs (and generally in Confession) there is a step involved reparations or making amends. Whether that means telling the store owner, mailing it back anonymously or doing a form of charity is for your own discernment. ** Perhaps it is the lack of reparation that is leaving you feeling as though something is missing and/or the Holy Spirit may be guiding you to greater purity. **

Though absolution does purify you, it does not take away all the bad effects of sin. For example, if you’ve hit someone and you go to confession, the consequences of hitting that other person doesn’t go away, nor does their pain. Wouldn’t it be nice if it did? If you somehow feel as though it is incomplete, nothing is stopping you from doing a charitable work.

All that being said, if the priest gave you absolution your literal obligation has been met and questioning the priest’s absolution can lead to scrupulosity. I know, been there done that! :blushing:

I’ve a question that does not require a response, but have you forgiven yourself?

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