The question: Is it immoral to take toilet paper from the university I’m at? If so, why?
I’m living in a foreign country at taxpayer expense, with very large American student loans with a very small stipend. It seems reasonable to assume that the U.S. Department of Education is doing immoral things with their loan profits, such that there is the moral imperative to pay off the loans as soon as possible, not only to minimize their profit, but also to free me to do good with my income (e.g. give it to the church).
I spend the majority of my time at the university, so that my apartment is effectively a locker room with a place to sleep and shower. I don’t consider anything here truly “mine”, but rather the university’s or this nation’s taxpayers.
The toilet paper rolls are replaced when they become low on paper. I don’t know whether the custodians take them home for private use or throw them away. It seems reasonable to assume that they throw them away, and that the garbage is likely burned.
There are stacks of toilet paper in piles in the bathrooms, so that I have at least three options: Replace the toilet paper roll when it is low and bring it “home” myself to use, take home an unused roll, or buy it from the store. It seems the ideal solution is to take home low rolls that the custodial staff may be throwing away.
It seems to me not stealing, but rather, using toilet paper in a different location without explicit permission, and that it would be a waste of time to try to obtain the university’s permission. Moreover, it would cause more pollution (e.g. throwing away the wrapping store-bought toilet paper comes in), as well as extend the Department of Education’s usury, to buy toilet paper from the store.
I don’t see that such action is addressed in the Catechism:
The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods.
The consequences of taking the toilet paper or not:
*]Decrease the usury conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and possibly decrease waste
*]Return taxpayers’ money to a local store and increase waste.
I suppose it is possible, but apparently unlikely, that taking home toilet paper would deprive the custodians of the same, if that is what they are doing. What are your thoughts?
Personally, I find it vexing, because I am trying so hard to get out of debt, and it seems almost wrong not to take it, but a simplistic analysis – which I think we are taught as children – is that it’s stealing because it’s a) not bought from a store and b) taken without permission, and for no other reason. But is this not too simple?
(Another problem may be sleep deprivation.)