justice, to preserve our neighbor’s rights and render him what is his due;
2412In virtue of commutative justice, reparation for injusticecommitted requires the restitution of stolen goods to their owner:
Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.
then it shall be, when he sins and becomes guilty, that he shall restore what he took by robbery or what he got by extortion, or the deposit which was entrusted to him or the lost thing which he found,
But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house
if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
then he shall confess his sins which he has committed, and he shall make restitution in full for his wrong and add to it one-fifth of it, and give it to him whom he has wronged.
Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house.
Thomas Aquinas summa theologica
On the contrary,[Augustine]says (Ep. ad Maced. cxliii): “Unless a man restore what he has purloined, his is not forgiven.”
I answer that,Restitution re-establishes the equality of commutative , which equality consists in the equalizing of thing to thing, as stated above Now this equalizing of things is impossible, unless he that has less than his due receive what is lacking to him: and for this to be done, restitution must be made to the from whom a thing has been taken.
Reply to Objection 2.Although a man is not bound to reveal his crime to other men, yet is he bound to reveal it to in confession; and so he may make restitution of another’s property through the to whom he confesses
Consequently one is bound to immediate restitution, if possible, or to ask for a respite from the who is empowered to grant the use of the thing.
Reply to Objection 2.When one is unable to restore at once, this very inability excuses one from immediate restitution: even as is altogether excused from making restitution if he is altogether unable to make it. He is, however, bound either himself or through another to ask to whom he owes compensation to grant him a remission or a respite.