Seventh Commandment - Don't Steal


#1

To Catholics:

How sacrosanct is the Seventh Commandment (eight if you’re a Jew or Protestant)?

Is there any mitigating factor to stealing? Is poverty or necessity a valid moral excuse to rob someone?

Is this commandment specific to the Mosaic times or is it also valid today?

Has there been a period(s) of history where it became invalid?

Chau,
Rodrigo


#2

As a general principle it is still valid today as are all the commandments.

Certain factors do mitigate the guilt of a theft, such as dire poverty, as well as the actual circumstances of the theft (ie five dollars from mom’s change jar as opposed to five million from armed robbery of a bank).

They don’t often or always completely remove the guilt or sinfulness though - I mean even for those in desperate need there are usually more appropriate and less drastic ways to obtain the necessities of life, right?


#3

no because a sin is a sin well i cant ind the links righ now but sins r the same no matter what but the good new is if u r saved and pray and repnt ur sins they will be 4given


#4

No sins aren’t all the same.

Read 1 John 5:16 (that’s the Epistle, not the Gospel :smiley: ), which discusses the difference between sins that are unto death (death of the soul, which are those Catholics consider to be mortal) and sins that are not unto death - the venial. The two are described and treated very differently.

It’s just common sense that stealing five dollars from mom’s change jar is NOT the same, not nearly the same, as stealing several million from a bank. And that verse just shows that they’re not the same in God’s eyes either.


#5

I agree, stealing $5 from your mother’s change jar could be a far more serious sin than $5 million from a bank.

Once, my son’s friends (until that day) stole $20 from my house. That $20 was to buy bread and milk for my family for the week to come (20 years ago now obviously). It was something that affected us severely at that time. Today, a loss of $20 would not matter.

Remember the widow’s mite? Her pennies were greater in God’s eyes than the rich men’s offerings.

Mark 12:32-34
"He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.” "


#6

Sin is never acceptable. I think people tend to be a little simplistic. Me sinning and stealing might be different than someone else. Some people are more spiritually ahead and have a greater responsibility than others. Say I am in complete poverty and I have the opportunity to steal a little money to get my meals. In my position in my faith, that would be a lot more serious than someone who has only a partial knowledge of the faith. Theft is always a sinful act but whether the person is sinning depends on the state of his spiritual life and the other factors.


#7

Of course, Eileen. The effect of your theft on the person(s) you steal from is a factor to be considered as well, though not the only one. I wasn’t meaning to imply that it wasn’t.


#8

You say it like it is. :thumbsup:

Sin is never acceptable.Theft is always a sinful act. Robin Hood is a myth!


#9

Take it to an extreme.

Someone has everything that you would need to survive. All the food, water and shelter.

No matter what you do, or offer to do, that person will never let you have any of those things. Consequently, you are going to die from thirst/starvation.

Taking something that is a basic life necessity in a similar case is not a sin.

That mother of an infant who took formula from a store during a hurricane stole it. But it wasn’t a sin.

Things aren’t always black and white.


#10

**Although my neighbour has no absolute right to his property, I sin if I take it from him without his leave. Necessity does not make stealing into something other than stealing; I still commit sin, even if I’m taking food for my family from a shop in a looted & war-ravaged city - because that food has not been given or sold to me: I’m taking what is quite simply not mine to take. And that is a sin. **

**Besides, necessity is always necessity if one’s thoughts about it can make it so - self-interest is far too dangerous for it ever to be safe to plead that it is necessary to take what is another’s. The commandment comes from outside us, because what is inside us is perverse & needs correction - we are not able to be trusted to be upright otherwise; because otherwise, we would be judge & jury in all moral decisions affecting us, & would judge unjustly when it suited us to. The commandment deals with our self-interest by making us subject to a law which not from us at all, but from God: we are made responsible to Him, instead of being left to our own crooked ways: & He says - “Thou shalt not steal”. **

As for robbery - that is a crime as well as a sin. To excuse a sin, is to acknowledge it to be a sin: if it were good & holy & right, it would need no excuse. No one excuses (say) Mother Teresa’s virtues - for virtues need no excuse. Even to risk wounding our fellow man in order to take his property makes robbery even worse than theft - it is to commit two sins instead of one. To excuse sin, & say it is no sin, is the devil’s temptation. :frowning: (As well as itself also being a sin)


#11

Actually, there are certain circumstances where stealing isn’t stealing. Let’s say you are starving to death and your neighbor has an abundance of food piled up in his back yard. According to the doctrine of the universal destination of goods, you would have the right to some food and the sin would not lie in you taking it, but in your neighbor keeping it from you. Therefore, you are not actually taking something that doesn’t rightfully belong to you.

vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a7.htm


#12

Here’s the specific paragraph of the CCC:

**2408 **The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one’s disposal and use the property of others.


#13

I work as a private chef for a very wealthy couple. Since it is just the two of them, often there is food left from the meal I have prepared. This excess always ends up in the garbage. Aside from the fact that it kills me to throw away wonderful food that I spent a great deal of time preparing, and aside from the fact that there are so many who would be grateful for just the scraps from this table, I can’t bear throwing away perfectly good food because my employers do not like leftovers. Working in the restaurant industry for years, one sees that taking leftover food is standard operating procedure. As a personal chef for the last 6 years, I have also taken food home that was destined for the trash can. However, it became clear to me last year that this was a slipperly slope and that one could consider this stealing. My employers never suggested I take home the garbage-bound cuisine and the fact that I didn’t tell them that I was taking home the food essentially revealed the sin. So I felt compelled to confess and stop it immediately. I have to admit it is very difficult still to toss perfectly good food. But the ramifications of even this seemingly petty theft are too dangerous.


#14

Where is your faith?!

[quote=mjdonnelly]Taking something that is a basic life necessity in a similar case is not a sin.
[/quote]

Yes it is a sin. More than likely whoever would take something would naturally know that taking something that is not yours is a sin, therefore this person is committing a sin.

[quote=mjdonnelly]That mother of an infant who took formula from a store during a hurricane stole it. But it wasn’t a sin.
[/quote]

Yes it was a sin.

[quote=mjdonnelly]Things aren’t always black and white.
[/quote]

When it comes to right and wrong, I do believe things are black and white. This is where one could fall. You see, the devil’s favorite color is gray. The devil cannot deal with absolutes. The devil hates the positive absolutes and hates for you to believe in the negative absolutes; which in this case you say, “black and white.”
[LIST]
*]Black and White
*]Dark and Light
*]Wrong and Right
*]Lies and Truth
*]Hell and Heaven
[/LIST]All Absolutes!
The devil does not want you to believe in Hell. The devil does not want you to think that lying is a sin. The devil does not want you to believe that there is a darkness even if you might be in total darkness.
He does not want you to believe that stealing, even in extreme circumstances, is a sin. The devil wants you to “go ahead and take what is not yours, it’s okay, after all you really need it right now because if you don’t take it you will die of starvation because no one else will provide it for you.”

Please remember what Jesus said and have Faith!!
God will provide if you only have Faith and pray for it!!

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about
your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about
your body, what you will wear. Is not life more
than food and the body more than clothing?
[size=]26 Look at the birds in the sky; they do not
sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are
not you more important than they?
[/size]
Matt 6:25-26

There are other things one can do if one is starving and doesn’t have money. I’ve seen homeless people beg or hold up signs. I have given many times in such cases. If someone is capable, they can get a second job or change jobs if you really need it and not because you want excess… anything but stealing. But most of all praying, and having faith. And if you think you don’t have enough faith, then pray to have more faith. “Lord, increase my faith.” I have prayed that many times and I still do to this day.

Stealing is wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s as simple as “black & white” to me. Just have faith.

Peace and God bless. :gopray:


#15

If you steal, you breaking a commandment. However, if you are starving, then it is likely that someone else is also breaking a commandment. (Judaism allows one to steal in order to save their life, but they must have the specific intention to pay back the owner. You can find Jewish sources that say no stealing, even to save a life, but the halacha, the law, follows the view that it is permissible under certain circumstances.)


#16

I think you might be misunderstanding this a wee bit. You should read that again; what I have in bold.

The way that I see it in this scenario is that it might possible that a person would first ask for some help, in this case food and/or clothing, and if the one who is being asked refuses out of greediness and shelfishness, then I guess this means that at this time the person starving can continue to plead and then maybe let them know that they are taking it anyway. That’s what this looks like to me, but who knows, I could be wrong.

No matter what, I still say stealing is wrong. No matter what the circumstances, stealing is wrong. I would rather ask friends and/or family members or even beg. But I would pray to God first before anything else. I always believe that God will provide. I always have hope no matter what.


#17

That’s because it is a sin.

[quote=LilyM]I mean even for those in desperate need there are usually more appropriate and less drastic ways to obtain the necessities of life, right?
[/quote]

Yes, and that is to ask God first and foremost. Have a little faith.


#18

Sure black isn’t white and sinful isn’t sinless.

At the same time not all sins are remotely equal in the consequences and punishment that attaches to them on a spiritual level. That’s why they’re classified into mortal and venial sins for starters (that’s sins ‘unto death’ (death of the soul) and sins ‘not unto death’ for those who know the biblical reference)

And a mother stealing to feed her starving baby during a hurricane is close to not being in the same ballpark as someone who willingly, voluntarily, and in a premeditated fashion, steals millions of dollars that they couldn’t possibly have any shadow of need for.

And no, sometimes God doesn’t just drop everything we need from the sky into our laps.


#19

Sure black isn’t white and sinful isn’t sinless.

At the same time not all sins are remotely equal in the consequences and punishment that attaches to them on a spiritual level. That’s why they’re classified into mortal and venial sins for starters (that’s sins ‘unto death’ (death of the soul) and sins ‘not unto death’ for those who know the biblical reference)

And a mother stealing to feed her starving baby during a hurricane is close to not being in the same ballpark as someone who willingly, voluntarily, and in a premeditated fashion, steals millions of dollars that they couldn’t possibly have any shadow of need for.


#20

Sorry, you’re wrong. Not all sin is the same.

16 If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the
sin is not deadly
, he should pray to God and
he will give him life. This is only for those
whose sin is not deadly
. There is such a
thing as deadly sin
, about which I do not
say that you should pray.
17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin
that is not deadly
.

But you’re not wrong in saying that if you repent your sins are forgiven. We Catholics just don’t believe that in the same way that many Protestants believe. We all need to go to Confession and confess our sins to a priest so that we can hear the words of absolution. After that our sins are forgiven. But then we still have to do penance for our sins.


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