Stealing not always a sin?
#11
(05-31-2011, 02:36 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote:
(05-31-2011, 02:35 PM)UnamSanctam Wrote:
(05-31-2011, 02:31 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote:
(05-31-2011, 01:09 PM)UnamSanctam Wrote: Excuses for Stealing Refuted

As there are not wanting those who would even excuse their thefts, these are to be admonished that God will accept no excuse for sin; and that their excuses, far from extenuating, serve only greatly to aggravate their guilt.

-Roman Catechism

This refers to those who justify their sin.  But it does not address those who do not sin.  Taking what appears to be someone else's is not always stealing.  It is taking what is lawfully another's which constitutes stealing.

If I am starving (literally starving) and I ask a rich man for bread and he could give me some but doesn't, I don't steal by taking that bread to survive, for the rich man does not really lawfully own that bread.  He is the one stealing it, and I am using it appropriately.

No one lawfully owns anything.

Then why is there a commandment against stealing?  You don't believe in private property?

Of course everything is God's, but that doesn't mean there is no lawful ownership under God.

How is the ownership of food, which you say none can lawfully own, any different than the concept of ownership clothing or shelter, the other physical necessities?
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#12
(05-31-2011, 02:38 PM)UnamSanctam Wrote:
(05-31-2011, 02:36 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote:
(05-31-2011, 02:35 PM)UnamSanctam Wrote:
(05-31-2011, 02:31 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote:
(05-31-2011, 01:09 PM)UnamSanctam Wrote: Excuses for Stealing Refuted

As there are not wanting those who would even excuse their thefts, these are to be admonished that God will accept no excuse for sin; and that their excuses, far from extenuating, serve only greatly to aggravate their guilt.

-Roman Catechism

This refers to those who justify their sin.  But it does not address those who do not sin.  Taking what appears to be someone else's is not always stealing.  It is taking what is lawfully another's which constitutes stealing.

If I am starving (literally starving) and I ask a rich man for bread and he could give me some but doesn't, I don't steal by taking that bread to survive, for the rich man does not really lawfully own that bread.  He is the one stealing it, and I am using it appropriately.

No one lawfully owns anything.

Then why is there a commandment against stealing?  You don't believe in private property?

Of course everything is God's, but that doesn't mean there is no lawful ownership under God.

How is the ownership of food, which you say none can lawfully own, any different than the concept of ownership clothing or shelter, the other physical necessities?

You need to re-read what I wrote.

I never said none can lawfully own food.  And I never distinguished between food and other necessities, only used food as one example.

Let me re-state the Catholic position for you (as stated by St. Thomas and by earlier Fathers including St. John Chrysostom): we have a right to ownership and private property but it is not absolute.  There is such a thing as reasonable ownership.

So if I am storing up food while others are dying of starvation, I am not legimitately enjoying my own property - I am stealing from the common good.

This would be true of shelter too.  If I have room in my house and someone is literally dying outside of my house because I refuse to give him shelter, he does not sin by creeping in a window in order to avoid dying.  My private ownership of my house is not absolute either.
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#13
My. my, not to be a smart guy but had you have come through poverty this "not stealing" would have been apparent to you. Sometimes one has to jettison all of the riches one is used to in America/Europe/Australia,  to see straight.  If you were poor and asked for a loaf of bread and the baker said 'go away", he is the sinner, not you who was starving. I pray you'll not experience it after the chastisement. It's really a downer to be at the bottom.

tim
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#14
(05-31-2011, 03:46 PM)timoose Wrote: My. my, not to be a smart guy but had you have come through poverty this "not stealing" would have been apparent to you. Sometimes one has to jettison all of the riches one is used to in America/Europe/Australia,  to see straight.  If you were poor and asked for a loaf of bread and the baker said 'go away", he is the sinner, not you who was starving. I pray you'll not experience it after the chastisement. It's really a downer to be at the bottom.

tim
This. What's more grossly insensitive is when a bakery tells you that they will not give you any bread and then you find that they routinely throw a few hundred baguettes in the canal at closing.
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#15
You got it St. Drogo. The taste of poverty remains in your mouth even as a memory through your life.

tim
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#16
(05-31-2011, 03:52 PM)St. Drogo Wrote:
(05-31-2011, 03:46 PM)timoose Wrote: My. my, not to be a smart guy but had you have come through poverty this "not stealing" would have been apparent to you. Sometimes one has to jettison all of the riches one is used to in America/Europe/Australia,  to see straight.  If you were poor and asked for a loaf of bread and the baker said 'go away", he is the sinner, not you who was starving. I pray you'll not experience it after the chastisement. It's really a downer to be at the bottom.

tim
This. What's more grossly insensitive is when a bakery tells you that they will not give you any bread and then you find that they routinely throw a few hundred baguettes in the canal at closing.

Amen, you two!
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#17
Proverbs 6:30-31 Wrote:People do not despise a thief if he steals
  to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
  he will give all the goods of his house.

Food for thought.
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#18
(05-31-2011, 05:37 PM)Dante Alighieri Wrote:
Proverbs 6:30-31 Wrote:People do not despise a thief if he steals
   to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
   he will give all the goods of his house.

Food for thought.

Scripture is always food for thought.  Before condemning anyone (or coming to any definitive conclusion) however, it is best to read Scripture with the mind of the Church.

Besides, it sounds like this verse is referring to someone who is hungry as in hasn't eaten for a while and wants some food.

I don't think it's talking about the person who is really suffering from starvation.

The Old Law required those with fields to allow widows and orphans to glean.

Our Lord commands us to be perfect, and told the young rich man that to be perfect we must, beyond following the commandments, sell all we have and give to the poor and follow Him.

So taking all of Scripture and Tradition together, I think the answer to this basic question is pretty clear -- stealing is a grave sin, but what we sometimes call "stealing," i.e. taking X from Y, when Y says it is his own, or the State says it belongs to Y, or some other authority says it belongs to Y, it not necessarily really stealing.  It is only stealing when it legitimately belongs to Y and X has no right to it.
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#19
(05-30-2011, 09:21 PM)Petertherock Wrote: In the book "The Dogma of Hell" in the "How to avoid Hell" section it says that in the case where a man has no income and has a family to support if he steals food from a shop because the owner wouldn't give him any food it wouldn't be a sin because the only other outcome would be the sickness and possible death of him and his family. However, he would be obliged to pay for the food he took if he was able at some later time.
Heard something smiliar in ethics that if a man has no money and must feed his starving family it would not be a sin.
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#20
Like I said before, read St. Thomas on this issue.

Here's even a link to it:
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3066.htm

It's the Summa Theologiae, II-II Q. 66.
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