"You shall not steal" (Ex 20:15; Deut 5:19). "Neither thieves, nor the greedy, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:10).The Church teaches that we all have the right to private property, legally protected from theft. The reason is so that we may secure ourselves and our families in a world that threatens us with poverty and violence. But we should never forget, especially if our needs have been basically met, that what we own is destined for everyone. God created everything in the world for everyone, not for any one person or small group of people to hoard and indulge in. If we have what we need, with the primary emphasis rightly being on our own families, we now especially have the duty to look outward. We must, in various ways, help others achieve and share in this security. We are called to be stewards of God's creation. Detachment from riches and the seeking of the true kingdom of God, something the tenth commandment teaches, helps us to accomplish this.
Jesus said, “Whatever you have done to the least of my brethren, you have done to me” (Matthew 25:40).As with the all the commandments, the seventh has very deep meaning. It is the basis for the Church's social justice teaching, which is essentially concerned with giving others their due (i.e. working to end poverty). It also calls for the protection of the environment and the right treatment of animals.
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|part 3, section 2, chapter 2, article 7|
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