Catechism of the Catholic Church

578 Part Three 2404 “In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but com­ mon to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself.” 188 The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family. 2405 Goods of production—material or immaterial—such as land, fac­ tories, practical or artistic skills, oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number. Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor. 2406 Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good. 189 II. R espect for P ersons and T heir G oods 2407 In economic matters, respect for human dignity requires the practice of the virtue of temperance, so as to moderate attach­ ment to this world’s goods; the practice of the virtue of justice, to preserve our neighbor’s rights and render himwhat is his due; and the practice of solidarity, in accordance with the golden rule and in keeping with the generosity of the Lord, who “though he was rich, yet for your sake . . . became poor so that by his poverty, you might become rich.” 190 Respect for the goods of others 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. 191 188 GS 69 § 1. 189 Cf. GS 71 § 4; SRS 42; CA 40; 48. 190 2 Cor 8:9. 191 Cf. GS 69 § 1. 307 1903 1809 1807 1939