Life in Christ
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not steal.
The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or
keeping the goods of one’s neighbor and wronging him in any way
with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the
care of earthly goods and the fruits of men’s labor. For the sake of
the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination
of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life
strives to order this world’s goods to God and to fraternal charity.
In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources
to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them,
master themby labor, and enjoy their fruits.
The goods of creation
are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is di
vided up among men to assure the security of their lives,
endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropria
tion of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and
dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic
needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a
natural solidarity to develop between men.
right to private property,
acquired or received in a just
way, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the
whole of mankind. The
universal destination of goods
mordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires
respect for the right to private property and its exercise.