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Life in Christ

577

A

rticle

7

THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT

You shall not steal.

186

2401

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.

I.

T

he

U

niversal

D

estination and

the

P

rivate

O

wnership of

G

oods

2402

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.

187

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.

2403

The

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

remains pri­

mordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires

respect for the right to private property and its exercise.

186

Ex

20:15;

Deut

5:19;

Mt

19:18.

187 Cf.

Gen

1:26-29.

1807

952

226

1939