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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