SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: "Thou Shalt Not Steal."
specifically forbids injury to our neighbor in the Commandments.
"Thou shalt not kill" forbids us to injure our neighbor in his own
"Thou shalt not commit adultery" forbids injury to the person to
is bound in marriage; and now the Commandment, "Thou shalt not
forbids us to injure our neighbor in his goods. This Commandment
any worldly goods whatsoever to be taken away wrongfully.1
committed in a number of ways. First, by taking stealthily: "If
goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come."2
wholly blameworthy because it is a form of treachery. "Confusion . .
upon the thief."3
by taking with violence, and this is an even greater injury:
have violently robbed the fatherless."4 Among such that do such
are wicked kings and rulers: "Her princes are in the midst of her as
lions; her judges are evening wolves, they left nothing for the
They act contrary to God's will who wishes a rule according to
"By Me kings reign and lawgivers decree just things."6
such things stealthily and sometimes with violence: "Thy princes
faithless companions of thieves, they all love bribes, they run after
At times they steal by enacting laws and enforcing them for
only: "Woe to them that make wicked laws."8 And St. Augustine
every wrongful usurpation is theft when he asks: "What are thrones but
theft is committed by not paying wages that are due: "The wages of
hath been hired by thee shall not abide by thee until the
This means that a man must pay every one his due, whether he be
prelate, or cleric, etc.: "Render therefore to all men their dues.
to whom tribute is due, custom, to whom custom."11 Hence, we are
give a return to rulers who guard our safety.
fourth kind of theft is fraud in buying and selling: "Thou shalt not
divers weights in thy bag, a greater and a less."12 And again:
unjust thing in judgment, in rule, in weight, or in measure."13
directed against the keepers of wine-shops who mix water with the
Usury is also forbidden: "Who shall dwell in Thy tabernacle, or who
rest in Thy holy hill? . . . He that hath not put his money out to
This is also against money-changers who commit many frauds, and
the sellers of cloth and other goods.
theft is committed by those who buy promotions to positions of
or spiritual honor. "The riches which he hath swallowed, he shall
up, and God shall draw them out of his belly,"15 has reference to
position. Thus, all tyrants who hold a kingdom or province or land
are thieves, and are held to restitution. Concerning spiritual
"Amen, amen, I say to you, he that entereth not by the door into
sheepfold but climbeth up another way is a thief and a robber."16
they who commit simony are thieves.