Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Petty Theft and the Seventh Commandment

Q: I work in an ice cream parlor part time. After hours we help ourselves to all the ice cream we want without paying. Is that really stealing? Everyone does it and our boss doesn’t pay us what we’re worth anyway.

A: Yes, that is stealing, which is against the seventh commandment.

The Catholic Church teaches that in some circumstances, you may be less responsible for a bad thing you do. For example, if you hurt someone because they’re trying to kill you, you’re less responsible for the act itself, but that doesn’t make it right. This doesn’t apply in your case – and even if it did, it still wouldn’t make it the right thing to do.

We read in the Bible, “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” (Lk. 16:10) This is great advice. If it is easy for you to steal ice cream today, it will be easier for you to steal big things in the future.
If you don’t think you’re getting paid what you’re worth, it would be a much better, and much more Christian idea, to get a new job than to steal from your boss.