Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 589 2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.’” 249 Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” 250 In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of san­ dals . . . ,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren: 251 When her mother reproached her for caring for the poor and the sick at home, St. Rose of Lima said to her: “When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus. 252 IN BRIEF 2450 “You shall not steal” ( Ex 20:15; Deut 5:19). “Neither thieves, nor the greedy . . . , nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God” ( 1 Cor 6:10). 2451 The seventh commandment enjoins the practice of justice and charity in the administration of earthly goods and the fruits of men’s labor. 2452 The goods of creation are destined for the entire hu­ man race. The right to private property does not abol­ ish the universal destination of goods. 2453 The seventh commandment forbids theft. Theft is the usurpation of another’s goods against the reasonable will of the owner. 2454 Every manner of taking and using another’s property unjustly is contrary to the seventh commandment. The injustice committed requires reparation. Commu­ tative justice requires the restitution of stolen goods. 249 Deut 15:11. 250 Jn 12:8. 251 Am 8:6; cf. Mt 25:40. 252 P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668). 1397 786