The Seventh and Tenth Commandments
Editor's Note: This series is an effort to return to basics since too often we all make the holy Faith complicated, whereas in reality the truths and traditions of the Catholic Faith are quite simple. God doesn't complicate things, man does. Realizing the fact that, for many generations indoctrinated by conciliar ambiguities, it all seems so confusing, we are introducing this series which is an adaptation of an earlier series titled "Appreciating the Precious Gift of the Faith" in utilizing a combination of the excellent compendium of the late Bishop Morrow's pre-Vatican II Manual of Religion My Catholic Faith and Dom Prosper Gueranger's incomparable The Liturgical Year as well as the out-of-print masterpieces The Catholic Church Alone The One True Church(1902) and the Cabinet of Catholic Information (1903). Through prayer and discussions, we've decided to employ this revised series to simplify the tenets of the Faith for those who continue to wallow in what they think is the 'Catholic Church' out of obedience to a man and his hierarchy who long ago betrayed Christ and His flocks. This then, is an affirmation of the basic truths the Spotless Bride of Christ has always taught and cannot change or evolve as "living documents" for truth is truth. As we say every day in the Act of Faith, "We believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived." If you have been deceived, and the vast majority have been, then realize what you've been indoctrinated with over the past 50 years cannot be from God but from His adversary. Our advice: flee the conciliar confines as well as other man-made religions which do not teach these truths without compromise. Seek out a traditional chapel nearest to you. There is a list of churches you can absolutely trust at Traditional Latin Masses
Since the Seventh and Tenth Commandments are related, we will cover "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods" respectively.
Parents should be most careful to teach their children honesty in thought, word, and deed. As the child, so the man. If parents laugh indulgently at their child stealing food from the cupboard, keeping back change after errands, copying in examinations, throwing stones to break windows, defacing walls and books, picking flowers and fruits from another person's garden, etc. then those parents must not be surprised if when the child is grown up, he steals from the bank, forges signatures, cheats his employers, becomes a usurer, etc.
By the seventh commandment we are commanded to respect what belongs to others, to live up to our business agreements, and to pay our just debts. "Do not any unjust thing in judgment, in rule, in weight, or in measure. Let the balance be just and the weights equal, the bushel just, and the sextary equal…" (Leviticus 19:35-36). "Better is a little with justice than great revenues with iniquity" (Proverbs 16:8). "The wicked man borrows and does not repay" (Psalm 36:21).
The seventh and tenth commandments are treated together because both deal with commands about property. The seventh commandment refers to external acts, and the tenth to intentions or desires, against honesty.
One who is starving may, however, take what he absolutely needs. The right to live is above the right of property. But this permission must be used only in rare and extreme cases, when all other means have been exhausted.
The obligations regarding honesty are imposed on us in conscience, even though the civil laws may not compel it. "Take heed and guard yourself from all covetousness, for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (St. Luke 12:15). Violations of these commandments are opposed to natural law and justice, and are an attack on society, a menace to public security and peace.
Let us look at the chief violations against these commandments.
Stealing or theft is the secret taking of another person's property. Few sins are more common than theft. Covetousness leads to theft. Those who like to show themselves off in luxury, but have not the means frequently resort to theft. One must be very careful in avoiding even petty thefts, or he will contract a vice, and in a short time will find himself stealing more valuable things.
Robbery is the open and forcible taking of another person's property. Robbery or stealing is a slight or grave sin according to the injury done. Stealing a day's wages from a person is usually a mortal sin.
Stealing even a very small amount from a poor person is a mortal sin. A number of different small thefts from the same person or different persons within the space of one or two months, and amounting to a considerable sum, may be a mortal sin.
Cheating is depriving another of his property by crafty means. Included in cheating are: using false weights and measures, issuing counterfeit money, adulterating food and other producers and other products for sale, forgery, falsification of documents, smuggling, tampering with boundary lines, overcharging, excessive profits, arson with a view to collection of insurance money, etc.
Copying during an examination, or copying the work of another and presenting it as one's own work is also cheating. By it one obtains credit for what does not belong to him, and often gets what justly belongs to another. Copyrights are a form of property that must be respected.
Usury is the charging of excessive interest on money. A usurer takes unjust advantage of the need of another in order to make excessive profits. Under the appearance of helping the needy, a usurer involves them in greater hardships, taking from them their means of livelihood.
Another form of dishonesty is cornering the market, which consists in buying up the entire supply of one product, such as wheat, for the purpose of forcing up prices, and thus making excessive profits.
Unjust damage done to the property of others is against the seventh commandment. One may injure another's property by setting it on fire, treading down his crops, fishing or shooting on his grounds without permission, pulling down fences, defacing books, furniture, and buildings, etc. One who does willful damage to another's property must make good the loss. Accidental damage need not be made good, unless it came about through culpable negligence.
Thoughtless persons who pass through a farm sometimes pick fruit, vegetables, or corn. Some travelers have the bad habit of taking towels, dishes, pens, and similar things from trains, boats, and hotels as souvenirs. Children pick flowers from other people's gardens, throw stones at houses, write or desks, walls, and fences. They should be taught not to injure the property of others.
Public officials must be very careful not to accept bribes; they must guard against all signs of embezzlement. This, of course, has been thrown to the winds by today's politicians where corruption reigns supreme from the highest offices in the land to the local levels. They forget that officials are placed in office not to enrich themselves, but to serve the public. They must treat all the citizens fairly and justly, reject all dishonest efforts to sway them from honesty, shun all kinds of peculation, and the most careful in their duty.
It is a sin to contract debts beyond one's ability to pay, and not to pay debts when due, even if able. Young people should not go into debt; most of them, not having as yet any means of earning would have no sure source from which to repay their debts. It is very wrong to get into debt to satisfy a craving for amusement, in order to buy more and more fashionable clothes, etc. But once in debt, to pay is a moral obligation. That is why credit today is the quickest way to debt. The plastic world of credit cards has sent more than a few to the poor house.
Employers who do not pay a just living wage defraud others, and are guilty of injustice. Employees who waste time, do bad work willfully, or neglect to take reasonable care of their employers' property violate the seventh commandment.
Another sin against this commandment is the violation of business contracts. One may be guilty of dishonesty by obtaining money or goods from others for a specific purpose and using the donated articles for other purposes. One who borrows books, instruments, etc. must take care of them and return them in proper condition and in the proper time. Children must not steal from parents, or keep change from purchases.
Buying or receiving stolen goods is a sin against the seventh commandment; those who buy or receive stolen goods help and encourage thieves for the sake of gain.
Receiving all or a portion of the estate of a deceased person contrary to the expressed wishes of that person is a sin of dishonesty, even if done with the approval of civil courts.
Reparation of Damage to Property
Once Our Lord was walking through Jericho. A rich publican, Zacheus, wished to see Him, but the crowd was so great that he could not. He therefore climbed up a tree along the path of Our Lord Jesus saw Zacheus and told him to come down, for He would be his guest. Zacheus told Jesus that he would restore fourfold whatever he had taken wrongly from anyone. Thus he determined to make reparation for his usury. Upon this Jesus called Zacheus a son of Abraham (cf. Luke 19:10).
We are obliged to repair damage unjustly done to the property of others, or to pay the amount of the damage, as far as we are able. "If any man hurt a field or a vineyard, and put in his beast to feed upon that which is other men's he shall restore the best of whatsoever he hath in his own field, or in his vineyard, according to the estimation of the damage" (Exodus 22:4).
If we have unknowingly, by purchase or gift, obtained possession of stolen property, we are bound to restore it to the rightful owner, as soon as we learn the truth. We are just possessors only as long as we do not know the goods were stolen. As soon as we become aware of that fact, we must give up the property. "The beginning of a good way is to do justice; and this is more acceptable with God, than to offer sacrifices...Better is a little with justice, than great revenues with iniquity" (Proverbs 16:5, 8).
If one refuses to restore stolen property or to repair damage he has unjustly done to the property of others, he cannot be forgiven. He will not obtain pardon from God, nor absolution from the priest, even if he confess his sin over and over again.
As long as one does not sincerely intend to make reparation, his sin will not be remitted, even though he entreat divine pardon with weeping, or seek to appease divine justice by fasts and penances. It was not till Zacheus declared his determination to make restitution that Our Lord called him a son of Abraham ( cf. Luke 19:9).
Justice requires reparation of the evil we do, in so far as we have ability to make that reparation. Without restitution of reparation, there is no forgiveness.
St. Alphonsus Liguouri relates the story of a rich man who had an ulcer in the arm and was near death. The priest urged him to restore the property he had unjustly acquired, but the man refused, saying that if he did so, his three sons would be left penniless.
The priest then said he knew of a cure for the rich man's disease: a living person must allow his hand to be burned, and while still raw, be applied to the ulcer. Eager to get well, the rich man had his three sons called, but not one of them was willing to have his hand burned.
The priest then said: "See, not one of your sons will burn a hand for you; yet you are willing to burn in hell-fire for all eternity, only to leave them your wealth." The rich man's eyes were opened, and he consented to make restitution.
A person who has accidentally damaged the property of another is not obliged to repair the damage unless required by civil law. Employees are bound to take reasonable care of the property of employers.
We are obliged to restore to the owner stolen goods, or their value, whenever we are able. "If any man steal an ox or a sheep, and kill or sell it: he shall restore five oxen for one ox, and four sheep for one sheep" (Exodus 22:1).
If the rightful owner is dead, the property must be restored to his heirs. If there are no heirs, it must be given to the poor or for some other charitable purpose. If the thief cannot restore all he has stolen, he must restore all he can. If he has used what has been stolen, he must repair the damage done by restoring the equivalent. If he cannot restore anything, he must at least pray for the person he has wronged.
If poverty or some other circumstance prevents the thief from making restitution immediately, he must resolve to do so as soon as possible, and must make an effort to fulfill his resolution. Restitution may be made secretly, without letting the owner know that restitution is being made. For instance, a money order may be sent with a fictious name; or the priest, who is pledged to secrecy, may be entrusted with the property to be restored.
If we find an article of value, we must strive to discover the owner, in order to restore the article. The more valuable it is, the greater our obligation to discover the owner and restore it to him. If after all our earnest efforts we fail to find the rightful owner, we may keep the article.
A mason, engaged in repairing the stone wall of a building, found a metal box hidden in a cavity in the wall. He broke open the box and found that it contained jewels of all descriptions. He at once concealed the box and took it home without telling anyone what he had found. A few days afterwards, wishing to realize some money on the jewels, he took out several from the box and offered them to a jeweler for sale. The jeweler immediately had him arrested. The jewels he had offered were recognized as having belonged to a rich merchant who had been robbed and murdered a month before. The mason was unable to prove that he had merely found the box of jewels. He was tried and imprisoned for life for the murder of the merchant.
The tenth commandment forbids all desire to take or to keep unjustly what belongs to others, and also forbids envy at their success. We are permitted to desire the property of others only when we propose to obtain it by legitimate means, such as by purchase or exchange. "For covetousness is the root of all evils, and some in their eagerness to get rich have strayed from the faith and have involved themselves in many troubles" (1 Timothy 6:10).
Among those guilty of violating the tenth commandment are:
Communism is an extreme form of Socialism, a form of politico-economic system in which ownership of all property is vested in civil society, which then would control both production and distribution. It has repeatedly been condemned in papal encyclicals, notably those of Popes Leo XIII, Saint Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII. We can see how this dangerous heresy has infiltrated the Church over the past half century plus with the Hegelian mindset of one Joseph Ratzinger and before him, Karol Wojtyla who we see, was not "Blessed" but a communist in disguise, free to roam before coming to Rome because he was no threat to the communists whereas the Polish Patriarch Cardinal Wyzninksi was an outspoken critic of the hammer and sickle and remained under house arrest. You be the judge on why Wojtyla was free to roam before his time in Rome.
Today we can see this same Marxism threatening to swallow up the United States because of those who have risen in power and that is why in coming installments we will focus on the heresies of Communism, Liberalism, Modernism and how Liberation Theology poisoned the pot and the great maloprop "Social Justice" that has been so twisted by modernists today in abandoning individual salvation for 'collective salvation' which is, to put it bluntly, Mr. Obama, totally bogus!
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