Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we now turn to the seventh commandment: “You shall not steal”. This commandment deals specifically with theft and with respect for the property of others. Yet it also invites us to consider, in the light of faith and the Church’s social doctrine, that the goods of creation are destined for the entire human race. The universal destination of goods does not detract from the right to private property, but sets that right in proper perspective. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “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” (CCC 2404). Our world has sufficient resources to meet the primary needs of all its inhabitants, yet so many members of our human family continue to suffer extreme want and even starvation for the lack of sound economic decisions inspired by solidarity and justice. The example of Christ, who, though rich became poor for our sake (cf. 2 Cor 8:9), reveals the true meaning and purpose of all wealth: it stands at the service of love, freedom and human dignity.  


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