The Seventh Commandment In The News

From what I can see, not one Catholic commenter has tackled a news story that made the rounds 6 March. According to the AP account, which matches Rome Reports’ video of the event, Pope Francis told the priests of Rome that some years prior he had removed the crucifix from the rosary of his late confessor, whose corpse was clutching the rosary in its casket. Francis claims to have kept the crucifix on his person ever since as a reminder of mercy.

While not in any way judging the state of Francis’ soul, I do wish to use the story he told as an opportunity to make a few comments about the seventh commandment. By publishing this story, the media wants you to take away the idea that stealing is not a big deal. On the contrary, the seventh commandment forbids it in unambiguous terms.

“Thou shalt not steal” applies whether the victim is dead or alive. Grave robbery is theft, and violates the seventh commandment.

If a man violates the seventh commandment, and later repents of his sin, one of the ways he must demonstrate his repentance is to do his best to restore the property to its rightful owner. Keeping the stolen goods is considered an indication that the thief is not truly repentant of his theft. It can nullify the good effects of his confession, leaving him in a state of grave sin.

If you are guilty of theft, run to the nearest confessional and confess your sin. Do penance, and return the stolen goods. I do not wish you to suffer eternal hellfire over one small theft.