Catholics/Property taken

Advertisement


Question
Having Luke 6:30 (NAB) "Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back."  Does this taking pertain only to personal or inexpensive possessions, or also more valuable property such as one's house?

Answer
This Scripture passage was never about handing anything over to someone for them to sell off and profit from, but rather of sharing the use of something with someone in need.  If it were a case of someone truly in need wishing refuge in some spare room or corner of your house, and they are willing to respect the house rules and also be a contributing member of the household (by performing chores, etc. if they cannot pay money or provide other such remuneration) and not be "up to something (e. g. spying out where your valuables are), then hospitality is certainly the Christian way, and what is being asked.  This is not about some thief just snatching ownership from you or pushing you out of the house and physically taking over as some squatter, and you having to just allow that.  One does also have a first duty to one's own household.  When you share the coat to someone who asks it of you, friend to friend, he is just using it for now as a protection from the cold until he can get his own; this does not mean that it is now his coat as if he had bought and paid for it himself.
So this is not about "how much?" but about the nature of the need and of the needy person and of your relation to them as a friend, relative, neighbor, or just fellow member of humanity.  Charitable helping out does not mean accepting responsibility for someone's life, but about providing specific aid to someone who puts that aid to good and constructive use, and for which any reasonable person should be truly grateful for.
Of course, if it is about the distribution of assets in such a thing as a divorce for example, then I suspect this would be a matter for the courts and in that case I can only recommend that you find a lawyer trained and qualified in the area.  Our laws, complex as they are, do often seem to follow general ethics fairly well (not perfect of course), and could be a good guide.  Christian charity cannot oblige you to surrender a house you have bought and paid for, whole and entire (though things are much more complicated if the other person contributed to the purchase of the house, either directly by payments from their own money, or indirectly from services rendered that have spared you money the house would have required (e. g. maintenance, or them surrendering the opportunity of a career to make the house into a home), though it could oblige you to hospitality so long as the need is real and the person(s) will conduct themselves as reasonable houseguests.
Hope this helps, or at least provides some additional perspective on your question, God bless!

Catholics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Griff Ruby

Expertise

I focus on the "why" and "how" questions of the Faith and one`s need for the Church to overcome sin, live the life God wishes us, and to become what God wants us to be. I seek to provide insight and information such that you are then able to see for yourself the answer to your questions.

Experience

Years of extensive research, thought, and prayerful meditation on many of the issues that trouble Catholics today, taught catechetical classes to teenagers and adults, answered many questions already.

Organizations
Legion of Mary, Knights of Columbus

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.