Author Topic: Restitution  (Read 477 times)

Offline Daniel

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Restitution
« on: September 17, 2020, 10:52:07 PM »
I have too many questions when it comes to restitution, but I'll ask just a few here.

If I owe to one party some money that I borrowed, and if I owe to a second party a large amount of money that I stole, and if I owe to a third party a small amount of money which is the value of property damage, and if all the money owed cannot be paid at the same time because I don't have the money, then is there any particular order in which I must pay everything off? Some sort of priority-weighted hierarchy or something? Like, does borrowed money get repaid before restitution, or after? Do smaller amounts need to be paid first, or last? Does restitution for stolen property take priority over restitution for damaged property, or vice versa? Does the chronology of the various injustices play any role in determining the order of paying the restitution?

Also, how does this affect the tithe? Do we simply not pay the tithe until after we've paid off all the money we owe? Or does the tithe always come first?

Also, where do our personal expenses fit in? I take it that we are permitted to pay for our expenses even if we still owe money, right? But luxury items are absolutely forbidden, right? What about spending money to do a retreat? And what about buying an occasional lottery ticket in the hopes that God, through it, will provide us with the money we need in order to pay off all the money we owe as well as enable us to pursue our vocation?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 10:53:50 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline The Theosist

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2020, 07:38:17 AM »
Every lender chooses to take a risk, but the person you stole from didn't agree to give you money.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2020, 12:56:52 PM »
I'll ask just a few here.

This is more than a few.

If I owe to one party some money that I borrowed, and if I owe to a second party a large amount of money that I stole, and if I owe to a third party a small amount of money which is the value of property damage, and if all the money owed cannot be paid at the same time because I don't have the money, then is there any particular order in which I must pay everything off? Some sort of priority-weighted hierarchy or something? Like, does borrowed money get repaid before restitution, or after? Do smaller amounts need to be paid first, or last? Does restitution for stolen property take priority over restitution for damaged property, or vice versa? Does the chronology of the various injustices play any role in determining the order of paying the restitution?

These are good questions, but they are matters of prudential judgment that only you can answer. If you have the right spirit of paying what you owe, then you can resolve the details in any number of different ways.

Personally, I would clear any small debts that you are able to pay. So if you owe someone $20, then pay them and be done. If you owe someone else $10,000, don't wait until you can finish paying them before you pay the other person $20.
 
Also, how does this affect the tithe? Do we simply not pay the tithe until after we've paid off all the money we owe? Or does the tithe always come first?

"Contributing to the support of your parish" is one of the 6 laws of the Church. So you have to keep doing that. But you can put $10 in the basket and still save money to pay off debts.

Also, where do our personal expenses fit in? I take it that we are permitted to pay for our expenses even if we still owe money, right? But luxury items are absolutely forbidden, right? What about spending money to do a retreat?

Someone I know once looked at her bank account and said, "Oh no, I'm spending too much, I have to cut back," and so she took out her notebook and scratched out "Family," "Church", and "Beggars."

Actually, this was a very good person for whom those were her major expense categories, and so it was natural to cut back in those areas. Still it shows that there is a natural human tendency to cut back on charitable actions, when in fact the opposite is what we need to do.

Here is the bottom line: God is giving you an opportunity to learn a spirit of frugality. True frugality does not mean using coupons to "buy-one-get-one-free" at the grocery store. It means disciplining our soul so that we no longer desire things for ourselves. When I don't want things for myself, then I don't spend too much money.

In the natural realm, frugality and generosity are opposites. When I am calculating a tip, I can give more or give less. I can be more frugal or more generous, but not both. But in the supernatural realm, the more frugal I am, the more generous I can be. The more that I deny myself, the more I have to give to others. The more I control my own desires, the more I can give of myself.

There is the stereotype of the frugal person being miserly, but if we have true frugality, then we can be the most generous. In your case, for example, the more you develop the spirit of frugality, the more generous you can be to your creditors.

And what about buying an occasional lottery ticket in the hopes that God, through it, will provide us with the money we need in order to pay off all the money we owe as well as enable us to pursue our vocation?

No. We can't do evil so that good may come of it. Lottery tickets are from the devil.
 
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Offline Elizabeth.2

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2020, 01:06:00 PM »



No. We can't do evil so that good may come of it. Lottery tickets are from the devil.

Hi Maxim,  Do you have time to explain? 

I just don't get lottery ticket buying or why people do it over and over.  I don't know the spiritual and psychological problems, though.
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2020, 02:00:10 PM »
No. We can't do evil so that good may come of it. Lottery tickets are from the devil.
Hi Maxim,  Do you have time to explain? 

I just don't get lottery ticket buying or why people do it over and over.  I don't know the spiritual and psychological problems, though.

You can find lots of explanations from a pragmatic point of view why the lottery is such a scam. It's a regressive tax on the poor which is sometimes referred to as a "tax on stupidity."

But the more important question, as you point out, is the spiritual effect. The Lottery is designed to be an incitement to the vice of avarice. Dreaming about millions of dollars is profoundly harmful to the soul, whether or not we ever actually win anything.

As that vice grows and develops, it makes us dissatisfied with our actual lives. We imagine the life we would be living if we won millions of dollars, and the life we live begins to appear tawdry and worthless in comparison.

The reality is that winning the lottery has destructive effects on most of the people who win. There are countless stories of lottery winners whose lives were destroyed by the money. In the meantime, the millions of others who did not win the money are tempted to live in a fantasy world.

The spirit of poverty is the virtue necessary for the spiritual life. The lottery is directly targeted at opposing and corrupting this essential virtue. While it's true that a person who is wealthy for legitimate reasons can still have the virtue of poverty, lottery money is not legitimately earned either through inheritance or enterprise, and therefore its possession can never be compatible with a spirit of poverty.

Buying a lottery ticket is itself a demonstration that one desires to possess large amounts of money that have not been honestly earned. There is an evil spirit trying to lead us astray, and when we buy a lottery ticket, we show that we have succumbed.
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2020, 02:08:38 PM »
Buying a lottery ticket is itself a demonstration that one desires to possess large amounts of money that have not been honestly earned.

Not always though. In my case, it's a matter of desiring to be free of debt so that I can pursue my vocation. I have no objection to "honestly earning" the money, but my problem is that I don't have that kind of time. I am in my 30s and am getting old. I'm in so much debt that it's going to take several years (perhaps more than a decade) to pay it all off. But I only have about 2 or 3 years before I am too old to join a religious community or enter the seminary. (The seminary is even more of a problem, since, in addition to paying off all the debt, I'm also going to need to save up money for the tuition and the room and board.)

But I suppose you're right. And if God does want to miraculously give me the money, He can find some way to do so that doesn't involve me purchasing a lottery ticket.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2020, 02:11:50 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2020, 02:24:36 PM »
Buying a lottery ticket is itself a demonstration that one desires to possess large amounts of money that have not been honestly earned.
In my case, it's a matter of desiring to be free of debt so that I can pursue my vocation.

That is still a temptation. It's a delusion from the devil. Just like someone who says, "I buy lottery tickets so that if I win, I can build an orphanage." That is not what God intends.

The real danger is that it leads us away from reality. The debt is reality. God wants us to perfect our souls by dealing with that reality. As we slowly and painfully pay for our sins, we grow and develop in the virtues.

Winning the lottery would short-circuit the entire reason why God's divine providence has put us into our situation. If we could resolve our debt without the pain, then we would never grow in virtue which is the whole point of the enterprise.

 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2020, 12:46:25 PM »
A thought crossed my mind.

The Church has the keys to bind heaven and earth. Does this not entail that the Church, if she wanted to, could cancel all of my debts?
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2020, 01:26:17 PM »
The Church has the keys to bind heaven and earth. Does this not entail that the Church, if she wanted to, could cancel all of my debts?

The Church can cancel your culpability for having incurred the debt, but the money is still owed.

So if you go to confession and say, "Bless me father, for I have sinned, I stole $1,000 from my employer," the priest can grant you absolution for the moral action of theft, but you still have an obligation to pay back the $1,000. In fact even more so, because previously you had a natural obligation in justice to restore what was stolen, but now you have a supernatural obligation to fulfill the terms of your absolution.

When Jesus came to the house of Zacchaeus, He forgave Zacchaeus' sins of defrauding others, but Zacchaeus promised that he would pay back 4-fold to all those whom he had cheated.

Jesus forgave the sins of a public sinner because He saw that Zacchaeus had the intention of making restitution, just like the woman caught in adultery washed Jesus' feet with her tears.

People were scandalized that Jesus would accept Zacchaeus, but Jesus saw into his heart. Imagine, however, how much greater the scandal would be if the following day Zacchaeus reneged on his promise and continued to defraud others.
 

Offline Greg

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2020, 02:20:08 PM »
That would mean that Zacchaeus only cheated around 12% of people or less.

Assuming he had spent half of the money already, on living, how would he get 4 times the money to pay them back?

Bernie Madoff could never pay the money back to the people he had cheated if he lived 50 lifetimes.

What is the point in cheating, if you cheat in such a small way that you have 4 times what you have cheated from people sitting around in savings or assets?

If you pay them from future income then you'd need to earn, honestly, 4 times more than you earned when you were cheating.  Or twice as much and pay them back for longer.

In which case why were you cheating at all?  Just get an honest job!
« Last Edit: October 01, 2020, 02:22:42 PM by Greg »
 

Offline TandJ

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2020, 02:51:54 PM »
Iíve often wondered what happens to a person who stole millions and then repents and confesses  on his deathbed before paying the money back to those he stole from. Can a person like this be forgiven and if so does it mean an incredibly long purgatory time? But if this person receives the apostolic pardon does he go straight to heaven without having paid back the money? How does this work?
 

Offline Greg

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2020, 03:08:21 PM »
In a Church that says you can hope Hell is empty it does not work at all.  Just keep the money and spend it on coke and hookers.

Since the Good Thief did not pay the money back, (that is why he was crucified), I imagine that paying it back if you cannot is not a bar to Heaven.

And the Parable of the workers in the Vineyard suggests that God just decides however He likes.
 

Offline Gerard

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2020, 11:36:40 PM »
Buying a lottery ticket is itself a demonstration that one desires to possess large amounts of money that have not been honestly earned.

Not always though. In my case, it's a matter of desiring to be free of debt so that I can pursue my vocation. I have no objection to "honestly earning" the money, but my problem is that I don't have that kind of time. I am in my 30s and am getting old. I'm in so much debt that it's going to take several years (perhaps more than a decade) to pay it all off. But I only have about 2 or 3 years before I am too old to join a religious community or enter the seminary. (The seminary is even more of a problem, since, in addition to paying off all the debt, I'm also going to need to save up money for the tuition and the room and board.)

But I suppose you're right. And if God does want to miraculously give me the money, He can find some way to do so that doesn't involve me purchasing a lottery ticket.


On the other hand..... I actually know some people who were the children of winners of the lottery.  The parents were good (I'll say old fashioned rather than traditionalist ) Catholics who raised 8 children, worked hard their whole lives and had little to nothing saved for retirement.  The husband got ill and had to stop working.  At the same time, they won a multi-million dollar lottery that had multiple winners.  They took the annuity payment and it literally provided a nice substitute for the loss of income and a modest retirement.  There was enough to provide for the husband's medical needs till he died. It also provided enough for the wife to live independently, with enough for birthday and Christmas gifts for the grandchildren and cover her own medical needs until she passed away.  Nothing of note was left over to be divided among the surviving children.  It wasn't a glamorous win and was more of a "just enough" gift to hold them in their old age and changing health conditions. 
 

Offline The Theosist

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2020, 07:22:14 AM »
In a Church that says you can hope Hell is empty it does not work at all.  Just keep the money and spend it on coke and hookers.

Since the Good Thief did not pay the money back, (that is why he was crucified), I imagine that paying it back if you cannot is not a bar to Heaven.

And the Parable of the workers in the Vineyard suggests that God just decides however He likes.

It's not the paying back but the willingness to pay back.
 

Offline Greg

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Re: Restitution
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2020, 07:27:20 AM »
Then when you steal you should steal as much as you are able to.

If you are ever sorry it is just as easy to be willing to pay back a billion as ten-thousand.