“Ask a Priest: What If My Husband Steals From Work?”

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Q: I have been married for almost 40 years, and I never know how to deal with this problem. My husband brings home things that he takes from work. These are usually small things like garbage bags, pens, stacks of paper towels, even cleaning products. Whenever I notice that he has brought something home I ask him about it, and he does not see what the problem is. He used to just take the things when he saw them at work, but when I told him that that’s stealing, he started just asking other staff to give these things to him, thinking that excuses him. I pointed out to him that what he’s doing is asking other people to sin by stealing. He gets angry with me and accuses me of being “too religious.” My dilemma is, how do I live peacefully and in good conscience in a home that is often receiving stolen goods? I don’t use what he brings home. I ask him to return all of it. I don’t know if he does. I pray for him. I pray for me. I don’t want to offend our most loving God and Father. Please shed light for me if you can. Thank you. — K.A.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It sounds as though you are already doing the right thing.

You have voiced your opposition to his habit of taking things from work, and you don’t use these items yourself.

His insistence that he doesn’t see anything wrong with taking the items indicates that he has a degree of moral ignorance.

Whether this ignorance is blameworthy or curable is another issue. God alone knows your husband’s heart and mind.

For now, you have spoken your peace. It would be good to continue to pray for your husband and maybe offer up sacrifices for him, too.


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