Is Filing for Bankruptcy a Sin?

Is it a sin and against my Catholic religion to file for bankruptcy? Does it violate the Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not steal?

No, it is not a sin, presuming that you do nothing illegal to hide your financial assets and that you cooperate with the relevant civil laws about bankruptcy.

Most countries and states have set up laws and in some cases special courts to deal with bankruptcy cases. This is a distressing situation for everyone involved and may take years to resolve through the designated legal procedure.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read: “The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor[s] and wronging [them] in any way with respect to [their] goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of [human] labor. For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life strives to order this world’s goods to God and to fraternal charity ” (2401).

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1 thought on “Is Filing for Bankruptcy a Sin?”

  1. This response doesn’t quite get to the root of the question for me.
    The catechism reference “forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor[s]” hinges on the term justly.
    Just because the state says it is just does not make it so.
    Does St. Thomas Aquinas or any of the other saints have context to give?
    I cannot help but think of the parable of the man cast into the dungeon until he pays the last penny.
    When I think about the concept of unjust debts this is easy but what about just debts and hard times?

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