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Joanna wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • As Catholics, do we have to report fraud to authorities? . . . even if done by our parents or family members?
  • For example, what if we were aware of tax fraud by our parents or family members and we knew it would ruin their life and those of their close acquaintances?

Joanna

  { As Catholics, do we have to report fraud to authorities even if done by our family members? }

Bob replied:

Joanna,

There is no specific commandment requiring the act of whistle-blowing, however, your conscience should be your guide.

Ask some of the following questions:

  • Is the matter serious?
  • Were others harmed?
  • Was criminal activity involved?

I may find myself compelled to report, even a loved one, if he or she was defrauding another person.

I'm not sure I would report someone cheating on their taxes. I think I would let the authorities do their own job and stay out of it. There is a lot of gray area in the way businesses and people handle their finances. Some ways are legitimate, some not, but there are other people who's job it is to sort that out.

I would tend to stay out of things that I don't see as directly harming another individual but that is only my opinion and inclination, not a Gospel edict.

Ultimately, this is something your conscience will have to wrestle with to find peace. Let your conscience be clear and pray that God leads you to act the way He would have you. He may tell you to let Him handle it, after all, nothing escapes Him.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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