EWTN Catholic Q&A
Is this considered stealing?
Question from P.J. on 09-26-2013:

If I buy admission to a movie and switch theaters to see a second movie (after I've seen the first movie), is this considered stealing? I have a friend who does this regularly and he says that it's not wrong. His logic is that if we pay for entrance into the theater (and sometimes at pretty inflated prices), what we choose to do once inside isn't theft.

I've refused to do this with him several times, which sometimes leads to tension between us, but lately I've been wondering if I'm not being too scrupulous (something I think I have a tendency towards in general). So, would this be considered stealing?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 09-27-2013:


Yes, it is considered stealing. Since your friend thinks he is merely buying admission to a movie complex, you might ask him to ponder then why ticket-buyers must specify which movie they want to watch when buying tickets. Why also is the ticket-buyer given a receipt that names the movie he has bought admission to, and why is he expected to show it to ushers upon request to check his eligibility to be in a certain theater?

Basically, your friend has been able, so far, to get away with what he is doing. But if he is caught inside a theater with a ticket for another movie that has already played (demonstrating that he has not merely wandered into the wrong theater but is committing theft) then he will likely have to plead his case not to you or to a priest, but to cops and possibly a judge.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers