Should Robin Hood be considered a hero given that he stole?


Full Question

Robin Hood "stole from the rich to give to the poor." Should he be regarded as a hero, given that he accomplished his good ends through the evil means of theft?

Answer

By taking the goods from the sheriff of Nottingham’s treasure wagons and giving them to the poor, Robin Hood was actually reclaiming goods unjustly stolen from the poor by the crown through unjust taxation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing) is to put at one’s disposal and use the property of others (CCC 2408, emphasis added).