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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
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Swingman/Editor
 
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Our readers asked:

I severely underpaid for the condo I got at a foreclosure auction. It was a great steal but as soon as I walked through the door I saw some of the possessions of the family of five who once lived there. Is it wrong for me to profit from their pain?

Rachel Bundang Answers:

The premise of a foreclosure auction is that you’re looking to purchase a home cheaply.  You get the low price due to the property repossessed for default then being resold to recoup whatever possible from the lender’s losses.  On one hand, you’re exercising good stewardship of your own resources.  On the other, the family moving out is clearly in distress, regardless of who’s to blame.

You apparently do profit from their pain… but you don’t know all the specifics of their situation:  Were they irresponsible with their money?  Were they exploited by the mortgage industry? Every party in this situation plays a role in the structural violence and inequities the socioeconomic system creates.  Whatever you do, integrate compassion into your response—in what other concrete ways might you help persons affected by the housing crisis and bring about justice in the process should you chose to keep the condo?

 
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The Author : Rachel Bundang
Rachel Bundang is a writer and doctoral student in theology and ethics in New York City.
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