From the Daily Mail:
A clergyman has been criticised as 'highly irresponsible' after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon.
Father Tim Jones, 41, broke off from his traditional annual sermon yesterday to tell his flock that stealing from large chains is sometimes the best option for vulnerable people.
It is far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than turn to 'prostitution, mugging or burglary', he said.
The married father-of-two insisted his unusual advice did not break the Bible commandment 'Thou shalt not steal' - because God's love for the poor outweighs his love for the rich.
But the minister's controversial sermon at St Lawrence Church in York has been slammed by police and a local MP, who say that no matter what the circumstances, shoplifting is an offence.
Delivering his festive lesson, Father Jones told the congregation: 'My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift. I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.
'I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.
'I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.
'I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay has created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.'
He added that he felt society had failed the needy, and said it was far better they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary...
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." "In what way have you sinned?" "I stole a 32" flat screen, ultra- slimline hd Toshiba tv. Not for myself, but for my desperate children, who have been mocked, despiséd and rejected by their schoolmates, after they had found out that we only had a 29" cheap model tv. My children can now hold their heads up high at school, and the bullies are friends with them again." "Where did you take the tv from? Was it a small family business or a large capitalist concern." "I took it from a mega-store in the shopping mall, Father." " That's ok then, that'll be a large capitalist concern. You have in no way sinned. You have brought a lot of happiness to your poor children and you have deprived the greedy capitalists of a little of their ill-gotten profits. God is pleased with you. Go and think no more of it... And a Happy Winterval to you and yours." "Ta very much. The same to you, Father .. Happy Winter...thingy"