Wacky vicar tells skint flock to go shoplifting
There’s nothing wackier than a comedy vicar at Christmas, and if a story in the (ahem) Daily Mail is to be believed, Father Tim Jones of St. Lawrence Church in York is the wackiest of all.
During his Nativity sermon yesterday, he told his congregation that if all else has failed and they can’t afford any stuff this Christmas, that they should shoplift it instead.
But he isn’t advocating the widespread looting of any and every retail establishment – he has standards you see. After all, he is a man of God. Father Tim said:
“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.”
In spite of how it looks, Father Tim says he isn’t advocating shoplifting (yes he is) and says that it’s a better alternative to prostitution, mugging and burglary. So that’s alright then.
When asked about how his thoughts stack up against that tricky eighth commandment, the one about the not stealing and that, Father Tim said: “My advice does not contradict the Bible's eighth commandment because God's love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.”
Presumably he’ll be straight down the police station to help secure the release of any of his parishioners who find the cold hand of John Law on their shoulder when they get caught half-inching a packet of Paxo stuffing from Asda later in the week.
Whatever next – gay rugby players?