London, Dec 23: A UK priest stirred up a controversy with his Christmas sermon when he said that the poor have a right to shoplift!
The only way the destitute can survive at present time was by shoplifting, said father Tim Jones at St Lawrence Church, York.
"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," the priest is quoted as saying in The Sun.
He goes on to say, "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 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."
Asserting that his advice was not against the eight commandment which says 'Thou Shalt Not Steal', father Jones said, "God's love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich."
While the shop owners and owners of other business establishments have expressed shock over the advice of the religious head, the the Archdeacon of York, the Venerable Richard Seed opined, "Father Jones is raising important issues about the difficulties people face when benefits are not forthcoming, but shoplifting is not the way to overcome these difficulties."