A priest in Britain is under fire Monday for advising his congregation to shoplift in tough economic times, the Daily Mail reports.
Father Tim Jones, a 41-year-old clergyman at St. Lawrence Church in York, England, said that shoplifting — rather than prostitution or burglary — is sometimes the best option for poor people struggling to make ends meet, according to the Web site.
"My advice as a Christian priest is to shoplift," Jones reportedly told churchgoers during his Sunday sermon. "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," he continued.
"I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need ... 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."
Jones' sermon, meanwhile, has been blasted by police, the British Retail Consortium and a local MP who all say that shoplifting is a crime regardless of circumstances.