From the UK's Independent, writer Katherine Bowen reports on this strange Christmas time message.
Father Tim Jones, parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda in York, broke off from the traditional Nativity story to say that sometimes shoplifting was the only option for poor families and certainly better than "prostitution, mugging or burglary" as a way of making money.
Mr Jones, who previously worked as a prison chaplain, told his 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."
He said he offered the advice "with a heavy heart", and wished society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systemic delay had created an "invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope".
Mr Jones cited an example of an ex-prisoner who had received less than £100, including a crisis loan, in the six weeks since his release.
He said his advice did not contradict the Bible's eighth commandment, not to steal, saying God's love for the poor and despised outweighed the property rights of the rich.
He added: "Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. "The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are.
"Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt."
We are reminded of Reverend Lovejoy from the TV show The Simpsons' advice on the topic. He says that it's ok to steal bread if you are hungry, but please don't put any jelly on it. For Father Jones, he is clearly forcing his own views into scripture, and not letting scripture form his worldview.