VATICAN CITY – Collections at Roman Catholic churches are down all over the world due to the recession, and more and more pastors are resorting to pickpocketing to fill the church’s coffers.
More than 50% of Catholics claim they’ve been pick-pocketed by their parish priests while receiving communion. Pickpocketing has helped some parishes increase their revenues by 40%.
The more sophisticated operations have priests working in teams to pull off their larceny.
“I was receiving communion from Father O’Malley whenFather Sullivan, standing next to him, pretended to drop a [communion] host,” said Rosecea Swayne. “This created a sufficient distraction to give Father O’Malley an opportunity to slip his hand in my purse and remove $120.”
The church’s teachings have consistently opposed larcney since the time of the Apostles, said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, but scripture makes an exception for priests. “The Book of Leviticus allows them to ‘get it any way they can.’”