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Thou Shalt Not Steal      

   In a small town in Ireland, the Catholic priest and the Protestant minister rarely spent any time together -- not out of hatred, but mostly out of time spent with their herds.  The only time they saw each other on a regular basis was Monday mornings as they passed each other while exercising on their bicycles.

   One Monday morning, the priest was peddling along when he saw his fellow servant of God walking toward him.  He stopped and asked, “Reverend, what has happened to you?  Your bike is missing.”

   “Father,” he said, “I’m afraid to say that one of me parishioners has sinned against God... and stolen me bike.”

   “Reverend,  Reverend, Reverend... I understand your dilemma.  Once, early in my career, I had one of me flock stole a bottle of wine from the Church.  The next Sunday, I gave a hell-fire sermon on the Ten Commandments -- stressing ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal.’  The next morning I woke up to find a bottle of wine on me doorstep with a note saying ‘Forgive me, Father.’  It helped me and I am sure it will help you.”

   The Protestant minister replied, “Thank you, Father.  I think I’ll give it a go.  We will see how it works next Monday...”

  One week later, the priest got on his bike and hit the road, looking for the minister.  Within minutes he saw the minister peddling toward him.  They stopped next to one another and shook hands.  The priest said, “I am so pleased things worked out for you, Reverend.”

   And the minister responded, “Well, you see, Father...  It didn’t work out in quite the way we thought it might...  You see, I prepared the sermon you suggested... and I stressed ‘Though Shalt Not Steal.’  But then, when I got to the part about ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,’ I remembered I had left me bike at Mrs. O’Brien’s house!”

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