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Curse puts fear of God into thieving clerics

A 'must read' for the internet book community!
Ton Cremers

Curse puts fear of God into thieving clerics
AFTER years of trying without success to stop clergymen stealing
from his shelves, an antiquarian religious bookseller has at last
stumbled on a solution which he claims is working - a 16th-century
Spanish curse. "For him that stealeth a Book from this Library, let it
change into a serpent into his hand and rend him. Let him be struck
with Palsy, and all his Members blasted. Let him languish in Pain
crying aloud for Mercy and let there be no surcease to his Agony till
he sink in Dissolution. Let Bookworms gnaw his Entrails in token of
the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final
Punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye."
Suddenly religious shoplifters have decided to go and sin no more. Two
penitents have even sent back large parcels of books. John Pendlebury,
34, owner of a second-hand bookshop in Stamford Hill, North London,
said he had tried a surveillance camera and confrontation. He posted
on his shelves copies of the Eighth Commandment, "Thou shalt not
steal". But still the thefts continued. On one day alone, he
apprehended an Anglican priest and a rabbi stealing books from the
Psalms section. On another occasion, an entire half shelf of books
disappeared. With thefts costing him hundreds of pounds a year out of
a turnover of =A360,000, Mr Pendlebury was stumped until a friend
visited the monastery of San Pedro in Barcelona. "He saw the curse in
the monastery's library and immediately thought of me," Mr Pendlebury
said. He decided to try the curse and to his surprise the thefts
ceased instantly. "Theft has always been a problem," he said. "It is a
common problem in all religious bookshops. For some odd reason it
seems to be worse than in secular bookshops." This might be because
churches attracted sinners as well as saints, he suggested. More than
half his customers are clerics. "It is not meant to be an actual curse
on anyone," he said. "It is rather meant to prod people's consciences.
I have not noticed any books at all going missing in the last two or
three months."
(Times of London)

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