The New Rules for Keeping Secrets

Priests and lawyers changed course last week, making it a little easier to speak out

The Rev. Joseph Towle, a priest in the Bronx, N.Y., usually hears confessions, but recently he offered up a jaw-dropping one of his own. Thirteen years ago, a man named Jesus Fornes told Father Towle he had committed a murder, one for which two innocent men had been convicted. Towle disclosed last month that Fornes, now dead, was the killer, and urged that the men--who had served 13 years in prison--be freed.

Towle's bombshell provoked outrage from two directions. To some, it was shocking that a Catholic priest would violate his calling by betraying a penitent. (Towle says Fornes' statement wasn't...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!