Religion: Confession by Phone

The best-known Roman Catholic priest in Germany today is Father Johannes Leppich, 40, whom the Communists denounce as the "Black Goebbels," and conservative Catholics call the "Red Father." Leppich moves tirelessly across the country, preaching and demanding help for the poor. To spread his gospel, Jesuit Leppich has used posters, picture slides, and last week he was busy with a new evangelical idea: "confession" by telephone.

"Thousands of people come to me," he explains, "but I thought how many more might come if they didn't have to look me in the face or tell their names." In Nürnberg, a few months ago,...

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