Roman Catholics: How Secret the Confessional?

Five years ago, in Langenberg, West Germany, a teen-age butcher's apprentice confessed to a Roman Catholic priest that he had murdered an eight-year-old boy. During the confession, and in subsequent conversations, the priest urged the murderer to turn him self in and refused him absolution until he did so. The youth would not. Bound by canon law to observe the church's tradition that nothing said in confession may ever be disclosed, the priest was helpless to protest publicly. Yet in the next four years, three more chil dren in the Langenberg area...

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!