12 JULY 1957, Page 17

Sta,—Is my friend Miss Tennyson Jesse accurate when she says

in last week's Spectator that 'the seal of the confessional is inviolable and absolute'? Writing as one without authority, I am under the impression that a priest can, in certain circumstances, seek and obtain permission to break the seal. If, for example, a confession of murder is made to him, and the priest knows that another man is in danger of being hanged for the crime, he can, when he realises that the murderer does not intend to confess his crime, not only withhold absolution, but seek and obtain permission from his spiritual superiors to break the seal. It would surely be a grave sin for a priest, in such circumstances, to conceal his knowledge and allow a guiltless man to be hanged. I cannot believe that the Roman Catholic Church would condone such a sin.—Yours faithfully,


Honey Ditches, Seaton, Devon