19 JULY 1957, Page 30


SIR,—Mr. Peter Baker asserts that by a sequence of sly questions, 'frankly designed for the purpose,' he succeeded in tricking an indiscreet priest into breaking the seal of the confessional. It is possible: in matters sacred and secular Nazis, Communists, spies and blackmailers also have used the same technique with success. (Yes, Mr. Baker, and the Inquisition too. perhaps; but you choose your own company.)

When the priest, worried and repentant of his indiscretion, threw hiniself upon the mercy of Mr. Baker and his editor, mercy was not forthcoming. He was the sacrifice which must be burnt to the greater glory of their unholy Trinity, News and Scoop and Circulation. There was no smiling trickster to make Mr. Baker stumble in his path.—Yours faithfully. MICHAEL TOMKINS 113 Fairfield Crescent, Edgware. Middlesex