Down to the Wire: Just $6,332 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Swiss court: farmers no longer need to pay parish for medieval crime

Catholic World News - January 09, 2013

A Catholic parish in Switzerland has failed in its bid to compel a farmer to pay 70 francs for the maintenance of an “eternal flame” that has burned in reparation for a medieval murder.

In 1357, a murderer who sought to atone for his crime agreed to keep an eternal flame lit at St. Hilary’s Parish in Näfels. When he died, the obligation to pay for the flame’s maintenance was passed on to subsequent owners of the murderer’s land.

In 2012, a young farmer who owned the land refused to pay, leading the parish to file suit. A judge has sided with the farmer, ruling that the obligation was invalidated by 19th-century property law reforms.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($55,855 to go):
$150,000.00 $94,145.13
37% 63%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Savonarola - Jan. 10, 2013 12:12 PM ET USA

    A law can be passed which nullifies a private contract obligation that was apparently a recognized encumbrance on the property?

  • Posted by: wvcatholic - Jan. 09, 2013 2:24 PM ET USA

    It is interesting to ponder the eschatological consequences for both Konrad Mueller (the murder) and the current farm owner.

  • Posted by: garedawg - Jan. 09, 2013 10:53 AM ET USA

    What if they go back, find that the fee was not paid for say, 50 years during the 1400's, and it's been accruing interest this whole time?

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The gift of orthodoxy: A mercy and a challenge to mercy 17 hours ago
Getting Marriage Right November 25
O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. November 25
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg November 25
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said November 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25