We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $24,070 to go. Your gift will 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 Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($24,070 to go):
$25,400.00 $1,330.00
95% 5%
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?

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

Recent Catholic Commentary

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines 9 hours ago
A More Militant Church? 9 hours ago
How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops 10 hours ago
Final take on the LCWR: A time to plant, a time to uproot 12 hours ago
With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice? 16 hours ago

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21