Shakespeare's faith does make a difference

Your article asks what difference it makes to us if William Shakespeare was Catholic (“Do signatures prove that Shakespeare was Catholic?” Jan. 31), and seems to suggest that it is of no consequence. I disagree. Of course it matters whether Shakespeare was Catholic — not just to him, but to all of us in this world who have been affected by his plays and poems. What we believe has an effect on what we do, and what we do has an effect not just on us (and our personal salvation), but on all the people whose lives (and salvation) are touched, even remotely, by us and our beliefs. 

What difference does it make to anyone else that any of us are part of the sacrament, the mystery that is the Church? Answer: Our religion is not just personal. The mystical ties that bind us to God also bind us to his whole family. We are Catholic for our own good, and for the good of others. Christianity has helped shape Western Civilization because people believed and acted on their faith. Thomas More didn’t go to his death just for his own beliefs! He went for all of us ... the mystical body of Christ.  

That Shakespeare’s writings contained Catholic ideas and references at a time when Catholics were being hanged is remarkable. He risked speaking to people’s hearts about truth.

— Anne O’Mara, McCook Lake, S.D. 

Clinical term

As another “Sanctity of Life Month” draws to a close with numerous references in Our Sunday Visitor to the need to fight the “right” to abortion, I would again urge OSV to avoid the semantic pitfall of using the word “clinic” in association with “abortion.”

“Clinic” implies that a good outcome is expected from visiting one; however, the evil performed in abortion facilities is never good. Not only is the unborn child brutally destroyed, but the mother faces both immediate and ensuing consequences. 

Wouldn’t it be better to use the term abortion “facility” when referring to these killing establishments? 

— W. A. Krotoski, Baton Rouge, La.

Alternative list

I have to send this letter to ease my frustration with your article, “Top Ten reasons to send your children to Catholic schools” (In Focus, Jan. 24), which, although labeled humor, did NOT leave me laughing. 

Specifically: 

No. 9: (Pomp and circumstance) My children have attended public schools their entire lives, yet have also received all of their sacraments, have attended May crownings, Ash Wednesday services, etc. 

No. 8: (CYO) My son enjoyed participating in Catholic Youth Council soccer through our parish. 

No. 7: (affordability) No-brainer: Free is cheaper than “not free.” 

No. 6: (Discipline) It is true that public schools take the “discipline problems” that Catholic schools can’t handle — but that is not something to brag about. 

No. 5: (Automatic backup) We DO teach “Christian values” in the public schools. We call them “character education.” 

No. 4: (birds and bees) My children did receive some sex education at school — much was about abstinence. 

No. 3: (dedicated teachers and administrators) Many public school teachers also are not in teaching as a career because of the money — and sometimes work “unpaid” at extra activities. 

No. 2: (better academics) Since Catholic schools aren’t required to take the same standardized tests as public schools, you can’t say they boast “better academics.” 

No. 1: (planting seeds) My children have been in parish religious education since kindergarten, we attend Mass every Sunday and are active in several parish ministries/activities. 

— Lisa Marin, St. Louis, Mo. 

Vatican II and schools 

Did anyone else notice in the graphs included in “Catholic schools have had immense influence on U.S. life” (In Focus, Jan. 24) that the number of Catholic elementary schools and the number of students peaked in 1965, and then declined significantly? Can it be said that the Second Vatican Council had an immense influence on U.S. Catholic schools? 

— Craig Niehaus, Glendale, Mo.  

Value of a trade

I’m a retired Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) licensed aircraft mechanic. I have wondered most of my adult life why Catholic education has such an obsession with so-called “higher education.” There are Catholic prep schools, colleges and universities all over the country. How about some trade schools? 

— John Partenio, Budd Lake, N.J.

Include all media 

Catholic Press Month should be Catholic Media Month, since the eyes and ears of the Body of Christ are both important parts of the mystical body of Christ, just as radio, television and print and other media combine to communicate the messages of the Body of Christ. 

— Phyllis Petre, West Seneca, N.Y.

Stand up for Mary 

Karen O’Neill told of her experience with a member of a Baptist church concerning our devotion to Mary (Letters to the Editor, Jan. 31). We give her the honor that is due to her because she is the mother of Jesus. We must answer every one of their questions the best we can.  

— Verona Dunn, SFO, Grand Rapids, Mich.