The proof is there in black and white 

As a professional document examiner for over 45 years, I read with interest your article “Do signatures prove that Shakespeare was Catholic?” (Jan. 31).

I do not question any of the facts in the story, but I do question the possibility that the guest book of Venerable English College in Rome was signed by William Shakespeare.

The handwriting samples on the document can be easily compared, and it can be determined that all the handwriting on the document was written by the same person. Therefore, each signature was by the same person and not several persons.

Second, Shakespeare was taught to write using “The Secretarie Alphabete System of 1581.” I compared that system with the Venerable English College document, and the writing does not match. Shakespeare did not write on the page shown in the article.

— Russell R. Bradford, San Pedro, Calif. 

Long recovery from lust

I read the article on lust. It was well done. Internet pornography is a big problem because it is free, and you can view it in the privacy of your home. It’s legal! 

What is not known is that downloading child pornography is a crime. We had three men go to prison for five to eight years from our 12-step group this past year. It seemed so harmless, but tell that to the judge. 

In the article, it was mentioned that going to the sacraments, hobbies and using time more positively could help. It could, but it won’t. 

Lust addiction is so powerful it takes a program such as Sexaholics Anonymous to be successful. 

It also takes years of painful struggle and slow surrender to God. I have 18 years of sexual sobriety, and I finally can say that I am happy, joyous and free. 

If anyone would like further information, they can write to the following address: 

Sexaholics Anonymous 

P.O. Box 3565

Brentwood, TN 37024-3565 

— Name and city withheld 

Design flaws? 

Greg Erlandson’s excellent article “Making Babies” (Spectator, Jan. 10) raises some troubling questions. The article described people who manufacture their babies according to specific criteria — that is, they find a sperm or egg donor who is intelligent, good-looking, physically fit and so on and engineer the baby as they would a product. Problem is, what if the child fails to live up to the parents’ expectations? He or she might have an illness, deformity or even the wrong color of eyes. 

Obviously the child cannot be returned to the factory like a defective product. Would the parents then give the child away or abandon it? The implications of designing children to suit oneself are frightening. It seems to me that parents who want designer babies don’t really care about the child, but look upon him or her as an extension of their own egos, like an expensive car. The idea is inhumane and soulless. 

— Mary Louise McNeill, Omaha, Neb.

Confession requirements 

Regarding the Feb. 21 In Focus about the Sacrament of Penance, the first page states the minimum requirement for confessing is at least once a year. I don’t think this is correct. What I believe is correct is what we are told later on — that is, mortal sins must be confessed at least once a year. This makes the minimum requirement never. A person who commits venial sins but never any mortal sins never has to go to confession. (I confess that I am not such a person.) 

I would have appreciated a sidebar about the other forms of forgiveness. It’s my understanding that the penitential rite at the beginning of Mass and reception of the Eucharist forgive venial sins. 

— James Becker, Woodstock, N.Y. 

Editor’s note: Canon 989 states that each Catholic is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year, but Canon 988.2 recommends they also confess venial sins.

Pro-life coverage 

I became so irate about the coverage in our local newspaper not only of the March for Life but every life issue that I vowed to re-subscribe to OSV. The Feb. 7 issue arrived, and I hope to read many more. 

Thank you for your work.  

— Name and city withheld

Reason for anger 

I have been guilty of the wrong kind of anger many times in my life (“Anger — why do we blow our tops about the wrong things?” Feb. 28). These days I try to keep anger in check. I mostly get mad about things I see that just aren’t right. I get mad at my boss when he takes advantage of me or a fellow employee. I find it hard to pray for him. 

I get angry about the conduct of some of the people at Mass — cell phones going off, talking, leaving before Mass has ended or before Father has left the aisle, not kneeling before and during Communion and coming to Mass late, among other things. I feel judgmental and try not to concern myself with their behavior, but it bothers me. 

I get angry about things governments do to people. I get angry about criminals who attack or kill innocent people. I get angry about abused children, elders and disabled people. I get angry about the mistreatment of animals. I get angry thinking about people who have been wrongly imprisoned. 

I feel most of these are the good type of anger. It forces me to do something about the wrongdoing I witness. It makes me conduct myself in a better manner. It also makes me pray more and trust in God even more. 

— Name and city withheld