Sir,— As one myself, may 1 point out to your (anonymous) "Convert" that he quite wrongly credits me with making a harmless enough joke about confessions in my May 20 Rome Letter. All I did was repeat the joke and, God knows, it was harmless enough.
My report says quite plainly that "it remained for the Vatican weekly magazine Osservatore della Domenica to assure the faithful that, despite the
`deplorable initiative' in Ferrara (the wafer-vending machine), they need not anticipate that confessions would in future be heard by telephone, with special reduced rates applying after 10 p.m."
If that, as "Convert" suggests, could be taken by his non-Catholic friends as evidence to support the legend that Catholics pay for confession, then the venerable Vatican publication will have to stand the blame, not me. In any case, I'd hate it to go out that I use Osservatore della Domenica as a sort of bumper fun hook from which to pinch jokes at will and then republish them without proper acknowledgment.
Alan McElwain Rome.