We hope the new obituaries format is only a temporary aberration.

Does The Post think that bestowing those thumbnail titles, e.g., "Library of Congress Aide" or "History Professor," improves the obituaries? Are they meant to help readers decide whether, for example, they want to read the obituary of a "Noted Entomologist"? In this country we are continually defined on the basis of how we make a living, not by what gives meaning and joy to our lives. If you insist on continuing to apply those ultimate definitions in the obituaries, here are the titles the two of us prefer (actual jobs are in parentheses): Judith A. DolsonJames V. DolsonFunny PersonRagtime Piano Player(Educator)(Civil Servant/Social Worker)We are in no hurry, mind you, for these titles to appear officially in The Post's obituaries. -- Judith A. Dolson and James V. Dolson 'Slanderous Claim' If Princess Caroline of Monaco is angry enough at her late mother, Princess Grace, to blame her publicly for her own unhappy marriage, and angry enough at Mother Church to blame her publicly for not declaring that marriage null, maybe that's news -- however questionable the taste. But by what warrant does The Post publish a reporter's slanderous claim that you have to be rich before the Vatican will find that your marriage was null from the outset?

"Sometimes even titled families haven't enough wealth to impress the Vatican," Chuck Conconi concludes {Style, Feb. 12} from Caroline's unhappy tale. Logically, the plight of the princess leads to a contrary conclusion: money and position don't count when you're asking the church to declare your marriage null.

Everyone has heard the vulgar slander, parroted by Conconi, that it takes lots of money to get a church annulment. The fact is that the ecclesiastical annulment proceedings are far less costly than civil divorce proceedings. An old hand in the church's marriage courts assures me that those courts run at a loss. Be that as it may, history is replete with examples of Rome's resolve to risk severe damage, and to suffer it, rather than declare a valid marriage null. King Henry VIII and the loss of England spring to mind, but there are even clearer cases, and John T. Noonan Jr. chronicles some of them in "Power to Dissolve," published in 1972 by Harvard University Press.

What happened to that long blue pencil The Post used to wield so ruthlessly on the copy of lazy, ignorant or bigoted reporters? What happened to that little pink slip? -- Patrick Riley The writer is executive director of The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Anti-Baptist Stereotype The Post article "Tolerance Shows in Voter Poll" {Feb. 13} is typical of how biased the media can be against conservative Protestants. Baptists, a very diverse group of more than 25 million in America, are lumped together as "born-again Baptists." They alone among the religions mentioned are singled out to bear a stereotypic label. Perhaps the Williamsburg Charter Foundation, which conducted the poll, is responsible. If so, then its surveying techniques are flawed and may account in part for the bad image some voters have of Baptists. In any case, The Post should be more sensitive to the negative impact that stereotypic labels have on the public. The nation's second largest religion deserves better.

-- Jack Kennedy In Defense of Massage Your article "When Bad Is Better" {Weekend, Feb. 5} had a reference to professional massage that I, and I'm sure other professionals, found to be quite irritating. I am a professional massage therapist with an office in a health club downtown. I would never, ever refer to my work as "slick, sensual, high on tactile discovery," etc. This is a perverse description of a serious health profession that has thousands of practitioners and has helped thousands more with neck and back problems, muscular injuries, problems caused by stress and much more.

The most irritating part of this description is simply that it reflects a wide and profound ignorance about professional massage therapy. The use of illegal "massage parlors" to hide prostitution in the past decade has caused most people who aren't exposed to real professional massage therapy to snicker and make lewd remarks when they hear about massage. Admittedly, this is done out of ignorance and humor, but it would be great for our profession if people generally had a nonsexual attitude toward our work.

-- Jack W. Turner