Catholic pride and prejudice

In Pride and Prejudice, Mrs Bennett is described as of "mean understanding (and) of little information". Such a description might well be applied to Professor Pat-rick Reilly, unless the remarks you reported last week were not accompanied by a number of qualifications, which a summary could not include.

These qualifications might well have among them - in a non-denominational education slated by him as no longer having "an ethic to defend the human being against the dehumanising degradation of the modern world" - some of the following: programmes of personal and social education, the certificate and short courses in religious studies, the constant and largely consistent efforts of guidance staff and even, to pick on thePatrick Reilly's own subject areas, the philosophical and moral issues inevitably arising from the study of literature, especially drama and poetry.

Nor are the English depart-ments alone in stimulating such considerations.

The "moral wasteland" he seems to discern outwith his own sector does not reflect accurately my and others' knowledge of the strivings for virtue throughout education, the aspirations en-couraged, the charitableness displayed, the interplay between concerned parents and dedicated staff - irrespective of doctrinal allegiance.

Pharisaism rather than religion would seem to be the basis of his assertions.

John Taylor Woodlands Grove Kilmarnock

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