Smug, self-deluded and repugnant

Professor Patrick Reilly's right-wing tirade in favour of Roman Catholic schools last week is smug, self-deluded and repugnant. As one of the liberals he seems to hold responsible for what he considers to be the breakdown of society, I find his words offensive to my profession, which does not need to take any lessons in moral values from him or anybody else who sees only what they want to see.

If Roman Catholic schools are so resistant to consumerism, they have failed singularly, since a Roman Catholic school with which I am familiar has large adverts for Pepsi Cola plastered on every litter bin in the pupil canteen area.

If Roman Catholic schools are the sole social bastion against marital breakdown, child abuse, alcoholism, drugs and sexually transmitted diseases they have again failed singularly, since these afflictions troubled society long before the foundation of Roman Catholic schools and continue to afflict many of those who have been educated within the Catholic system.

If he got out of his ivory tower and saw what was really going on in schools without the filter of self-congratulating conferences, he would know that teachers being attacked by pupils is not unknown in Roman Catholic schools, just as staffroom bullying is not unknown.

If there is anything to celebrate in Roman Catholic schools, it is the mixture of social classes brought about through wider catchment areas. Let's not continue to divide society through claiming moral superiority over others who also have a conscience.

James Forbes Corstorphine High Street, Edinburgh

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