Mr McConnell's off-the-cuff remarks about support for shared campuses under the school rebuilding programme should not, however, be taken as the beginning of the end of denominational education, which is fundamental to Catholic principles. The Church hierarchy has a long history of suspicion that accompanies the feeling of a persecuted minority.
The reality is this. Two years ago, Mr McConnell gave an assurance about the future of Catholic education and diversity after praising its values and achievements to the hilt. He will not retreat, nor should he. The First Minister's initial statement on sectarianism was about the Old Firm and football. Any debate should be confined to that.