The value of teaching history

Dear Editor, the government is toying with the idea of downgrading history and religion in schools, the subjects which reveal and help us transcend our humanity respectively.

Having read a fascinating story about another Mayo man, John Bingham, “one of the most effective intelligence officers during the Second World War” and the man behind the character George Smiley in John le Carre’s spy novels, it’s a pity the people in Dublin who decide the curriculum don’t see the relevance of local history.

I am at least thankful another neglected area of history, the history of science, is often addressed in The Irish Catholic by Prof Willie Reville, e.g. his recent informative article on Copernicus (IC 20/2/14). There’s a value in Prof. Reville’s contributions as he shows where morality must inform science for progress with a conscience.

Also, Church history, not taught as a subject, is usually caricatured and conveniently presented in a piecemeal and biased way, especially regarding science and progress. Perhaps I can recommend for your readers an enjoyable book on the Church’s contribution to the origins of science with a well researched and a very different version of the Galileo story?; the award-winning book God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science (appropriately called The Genesis of Science in the U.S.) by the English convert to Catholicism, James Hannam.

Yours etc.,

Stephen Blendell,


Co. Mayo.