On the evening of January 27 the theology and religious education department of St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London, was delighted to host its third annual St Thomas Aquinas dinner in honour of the great theologian and patron of the school.
Fifty A-level students and staff attended the event, which began with Mass in the school chapel followed by drinks and a sumptuous dinner in the Orchard Hall.
The highlight of the evening was an after-dinner speech by special guest, Professor John Cottingham, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Reading and Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford.
Professor Cottingham is an acknowledged expert on René Descartes. He shared with us some fascinating insights about the French philosopher before raising important questions about the nature of morality in modern society.
A large number of students enjoyed the opportunity to discuss and debate a wide range of philosophical issues with Professor Cottingham, before, during and after dinner. He gave generously of his time.
Jack Gallagher, Lower Sixth, said: “Professor Cottingham spoke of the increased importance of Catholic philosophy in these days of ever-growing militant atheism.
“He said that we are lucky to be able to study philosophy at school. He didn’t have that opportunity.”
Jackson Adams, RE teacher, said: “The ambience couldn’t have been better. Professor Cottingham spoke very well on how religion and science find a meeting place in philosophy.”