A couple of months ago there was an amusing series of letters in The Times – thought it quite fun to string them together. It illustrates the plague of journalistic cliche and the nuisance but sad necessity of endless qualifying adjectives. This one kicked things off…

January 27, 2007

Ardently zealous

Sir, Several times recently I have seen and heard Ruth Kelly described as a “staunch Catholic”.It seems that journalists no longer have a grasp of journalese, the language of their trade.
They should be reminded that, whereas Protestants may be staunch, we Catholics are always “devout”.
ALAN MCLOUGHLIN Helston, Cornwall

As is the way of these things, it sparked a flood of responses…

January 30, 2007

True religion

Sir, As your correspondent who is a devout Roman Catholic probably knows (letter, Jan 27), a sub-section of staunch Protestants are strict Methodists.
STAFFORD MORTIMER Great Rissington, Glos

February 1 2007

I don’t believe it

Sir, With devout Roman Catholics, staunch Protestants and strict Methodists (letter, Jan 30), is it any wonder that there are confirmed atheists?
TONY PHILLIPS Chalfont St Giles, Bucks

February 2, 2007


Sir, One may think that Roman Catholics are devout, Protestants staunch, Methodists strict and atheists confirmed (letter, Feb 1), but we agnostics are not convinced.

It couldn’t be long before other groups and faiths got a look in…

February 3, 2007

Buddhists best

Sir, Roman Catholics may well be devout, Protestants staunch, Methodists strict, atheists confirmed and agnostics unconvinced (letter, Feb 2), but only Buddhists are enlightened.
EDDIE SANDERS Castle Donington, Derbyshire

February 6, 2007

A silent hope

Sir, May I speak on behalf of those Quakers who feel they must remain silent?
SUE PHEASEY Solihull, W Midlands

Then to clinch it all…

February 7, 2007

It takes all sorts

Sir, Anglicans are not particularly devout, strict, staunch nor enlightened. However, they can be high, low, or broad; catholic, evangelical or evangelistic; born again, not-born-yesterday-mate or bored stiff; C of E or more-tea-vicar; committed worshippers of Jesus or noncommitted onlookers present only at weddings and funerals who call on the name of their Lord in block capitals with multiple exclamation marks whenever annoyed.
NIGEL MCNICOL Oakham, Rutland

Alas, how true.

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