My remembrance of Ralph McInerny, in the Weekly Standard (sub req.)
When Ralph McInerny landed back in the United States and cashed his GI check, a civilian again, the first thing he did was run to a bookstore to buy a copy of Lord Weary’s Castle, Robert Lowell’s new collection of poems.
Or so he told me once, and then he laughed and gave a deprecating shrug, because—well, because that’s the kind of thing smart boys with literary pretensions did in those days, and if there ever was one of those smart 1940s literary boys, it was Ralph McInerny. Besides, Lowell had produced an amazingly Catholic book, and the Catholic Renaissance that included everyone from Flannery O’Connor to Thomas Merton was about to take off in America.
They are slipping away from us one by one, the people who can remember those times that once seemed so promising. Names like Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson had a weight about them; you could conjure with them and see the future—a world turned high scholastic and Neo-Thomistic: Catholic philosophy and Catholic art joining to make a golden age. . . .