Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ralph McInerny, you are off the chain

Santa Claus brought me the book "I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You" by Notre Dame Philosophy Professor and Thomist extraordinaire Ralph McInerny. This was the best present I received for Christmas, and is the most engaging book I've read in a while. The work recounts with great detail and a phenomenal spirit of humor Prof. McInerny's life and work, which has included over 50 years of philosophizing at the University of Notre Dame.

To put it simply, Ralph McInerny is the man. In a nation that bemoans alcohol consumption or glorifies its excesses, Ralph sneaks out of seminary at night to drink a couple litres with his buds. In an academy that rejects the wisdom of philosophy carried across time and space by the Catholic Church, Ralph intelligently discusses the Thomistic Revival and its abilities above, beyond, and against the modern analytic system. And in a culture that champions the Culture of Death and advocates for increased birth control, Ralph puts 7 children on God's green Earth and recalls a biology-priest-teacher in preseminary who described giving birth with the interrogative: "Have you ever shit a football?"

This book is amazing. I have spent little time without it since beginning it, and I can't wait to finish it so I can tell everyone else to do the same. Prof. McInerny comes across as humble, kind, self-aware, duly critical of the contemporary culture, and incredibly merciful and loving, especially in the descriptions of his relationship with his beloved wife Connie and children.

Prof. McInerny is incredibly wise and intelligent, and the lessons an undergraduate can and should gain from this book are immense. There's even a chapter on Notre Dame. To all interested in a good read, I heartily recommend this book. And, hey, if you're lucky, you may even get him to sign it.

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