Ralph McInerny on Catholic Liberal Education

A wonderful quote for that twentieth-century gentleman of academia, Professor Ralph McInerny.


Otto Bird reminds of us of a better time, when it was understood that the faith should animate imagination and mind as well as the corporal works of mercy. Indeed, what is peculiar to the Catholic university is precisely that in its halls intellectual and imaginative pursuits are seen in terms of the great journey mankind is on toward salvation. It is curiously true that the fact that this life is a mere prelude to the true life men are meant for hereafter, far from devaluing the things of this world, enhances them and casts over them a light they could not have otherwise.… Faith in Hope and Love do not make one disdainful of this world but rather, by seeing it as the stage on which one’s eternal condition will be settled, give it far profound or significance than it could have if ‘our little lives were rounded in a sleep.’

–Ralph McInerny, “Preface,” in Otto Bird, Seeking a Center: My Life as a Great Bookie (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991), 10.

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