By Phil Lawler | January 29, 2010 5:57 PM
Ralph McInerny, one of the most memorable figures on the American Catholic scene, died this morning in South Bend at the age of 80, after a long illness. He will be sorely missed.
For more than 50 years he taught philosophy at Notre Dame, and he ranked among the world's leading Thomists. (It is fitting that he was able to celebrate the feast of St. Thomas, to whom he was so devoted, once last time on the day before his death.) But anyone who expected Ralph to be a dry, detached, ivory-tower scholar was due for a surprise upon meeting him. He was friendly, urbane, and gracious. He moved easily across international boundaries, spending vacations in Italy and giving speeches all across Europe. And he moved with equal ease into the spheres of politics and polemics, literature and the arts. A genuine renaissance man.
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