For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Ralph McInerny.

Ralph McInerny

Ralph McInerny
BornRalph Matthew McInerny
(1929-02-24)February 24, 1929
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedJanuary 29, 2010(2010-01-29) (aged 80)
Mishawaka, Indiana, U.S.
Resting placeCedar Grove Cemetery, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Pen nameHarry Austin, Matthew FitzRalph, Ernan Mackey, Edward Mackin, Monica Quill
OccupationReligious scholar, author
Notable worksFather Dowling mysteries
Constance Kunert
(m. 1953)

Ralph Matthew McInerny (February 24, 1929 – January 29, 2010)[1] was an American author and philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame. McInerny's most popular mystery novels featured Father Dowling,[2] and was later adapted into the Father Dowling Mysteries television show, which ran from 1987 to 1991.

He sometimes wrote under the pseudonyms of Harry Austin, Matthew FitzRalph, Ernan Mackey, Edward Mackin and Monica Quill.[2]

Academic career

McInerny wrote his PhD dissertation entitled The Existential Dialectic of Soren Kierkegaard under Professor Charles De Koninck at Laval University in Quebec, Canada.

He was Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Jacques Maritain Center, and Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He taught there from 1955 until his retirement in 2009.[2]

McInerny was also a Fulbright Scholar, receiving educational funds from the Fulbright Commission Belgium. He served as president of the Metaphysical Society of America in 1993.[3][4]

McInerny's brother Dennis, also a philosophy professor, believes that his brother's greatest legacy is not to be found in his novels, but in his adherence to scholastic and Thomistic beliefs.[5]

Personal life

McInerny was a Catholic.[6] He attended Nazareth Hall Preparatory Seminary for high school.[7] He married the former Constance Kunert January 3, 1953, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She preceded him in death on May 18, 2002. The McInernys had four daughters and three sons, one of whom, Michael, predeceased Ralph.[8]

McInerny died of esophageal cancer on January 29, 2010.[9] Those daughters who survived him were: Cathleen Brownell of North Barrington, IL, Mary Hosford of Baltimore, MD, Anne Policinski of Wayzata, MN, and Beth McInerny of St. Paul. MN. The surviving sons were David of Overland Park, KS and Daniel of Waco, TX.[8]



Father Dowling

  • Her Death of Cold (1977)
  • Bishop as Pawn (1978)
  • The Seventh Station (1977)
  • Lying Three (1979)
  • The Second Vespers (1980)
  • Thicker Than Water (1981)
  • A Loss of Patients (1982)
  • The Grass Widow (1983)
  • Getting a Way with Murder (1984)
  • Rest in Pieces (1985)
  • The Basket Case (1987)
  • Slight of Body (1989; aka Abracadaver)
  • Four on the Floor (1989)
  • Abracadaver (1989)
  • Judas Priest (1991)
  • Desert Sinner (1992)
  • Seed of Doubt (1993)
  • A Cardinal Offense (1994)
  • The Case of the Constant Caller (young adult) (1995)
  • The Case of the Dead Winner (young adult) (1995)
  • The Tears of Things (1996)
  • Grave Undertakings (2000)
  • Triple Pursuit (2001)
  • Prodigal Father (2002)
  • Last Things (2003)
  • Requiem for a Realtor (2004)
  • Blood Ties (2005)
  • The Prudence of Flesh (2006)
  • The Widow's Mate (2007)
  • Ash Wednesday (2008)
  • The Wisdom of Father Dowling (2009)
  • Stained Glass (2009)
  • The Compassion of Father Dowling (short stories) (2011)

Sister Mary Teresa (all as Monica Quill)

  • Not a Blessed Thing (1981)
  • Let Us Prey (1982)
  • And Then There Was Nun (1984)
  • Nun of the Above (1985)
  • Sine Qua Nun (1986)
  • The Veil of Ignorance (1988)
  • Sister Hood (1991)
  • Nun Plussed (1993)
  • Half Past Nun (1997)
  • Death Takes the Veil (2001)

Andrew Broom

  • Cause and Effect (1987)
  • Body and Soil (1989)
  • Savings and Loam (1990)
  • Mom and Dead (1994)
  • Law and Ardor (1995)
  • Heirs and Parents (2000)

Notre Dame

  • On This Rockne (1997)
  • Lack of the Irish (1998)
  • Irish Tenure (1999)
  • The Book of Kills (2000)
  • Emerald Aisle (2001)
  • Celt and Pepper (2002)
  • Irish Coffee (2003)
  • Green Thumb (2004)
  • Irish Gilt (2005)
  • The Letter Killeth (2006)
  • Irish Alibi (2007)
  • The Green Revolution (2008)
  • Sham Rock (2010)

Rosary Chronicles

  • The Third Revelation (2009)
  • Relic of Time (2009)

Other novels

  • Jolly Rogerson (1967)
  • A Narrow Time (1969)
  • The Priest (1973)
  • The Gate of Heaven (1975)
  • Rogerson at Bay (1976)
  • Romanesque (1977)
  • Spinnaker (1978)
  • Quick as a Dodo (1978)
  • Connolly's Life (1983)
  • The Noonday Devil (1985)
  • Leave of Absence (1986)
  • Frigor Mortis (1989)
  • The Nominative Case (as by Edward Mackin) (1990)
  • Easeful Death (1991)
  • The Search Committee (1991)
  • Infra Dig (1992)
  • The Red Hat (1998)
  • As Good As Dead (2002)
  • The Ablative Case (2003)
  • Slattery (2004)


  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Father Brown, Father Dowling And Other Ecclesiastical Sleuths (with G. K. Chesterton and John Mortimer) (1992)
  • Good Knights (2009)


  • The Soul of Wit: Some Poems (2005)

Anthologies edited


Philosophy and theology

  • A History of Western Philosophy with A. Robert Caponigri (1963 - 1971)
  • New Themes in Christian Philosophy (1969)
  • Thomism in an Age of Renewal (1969)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (1977)
  • Miracles: A Catholic View (1986)
  • Art and Prudence: Studies in the Thought of Jacques Maritain (1988)
  • A First Glance at St. Thomas Aquinas: A Handbook for Peeping Thomists (1990)
  • Aquinas on Human Action: A Theory of Practice (1992)
  • The Question of Christian Ethics, Washington: Catholic University of America Press (1993)
  • Aquinas Against the Averroists: On There Being Only One Intellect (1993)
  • An Uncertain Legacy: Essays on the Pursuit of Liberty (edited by Edward B. McLean; includes an essay, "Medieval: The Grand Synthesis", by McInerny) (1997)
  • Ethica Thomistica: The Moral Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, Washington: Catholic University of America Press (1997)
  • What Went Wrong with Vatican II?: The Catholic Crisis Explained (1998)
  • Aquinas and Analogy, Washington: Catholic University of America Press (1999)
  • John of St. Thomas (2004). Introduction to the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas. The Isagogue of John of St. Thomas. Translation and introduction by Ralph McInerny. South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine's Press. OCLC 46928729.
  • Praeambula Fidei, Washington: Catholic University of America Press (2006)
  • The Writings of Charles De Koninck. Volume One (edition and translation), with an introduction by Leslie Armour and a biography by Thomas De Koninck, Notre Dame, Notre Dame University Press, 2008
  • The Writings of Charles De Koninck. Volume Two (edition and translation), Notre Dame, Notre Dame University Press, 2009
  • Dante and the Blessed Virgin (2010)


  • The Very Rich Hours of Jacques Maritain: A Spiritual Life (2003)
  • I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You: My Life and Pastimes (2006)
  • Some Catholic Writers (2006)
  • The Defamation of Pope Pius XII (2001)


  • Let's Write a Novel (1993)
  • Let's Write Short Stories (1993)
  • Let's Read Latin: Introduction to the Language of the Church (1995)
  • Characters in Search of Their Author: The Gifford Lectures, 1999–2000 (delivered at the University of Glasgow) (2001)

See also


  1. ^ Weber, Bruce (February 16, 2010). "Ralph McInerny, Scholar and Mystery Novelist, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c McLellan, Dennis (February 7, 2010). "Ralph McInerny dies at 80; Notre Dame scholar wrote Father Dowling novels". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "Biography of Ralph McInerny". Notre Dame. Archived from the original on August 18, 2005.
  4. ^ McInerny, Ralph (March 23, 2009). "Is Obama Worth a Mass?". The Catholic Thing. Archived from the original on January 1, 2010.
  5. ^ "Remembering Ralph McInerny". National Catholic Register. January 30, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  6. ^ "Obituary". The New York Times. February 16, 2010.
  7. ^ Sonnen, John Paul (July 20, 2022). "The 100th Anniversary of the "Our Lady of the Annunciation" Chapel at Nazareth Hall Preparatory Seminary". Liturgical Arts Journal. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Memorial page for Ralph McInerny". Palmer Funeral Home. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  9. ^ Bottum, Joseph (January 29, 2010). "Ralph McInerny (1929–2010)". First Things. Archived from the original on February 4, 2010.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Ralph McInerny
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?