Thomas Merton was a Protestant before he became a Catholic, a very worldly writer and critic before he became a monk, an intellectual before he began to try to become something more profound than an intellectual.
His language does not speak to us, perhaps, couched as it is in words like God and sin. This is too bad, because he has profoundly important things to say to us in these final days of an old civilization and (one hopes!) the dawning days of a new one. The old civilization was rooted in individual ambition and competition; the new one will perhaps become rooted in a larger, higher kind of ambition of which, in this still benighted time, it is nearly useless to speak.