As a young college punk, I once got into a bar fight over the issue of contraception with some drunk moron. (Of course, the other drunk moron was I.) Anyway, I remember him starting in on the abortion issue--probably because of our pro-life activities--and then somehow it changed to contraception. While imbibing a bucket of Rolling Rocks, I solemnly invoked the principles of the natural law and the great encyclical of Paul VI to no avail. Now, my friends were none too keen on the discussion and decided to absent themselves to pursue other more interesting topics--such as that hot babe in the corner. Anyway, things escalated and I called the guy a "goddamn pagan" (or something to that effect) and my friends decided to escort me out of that fine Irish bar. (Needless to say, considering my size and stature, my opponent could have beat the hell of me, so my friends did me a favor. Thanks for saving me from my big mouth guys!) Anyway, I use this vignette from my ill-spent undergraduate years to introduce our dear readers to an important new book. Had The John Paul II LifeGuide been published 10 years ago, I might have avoided putting myself in a postion where I likely could have suffered possible death and certain permanent disfigurement.
This book is the latest and a very important contribution to the study and appreciation of John Paul the Great. I am only too delighted to recommend this to our readers and to encourage our other blogger friends to spread the word! This is a wonderful book for beginners as an introduction to the thought of Karol Wojtyla and for experts as a handy reference to the pope's thought on issues of great importance for the world in the 21st century. Miss Rice does a splendid job in capturing the essence of the Pope's thought on a variety of issues including: contraception, human love, war and even the relationship between faith and reason. This tome will prove to be a great contribution to the world of Wojtylan thought. It is perfect for high school and university theology courses, coffee table study groups, and for those occasions to sit in your favorite lawn chair in the garage while smoking a Don Lino Churchill.
"...intellectual, understandable, inspirational! Miss Rice has the ability to cut through the din of 'theological experts' and distill the thought of John Paul II by the one who can do it best: John Paul II. This is the pope from 'the inside.'" --Sally Hebblethwaite, Senior Lecturer in English, Collegio S. Ignazio, Lucca, Italy
"Mirabile visu et dictu!" --Giovanni Cardinal Marotta, formerly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Rome
"Not bad." --Charles E. Rice, Professor Emeritus, Notre Dame Law School
Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:55 PM. |
According to a dear friend of mine, being on a board can be rather boring. Not only are there the thankless tasks of meetings and sifting through things that no one else wants to sift through, there are also personality conflicts and tough decisions to be made. This particular friend of mine is a very accomplished attorney in the Columbus, Ohio area. He is a graduate of Notre Dame undergrad and Notre Dame Law. He is a devout Catholic, an officer in the US Army Reserve, a Knight of Malta and a dear friend. He sits on numerous boards with various well known Catholics and cultural crusaders.
An insight he provided to me yesterday was, unfortunately, very disturbing. He said that his greatest disappointment was working with people who one would consider great allies in the cultural struggles that currently face the Church and the Nation, only to discover that they ignore the very principles that they propagate and claim to espouse. Sometimes it is born of a truly elitist attitude and a thinly veiled contempt for those that aren't as gifted as they. (Lack of humility, that.) Most often, however, it is an adoption of the very philosophical principle they criticize in their public lives: the end justifies the means. Basic principles of human dignity and love for others are jettisoned for a pragmatism and "the bottom line." "You have to be practical," he is told by his colleagues on such boards. Practicality at the expense of principle has been and continues to be his greatest disappointment in serving with these accomplished individuals. What these folks don't understand, he says, is that the most practical thing one can do is to throw oneself upon God and His mercy, to pray for others, and to treat others with the dignity that justice demands is due them as human persons. Money and buildings are secondary. They are not to be ignored, but they are not to be given precedence over human persons and what is truly important.
I recall the graduation Masses from AMSL during the first two years and the beautiful and solemn hymn that opened the Holy Sacrifice--O God, Beyond All Praising.It captures the beauty and fragility of the human person , of what inestimable value he is, and the ultimate love Our Lord bears for him:
The flower of earthly splendor in time must surely die It's fragile blooms surrender to You the Lord Most High. But hidden from all nature, the Eternal Seed is sown Though small in mortal stature, from Heaven's garden grown. For Christ the Man from Heaven, from death has set us free And we, through Him, are given the final victory.
This is the principle from which we must not waver. This is what AMSL is all about.
Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 10:40 AM. |
Are the rumors true? Has the Honorable William H. Pryor tendered his resignation from the illustrious AMSL Board of Governors?
The second federal judge in the same year? Fumare thinks this is rather odd for a governor who was just appointed last December. While we have no doubt that his docket keeps him busy, we also suspect that he realizes the significant problems with the "sole proprietor" model of running law schools and its obvious consequences, such as the bad PR, the unjust--and bizarre--firing of a beloved professor, and no confidence resolutions in the Dean. (Perhaps merely the prospect of flesh eating mosquitoes is reason enough for getting the heck out of Dodge.) We here at Fumare hope and pray that the remaining Board Members make the right call and decide not to follow the whims of the Chairman.
We all know the high esteem in which the Board holds our current students, so I am confident that they will be milling around the school--as they have every fall for the past 5 years--in the hopes of encountering the students that are, after all, the sole reason for the school. Hopefully, I too will have the opportunity to chat with them. Everyone knows where to find me: right outside the library.
UPDATE: JUDGE PRYOR HAS INDEED RESIGNED. HIS RESIGNATION LETTER WAS READ BY DEAN DOBRANSKI AT TODAY'S MEETING (SEPT. 28, 2006) WITH THE STUDENTS AT 12:15. MORE ON THE MEETING FORTHCOMING. REMEMBER FOLKS...YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!
From: Dobranski, Bernard Sent: Tue 9/26/2006 11:17 AM To: All Students Subject: Town Meeting
As many of you are aware, the Board of Governors will meet this Wednesday as part of its regular schedule of Board meetings. The Agenda includes a meeting and discussion with the feasibility study consultants on their progress. Since this is an issue of such importance to the Law School, I have scheduled a Town Meeting for students to provide information about what transpired at that meeting regarding the possible relocation. The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 12:15 p.m. in Room 269.
A thought: if the Board of Governors votes that it is NOT in the best interests of the law school to relocate to Florida, would that necessitate a "town hall meeting" with the students? (By the way, if Katie doesn't like this post, I can be found outside of the library and chapel. We'll do lunch.)
The illustrious Deans Read and White have been engaged over the last several months in a painstaking process of information gathering and consideration of opinion--student, faculty and alumni--regarding the proposal to move the Ave Maria School of Law to sunny Florida. Building upon the previous feasibility study, which was taken only several short years ago, the Deans have listened to all constituencies and have taken copious notes we are sure. At the D.C. alumni forum, Dean Read was rumored to have said: "Autumn turns to winter, and then winter turns to spring. It's not just the seasons, you know, it goes for everything." Though this did not leave this alumnus with a warm fuzzy feeling, we at Fumare will give the feasibility gurus the benefit of the doubt.
The Board of Governors will be meeting this Wednesday and no doubt will be considering the Deans' findings and conclusions. Several of Fumare's crack investigative journalists have uncovered part of their proposed presentation to the BoG.
Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:56 AM. |
The recent statements coming from the Iranian president or the al-Quaeda leadership or Islamic nutjobs should not be surprising. Ultimately it comes down to theological principles, something we would do well to consider. Not only is it theological but it is philosophical--specifically, that branch of philosophy that deals with the highest things, metaphysics. One's theology and metaphysical posture will play a profound role in how a person or society acts. Let's take the age old problem for moral theologians and philosophers: whether it is ever permissible to tell a lie.
The basic definition of a lie is uttering something that doesn't conform to the content of the mind. This is intrinsically wrong. Now, there are certain times when the telling of the truth may legitimately be concealed from, say, an "impertinent questioner." But the question remains: how does one "conceal the truth" (for lack of a better phrase) without telling a lie? This is where the Jesuit principle of broad mental reservation comes in. Briefly put, one may answer the impertinent questioner with certain information but not all the information; but--and this is key--the respondant must, none the less, disclose enough information to allow the questioner to know what the truth is. In this way, the respondant does not tell a lie, and likewise he is pursuing a moral good by maintaining that which the "impertinent questioner" has no right to. But I digress.
Now, if one were to suggest that telling a lie is ok in certain circumstances, then this may reflect one's view of reality and ultimately, God. In short, it may have profound theological and metaphysical implications. If telling a lie is permissible in certain circumstances, then one must either (1) take the position of the "situational ethicist" where there is no intrinsic right or wrong, but only extrinsic circumstances which determine the moral content of the act, or (2) hold the theological position that God is pure will. This is exactly what the pope was referring to when he quoted that Ibn Hazm "went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry."
Would God contradict Himself? Could God contradict Himself? If the answer to both of these is yes, then there is no metaphysical or moral basis for the admonition to tell the truth. Perhaps this is the root of our difficulties in talking to the Islamic world.
Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 3:47 PM. |
Saw this post on the Wall Street Journal's law blog today, and couldn't resist sharing. In case you're the one person in law school who wondered where the terms "Blackacre," "Greenacre," etc., came from...now you know.
Anyone who has spent any time in first year property remembers Blackacre, Greenacre and the like. I am told that the various colors indicated the use of the land in ages gone by. I think [Greenacre] indicated raising crops and [Blackacre] had something to do with mining. My last name is Whitaker, which comes from Whiteacre. I have tried unsuccessfully to find a list showing the various meanings for the real property used for hypotheticals. Black's Law Dictionary was no help. So, my totally trivial question - does any one have a list of the x acres for our amusement?
Thanks for the note, Ms. Whiteacre, er, Whitaker. Our crack Wikipedia research tells us that the late UCLA property law professor Jesse Dukeminier traces the use of these words to Sir Edward Coke, responsible for another property classic - "a man's home is his castle." Dukeminier suggested that the terms might come from crops ("peas and beans are black, corn and potatoes are white, hay is green").
The whole controversy over Pope Benedict XVI and Islam bothers me greatly, because the response by offended Muslims is so ironically idiotic: someone points out that there are strands of violent behavior connected with Muslims, and offended Muslims respond with even more violent behavior. Absolutely ridiculous. (I was similarly disgusted by the absurd reaction to the Danish Mohammed cartoons a few months ago.)
I think that we need to have more people from all beliefs (Christians, atheists, moderate Muslims) pointing out this absurdity, and not trying to make excuses for the violence. There is no possible justification for being so offended that you feel like killing innocent people.
"The violent reactions in many parts of the Islamic world justified one of Pope Benedict's main fears," Cardinal Pell said in a statement. "They showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence." . . . But he said the responses of Australia's mufti, Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali, and of Dr Ameer Ali, of the prime minister's Muslim reference group, were "unfortunately typical and unhelpful."
"It is always someone else's fault and issues touching on the nature of Islam are ignored. Sheik Alhilali often responds to criticism by questioning the intelligence and competence of the questioner or critic."
If it weren't so sickening, it would be farcical: A line in the pope's speech suggests that Islam has a dark history of violence, and offended Muslims vent their displeasure by howling for his death, firebombing churches, and attacking innocent Christians. One of the points Benedict made in his speech at the University of Regensburg was that religious faith untethered by reason can lead to savagery. The mobs denouncing him could hardly have done a better job of proving him right.
Yesterday has to be one of my favorite Gospel passages. It's a sublime smack at current thinking on how to determine appropriate political action -- Jesus takes a poll.
And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples also were with him: and he asked them, saying: Whom do the people say that I am?
Jesus stuck His divine finger up and tested the wind. Why? He knew what people thought -- I think it was to show that polls are useless. Leaders don't need polling -- they do what is right.
If the same story were today, it would read "Jesus Christ, well known cadidate for the Savior party issued a Zogby poll today to determine what the public expects him to be."
The apostles promptly reported back "47% say you are Elias; 32.3% say you are John the Baptist; and 16% say you are a resurrected prophet. There was a 7% margin of error, and 5% reported they were unsure."
There would no doubt be web polls on the matter constantly. CNN would have "Did Jesus really make the paralytic get up and walk, or was it a scam? Yes; No; Unsure"
Yahoo might have "Should resurrected bodies be mated to spouses again? No, because there is no resurrection; No, because it would be too confusing; Yes, because alimony should be settled then"
The correct answer was not found in the polling -- it was somewhere else, above public thought. Somewhere in the grasp of principle.
It turns out that we are very near the end of Malachy's list. The motto for the 109th pope, John Paul I, is de medietate lune, "[He] of the half moon." This prophecy is said to have been fulfilled because John Paul I became pope during a half moon and died 33 days later during another half moon. The motto for the 110th pope, John Paul II, is de laboris solis, "[He] of the labor of the sun." This prophecy is said to fit because the sun labors by traveling around the world (Malachy wrote before Copernicus!) and Pope John Paul II was famous for his travels.
The motto for the next pope, Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, is de gloriae olivae, "[He] of the glory of the olive," about which more in a moment. The last pope in the list (number 112, but no number is given in the text) is Petrus Romanus, or "Peter the Roman." Peter, of course, was the first Bishop of Rome as well as the first pope. This is the only pope for whom Malachy adds a comment: "In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End." Apparently Petrus Romanus is the last pope before Judgment Day. Some people have argued that because no number is assigned to Petrus Romanus, he is actually the same pope as Gloriae Olivae, and so Gloriae Olivae is in fact the last pope; others argue, to the contrary, that because no number is assigned to Petrus Romanus in Saint Malachy's list, that any number of popes could intervene between Gloriae Olivae and Petrus Romanus, so that the church (and the world) as we know it is not about to end.
Before I get flamed for furthering a conspiracy theory: no I do not think that the world is coming to an end--I have not raced the Iditarod yet.
The furor over the Holy Father's Regensburg address underscores the larger philosophical and theological battle between the West and Islam. At the heart of the battle is the nature of God and whether the human person is made in His image and likeness. One of the points of the Holy Father's speech is that the use of violence to spread religion is unreasonable; and being unreasonable, it is not of God. This is a stinging indictment of Mohammed and the Koran, especially where it indicates:
When the Sacred Months (of truce) are over, kill those who ascribe partners to God, wheresoever you find them. Seize them, emcompass them, and ambush them. Then if they repent and observe the prayer, and pay the alms, let them go their way.
Fight against those who do not believe in Allah, who do not proibit what God and His Prophet have forbidden, and who refuse allegiance to the True Faith--until they pay the tribute readily after being brought low. (Koran, Surah IX, 5, 29)*
Contrast this with the Church's approach to conversion and the human person. Yes, there have been anomalies in the past, but the Church's position on conversion is one that is respectful of the human person and his dignity. In a nutshell, it goes thus:
(1) The human person, endowed with free will, has a right--by virtue of his being human and made in the image of God--to make an act of faith. This [i.e., the will] cannot in any way be coerced.
(2) Likewise, the human person--having an intellect and a will--is created so that he might seek the true and the good--God. Hence Augustine's famous, "Oh Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in You." Indeed, he is obliged to seek the truth and adhere to it once found. That being said, a human person has no right to adhere to error.
Are we at an impasse with the Muslims on this one? To look at the Muslim diaspora, it seems that we are. Since the days of Jan Sobieski and the defense of the Gates of Vienna, things have been relatively quiet. No more. And what should we expect since the West has adopted a relativism that has cut the proverbial metaphysical ground from under our feet.
This last point was the preeminent message of the Pope's address.
The following advertisement appeared in a July 1920 edition of the German Catholic weekly Liebfraubote.
Middle-ranking civil servant, single, Catholic, 43, immaculate past, from the country, is looking for a good Catholic, pure girl who can cook well, tackle all household chores, with a talent for sewing and homemaking with a view to marriage as soon as possible. Fortune desirable but not a precondition.
With fear and trepidation, I am working out the topic of my first FUMARE post, ready for the spanking that is sure to come. I have decided that I ought to mention a set of subjects upon which commentors and commentrixes can expect to see at the widened table.
Without regard to blazing puffs of smoke, I should offer that some say men are smarter than women. Like the pink elephant dancing about the living room, I doubt that topic would generate much discussion.
On the other hand, I could mention that Talking Heads songs would be a considerably enormous improvement to many parishes, if replacing the GIA licensed crap they pawn as liturgical music. But I know no one would find that to be worth discussing. Besides, it's obvious that an entire segment of society has become like heroin addicts on that ersatz music and to conduct a cold turkey replacement, albeit a great intervention, would probably cause many to arrest in withdrawal pangs.
We could talk about the ground meat evacuating from the sausage grinder in Uncle Tom's cabin, but I know that topic is pretty worked over. Besides, I haven't had my mind control chips installed this week, so I'm unauthorized to comment until I get further commands.
Maybe a discussion on food is best set for the first post. Who would argue with the topic? I mean, food is universal. Or, at least Brillat Savarin said something like that. But that would be no fun. I would have to say something like, McDonalds does not serve food, but rather some matter resembling food. Even that would be of little argumentative moment.
Well, I'm out of ideas. There's many topics ahead, I'm sure, but for now, I'm happy to be here and to make a post on FUMARE. But given my probie status, I suppose I ought properly end this post with
It is completely obvious that there is a significant number of our readers who are members of the Society of Humorless Catholics. In order to further irritate this crowd and provide much entertainment and thoughtful insights for the rest of us, we have decided to invite Mr. Casimir Pulaski as a probationary contributor to Fumare.
The next two months will be rigorous ones for Mr. Pulaski, as we evaluate his posting skills. We look for intellectual ability, varied interests, and evidence of solid Catholic orthodoxy. Likewise, his tastes in tobacco will be strictly scrutinized as the fundamental right to smoke is indeed a hallmark here. Finally, he will be forced to wear the trademark probie "pledge-cap" (pictured left) every time he posts for the next two months. At the end of his probationary period, the members of Fumare--meeting in secret session--will determine his status as a permanent member. Welcome Cas (at least for now)!
As attorneys, we often come into contact with people we find despicable. In fact, sometimes, we may even be required to defend such people. The Model Rules for Professional Responsibility state this on the issue:
The following is a message to FUMARE readers from Sharon Sansoterra, an administrative assistant at Ave Maria School of Law:
After being at AMSL for 6 1/2 years, Friday evening at 5:00 pm, I will walk out the door for the last time. My resignation letter is shown below. To my beloved faculty, I offer my prayers and loyalty. To the students, I offer my home, my love, and my understanding.
Love each other, forgive each other, and help each other get to Heaven.
Sue Kerry Director of Administrative Services Ave Maria School of Law 3475 Plymouth Road Ann Arbor, MI 48105
After many prayers for God's will, by me and others, I offer this letter of resignation from my position as Administrative Assistant at Ave Maria School of Law.
When I started at Ave Maria, before the doors of the school even opened, I was welcomed as a member of the law school community which over the course of six plus years, have become like family. Each position I held has been an opportunity to work closely with wonderful staff and students alike. The memories will remain with me always.
As the school grew and the possibility of a move to Florida became probability, I realized that my strong desire to remain here "forever" was no longer realistic. I continued my education so that I would always be prepared to offer more than the school might ask of me and I am grateful for the many opportunities given to me that have allowed me to serve the school, the faculty, the students, and above all our Lord.
As I move forward, please know that everyone here holds a special place in my heart and that my prayers will continue for the mission of the school, an end to conflicts, and the success of both the students and those who sacrificed to help them attain their law degrees.
Not that anyone watches "The View" or listens to Rosie O'Donnel, but it is interesting to hear what the Left-wing fringe believe. Perish the thought of them ever re-gaining control of the government. Listened to in conjunction with the Pope's recent statements, I wonder when they will attempt his arrest for "hate speech."
Here is the story if you cannot link directly to the video.
An interesting article given the debate going on all over the world. I find particularly interesting the comparision between Pope Benedict XVI to Pope John Paul II in their approach to Mohammadans ;-). The author states that Benedict does not have "the keen geopolitical ear of his predecessor" but I wonder if it is Benedict who better understands the Geopolitics of this age.
Pope warns religious violence `contrary to God's nature'
IN QUOTE, BENEDICT CONDEMNS FANATIC ABUSE OF ISLAM
By Tracy Wilkinson
Los Angeles Times
REGENSBURG, Germany - Pope Benedict XVI stepped into the volatile realm of religious violence Tuesday, warning that fanaticism is ``contrary to God's nature'' and quoting a criticism of historical Islam likely to inflame tensions in the Muslim world.
Speaking to academics at the University of Regensburg where he taught theology in the 1970s, the pope traversed centuries of Islamic, Greek and Christian philosophy to decry holy wars and forced conversions, and to hold up Christianity as the ``profound encounter of faith and reason.'' The pope's lecture was long, dense and subject to wide interpretation. Rather than criticize Islam directly, he cited a Byzantine emperor's harsh condemnation of Islam, its founder Muhammad and holy war.
Benedict used the word ``jihad,'' choosing the emotionally and politically loaded Arabic term for holy war or struggle.
``Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul,'' Benedict said.
``Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature.''
In contrast to fanatic abuse of religion, the pope said, in Christianity ``the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself.''
Ultimately, Benedict's long exposition was not about Islam but about the dangers of secularism in the Christian West and the need to better know God, his favored themes. But the remarks on Islam, however couched, were likely to draw the most attention.
Benedict's disdain for radical Islam, and the use of religion to justify terrorism, is well-known. Last year, during his inaugural trip as pope to Cologne, he accused Muslim community leaders of failing to steer their youths from ``the darkness of a new barbarism,'' and he has asserted the fundamental importance of Europe's Christian history and character.
In November, Benedict is scheduled to travel to Muslim Turkey, a candidate to join the European Union, in what promises to be his most prickly expedition abroad thus far. At the university in this medieval city, on the fourth day of a six-day tour of his native Bavaria, the pope quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus in conversation with ``an educated Persian'': ``Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'' Departing from his prepared text, the pope added two reminders to his audience that he was quoting, an indication he was aware of the sensitivity of the comment.
Manuel II was speaking at the end of the 14th century in Constantinople. It was a time of great tumult between the Christian and Muslim worlds and about 50 years before the fall of the fabled city, then the capital of Christendom, to the Muslim Ottomans.
The pope said the emperor would have been aware of Koranic instructions on the waging of holy war as he argued that the spreading of the faith through violence ``is something unreasonable.'' Father Federico Lombardi, the pope's spokesman, said Benedict was not attacking Islam but highlighting forced conversions and holy war as historical examples of the violent use of religion. The pope ``does not want to give an interpretation of Islam as something violent,'' Lombardi told reporters. ``We know that inside Islam there are many different positions, not only violent but non-violent, too.''
But Benedict, the consummate professor, chooses his words carefully. Whether he intended a more overt criticism or was simply provoking intellectual debate was not immediately clear. In just under 17 months in the papacy, Benedict has displayed a sharp intellect and deep theological grounding, but not always the keen geopolitical ear of his predecessor, John Paul II.
Incredible. The following e-mail crossed my desk this evening.
I'll let the letter speak for itself. Keep in mind, though, that Kate O'Beirne is a member of the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors, that glorious body whose members - we are frequently reminded by Dean Dobranski and his ilk - include princes of the Church. That institution within an institution which condescends to discuss the madness of its chairman with neither student nor alumnus. Until now. And boy does "O'Bernie" stick her foot in it this time! Wow! Let nobody who reads this remain swayed by the Dean's attempts to paint the Board of Governors as upright, exemplary members of the Catholic community whose motives and actions we are not to question.
Keep in mind, too, that the exchange described occured between Mizz O'Beirne, a giant of political punditry (and, one concludes, an expert when it comes to rhetoric and spin), and an alumnus serving his country and trying to support his family in the process. David had better odds against Goliath than Capt. DeJak has if O'Beirne actually does unleash her husband on him.
Honorable administrators and Governors with honorable intentions engaging in honorable activities need not act dishonorably in pursuit of their goals. So, why have our administrators and Governors done just that? Is it really necessary to sacrifice the current and future careers of faculty, students, and now alumni upon the altar of Tom Monaghan's Mount Everest-sized ego?
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: [Capt. John M. DeJak] Date: Sep 12, 2006 1:44 PM Subject: Conversation with Mrs. O'Beirne To: [AMSL Alumni Board]
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On Wednesday, September 6, 2006 Mrs. Kate O'Beirne of the AMSL Board of Governors and Washington Editor of the National Review called me at work. I know not how she found my office number, there are several possibilities. I hope that no one from the law school forwarded that information, as my legal disclaimer at the bottom of all communications indicates that this is for the intended recipient only (that would include the information contained in my signature block).
In any event, Mrs. O'Beirne called at about 4:15pm. At the time she called I was in a conference and indicated to my secretary that I would phone her back. I did so around 4:23pm. When I reached her, she was extremely condescending on the phone and immediately attempted to get me to admit that I have participated in anonymous blogging. She told me that she knew who I was and to prove the point--and as an obvious attempt at intimidation--she named my undergraduate institution. (As a side note, I hope that this information was not provided to her by the law school as it is likely a violation of the Buckley Amendment (20 U.S.C. sec. 1232g).) She continued to relentlessly pursue the blog issues. I responded that I could not countenance that activity one way or the other. In the course of the conversation she alluded to the fact that her husband might be interested in defending her from criticism in certain blogs. Again, I indicated to her that I could not comment on blog issues. It is worth noting that her husband is a retired officer in the United States Army and recently--if not currently--White House Liaison to the Pentagon. I took this as a further attempt at intimidation and a thinly veiled threat regarding my employment with the United States Army. She, yet again, pressed me on the blog issues and I, again, indicated to her that I had no comment and could not countenance the activity one way or the other.
I did take the liberty of informing Mrs. O'Beirne that I have a definite position on the controversies that are currently embroiling the law school. This position is well known as I am a member of the AMSL Alumni Association Board of Directors and have made no attempt to conceal such a position. I also indicated my hope that the Board of Governors would take to heart the concerns of the faculty and alumni. Finally, I noted that--in my limited experience of academia--AMSL seems to be an anomaly in that a substantial majority of the faculty voted no confidence in the Dean and he is still in that position. To illustrate the point, I juxtaposed the position of Dean Dobranski at AMSL with the position of President Lawrence Summers at Harvard--who resigned after a faculty no confidence vote. She continued to be perturbed throughout the call and, finally, I asked her if there was anything else that she wanted. Apparently there was nothing else. At the end of our conversation, I told Mrs. O'Beirne to keep up the good work at National Review and we ended our call.
I am still unclear as to the ultimate purpose of Mrs. O'Beirne's phone call. Further, I am shocked and appalled at the tone and unprofessional manner in which Mrs. O'Beirne addressed me. Her attempts at what I perceived as intimidation and a thinly veiled threat were and are disgusting. My views on the issues surrounding the law school are well known as the minutes of Alumni Board Meetings are available, as is my December 2005 letter to the Wall Street Journal co-authored by Mr. Chris McGowan. I hope that this was a singular instance and that other alumni are not subject to this type of communication from a member of the Board of Governors.
Members of the Alumni Board are authorized to share this information, but I would ask that you redact my office phone number and address in my signature block. I continue to pray for the success and health of the law school and that the issues that face the law school are amicably resolved.
In Our Lord,
JOHN M. DEJAK CPT, JA Administrative & Civil Law Attorney [Address and Telephone Number Redacted]
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." -- G.K. Chesterton
Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:22 PM. |
In watching some of the recollections of 9/11 last night, a trader from the NYSE struck me. He seemed to be your typical Irish Catholic born and raised in NYC. A tough, no-nonsense type. His father was a fireman and his brother followed in the footsteps of his father as a member of the FDNY. He described the terror of that day, five years ago, and the profound sadness that overcame him when he learned that his brother and friends died when the Towers collapsed. Tears welled up in his eyes as he thought about his brother and how his young life was surrendered to God in the matter of 2 hours. Even more poignant was the recollection that his brother was kind to everyone and everyone loved him in return. That was one of his brother's motivations to become a firefighter--and he did indeed lay down his life so that others might live.
Ever since 9/11, this trader has been making frequent trips to St. Patrick's Cathedral--daily, I believe. He goes in spends time with Our Lord and lights a candle for his brother and his brother's buddies that died. His candle has a very specific purpose--"I just want to buy a beer for my brother and his buddies."
I have no doubt that every time this Irish trader lights a candle at St. Patrick's, his fireman-brother is enjoying a pint with his pals at the Inn at the End of the World.
Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 10:36 AM. |
DE PROFUNDIS clamavi ad te, Domine: * Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuae intendentes, * in vocem deprecationis meae. Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: * Domine, quis sustinebit? Quia apud te propitiatio est: * et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine. Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus: * speravit anima mea in Domino. A custodia matutina usque ad noctem, * speret Israel in Domino. Quia apud Dominum misericordia, * et copiosa apud eum redemptio. Et ipse redimet Israel * ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
Consider contributing to the Australia Zoo's tribute.
Specialist, United States Army; United States Secret Service Officer. Born November 4, 1971, died September 11, 2001.
Based in Virginia, Craig Miller was on temporary assignment in New York on September 11, 2001. He was with the Special Services Division, which provides protection for vehicles carrying important officials and foreign dignitaries. Craig was in New York to provide federal-level security as part of the annual United Nations General Assembly.
Craig had joined the Secret Service in January of 2000. He was a highly decorated army veteran who served his country in Operation Desert Storm. Craig was awarded two Bronze Stars and the Kuwait Liberation Medal for his military service.
He received extensive emergency response and medical training during and after his military career. Craig was in the right place at the right time to use his training. This American hero is believed to have played a vital role on 9/11 in the saving of thousands of lives at the cost of his own.
Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Please pray for the soul of Craig James Miller and all the souls of the victims of Septermber 11th.
It is very puzzling to me why well-meaning and intelligent members of the Catholic community continue to dismiss the concerns of faculty, alumni, and students. The only explanation I have is that the administration and the Board of Governors believe that there is a subversive conspiracy to undermine all that is good about Ave Maria Law, spearheaded by a small number of disgruntled faculty members, who are rabble-rousers inciting students and alumni, inflaming passions in an unreasonable opposition to a Florida move. Though this may sound incredible, I think that this is what Dean Dobranski, Deans Read and White, Kate O'Beirne, and others actually believe.
So, let me attempt to cure this misguided thought. Here are 3 reasons why there is no conspiracy:
1. The students and alumni are able to think for themselves and are not prone to being easily swayed by their passions.
The students who came to Ave Maria during the first few years of its existence are some of the most intelligent and most independent law students in the country, attracted to an unaccredited school because of its mission of providing quality Catholic legal education. To think that they cannot rationally consider the pros and cons of a Florida move but can be manipulated by a few professors is simply insulting. Furthermore, students and alumni have the most to lose: they have staked their entire legal careers on a untested dream; they gambled with their futures to come to a school with no reputation. They have more to lose than Tom Monaghan, than the Board of Governors, and than the faculty, who are all people with already established professions and careers. If Ave Maria fails, the students and alumni will lose the most. They care greatly about the school's future, and only wish its best. After looking into all the evidence, many have determined that the current pursuit of Florida on Tom Monaghan's terms is detrimental to the school's future.
2. If there is a conspiracy, way too many people would have to be in on it.
For all practical purposes, it is impossible for a few disgruntled faculty to have mobilized a majority of the students and alumni in opposition to the Florida move. More importantly, a few members of the faculty could not have orchestrated the large number of students, faculty, alumni, and administrators who were hurt by the Ave Maria College and St. Mary's College fall-out. In fact, for years, many well-respected individuals have been warning and cautioning against certain problems with Tom Monaghan's methods of governance and his practices in managing Catholic institutions. (See here, here, here, here, and here.) A small number of disgruntled faculty could not have been the masterminds behind everyone who disapproves of the way Tom Monaghan runs his Catholic endeavors.
3. There are actually legitimate reasons to oppose the current plan to move to Florida on Tom Monaghan's terms.
I have argued in the past that opposition to the Florida endeavor is not premised primarily or essentially on location, geography, or an unwillingness to move one's family. Instead, opposition to the current plan to move to Florida rests on the way that it is currently being pursued: a wholesale shut-down/start-up done as quickly as possible without regard for the negative consequences for the current set of students, faculty, and alumni, accomplished by a governance that disregards or squelches reasonable opposition. Respected members of the Ave Maria Law community, faculty members, Professor Charles Rice, and others have voiced legitimate concerns about this current Florida plan. As I have discussed before, it is not unreasonable to oppose Florida as it is currently being pursued.
Are these reasons compelling enough to dispel the myth that there is a conspiratorial rebellion masterminded by a few disgruntled professors?
(Note: As is my occasional practice, I reserve the right to edit comments that become too vitriolic on either side of the debate. Facts and reasonable arguments are welcome.) Update: I posted this clarification in the comments which may be useful:
My definition of the current "conspiracy" is this: An opposition to Florida spearheaded by a few disgruntled faculty, who are against the move for unreasonable reasons like not wanting to move their families out-of-state and not liking Florida weather/hurricanes; and that the faculty has spread this opposition to students/alumni by enflaming their passions in class and through subversive communications.
My post is an attempt to say that this version of the "conspiracy" is foolish and untrue. Two points I'm trying to establish are:
1. Opposition to the move is NOT based on unreasonable reasons like moving out-of-state or the weather; it is based on legitimate concerns as spelled out in Rice's May letter: governance problems, loss of students/faculty, poor public relations, uncertain relationship with Ave Town, the school's future success.
2. Opposition to the move is a reasonable response, reached by numerous intelligent people who have looked into all the evidence, and who have come to this decision on their own and not because someone else encouraged them or inflamed them.
The human mind is able to "invent," to use Cicero's word, almost any explanation for some fact or event that really happens. This is, after all, what detective stories are about. The "invention" is the line of reasoning by which we arrive at the intelligibility of what went on. Even when the actors in and the consequences of a deed are fairly well known and sorted out, it is still possible to "explain" them in different manners. This difference of interpretation should not surprise us. Indeed, after five years there is even a small group of professors -- who else? -- that insists "9/11" was an American political plot having nothing to do with Muslims. Almost anything can be "imagined" if one has a motive.
I just received this from a purveyor of all things interesting:
"On an August morning in 1978, French filmmaker Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a friend, a professional Formula 1 racer, drive at breakneck speed through the heart of Paris. The film was limited for technical reasons to 10 minutes; the course was from Porte Dauphine, through the Louvre, to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.
"No streets were closed, for Lelouch was unable to obtain a permit.
"The driver completed the course in about 9 minutes, reaching nearly 140 MPH in some stretches. The footage reveals him running real red lights, nearly hitting real pedestrians, and driving the wrong way up real one-way streets.
"Upon showing the film in public for the first time, Lelouch was arrested. He has never revealed the identity of the driver, and the film went underground until a DVD release a few years ago.
People have been making fun of Columcille for his courage in questioning the "official" story of 9-11. Well, thanks to our sources in an undisclosed location in the high desert, FUMARE has obtained satellite imagery that proves that Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, International Jewish Moneylenders, and, yes, the Jesuits have conspired to create the myth that is 9-11.
Prescinding from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s brilliant observation that the Bush administration's environmental policies are the cause of such disasters as Katrina, we have satellite evidence that Bush and his neo-con friends have created one of the most brilliant meteorological events in history. Coordinating with Osama Bin Laden in his cave, and snacking on Little Debbies purchased by executives of Goldman-Sachs, on September 10, 2001, the President called his Jesuit liturgist friends to engage in a paraliturgical service entitled Earth, Wind, Sky--My, Oh, My! In this service, participants held aloft crystals, walked in a labyrinth and chanted the colors of the spectrum: "Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet." The result was stunning! Prevailing winds and the jet stream were coordinated with the movements of the planets to provide a perfect day to fly airplanes into the twin towers.
A really big alien even made an appearance, too! Don't believe me--judge for yourselves!
Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:28 PM. |
We here at Fumare will not shy away from controversy. (Note: I acknowledge, however, that there are some debates that a reasonable Fumarist should not have because they are too absurd, such as the merits of partial-birth abortion, Irish Stout's anthropology, or in which French dynasty Christ's bloodline lies. Columcille, stick to distributism, I say!)
Obviously, taking a fair and objective look at the facts is always ideal. So, here is a response to Columcille's recent post: Popular Mechanics's "9/11: Debunking The Myths".
The penetrating of this story into the national media probably has to do with this sensationalist video that for some months has been in the top 100 on Video Google. It deals with this subject.
Also, C-SPAN recently carried the video proceedings of a conference on this subject featuring some of the academics who are making this claim.
This information is a bit like that scene in the Matrix when Morpheus offers Neo the two pills. If these claims have any merit, it is kind of world shattering in its implications.
It is not for the faint of heart.
Many of us have friends and family who died on 9/11, so I don't post this in jest or in any way to denigrate the memory of the victims. Please forgive me for posting this difficult subject for your consideration, it will doubtlessly evoke painful memories and strong responses.
I do so because I suspect that we will hear more about this in the coming days as the anniversary approaches; and I do so because if these claims have any merit, men of good will should take notice and take action as they feel called and capable.
I recently finished listening to Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. My copy, an audio book from audible.com, was a gift from Ryder. Because it was an unabridged copy, it took quite some time to listen to it--all 36 hours, 59 minutes of it. It was, without equivocation, the best biography I have ever read. I was left with the most profound appreciation for A.H., the self-made man to whom America owes so much. I was also astounded by what the book revealed of the characters of other founding fathers. Jefferson was portrayed as a consumate political opportunist, to put it lightly, who let others do his dirty work, while John Adams was limned as a paranoid, malicious man who was presumptuous of his place in the new republic and resentful of his compeers. These are substantially different portraits than those which I obtained from David McCullough's biography on John Adams. Although unflattering accounts can be expected of these two men in a biography of their formidable political opponent, Chernow's narrative is objective and his accounts are taken from volumnous sources, many of which, if not the majority, are the mens' own writings. Many a man has moments which are far from his best. Perhaps Jefferson and Adams' dealings with Hamilton brought out something other than their best.
Chernow has written the biography by which I will judge all others. It is eloquent, erudite, and accessessible despite it length. As for the audio portion of my audio book, it is expertly read by Scott Brick, an articulate narrator to whom one requires virtually no effort to listen. In short, I heartily recommend the book, for your edification, if not for the fact that it is simply a wonderful read--or in my case, listen.
Here at FUMARE, we do not shy away from asking the difficult questions as regarding God, man & woman, Faith, Law & Culture and now . . . COSMOS!
As much as the critical debate on women's fashion has been insightful if not geothermal, another topic presses upon us and calls for the insights of the FUMARISTS.
In the current debate on Embryonic Stem Cell Research, or Intelligent Design, or Cloning, whenever the Church's view is brought up so too is the spector of Galileo.
In these debates, the Catholic Church gets accused of being the enemy of science, an irrational moralist, and an authoritarian opposed to the great good of human progress. The other side has only to remind us of Galileo to prove the point (no further discussion is necessary, or evidence will work to make in roads on that conclusion).
"The Church persecuted him because he dared to tell the truth to power!" . . . You can just see a comment on the Inquisitions coming next.
We seem to have lost this one in the arena of popular opinion . . . but wait, could there yet be hope?
ROME (AP)--A Dutch bishop is saying the unthinkable and an outspoken aged Cardinal is calling for ecclesial sanctions. Tiny Muskens, the Bishop of Breda, is advocating the use of condoms to stem the AIDS epidemic in Uganda. According to a Radio Netherlands report, Bishop Muskens believes that it is permissible to opt for the lesser evil of condom use to prevent the greater evil of AIDS. The controversial remarks were made in conjunction with a visit by the Bishop to Uganda at the invitation of the group Stop AIDS Now. While there has been no official comment yet by the Vatican, Giovanni Cardinal Marotta, 98, has wasted no time in commenting on the Dutch Bishop's remarks.
Speaking from his residence at Villa Santa Zita, just outside Rome, the retired Cardinal--capitalizing on an obvious English pun regarding the Bishop's first name--thundered, "Episcopus Minimus--Tiny redditur Anglice--ad nomen eius non pertinet!" (This roughly translates as "Bishop Tiny doesn't refer to his name!") The Cardinal then went on to explain the basic moral principle that one may not use an evil means to attain a good end. "There have been numerous moral theories that have attained ascendancy after the Council," echoed Dr. Pietro Feruzzi, a one time colleague of Cardinal Marotta who now owns and runs a pizzeria in Rome. "Our late Pontiff, John Paul the Great, put these innovations to rest in his 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor. Unfortunately, what we are experiencing with many in the current crop of bishops is poor seminary training that accepted these various moral theories and jettisoned the traditional moral teaching of the Church--which is nothing other than common sense."
Bishop Muskens is but the latest of several bishops in past years to deviate from the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. None of these prelates have evaded the towering personality of Giovanni Cardinal Marotta. In recent months, the aged Cardinal has come out to combat those whom he sees as waging "constant assaults on our Holy Mother." Cardinal Marotta is no stranger to controversy with Northern European prelates and dissenting priests. In 1968, there was a celebrated incident where then-Bishop Marotta took on liberal priest Fr. Bjorn Jorgensen, O.F.M. Fr. Jorgensen, a peritus (or theological expert) at the Second Vatican Council, was known for holding "re-imagining church" sessions in coffee houses all around Amsterdam in the years following the Council. Students, theologians and the effete would travel from all over Europe to attend these sessions. In a conference in Rome, hosted by the International Theological Commission, Fr. Jorgensen asserted that Jesus Christ might be one of many manifestations of the Deity and thus there is nothing unique about the person of Christ. Rising in anger, then-Bishop Marotta thundered "Go to hell!" Some have opined that Paul VI's famous "smoke of Satan" comment was inspired by this exchange and the coffee house sessions.
Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:50 AM. |
For those devout Catholics who bemoan the cost of living such that you can't afford a mortgage & living expenses without your wife being forced into the market place, remember it is YOUR FAULT FOR NOT BEING MORE PRODUCTIVE!!!
For those Fumareconquistas who already know and practice this most excellent devotion, and those who do not, Columcille reminds you all that today is the First Friday of the month.
The above passage ought to remind us of how critical this devotion is to our times. This devotion was reserved especially for our time (so too The Divine Mercy Devotion, which is an organic development of this revelation). There is a little book which is not easy to get (even the publisher, Ignatius Press, no longer lists it on its website), but which is key to understanding the importance of this Devotion to our Holy Father - Benedict XVI.
Also, if you have a copy of the last First Things, there is a very important article in it which gives the historical and political context for the emergence of the Sacred Heart Devotion - The Churches of Earthly Power, by Russell Hittinger.
In it he makes the case that with the rise of Nationalism and its totalizing claims as well as the many accompanying ideologies, this devotion helped the Church to realign its mission not on territorial domains of power but on the interritorial domain of the human heart. It is a good read and helps to understand the surrendering of the Papal States along with the restatement of the universal authority of the Pope on issues of Faith and Morals.
Understanding this historical context gives us insight into our own time and the call to transform the culture. Ours must be a culture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or it will not be much longer.
This devotion is a concrete (or rather fleshy) gateway into the mystical dimensions of our Faith, and the antidote to a world at war within its own heart.
The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart As given by Our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
12. I promise thee in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that its all-powerful Love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of Nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.