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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Carnival, Culture and Catholicism

"Yet there can be seasonal misrule only within a prevailing architecture of order, just as the debates and disputations of the late medieval period are possible only within the context of an assured and absolute truth which governs humankind." - Peter Ackroyd's The Life of Thomas More

As Advocatus Militaris is fond of pointing out, there are certain strains of Catholicism that seem inclined towards what he describes as a Jansenist or rationalist conception of the Faith. It appears to me that these unhealthy tendencies among American Catholics started with too great an influence of Protestant attitudes, but have been exasperated by the current culture wars (see, for example, a recent condemnation of a school's opposite sex dress-up day).

Frederick Wilhelmsen, one of the great Thomists of the 20th century, noted that there seems to be little space in Michael Novak's Catholicism for the festivals and carnivals that have always characterized Catholic cultures. It is, for instance, hard to imagine a renewal of the tradition of the boy-bishop or of other "irreverent" common-places.

As Ackroyd explains, "On the feast of the Innocents a 'boy-bishop' was ritually enthroned in the principal churches of London .... The child bishop, fully apparelled in ecclesiastical robes with mitre and crozier, delivered a sermon (which often touched upon the misdemeanors of the adult clergy) before walking through the streets of the district, blessing the people and collecting money for his churchwardens." Not only was this tradition sanctioned by the Church, the statutes of the Sarum rite provided that "no man whatsoever, under the pain of Anathema, should interrupt or press upon these Children at the Procession." Similarly, one of the maxims that boys such as Thomas More would have spent time translating into Latin was "Thou shalt do as the preste says, but not as the preste dothe."

There is much talk here and elsewhere about the importance of engaging the culture. No one is denying that "engaging the culture" can be an important thing, but I think it is also important to note that it will be impossible to have an authentic Catholic culture so long as there are no places where Catholics can engage in the ribaldry and disputation that rest upon "a prevailing architecture of order [and] the context of an assured and absolute truth." If we truly want the renewal of our culture, don't we need to begin with small communities in which such traditions can develop? If there is no oasis from the culture wars, aren't we condemned to a shallow faith that can never satisfy a full and healthy life? If we have no place for carnival, can we really call what we have a Catholic culture?

Fumed by Down South at 3:22 PM. |

Friday, December 29, 2006

AP Exclusive: An Interview with Giovanni Cardinal Marotta (Part II)

Rome (AP)--We continue our exclusive interview with Giovanni Cardinal Marotta. In part II, our own Lucia Feruzzi probes the Cardinal about his formative influences and his personal experiences. Part III of this interview will be published in several weeks.

Q: Your Eminence, I would like turn now to yourself. Would you share with us a bit about your family and early influences?

Marotta: I come from very devout family. Very typical of the time. You know, daily rosary, celebration of feast days. My mother, Agnese, was a member of the famous Farnese family. She was a very devout woman who had an especial devotion to her patroness, St. Agnes. I recall as a small child traveling with the family to Rome on the feast of St. Agnes and attending the solemn High Mass at the Basilica in the Piazza Navona. The titular cardinal and concelebrants were vested with red, white and gold. During the Mass, there was a procession of little girls veiled and dressed in white lace, followed by carabinieri carrying the baby lambs. The lambs are blessed and incensed before being taken to the Vatican for the Pope's blessing. The wool from these lambs would later be used for the pallia.

Q: What a delightful memory.

Marotta: Yes. I recall watching my sisters process into the church amidst very heavy incense. It was one of those very impressionable memories of my youth. After the Mass, I remember all of us--there were 12 children--walking to the other side of the piazza to Tre Scalini where my father would buy all of us a chocolate tartufo. I think he enjoyed it as much as we did! It was an annual pilgrimage.

Q: Tell me about your father.

Marotta: My father was Giovanni Battista Giuseppe Marotta. He was the paterfamilias and made sure that my brothers and sisters and I knew it. He was born in 1867 in what is called the Marche region of Italy. Shortly before his birth it had been a part of the Papal States and there was much tumult and rebellion against the pope at that time. You see, it was the time when the movement for a united Italy was gaining ground and the territorial possessions of the pope were being displaced. When my father was born, the last vestiges of the Papal States were being eliminated from the map. The whole thing wasn't resolved until the Lateran Treaty in 1929.

Q: What an exciting and dangerous time! Where did your father's family's sympathies lie?

Marotta: Though I never knew him, my grandfather, Giuseppe, was a staunch defender of the papacy and its rights over the Papal States. I believe that is where my father received his vehemence. I recall, as a youth, my father sitting in the back of our home under a trellis of grape vines arguing politics and religion with some of his friends. This seemed to be a weekly occurence. They were drinking their wine and arguing the fine points of the unification of Italy. I remember one such occasion, in particular, where an argument came to blows.

Q: Really?

Marotta: Yes. I think that it would be helpful to give some background on my father. He was quite an educated and literate man, though he had only several years of formal schooling. He was farmer in Tuscany--I was born in Firenze--and we lived a very simple life. Yet, he knew how to read and would travel whenever he could to Firenze to pick up books for the family. We had quite a library in our humble little home! Anyway, because of his humble rusticity--sancta simplicitas, I would call it--he was not always the most elegant in a controversy. The occasion that I began to speak of occurred right after the first world war--I was about 11 at the time--probably around 1920. I recall it being a beautiful day and my father was arguing with one of his friends who had no love for the Church and was rather taken with Fasci di Combattimento. My father began to dissect his friend’s position with what I would call common sense. The next thing I knew, his friend had said something terrible. He blasphemed the Most Holy Sacrament. I cannot describe the look on my father's face as it was horribile visu! In my whole life, I do not think that I was as terrified of my father as I was on this occasion. My father put down his jug of wine, did not say a word, stood up and very quietly asked his friend to repeat what he had just said. When the poor man repeated it, my father acted like a man possessed! He grabbed his friend--vis et manus--and proceeded to bloody his face. First one blow, then another. Minutes seemed like hours! He then picked the poor man off the ground and told him never to return. He never did. I never knew what became of that man.

Q: I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree--to give it a turn of phrase!

Marotta: [laughing]

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:33 AM. |

Cardinal Martino Prefers Tuesday's Philosophy to Monday's

"The death penalty is not a natural death. And no one can give death, not even the State," [Martino] said.

Your Eminence, go back and read the Gospel--especially John 19:10-11 where Our Lord acknowledges the authority of the state to meet out death:

19:10. Pilate therefore saith to him: Speakest thou not to me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee?

19:11. Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered me to thee hath the greater sin.

Then, when you are done with that, go read the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2266-2267 where, once again, Holy Mother Church acknowledges the power of legitimate authority in this regard. Then, go read the Summa Theologiae, II, II, 64, art.2; and II, II, 66, art 6. Next read a little more of St. Thomas, namely, Summa Contra Gentiles, book III, ch. 147. Dust off your Latin dictionary, it will help with reading the texts and with your own precision--something you desperately need.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 7:11 AM. |

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body...we ought always primarily to remember that within every one of those heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities a new sea.
--G.K. Chesterton, The Defendant

Oftentimes the cynic will comment that "Christmas is for children." The sense in which he means this, unfortunately, is that once one is an adult he outgrows his need for Christmas. The cynic inhabits a very small universe indeed. On the other hand, I will take the comment at face value and assert that it is true: Christmas is for children! But it is for children in the sense that Our Lord constantly refers to children. "Unless you be converted and become like little children, you will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Mt. 18:3)

Children are incredibly trusting, loving and innocent! They look at the world as something wonderful and joy-filled. How many times have we experienced a small child, barely able to keep upright, run toward us with both arms open wanting a hug or to be picked up? This is how Our Lord wants us to be with Him. He desires our wide-eyed innocence, our trust, our joy at what He has made. The joy of Christmas is the joy of a child! How impoverished we are if we are not children at Christmastime!

Perhaps another reason that God became a little child was so that He could see His creation again as it was on the seventh day of creation: "a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea." Perhaps he became a child so that He could run to us and that we might tenderly pick Him up.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:56 AM. |

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thanks Deano!!

Well, we've all seen the communications from the Dean, HERE , sent shortly before Christmas -- though surprisingly not on a Friday afternoon -- about all the goings-on pertaining to the Florida move decision. Although there is much that can be discussed, particularly how the last communication seems like some good 'ol pump primin' in advance of a recommendation to move (and I'll leave aside the usual MO employed to announce a meeting of Alumni with select Board members with little notice and shortly after a holiday), I wish to focus on only one aspect.

The Dean, as always, attempts to set himself up as the channel through which all communications shall travel. Well, I like to have many roads before me leading to Rome, and, though you have earned our trust completely, Dean Dobranski [cough, choke, whispers of no confidence votes], one would be remiss not to provide our Alumni and students who visit this site a few other addresses, worth cc'ing on any communication to the Dean about the Board decision:

wfharrington@bpslaw.com (BJ Harrington)

kuhnb@msn.com (Bowie Kuhn)

peggy.ward@archny.org (Edward Cardinal Egan)

Gerard.V.Bradley.16@nd.edu (Gerard Bradley)

alvare@cua.edu (Helen Alvare)

jrandolph@avemariafoundation.org (Thomas Monaghan)

jdfsj@ignatius.com (Father Joseph Fessio)

Kate@nationalreview.com (Kate O'Beirne)

Michael.uhlmann@cgu.edu (Michael Uhlmann)

pcarfagna@calfee.com (Peter Carfagna)

rgeorge@Princeton.edu (Robert George)

Although probably not a complete list, I am certain the Dean does not oppose some direct communication. After all, as the Dean says, "it is vital that [the Board] continue to hear directly from the people who would be most affected by this decision," and "[f]or that reason [the Board] continue[s] to welcome and invite your input."

Let's lay it on 'em, lest they say we were not interested in the future of our Alma Mater.

Fumed by Tommy More at 3:30 PM. |

The Tale of A Humble Priest From Detroit

Good to see the focus is always on Christ and His Church:

Gumbleton also said he was anxious that his last days at St. Leo's not be turned into "a media circus."

"I would just as soon not have Sunday liturgy become something that is about me. I want to keep the parish going as a parish as we have for 20 some years," he said.

"I don't see any point in people coming to demonstrate or anything of the sort. It's
not like it's my funeral Mass or something like that. I just want everything to continue to be as much for the parish as possible and not be flooded with outsiders."

Bishop Gumbleton, humble.

(By the way, Your Excellency, if it were your funeral Mass I am quite sure that there wouldn't be any people coming to demonstrate. Wait...what do you mean by demonstrate?)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 7:14 AM. |

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Email Sent Today From Dean Dobranski on Behalf of the Board of Governors

Dear members of the Ave Maria School of Law community:

We would like to thank the faculty, staff and alumni who shared their views on the Feasibility Study and the issue of a potential relocation during this past week. These meetings provided us with additional helpful insights and further issues and perspectives to consider.

As many of you know, we have recently had several lengthy meetings with constituent groups and received a significant amount of information and opinions relating to a potential relocation. In these meetings, many have stressed the importance of our decision and how profoundly it will impact the lives of those who care so much about our School. We understand and appreciate this.

As we consider a potential relocation, it is vital that we continue to hear directly from the people who would be most affected by this decision. For that reason we continue to welcome and invite your input. As you may know, meetings will be held in January so that Governors may meet with students and alumni who reside in the Washington, D.C. area. Dates of both meetings will be publicized in the very near future. The Board also continues to encourage members of the community to provide us with comments via e-mail. Such communications should be forwarded to us through Dean Dobranski.

We look forward to continued constructive discussion as we consider the important question of a potential relocation.

Please accept our best wishes for a joyous Christmas.


Board of Governors

UPDATE: This communique was sent later in the day via .pdf by the Dean:





DATE: 12/21/2006

For obvious reasons, many current students and alumni have expressed a strong interest in learning what took place at the recent meeting of the Board of Governors. I write to update you and to explain what is next on the Board’s agenda as it relates to a potential relocation of the Law School to Florida.

First, the Board did discuss the issue of a possible relocation, but it did not make a decision on that matter. No firm date has yet been set for the next Board meeting. What is clear is that before such a decision is made the Board has to understand fully the extremely complicated financial issues that accompany such a decision. At the Thursday, December 14 meeting, virtually the entire day was spent analyzing financial documents relating to the development of the Town and the University and to the Law School if it were to relocate.

The Board has appointed a financial subcommittee and retained an attorney, who was present at the December 14 meeting, to help in its examination of these complicated financial issues. More analysis and deliberation will be needed before the Board has a complete picture of the financial implications of a potential relocation to Florida.

I understand the pace of this process has been frustrating to many of you. I have heard from many of you, and Board members tell me they have as well, that a decision sooner rather than later is preferred. I agree. However, the Board cannot perform the necessary due diligence without carefully and responsibly considering all elements of a potential relocation.

In the meantime, there are several things that will be happening in the weeks ahead that you should know about. First, I, and the other Board members, continue to seek your input on the Feasibility Study and the issue of whether it is in the best interests of the Law School to relocate. Specifically, I continue to have an open door policy. Students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to stop by each afternoon to provide such input. No appointment is necessary.

In addition, I will continue to accept written correspondence to myself and to the Board regarding the Feasibility Study and the issue of whether it is in the best interests of the Law School to relocate. E­mail submissions are acceptable as well.

One or more Board members will be here in January to meet with students and receive their input. There will be a group meeting with all students who wish to attend and an opportunity for one­on­one meetings with any student who wishes to speak privately.

Also in January, some Board members will be in Washington, D.C., where our largest contingent of alumni outside Michigan are located, to meet with alumni there and receive their input regarding the Feasibility Study and the issue of a potential relocation.

As they continue to consider the wisdom of a potential relocation, Board members will travel to the future site of Ave Maria Town and the University in January for a site visit. They will also meet with leaders of the bench and bar in the area.

As many of you know, Board members were here at the Law School on Wednesday, December 13 to meet with Senior Staff and alumni to get their input on the Feasibility Study and a potential relocation. On Thursday, the Board welcomed faculty members into the Board meeting to share their views on a potential relocation.

As the Board considers this important question, I ask for your patience and your prayers that the correct decision is made and that the Law School emerges from this process stronger than it was before.

A blessed and Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year to all.


Fumed by Tommy More at 10:20 AM. |

60 Years Ago Today...

...It's A Wonderful Life premiered. Last year, Sine Metu posted his reflection of the film which I commend to our readers.

I don't have much more to add other than to say that this is one of those films that reminds us of the things that truly matter: children, family, the dignity of every human person and--most importantly--the love of God.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 8:14 AM. |

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Rebirth of English Catholicism

I recently finished Duffy's mammoth _Stripping of the Altars_ and was amazed at the vibrancy of the Faith in England prior to the Reformation. Duffy points out that possibly as many as half the population of England was attending daily mass. This new volume is a welcome addition to the renewal of English Catholicism. There is an excellent review of this book at TLM and this is from Amazon:

In this richly illustrated book, religious historian Eamon Duffy discusses the Book of Hours, unquestionably the most intimate and most widely used book of the later Middle Ages. He examines surviving copies of the personal prayer books which were used for private, domestic devotions, and in which people commonly left traces of their lives. Manuscript prayers, biographical jottings, affectionate messages, autographs, and pious paste-ins often crowd the margins, flyleaves, and blank spaces of such books. From these sometimes clumsy jottings, viewed by generations of librarians and art historians as blemishes at best, vandalism at worst, Duffy teases out precious clues to the private thoughts and public contexts of their owners, and insights into the times in which they lived and prayed. His analysis has a special relevance for the history of women, since women feature very prominently among the identifiable owners and users of the medieval Book of Hours.

Books of Hours range from lavish illuminated manuscripts worth a king’s ransom to mass-produced and sparsely illustrated volumes costing a few shillings or pence. Some include customized prayers and pictures requested by the purchaser, and others, handed down from one family member to another, bear the often poignant traces of a family’s history over several generations. Duffy places these volumes in the context of religious and social change, above all the Reformation, discusses their significance to Catholics and Protestants, and describes the controversy they inspired under successive Tudor regimes. He looks closely at several special volumes, including the cherished Book of Hours that Sir Thomas More kept with him in the Tower of London as he awaited execution.

Fumed by Down South at 4:20 PM. |

Solemn High Christmas Mass at St. Josephat's in Detroit

There's no need to wait for the much anticipated motu proprio which would permit a more liberal (I couldn't resist using the word liberal in this context) use of the traditional Latin mass. Come to St. Josephat's (Detroit's Tridentine indult parish) for a Solemn High Mass this Christmas at 9:30 a.m. For directions to St. Josephat's (pictured left), see here.

As an additional plug, I'd like to draw special attention to the excellent sacred music which accompanies mass each Sunday at St. Josephat's. St. Josephat's schola is directed by Wassim Sarweh, an accomplished organist and vocalist. At past solemn high masses, Wassim has been accompanied by additional instrumentation and vocal talent. I am hopeful that the Christmas morning solemn high mass will not be an exception.

Fumed by Boethius at 4:13 PM. |

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Dec. 18, 2006 (CWNews.com) - In separate public statements published on December 16, two groups of French and Italian intellectual leaders have thrown their strong support behind an expected move by Pope Benedict XVI to broaden use of the traditional Latin Mass. ***

Both published statements begin by noting the media reports that Pope Benedict will soon release a motu proprio liberalizing the use of the traditional liturgy. The Italian statement begins: “I wish to launch an appeal to the world of culture, in support of a decision of Benedict XVI.” The French manifesto declares that the signers “witness our fidelity, our support, and our affection” for the Pontiff.

The French statement quotes the Pope’s statement, written well before his election to the papacy, that the crisis in the Church “is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.” The manifesto goes on to applaud the Pope’s decision to recognize the new Institute of the Good Shepherd, an institution of French priests dedicated to the Tridentine rite. The Figaro statement notes that the Second Vatican Council called for the Church to recognize all legitimate rites, and “she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.”

Anyone who observes the Church in the U.S. must acknowledge that the Orthodox and Conservative Catholics have been in the intellectual ascendancy since the 1980's. We can see this in the rise of several dynamically orthodox catholic institutions of higher learning, the rebirth or others, the number and nature of the new priest, and the homeschooling movement. We also have new publications like First Things and the STAR as well as EWTN and Catholic Radio.

French intellectuals supporting the Latin Mass? I was surprised, but then it dawned on me that the lukewarm have long since left the Church. The pinch of salt left over will do wonders for French culture. Their first step is appropriately the restoration of the Mass. I do not say this with any implication that there is something intrinsically disordered with the Novus Ordo. However, culturally (and this is a website that touches on the subject) there is a dramatic difference between the Triditine Rite and Novus Ordo. These differences will have divergent effects on the culture (while recognizing that the sacramental grace imparted via both rites predominates).

Fumed by Husband at 1:36 PM. |

New Kids From Borneo

Borneo continues to be a land of mystery and excitement! 52 new species have been found in what has been described as the "lost world." Fascinating!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 8:36 AM. |

Monday, December 18, 2006

ABA Troops Come in Despite Expert Handling

I want to turn your attention to two very strange anomalies concerning the announcement that the ABA is coming for a fact-finding investigation: (i) Dean "N.C." Dobranski was heralded as a tactful handler of things ABA, and the school did in fact hit ABA accreditation timely under his tutelege; and (ii) the Dean described Deans Read and White as "two of the most experienced individuals in American legal education." (NC Dob. Memo "Possible reloc. of AMSL", 3/17/05).

Read/White Feasibility Study Actually Said A Lot:
Moving will Take 20 Years to Recoup

Given the following information from Dean "NC" in the 3/17/06 memo:
Professor White served for twenty-six years as the Consultant on Legal Education to the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the most important position in legal education. As the Consultant, he oversaw and guided the development of the ABA Standards on Legal Education, during the most critical period in legal education. He also served as a member of the team which conducted the 2003 Feasibility Study. Professor Read not only served as Dean at five different law schools, but also served as Deputy Consultant on Legal Education. He is also a past president of the Law School Admissions Council and past Chairman of the Board of the Law Access Group (legal education's loan program). In addition, Professor Read served as our Consultant on Accreditation.
These guys know about accreditation. Their input on what a move would mean, then means a lot when looked at through the lens of how such a move would affect accreditation. Among the first quotes is "the move would be a major change." That's code speak for: the law school will lose full accreditation. OK, the experts have spoken -- but shouldn't their job have been to outline a process by which the law school could be re-accredited? Yes. The experts were able to nail the accreditation schedule down to a year for the first run of the school.

So what about the new study? It's silent about the new accreditation process that would need to be taken. It speaks about effects decades later, but nothing about how much work it would take to make the school fully accredited again. The inference available, in the best light to their expertise and the purpose of the study, is that the move will affect accreditation status for 20 years.

In my estimation, that report was well worth what it says: moving will cause the loss of accreditation resulting in a twenty year recovery period.

Can anybody dispute how well they guided the first run? Then why was the R+W feasibility study notably silent about the process that would occur if the school moved? Details regarding the first process seemed infinite, with such things as to how many places where available in the library to privately pick one's nose. In contrast, the R+W feasibility study has five words and no discussion about the process caused by the loss of accreditation. Because the experts were silent, it can't be good, or they'd have offered some insight to assuage the downside of that loss.

ABA Fact-Finding

Given all of the ABA expertise floating around AMSL, especially purportedly in the Dean, another question comes as to how the school triggered a discretionary investigation. From the ABA standard, it sounds as if getting the ABA to investigate is a little like getting UN involvement.

Why, given all that ABA-handling expertise, and when AMSoL natives remember so well that wariness to ABA standards were so scrupulously adhered to lest there be a reason to fail the school, would they "inadequately respond" to a complaint to such a degree of misfeasance that it merited an investigation?

They are coming, though. It seems with all the experts floating around on ABA things, there is an irreconcilable problem in the leadership of the school, in order to merit their coming, however.

In honor of my being selected as T.M.'s Man of the Year, 2006, my typical caveat about arbitrary and capricious comment editing applies.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 7:06 PM. |

Another Loss: Joseph Barbera

Joseph Barbera passed away today.

Catch a full bio here.

Noted for Tom and Jerry as well as Yogi, Fred.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 6:04 PM. |

Thanks, TIME!

TIME Magazine has named the gentlemen of Fumare as "Persons of the Year." Not being politically correct here, we have decided to append to ourselves the traditional designation of "Men of the Year." Yet, TIME admits with Carlyle, "The history of the world is but the biography of great men." How apt of TIME to recognize this in this esteemed gathering of gentlemen. Thanks, TIME! We appreciate your insight and wisdom on this one: recognizing several individuals (among a multitude of others) that just very well may have saved a law school!

(hat tip: CJT and Rush Limbaugh)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 2:10 PM. |

Run, Sam, Run!

TM to assist Sen. Brownback for a presidential run. All I can say is, "Run, Sam, Run!"

Monaghan's most important role would be delivering that message to wealthy, like-minded potential campaign donors. Most analysts say the lack of a fundraising network confines Brownback to second-tier status in a crowded GOP field. Brownback is counting on Monaghan to change that.

"I hope he'll help us in a number of ways, with people he knows around the country," Brownback said.

A key will be Legatus, a lay group for conservative Catholic CEOs
that Monaghan founded. The organization has more than 5,000 members....

"That's the blue-chip group," said William Donohue, the president of
the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a conservative group on whose board of advisers Monaghan sits. "In Legatus, he's got thousands of members who are all Catholics, all well-to-do. This is the cream of the Catholic community. And they all have friends. You talk about where to go for fundraising, there's a list there that's been around for a number of years."

AM's Observations:

1.) Monaghan? Fundraising? In the same sentence? Apparently, the good Mr. Monaghan's talents in soliciting donors was not applied to the law school. Too bad.

2.) Legatus = "the cream of the Catholic community?" Way to go Bill. Although you do wonderful work, once again, you have demonstrated your obvious tendency to be a whore when it comes to the wealthy. To be sure, the wealthy have souls and many of the members of Legatus are wonderful and loving people and good Catholics. I am also positive that many of their good works are done without fanfare or the seeking of accolades. However, the obsequiousness to power, wealth and prestige that is constantly displayed by the "Catholic leaders" of this country continues to be revolting.

Note to Bill Donohue: The "cream of the Catholic community" are the moms that stay at home and raise their children, the grandmothers that attend daily Mass, the men (white and blue collar) who say the rosary with their children in the evenings--handing on their faith, the humble middle-aged woman who works at a crisis-pregnancy center and spends her day talking a teenager out of an abortion, the faithful priest who wakes in the middle of the night to anoint a dying soul, and the faithful sister who washes the floor of her convent and prays for peace.

This article tends to show us more how these Catholics view themselves. Run, Sam, Run!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:12 AM. |

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sorry, I don't celebrate Kwanzaa... I celebrate Festivus!!

Though many people have never heard of Kwanzaa, every year it gains a little more legitimacy. If you haven't heard of it yet, I guarantee you will in the future. Even President Bush recognizes Kwanzaa. What is Kwanzaa, you ask? It is an African-American holiday honoring "first fruits" celebrated from December 26 to January 1 every year. Kwanzaa celebrates 7 principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. More information on Kwanzaa is available here on the official Kwanzaa website.

But hold on, wait a second... let me set the record straight. Kwanzaa is a bogus holiday. It has absolutely no basis in "African-American" culture. It is a made-up holiday invented by a certain Marxist named Ron (a.ka. Maulana) Karenga in California in 1966. Ron Karenga is a convicted felon (felony assault and false imprisonment) for torturing two black women with electrical cords, a karate baton, a soldering iron, and detergent. When Karenga invented Kwanzaa, he was the leader of a black power group called the "United Slaves" which participated in a 1969 lethal shootout with the rival "Black Panther Party." Karenga is quoted with saying:

People think it's African, but it's not. I came up with Kwanzaa because black people wouldn't celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that's when a lot of Bloods were partying.

There is no doubt that Karenga is an anti-Christian Marxist and created Kwanzaa in opposition to Christmas. In fact, the holiday of Festivus has more credibility than Kwanzaa. (After all, more people know about Festivus, Festivus has just as much foundation as Kwanzaa, and Festivus is not racist.)

So if someone wishes you a "Happy Kwanzaa," please disabuse them of their ridiculously mistaken belief. Here is how I plan on replying when someone wishes me a "Happy Kwanzaa":

"Happy Kwanzaa?? I am extremely offended by that. Kwanzaa is a silly made-up holiday, you dolt. Instead, I celebrate Festivus. Happy Festivus to you and yours!"

Fumed by Thales at 5:27 PM. |

Friday, December 15, 2006

Message From Dean Dobranski

December 15, 2006

To the Law School Community:

Earlier this year some unidentified faculty members filed a complaint with the American Bar Association raising a variety of issues, and the Law School filed a response disputing the allegations. Since many facts are in dispute, the ABA has understandably decided to send a "Fact Finder" to the law school to gather additional information regarding these disputed matters. It is our understanding that the ABA treats the fact--finding process itself confidentially and we intend to do the same. We will, however, keep the law school community advised of developments that can and should be shared publicly.

Dean Bernard Dobranski
President and Dean

Tommy's Note:

It seems that the school, in its response to the faculty complaint, did not "establish that it is operating in compliance with the Standards." Keep in mind: ABA Rules of Procedure, Rule 24(e)(v):

If the school's response does not establish that it is operating in compliance with the Standards on the matters raised by the report, the Consultant or designee, with the concurrence of the chairperson of the Accredidation Committee, will appoint a fact finder to visit the school to investigate the issues raised by the report and the school's response. The report, school response, and the fact-finder's report shall be referred to the Accredidation Committee and considered in the same manner as reports and reviews that fall under Rule 11(a) of the Rules of Procedure. [emphasis mine]

Further, it is curious that the Dean would call the faculty members who filed the complaint "unidentified." According to Rule 24(b)(iii):

Anonymous reports will not be considered.

Perhaps he was being charitable in not releasing their names, but it certainly is not the case that this was an anonymous complaint.

Fumed by Tommy More at 3:41 PM. |

BATTLE OF THE REPORTS (AP) The Faculty Report vs. "Feasibility" Report

Law Community Imagination (AP) - This just in, a video tape of the brutal fight between the Faculty Report and the Feasibility Report.

The video confirms that The Faculty Report simply wanted to continue on its way seeking the Holy Grail of continuity of educational community.

The Feasibility Report would not keep the peace, but clearly mounted an attack by drawing first sword.

Remember, the Faculty Report did not seek to battle with the Feasibility Report, but was forced to do so. The Feasibility Report dressed in black and wielding a red light sabre would not yeild in the name of peace and good will.

The Faculty Report tried to avert a battle, but its hand was drawn into the fight to defend itself and the poor lowly alumni cowering with its coconuts behind the tree of anonymity!

After a fair and balanced duel the results are in:

Feasibility Report says, "It is futile to resist!"

Faculty Report says, "Look you bastard, you've got no arms left!"

A collective cheer could be heard across the Ave Maria School of Law community when The Faculty Report bluntly summed it all up, "You're a looney!"

The dismembered Feasibility Report was last heard ominously saying, "You don't know the POWER of the darkside!"

Developing . . .

Fumed by Columcille at 2:39 PM. |

Monaghan's Idea of the Board Revealed

One of our operatives was able to obtain a copy of Mr. Monaghan's agenda sheet for yesterday's Board of Governors meeting.

Besides ignoring the faculty, yet again, among the items on it were a restructuring of the Board and an official announcement.

The new Board will be renamed and a new group picture will be unveiled:

Mr. Monaghan is taking a new title:

Apparently, some members were so excited about the new structure that they already completed their new identification cards:

The operative who uncovered this startling information has not been heard from since sending this to FUMARE. We fear for his safety. Whether or not Mr. Monaghan's idea was adopted by the Board is unclear at this time.

[By the way, I reserve the right to arbitrarily and capriciously edit, delete, modify, append, or otherwise screw with any comment made on this post in order to make it more entertaining, less abrasive, or otherwise suitable.]

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 11:05 AM. |


Advocatus Press (AP) CALLED IT! The results of the Board of Governors meeting:

1. The Board of Governors has decided not to make a decision on
Florida at this time.

2. The Board of Governors has decided not to make a decision on the
release of the Falvey Report

3. Some Board members will be traveling down to AMT to

4. Next BoG Meeting--March 7, 2007; A decision may be made
before then.

Thanks for the due diligence, ladies and gentlemen.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:35 AM. |

Faculty Responds to "feasibility" Study

Click Here to download a PDF of the Faculty's report responding to the Read/White "Study."

Fumed by Tommy More at 12:04 AM. |

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Real Meat and Potatoes

Persicos odi, puer, apparatus,
displicent nexae philyra coronae;
mitte sectari, rosa quo locorum
sera moretur.

Simplici myrto nihil allabores
sedulus curo: neque te ministrum
dedecet myrtus neque me sub arta
vite bibentem.
Horace, Odes I, xxxviii

The story goes that an MA (or PhD) candidate was being examined by his professors when one of them asked for a recitation and translation of the ode. The student calmly paused, looked up, engaged the intent eyes of the learned elderly Professor of Latin that was sitting before him, and said: "Persicos odi, puer, apparatus, give me a bowl of meat and potatoes!" The student passed the test and became a Master.

In one line, the candidate captured the essence of the poem, its message. In this famous ode, Horace extols the simple things in life--not the ostentatious, not the haughty. A hearty and delicious bowl of meat and potatoes is preferable to dining at the Chez Paul and supping on a $138.00 dinner that consists of a sprig of asparagus, a sprig of parsley and a slice of veal about the size of a thumbprint. (I have done this before and promptly went to a pizza joint after I left. Best pizza I ever had!) Likewise, the simple things of life should be preferable to what the world tells us we should like. The excitement of children at opening another window on their Advent calender knowing that Christmas is approaching is much more valuable than any sort of gift we could receive. It is the little things, the everyday things--the sun rising, a child laughing--that we should take the time to savor and give thanks. Our Lord prefers innocence and humility to worldliness and fame. I suspect he would also prefer meat and potatoes.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 2:19 PM. |

AP Breaking: Chant Notation Found in Vicinity of Board of Governors Meeting

Ann Arbor (AP Breaking) -- As the Board of Governors of the Ave Maria School of Law are meeting in Ann Arbor to discuss the future of the law school, the Associated Press have come into the possession of a curious document which appears to be chant notation for a Catholic communion antiphon of the liturgy.

The document, found on the floor of the hallway outside of the room where the Board of Governors are meeting, resembles the form of a liturgical text, but bears no relation to the substance of any known communion antiphon in the whole corpus of Catholic liturgical texts.

An administrative staff member speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his job and family, said that the document was likely created by an albino Jesuit monk who is believed to be part of a secret wing of the Jesuit order dedicated to liturgical innovation who are believed to be based near the planned site of the Ave Maria Town in Florida. "There has been a lot of discussion around the Ave Maria Foundation staff that the Oratory in Ave Maria Town will be the head quarters for these guys. This is the kind of thing they are going to be doing down there," the frightened staff member said. "It looks Catholic and sounds Catholic, but well read it yourself!"

The staff member had no idea what the document was doing on the floor outside the Board of Governors' conference room, but AP has received earlier reports of chanting being heard outside the meeting.

Developing . . .

Fumed by Columcille at 1:25 PM. |

AP Breaking: Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors Meet, Chants Heard Outside Board Room

Ann Arbor (AP Breaking)--As this article goes to press, the Board of Governors of the Ave Maria School of Law are meeting in Ann Arbor to discuss the fragility of the young law school's future. Developments during the last year have taken the Catholic law school from enjoying a superb reputation to one that is on shaky ground. Much of the controversy stems from what one observer calls the "problematic style of governance of the institution." Philanthropist Thomas Monaghan, who made his fortune as the founder of Domino's Pizza, generously provided much of the initial capital for the new law school in 1998. He is also chairman of the law school's Board of Governors and it is his designs for the institution that are creating quite the stir among the school's academics, alumni and students.

At this writing, our sources tell us that the Board has made preliminary decisions not to make a decision on the adequacy of the recent Read and White feasibility study. Deans Read and White, law school deans and former officials of the ABA, were commissioned to provide the Board of Governors with an "updated" feasibility study on the move of the law school to Florida. Dean Bernard Dobranski--who also sits on the Board of Governors--disseminated the report to the law school community. As it turned out, the report was replete with errors and inaccuracies. One alumnus from the class of 2004 commented, "Deans Read and White should have consulted 'Strunk and White'! Apparently a career as a law school dean doesn't require the grammatical acumen that would be required of a law school professor." Another, alumnus from the founding class (Class of 2003) opined, "It seems that Dean Read can't write and Dean White can't read!"

Our sources also indicate that the Board will not be making a decision to release the Falvey Report at today's meeting. "This just sucks," said a very agitated second-year law student who would only speak on condition of anonymity. "It's about time that the 'best and the brightest' of the Catholic legal community--those who sit on the Board--actually make a decision instead of patting each other on the back and enjoying the tea and crumpets. I hope to stop Gerry Bradley in the hall and remind him of his meeting with us last week!" An alumnus from the Class of 2003, took a more concialiatory but no less vigorous tone, "The bottom line for me is that even if the Blessed Mother told Tommy to build in Florida (and she may well have), she didn't tell him to violate all other commandments to do it. Release the Falvey report!" Alumni-writers for the controversial blog, FUMARE, have taken Dean Bernard Dobranski to task for holding the report hostage. A prominent ticker has been displayed on the website, alerting the world to--in their words--"our stubborn Polack Dean."

Finally, in a strange twist as the meeting began, soft chants of "Puff, Puff, Puff" outside the board room began. No one knows where the chant came from. The law school's chaplain was unavailable for comment.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 10:30 AM. |

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Beer = Health and Happiness

Researchers have verified what we Catholics have known all along. (Yes, this is a slap to you sissy so-called Catholics who do not drink "to the point of hilarity." Besides, the health benefits to Mom and Baby are wonderful!)

UPDATE: Charles A. Coulombe--NOR contributor-- has penned a piece in defense of "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion." Something quite appropriate for my colleagues here (and quite infuriating to our critics). Here is a snippet:

What is the Catholic view on these matters? Well, the love of such as Chesterton and Belloc of both smoking and drinking are very well known; it was even said by their contemporaries that the Chesterbelloc had misheard the Creed, and thought it demanded belief in "One, Holy, Catholic, and Alcoholic Church." But in reality, the views of the Church go back to the Book of Proverbs' injunction to give strong drink to the poor and suffering, and St. Thomas Aquinas' dictum that one could drink ad usque hilaritatem--"to the point of hilarity." St. Benedict in his rule ordered that each monk be given a measure of wine a day; in Medieval England, that measure was considered to be a gallon, so English monks must have been quite merry, indeed. It is no wonder that the Benedictine Dom Perignon invented champagne. [emphasis mine]

Causa finita est.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:28 AM. |

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

St. Thomas on The Existence of Santa Claus

From the lesser-known Summa Contra Scroogicum...

Whether Santa Claus Exists?

We proceed thus to the Third Article: -

Objection 1: It seems that Santa Claus does not exist, since Christmas gifts are able to be given by good elves. Therefore Santa Claus does not exist.

Objection 2: Further, if Santa Claus did exist, there would be no narrow chimneys. But there are narrow chimneys, and sometimes no chimneys at all. Therefore, Santa Claus does not exist.

On the Contrary, Kay Starr says: "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night."

I answer that, The existence of Santa Claus can be proved in five ways.

The first and foremost way is taken from Christmas trees. It is certain and evident to our senses that in the world some things are Christmas trees. Now, no pine tree becomes a Christmas tree unless it is trimmed. Now to be trimmed means to receive ornaments from another. But this cannot go on to infinity in the trimming of Christmas trees. One must come to some first untrimmed trimmer; and this everyone understands to be Santa Claus.

The second way is from the nature of Christmas gifts. We see that in the world Christmas gifts are given and received. Whoever, then, gives Christmas gifts either receives them from another or makes them in his workshop. If, however, no one makes Christmas gifts in his workshop, they are not given or received. Therefore, it is necessary to posit some first giver of Christmas gifts, whom everyone calls Santa Claus.

The third way is from plastic images resembling Santa Claus. At all stores we see things of plastic that represent Santa Claus. These things are of such a quality that they are representatives according to Santa himself or according to other images of him. But, it is not possible to proceed to infinity in images. Therefore, it is necessary to posit something which is resembling Santa Claus, and hence Santa Claus exists.

The forth way is taken from the grades which are found in Christmas spirit. Indeed, in this world, among men there are some of more and some of less Christmas spirit. But "more" and "less" is said of diverse things according as they resemble in their diverse way something which is the "maximum." Therefore, there must be something which has the most Christmas spirit, and this we call Santa Claus.

The fifth way is taken from the behavior of children. When Christmas day approaches, we see from their being good always or frequently that children, who lack understanding, are moved because of an end. But children would not be good because of the nativity of Christ unless there were someone who strengthened them so that they were good. And this someone is known by all to be Santa Claus.

Reply Objection 1: Good elves, since they receive Christmas gifts from another, should be named the highest helpers of Santa Claus.

Reply Objection 2: It is not impossible that Santa Claus should use the door like everyone else.

Well, now we know. Move over Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus. This, my friends, is a proof!

h/t: A certain alumna of That Anonymous College.

Fumed by Ryder at 4:32 PM. |


Vatican, Dec. 11, 2006 (CWNews.com) - The pontifical Ecclesia Dei commission will meet in a plenary session on Tuesday, December 12, to discuss plans to allow broader use of the traditional Latin Mass. ....

As Drudge would say...DEVELOPING...

Do you have any guesses as to what changes the availability of the Latin Mass will have on the Church and society in general? I believe that any change will be slow - but there will be a change. Language dictates culture. And the reintroduction of Latin into the world's lexicon will deepen and strengthen our ties with the wisdom of the past.

Fumed by Husband at 2:55 PM. |

Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College on Ave Maria

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dr. Larry Arnn and Hillsdale College

Posted by Hugh Hewitt | 6:02 PM

Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn was my guest at the open of the show on the right college for your student. We also discussed his college's fine, free newsletter, Imprimis. Sign up for Imprimis here.

Dr. Arnn provided a short list, on the fly, of "old fashioned, serious colleges" which he would recommend to parents and students struggling in these last few weeks of the application season to find a "fit." He also apologized for those he had left off the list , pleading memory: Wheaton, the University of Dallas, Grove City, the University of Chicago, Claremont McKenna College, St. John's College (two campuses) and Ave Maria. (emphasis added)

I'm just throwing this in the debate.

I listened to the program and was surprised. Hewitt offered Ave Maria as one of the top ten (but then again he also offered TAC and St. John's), and the Dr. Arnn seemed a bit hesitant, but it is a recommendation from a man we should all respect.

Your comments?

Fumed by Husband at 2:49 PM. |

What is On the FUMARE Christmas Book Wish List?

Cardinal Francis George is fond of reminding us in America that we are Calvinists at heart (in the “we” he includes Catholics). He tells us this, not because he thinks this is a nice thing, but rather to alert us to the depth and complexity of our call to evangelize and to be evangelized by the Gospel and the Sacred Deposit of the True Faith.

George said that U.S. citizens 'are culturally Calvinist, even those who profess
the Catholic faith.' American society, he said, 'is the civil counterpart of a
faith based on private interpretation of Scripture and private experience of
God.' He contrasted this kind of society with one based on the Catholic Church's
teaching of community and a vision of life greater than the individual. (from an article by
John Allen)

One may quibble that what Cardinal George is really on about is the issue of modernism (the set of philosophical ideas) and what is the authentic Catholic response to the more difficult problem of a culture of modernity (the complex ways that we are deeply formed in these ideas).

On FUMARE, there have been a number of debates which raise this theme – particularly the debates on capitalism and Catholicism (a very clear and distinct divide exists among serious Catholics on this issue). When boiled down, this debate has at its core the question of the Catholic response to the culture of modernity (the spirit of capitalism is enmeshed with modernity).

More then just a nice academic exercise, the question of how the Church engages modernity in turn tells us how we ought to worship at the Divine Liturgy, who we are as a people, how we ought to live as Catholics in America and the meaning of the choices we make.

It is my view that the Ave Maria University and Town project are doomed because the promoters and conceptual architects of the project are trying to build a "Catholic" university and town with a Calvinist ethos. They are trying to blend Catholicism with modernity in a novel way, but one which isn’t at heart Catholic. This is why we see the BoG, the Dean and TM acting as they do. Modernity permits pragmatism over principle.

So, for these reasons, this FUMARE blogger is putting Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II by Tracey Rowland at the top of my Christmas wish list.
(Thanks to a tip from The New Liturgical Movement, and Alcuin Reid's review.)

Noted as "an extremely important book" and "compelling," it critiques the inadequacy of Vatican II in addressing modernity - a gap which has left us reeling. But more than a critique, it examines the current landscape and the incompatible divisions between what she describes as "Whig Thomists" and "Postmodern Augustinian Thomists" - the two approaches available to serious Catholics today. The Whig Thomists are those who see in modernity goods which are compatible with Catholicism (e.g., liberal capitalism) and have faith in the "progress" of modernity's institutions. Michael Novak, First Things, Acton are among the Whig Thomists. The Postmodern Augustinian Thomists take a much more critical approach to modernity & the Enlightenment and see the Church in radical opposition to the culture (e.g., Culture of Death vs. Culture of Life). Among these we have David Schindler, Communio and Ratzinger.

FUMARISTS will be particularly interested in the chapter on the New Natural Law theorists.

The New Pantagruel has an excellent review of the book, well worth your time:

Rowland has provided a reliable guide to the ideas that have today created a
ferment of theologically informed cultural criticism, and in so doing she has
herself become an indispensable voice of postmodern Augustinian Thomism. That
school provides our best hope for escaping the morass of modern culture.
On this Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe - Star of the New Evangelization - let us renew our commitment to respond to that call in service to Our Lady.

What books are on your Christmas list this year?

Fumed by Columcille at 12:34 PM. |

Panis Vitae

Diogenes has given us a memorable reflection on the Eucharist. It puts things in perspective.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:52 AM. |

Monday, December 11, 2006

Recent Posts

Fumare has often been taken to task for the irreverence with which we comment on things. I in particular. It is true that we contributors all have different tastes, interests and modes of expression. I wrote an apologia some time ago on the subject. Recently, several posts have drawn the ire of those who have engaged in the debate over the future of Ave Maria School of Law--specifically those who are on the Monaghan-Dobranski side of the debate. I have been called upon by some of our regular readers to delete some of the "puffs" of smoke from the comment boxes. These readers have argued that the debate has shifted in tone and is now more of a distraction than substantive. For the record, I do not delete and/or censor comments that appear under my posts. I let the commentors speak for themselves. What I observe is that most of the argument and debate occurring under these recent posts are by those who are not regular Fumare contributors (by "regular contributors" I mean Ryder, Phlogizo, TheLawDog, Thales, etc.). Most of the debate has occurred back and forth by visitors. A quick scan of the "puffs" will demonstrate which group of people is the more vitriolic--something that is routinely leveled toward me and the blog. (Besides, I only report AP stories!) So, dear readers, do not lose heart! See the mental Philistines for who they are and continue to enjoy our scintillating coverage of all things that interest us! No smoke of Satan here--just an aromatic cavendish cum odore suavitatis ascendat!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:10 AM. |

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Benedict and the Greeks

Some have opined that Regensberg was the single defining moment of Bendedict XVI's papacy. Veteran Vatican watcher, Sandro Magister is one of those persons. His latest piece is worth pondering. The takeaway from the Regensgberg address was not the Pontiff's criticisms of Islam and the subsequent response by Muslims the world over, but rather the stinging indictment of Western Civilization and how it has ignored, nay, repudiated its Greek roots.

"Grace builds on nature," is a theological maxim that squares well with the history of the West. Philosophical knowledge and critical thinking, as developed by the Greeks, proved fertile soil for the Gospel to take root. Some of the early Church Fathers acknowledged this fact--that this was the "fullness of time" for the coming of the Saviour. Our theological reasoning and language springs forth from the very vocabulary of the Greeks. The Greeks saw reality--the world as it is. The Church takes reality and shows it in all its spendor and truth, that is, through the eyes of God Himself. Maurice Baring put it well when he said:

If Shakespeare had little Greek, I have less; for I maintain that men who in Shakespeare's day had a smattering of Greek had more Greek than the man who has a smattering of Greek in our day. There was more Greek in the air. And the culture imbibed from the air is the best culture.
I believe that Benedict XVI is calling us back to those very roots from which we spring. It is a call to all of the West, not just Catholics. It is a call to recognize and love reality and to shore up the great culture that is the West. The great Greek scholar, Fr. Raymond Schoder, S.J. summed up Homer's (and thus the Greek) attitude toward reality:

To [Homer] everything is wonderful, exciting, full of mystery and
interest. With the profound simplicity of a child, yet the wisdom and insight of a deep thinker, he is delighted and thrilled by everything he sees. Life, personality, Nature, and the ingenious works of man are to him a constant source of joy and amazement. He appreciates things, he loves them; he does not coldly take them for granted. Homer's world lies in radient sunshine, its atmosphere is bracing in its energy and exhilaration. To step into it from our complex and heavy modern life is to feel refreshingly free and expansive, to enjoy the brisk alertness and vitality of a civilization in its unspoiled and eager-eyed youth.
Let us follow Benedict as he builds a bridge back to the Greeks! Let us have the eyes of Homer, and the love of Christ. Let us once again breathe in this culture.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 4:35 PM. |

The Society of Humorless Catholics

At a recent meeting of the Society, officials were careful to ensure that no one was admitted who had any sense of humor.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:29 PM. |

Friday, December 08, 2006


Email to All Alumni from Dean Dobranski today (Check your Ave accounts):

Dear Alumni,

This past Tuesday, at the Alumni Association Board Meeting, I received a request for the document prepared by Professor Falvey to Mr. Monaghan on the long-term viability of the law school if it was to remain in Ann Arbor. Since then, I have received additional requests from other interested alumni. The decision to release that document is not for me but for the Board to decide. I will refer the requests to the Chairman for the Board's consideration of the release of that document at our meeting next week.


Dean Bernard Dobranski


It has been 7 days since Professor Falvey informed the alumni that the release of the "Falvey Report" was in the Dean's hands. FUMARE will contemplate starting a counter to chronicle how many days this report will be held hostage!


Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 4:32 PM. |

Law School Chaplain to FUMARE: "Macula Est in Te!"

Ann Arbor (AP)--On a day which the Catholic Church dedicates to the stainless Virgin Mary, the Chaplain of the Ave Maria School of Law, Fr. Michael Orsi, delivered a stinging rebuke to critics of the school's administration and Board. In his homily for the Holy Day, he drew a striking contrast to the stainless Virgin Mary by pointing out the multitude of "stains" that are the faculty, alumni and all those who criticize the current governance of the school. Reaffirming his belief that the school would be nothing without Thomas Monaghan and Bernard Dobranski, Orsi proceeded to chide critics including those who would contribute to blogs critical of the law school's administration and governance. "I couldn't believe it," said a current second year law student who would only speak on the condition of anonymity. "I would have thought that the school's Chaplain would be above the fray. Unfortunately, we know with whom he has thrown his lot. I hope he at least gets a nice new pair of cufflinks for Christmas from Bern-Dawg!" Another student, again speaking on the condition of anonymity commented: "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world but lose his soul...and for a Research Fellowship in Law & Religion." Professor Reginald Corcoran, Research Fellow in Law & Religion at Collegio San Ignacio and Sometime Fellow at Charlie's Oil & Lube, commented, "This is highly unusual for a priest to take such a public role in this type of controversy. I believe it was Thomas [Aquinas] in the Secunda Secundae [of the Summa Theologiae] who said that clerics should abstain from participation in war. I think that analogically that applies here." Mrs. Kate O'Beirne of the law school's Board of Governors had a prior committment and could not be reached for comment. Similarly, the law school's administration was unavailable for comment.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:17 PM. |

Macula Non Est In Te

Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."[29]

Hence, if anyone shall dare--which God forbid!--to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.

[Excerpted from Blessed Pius IX's Apostolic Constitution solemnly defining the Immaculate Conception, Ineffabilis Deus, 8 December 1854]

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 6:52 AM. |

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I've noticed a lot of discussion using theological terms of late, and the implication are that violations of charity, among others, have been made. Some accusations have been reduced to allegations that various things said and done are not Christian or against Christian charity. In my own defense and that of others implicated by comments about strong language:

The Catechism Explained: An Exhaustive Exposition of the Catholic Religion (Spirago, Clarke SJ. Benzinger, NY, 1921 2d ed)
Prudence is the capacity of the intellect to apprehend the good things of eternity and the means of attaining them. The prudent man always looks to his final end. Prudence is said to be the eye of the soul. Without light for the eye, we cannot find our way, nor without prudence can we discern the path to Heaven. The contrary of prudence is wordly wisdom, which consists of discerning what will bring a man temporal advantage.

It is, however, impossible always to avoid scandal, for evil-minded persons take offence at what is well meant. Our Lord bade the apostles not to heed such people: "Let them alone; they are blind and leaders of the blind." (Matt. xv. 14).
The standard then is not necessarily in that someone, somewhere got offended. Rather, the standard of behavior comes from charity. Charity however is defined in whether you offend God.
All perfect virtues spring from the love of God and are inseparably united by that same love. The greatest and noblest of all virtues is charity, which causes us to find satisfaction in God, and to seek to please Him by keeping His commandments.
Thus, all this concern over whether someone got offended is a little misguided, and can be likened in some respects to false charity, which includes a disordered attention to human respect.
Yet we ought not strive too anxiously to obtain the esteem of men, or else we shall lose the friendship of God as well as the esteem of men; moreover in some cases it is impossible to enjoy at the same time the favor of God and the favor of men.
The best attacks on form or (hopefully) moral criticisms of mine and other's statements are that the words are unnecessarily harsh, or that the words are cause for detraction. I measure my words to avoid each, and have not written in wrath so as to be blinded, but rather any detected anger may be properly labeled as just anger, for among the sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance are "oppression of the poor" and "defrauding laborers of their wages".
To keep back the wages of the needy (Duet. xxiv. 14), is a sin that cries to heaven, also on some pretext or other to defraud them of the whole amount (James. v. 4).
Sorry, but for me, and in seeing the actual performance in the AMC move, as well as the developing AMSOL move in similar fashion -- there is manifold cause under these precepts to have just anger. 1. The effects on professors, who have invested their lives on promises of a Michigan school, is a reality not justly addressed in any plan. 2. The pretenses (many) surrounding the move are suspect, and in some cases appear to have inadequate means as well as further unjust results. 3. The effects on students and alumni of the scandal caused by duplicity, omissions, and pretenses designed to mask the actualities result in similar offenses to justice.

Calling upon me, or others, to be meek is misguided. Meekness is the suffering of an injustice done to one's self. No one can be meek on behalf of another -- such inaction may be an omission of charity, or worse a sinful omission. I can express empathy for that person's suffering and do what is in my power to attempt to alleviate the injustice. Such action is readily the motive for Jesus driving the money changers out, or for His masterful and colorful tirade on the pharisees (blind guide, whited sepulcher, etc). Thus explains why He was always meek, but did such brutal things at times. So much for meekness.

If you don't agree, fine. But don't keep resorting to Catholic theology, when I can't see that I don't have adequate necessity to speak, and furthermore, adequate means and motive to state clearly the things comprising the pretenses actuating this injustice. The object of my actions are simple: admonish the erroneous and bring attention to the unjust means that they may be corrected and averted. If it is two schools, one in Michigan and the new one, fine. If it is removing the foundation, fine, so long as promises are fulfilled while necessary. But as time drags along damage is occurring, and it became (note the past tense) that congenial means of communicating were being ignored. Furthermore, the message was often distorted. The worst is that the man with the keys to the mess will receive no alternatives. That left this option -- communicate openly, that all may see what happens.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 6:30 PM. |

Another Nail in the Coffin of the "Common Ground" Initiative (or, Sixties Kids Lose--Church Universal Rejoices!)

Bad news for the fat ladies in strech pants everywhere! Uncle Di reviews the play.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:29 PM. |

Why Isn't a Two School Option Being Considered?

So, we know that the Falvey Report has been submitted to the Board of Governors. This report presumably demonstrates the possibility of Ave Maria School of Law's long-term viability in Michigan without funds from Tom Monaghan or the Ave Maria Foundation. We know that the school will continue to have students and faculty should it remain in Michigan. Therefore, the school's continued existence in Michigan without Ave Maria Foundation money is possible.

We also know that Tom Monaghan wants to start a law school in Florida as part of his university. Fine. The current plan is to close Michigan and open Florida. In terms of costs, this is effectively no different than starting a new Florida school from scratch: there is a need for new buildings, for new faculty, and for new students.

So if you don't have to give any money to the Michigan campus, why close the Michigan campus? A two-campus school or a two-school affiliation would double the exposure of Ave Maria Law, would double the legal contacts, would double the job and externship opportunities. There is no doubt that students going to the Florida campus would benefit from the successes of the Michigan campus, and vice versa. (See, for example, the Naples News article.)

I know that this two-school option has been mentioned before. It was part of the Alumni survey that came out a few months ago. I know that it was mentioned to Deans Read and White during their information-gathering sessions. Unfortunately, Deans Read and White did not consider it in their feasibility study and I have not heard anything from Dean Dobranski or the Board of Governors indicating that they're considering the possibility.

Is the two-campus option being considered, and if not, why not?

I won't be at the upcoming Alumni meeting with the Board of Governors on Wednesday, December 13, so I implore those of you attending to ask the Board of Governors whether the two-campus option is being considered.

NOTE: As is my practice sometimes, I reserve the right to edit and delete comments. I want a substantive and reasonable debate, and those comments which detract from that will be modified. I will NOT edit because I disagree with an opposing position. In fact, I welcome opposing viewpoints: I want to hear from the other side why my concerns aren't apparently being addressed.

Fumed by Thales at 12:16 PM. |

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Absurdity Must Be Overwhelming

Given this year's history of the Ave Maria School of Law, it's surprising just how long it took for a Board member other than Charlie Rice to make a realistic public comment about the situation.

Consider the unfolding events:

2003: Monaghan presents his story about Florida and shows architectural renderings of the Florida law school at a presentation in the law school library. Dean "No Confidence" announces that the law school is not moving (ABA accreditation is pending is why). Open criticism and announcements of Monaghan's plans are struck down immediately.

At some point earlier, Dean "No Confidence" was made a Director of the Florida-based university.

Early 2004: Some grumblings appear in public. Vast majority of AMSOL folks are calling the people pointing at the stink pile reactionary. Early warnings of Monaghan being fixated on move and warnings that he will destroy people in his way is regarded as conspiratorial and possibly cause for psychoactive drugs administration.

Late 2004: Enrollment is high for the law school, things seem well while the public message from Dean No Confidence is we won't consider moving at least until after accreditation and only then if feasible.

Early 2005: Public criticism of the now realized pending move is generally disregarded as overreactionary and alarmist. Some sentiment is changing, however. Open discussions about possible Monaghan strategy begins to spread.

Open speculation that Charlie Rice is gonna be whacked from the Board.

Late 2005: ABA confers full accreditation on AMSOL. Dean "No Confidence" begins to shift his rhetoric towards the move. Charlie Rice was meanwhile attempting to avert the eventual open mess. Public criticism of the problem focuses on Monaghan and his likely methods.

Dec 8 2005: Rice has been whacked from the Board. Rice takes title "Gubernatus Ejectus".

Shortly thereafter, Board of Governors suspends term limits.

Early 2006: Rhetoric about move has totally changed. Alumni Board, which is composed of alumni who were well-regarded as "company people" (just like two members of the current board enjoy), is frustrated with new rhetoric and typical stall tactics being employed. Dysfunctional communication methods of "NC" Dobranski seem to be the root cause.

Rumors circulate that a large number of students are planning to jump ship.

Accounts pass between alumni that potential students are not even considering AMSOL because of what they saw happen to AMC, and the absence of assurances from the AMF and AMSOL Board of Governors that the same will not happen to AMSOL.

where is the Board of Governors?

Apr 10 2006: Alumni Board passes vote of no confidence in Dean NC Dobranski.

Apr 18 (or so) 2006: AMSOL Faculty pass a vote of no confidence in Dean NC Dobranski.

Rumors allegedly leaking from Board of Governors that AMSOL will move, in 3 to 5 years.

May 10 2006: Dean NC Dobranski says incoming class will graduate in Michigan. Incoming class was notably missing several people known to alumni who purposefully chose law schools other than AMSOL because of pending doom signaled by AMC fiasco.

Open discussion among general public about the transparency of such a maneuver.

At some point in here, Judge James Ryan resigned from the AMSOL Board. This is a neutral event.

Aug 13 2006: Dean NC Dobranski fires Rice, or rather "doesn't renew his contract".

AMSOL ships Rice's personal effects to him in boxes, treating him like a criminal.

Aug 22 2006: Alumni Board reaffirms no confidence vote, adding language specifically condemning disposal of the erstwhile Board member Rice.

Aug 30 2006: Student attrition in 08 class (incoming 2Ls) is significantly higher than ever -- easily double digits -- worse, it's a considerable portion of the top of the class. Voting with the feet, it might as well be a "no confidence" vote by the students.

Meanwhile, two members of the Alumni Board seem convinced that there is no problem.

Where is the AMSOL Board of Governors? Where is the exercise of their diligence?

Faculty: no confidence
Alumni: no confidence
Students: no confidence
Incoming students: no confidence

That leaves the Board of Governors and Tom.

In contrast, Oct 20 2003: the MSU administration has opened a full investigation into their Dean on account of a single faculty vote of no confidence that did not list reasons.

Unfortunately for Tom, he praised us as the cream of the crop, and recruited us as such, but he doesn't want to listen to our advice, the people who do owe him in charity the duty to tell the truth.

Finally, today, after all of this, Bradley makes the obvious statement, "this is ruining our lives." Well, pardon my French, but no shit Sherlock. We've been telling you that for at least three years. Not just your lives, but ours (the faculty, the alumni, and the student's) too. Nonetheless, I'm glad he finally arrived at some modicum of reality. My hope is that although she avoided it kicking and screaming, Ms. O'Bierne has figured out that she's been routing her own credibility as well. After all, AMSOL recruited and obtained a significant portion of the small target audience of her articles and we talk to people and they talk. It was only a matter of time before people not connected to the school readily saw the absurdity of this mess.

Note this well: Given that Bradley is finally open about it, and given that he was silent through so much mess, I can only assume that the prayers are working, or he saw some more evidence than any of us even have... hmmm, perhaps the Falvey Report?

I suspect that the weight of evidence in the AMSOL case far overwhelms that in the MSU case, and the inaction by the Board of Governors in the AMSOL case should cause a reasonable person in the position of a Board of Governor to use far stronger language than "ruin".

Now, while there is still a chance, the remaining Board members need to halt the madman.

It's ok, call him a lunatic, we all know he's one.

Stop the partial birth abortion of our law school.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 7:35 PM. |

Bradley: "This is Ruining Our Lives"

Ann Arbor (AP)--In a rare--but typically orchestrated--appearance, Professor Gerard Bradley of the Ave Maria School of Law Board of Governors took time out of his busy schedule to meet with current students about the future of the embattled law school. Students who attended this town hall meeting peppered him with questions about the future of the law school and whether it will remain in Michigan or move to Florida. Looking like a little lost puppy dog at times, and other times admitting lack of knowledge of certain material facts (that one would expect a Board Member to know), Bradley had to acknowledge exasperation at the current situation. Responding to a question posed by an unnamed second year law student, Bradley acknowledged that "this is ruining [Board Members'] lives." This was a very surprising admission for the otherwise cheerleading Bradley. To date the number of lives ruined by Mr. Monaghan's questionable dreams are unkown. Estimates are that they reach the hundreds of thousands (this not including those law students who are required to read [Insert name] v. Domino's for a course in Business Organizations). The law school's administration had no comment.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 2:14 PM. |

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dean Dobranski's Email To Alumni--Sent Today

Dear Alumni,

As you know, in my November 22 e-mail distributing the Feasibility Study, I indicated that we would like to have a meeting about the study with the Washington, D.C. area alumni this Friday, December 8. Unfortunately, because of difficulties in the schedules of the Board members and in securing a convenient central location for the meeting during the Christmas season, we will not be holding that meeting.

We will, however, schedule a meeting in Washington, D.C. in early January so that you can provide your input. We are also scheduling a meeting at the Law School on Wednesday evening, December 13, for Michigan based alumni and others who might want to attend. The time and room location of that meeting will be provided in the next few days.

Although the Board's next regularly scheduled meeting is Thursday, December 14, I do not expect a decision on the relocation at that time. I do, however, expect that the relocation issue, including the feasibility study, will be discussed at length. As I indicated in my November 22 e-mail, your e-mails and comments in other forms are welcome and will be shared with the Board.


Dean Bernard Dobranski

Check your Ave accounts for the email.

Fumed by Tommy More at 3:44 PM. |

Communication to Student and Alumni Leaders

From: Falvey, Joseph

To: Tripoli, John; Doran, Andrew; Kromhout, Nell; Rohlena, Mark; Berger, Justin; Reilander, Luke; Vernon, Alexander; DeJak, John; Krause, David;McGowan, Christopher; Negri, Jason; Hoeing, Brian; Bowman, Matthew

Subject: FW: Report to the Board of Governors

Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 09:11:10 -0500

SBA and Alumni Leaders:

I have asked Dean Dobranski to make available to you a report I prepared at the request of the Board of Governors regarding the long-term viability of AMSL in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


J. Falvey


From: Falvey, Joseph

Sent: Friday, December 01, 2006 8:50 AM

To: Dobranski, Bernard; All Faculty; All Senior Staff; All Legal Writing

Cc: 'B. J. Harrington '; 'Bowie Kuhn'; 'Edward Cardinal Egan'; 'Gerard Bradley'; 'Helen Alvare'; 'Jeff Randolph'; 'Joseph Fessio'; 'Kate O'Beirne '; 'Michael Uhlmann'; 'Peter Carfagna'; 'Robert George'

Subject: Report to the Board of Governors

Dear Members of the Ave Maria School of Law community:

As many of you know, I was asked by Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan, Chairman of the AMSL Board of Governors, to prepare a report regarding the long-term viability of AMSL, Ann Arbor, Michigan. I received this request on October 12, 2006 and was given 45 days to complete the report. I completed the report on Friday, November 24, 2006, and submitted it on Tuesday, November 28, 2006, after appropriate copies were made for each member of the Board. Unfortunately, I did not have time to directly respond to the Read/White "Feasibility" Study which was broadly distributed by Dean Dobranski.

Because the report is directly related to that study, I have attached a redacted version of the report.

By copy hereof, I ask Dean Dobranski to distribute this report to the various Ave Maria constituencies in the same manner as the Read/White study.


Joseph L. Falvey, Jr.

Professor of Law

FUMARE looks forward to the release of the Falvey Report. The newly constituted Alumni Board meets this evening. I assume that the Dean will release this and that it will be discussed this evening. Can anyone on the Alumni Board verify this?

Fumed by Tommy More at 10:08 AM. |

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fessio Endorses Faculty Resolution

By tacit agreement, that is, by asserting the same facts as the AMSOL faculty, Fr. Fessio endorses the AMSOL Faculty's findings regarding the poor location of Immokalee. See the second quote for that answer. The first quote is self-evident:
"The number of academically qualified students mature enough in their faith to respond to what we have to offer here is relatively small," Fessio wrote.

It's probably difficult to find people who want to live in TM's secular monastery in any age group, let alone college students. Maybe they should have gotten a good feasibility study, or maybe they should have asked the AMSOL faculty, who seem better able to understand factors affecting enrollment:
"When you add this to the fact that we are presently still a rather small and unaccredited institution a long way from most population centers in the U.S., with a limited number of majors, it's clear to me that our growth will necessarily be slow over the next few years."

(see WhoseAMSOL for the story)
Note the message: "a long way from most population centers"

Fessio said the top reasons for the departure of students are academic and disciplinary dismissal.

Disciplinary Dismissal? Really?

now that's interesting. What could that mean?

See the answer in this quote:
The average SAT scores for incoming freshman are between 1200 and 1218, Fessio said. Students must also maintain a 2.0 grade point average or higher to stay in school.
AMU has strict behavioral policies to which some students fresh out of their childhood homes have difficulty complying. Some more troublesome rules include boundaries on male/female interaction and the requirement that students must live on-campus throughout their college years.
But don't expect those rules to change, Fessio said.

boundaries on male/female relationships?
Too many boys staring at the back of women's knees?

"We've experienced that some students come here, and it's not as lively as they had hoped, and they leave.

I can't imagine why... retirees tell good war stories, but there's not much to do in Immokalee other than dodge assisted living and pick tomatoes, or go to Naples and shop in stores priced for six-figure incomes.

And trolling for babes can have a whole new meaning when they use walkers and 4-point canes.

But alas, one might think the problem was that college kids want to be college kids not retirees. And they don't see the need to fund an unaccredited school when they could go to one in a city (like Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, or even *gasp* South Bend) that offers so much more -- but that's what was said even 5 years ago.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 11:39 PM. |