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

Monday, February 19, 2007

You Decide: Charlie Rice's Boxers or Father Fessio's Briefs?

Ahh yes, it is that time of year again. The University of Notre Dame--the premier Catholic university in the United States--continues its tradition of holding the Bengal Bouts as a means to raise money for the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh. One of the coaches and mentors of this, one of the last bastions of manly activity in the United States, is none other than the venerable Charles E. Rice, Professor Emeritus of Law and Gubernator et Magister Ejectus of Ave Maria School of Law.

It is also the time of year where Ave Maria University--attempting to be the premier Catholic university in the United States--is ramping up its final preparations for the opening of the University in the new Ave Maria Town, conveniently located on the banks of the historic Corkscrew Swamp. The Provost overseeing this new University is none other than the venerable Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., Founder of Ignatius Press and Sometime Fellow of Santa Teresita Hospital in Duarte, California.

I use these two simultaneous happenings as a metaphor and a definitive conclusion to a longstanding debate. What occasioned this post were the difficulties over the past year and a half of divining suitable names for the two camps in the debate over Ave Maria School of Law. Some have attempted the following variations (with limited success): Pro Faculty vs. Pro Board; Pro Rice vs. Pro Florida; Pro Rice vs. Pro Monaghan; No Confidence Crowd vs. Dean. The list goes on and on. As the debate will--I suspect--be nearing its inevitable end, I have come up with the solution: Charlie Rice's Boxers vs. Father Fessio's Briefs.

The following lines solidified these appellations:

"We've got high-powered people preparing briefs," Father Joseph Fessio, the provost of the university and member of the board of governors at the law school, said. "This is going to be bad, bad publicity."

In the context that is the debate over the law school, the names are accurate. "Charlie Rice's Boxers" tend to be loose, sharp, and fitting for real men; "Fr. Fessio's Briefs" tend to be tight, cramped, and a bit soiled. (Apologies for sounding like Senator Biden.) In the final analysis, you must choose.