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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Breaking News: Sanjaya to Replace Kuhn on AMSL Board of Governors

AMSL Alumni President's brother is first choice for replacement Board member.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 4:52 PM. |

Letter from the Alumni Board

subject line: AMSOL Alumni Board Letter (ratified today)

Dear Friends of the Ave Maria School of Law:

We pray that you and your families are well, and that during these forty days of Lent, all of us in the Ave Maria School of Law community will be blessed with the Lord's grace and mercy, even amidst this period of turmoil for our beloved alma mater.

We want to thank all of you who actively participated in the last election, particularly those of you who volunteered during the election process, and those of you who accepted nominations for the various openseats. Your willingness to serve the community is commendable. Thank you as well for all you who voted, showing your continuing interest in the affairs of the Association and our school.

We are grateful to the veteran members of the Board for welcoming all of the newly elected board members (Peter Mansfield '03, Matt Bowman '03, Chris Young, '04, Brian Hoeing '05, and Alex Vernon '05). We also want to thank and welcome Olesia Doran '06 for graciously accepting to fillthe Chair that was left vacant as a result of the election of Luke Reilander '05 to the Secretary position. There is a lot of work ahead of us as we endeavor to serve our Law School and her associated alumni. Among the most important work that we do, as indicated in our bylaws, is to foster intercommunication and support among the alumni, and to promote the mission of the Law School.

There are three standing committees on the Alumni Board dedicated to some of these efforts: Admissions, Development, and Career Placement. Please let us know if you would like to volunteer for service in any of these areas, or perhaps in other ways. You may contact us directly at agvernon[at]gmail[dot]com or lreilander[at]gmail[dot]com.

On the topic of fostering communication, you should know that early this year, the minutes of all of our Alumni Board meetings were posted on the Alumni website which you can find here: http://www.avemarialaw.edu/alumni/. We would like to thank law school staff for getting these minutes posted, and also past-Secretary Angela Pfister '04, and Secretary Luke Reilander '05, for their efforts in compiling these minutes. The minutes are in a password protected area of the site, so if you have forgotten your login or password, please contact Ermin at elgornik[at]avemarialaw[dot]edu. We have worked diligently so that communication to you will come from this Board as a whole, with input from all of the Board members, to ensure that you will have the most accurate and helpful information as possible.

We have asked the Alumni and Development Office to create an alumni-only discussion board where alumni could post discussions and comments freely, but the board has not been created yet. Please encourage them to do so, and to make sure that alumni and Alumni Board members will have the ability to post material on their own accord without having to send everything to law school staff before it gets posted.

Please contact us, and any of us, with your questions or comments at any time.


The Ave Maria School of Law Alumni Association Board of Directors

Fumed by Tommy More at 11:33 AM. |

Fire Dobranski!

Dean Dobranski has failed to lead Ave Maria School of Law toward the fulfillment of her mission. We were promised that Ave sought to be a first-rate law school "born from the heart of the Church." (Ex cordia ecclesiae.)

Ave Maria is neither first-rate nor operating in conformance with Catholic Social Teaching.

Much criticism of Dean Dobranski has focused on his failure to lead AMSoL in conformance with the principles of CST: the "governance" issue. People are treated as instruments, the truth is obscured, if not denied (one thinks, for instance, of the failure of the administration to reveal the membership of our Board of Governors), and promises are repeatedly broken.

We now have damning evidence that Dean Dobranski has failed to lead AMSoL toward becoming a first-rate institution. Last year, USNews ranked AMSoL as a fourth-tier law school, the lowest possible ranking. Despite the promise of her early years, the school's objective numbers have fallen to those of a fourth-tier school. And now comes news that St. Thomas, a new Catholic law school in Minnesota, has debuted in the third tier of the USNews rankings. So we know it can be done. But it was not done by AMSoL under Dean Dobranski's leadership.

Instead, under Dobranski, AMSoL is a school in turmoil. Her faculty, students, and alumni have expressed no confidence in him, and two members of her Board of Governors (15%?--We don't know, because we don't know who is on that board) now believe AMSoL is a "failed experiment." Her financial situation is unstable, the day-to-day climate is not conducive to legal scholarship, she is being investigated by the ABA, and her governors, with Dean Dobranski at their head, are attempting to dissolve the school and transfer her assets to a new institution in Florida that seems more related to a speculative real estate venture and a failing university than to her original mission. Her resources, which could and should have gone towards her mission, are instead expended on Tom Monaghan's other projects.

For the sake of Ave Maria School of Law, FIRE DEAN DOBRANSKI!

Fumed by Boko Fittleworth at 10:22 AM. |

St. Thomas Debuts as Tier 3; AMSoL is still Tier 4

It's been confirmed. The 2008 US News and World Report rankings for law schools are out.

Ave Maria School of Law is Tier 4 for the 2nd year in a row.

For its first year on the rankings, University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota debuts at Tier 3. It also received full ABA accreditation in the fastest time possible like AMSoL.

Any observations about the statististical comparisons between the schools?

Fumed by Thales at 8:15 AM. |

More Thoughts on the Board of Governors

I did an update to my post below, but I wanted to make sure that visitors were aware of this point: Fr. Scanlan is (apparently) no longer on AMSoL's Board of Governors. Faithful Fumare commenters indicate that he resigned a while ago and that he hasn't been involved in Board of Governors activity for some time. That is good news; the criticism directed at the Board of Governors need not be directed at Fr. Scanlan. Fr. Scanlan, thank you for your work in Catholic education, and keep AMSoL in your prayers.

As of this post, the law school's website no longer lists Fr. Scanlan and Fr. Fessio as members of the Board of Governors, so I think it's safe to say that they're no longer on the Board. I have no idea when the website was changed. Can any Fumarist-techies find archived Board of Governors lists, to find out approximately when the website was changed?

Also, when Judge Ryan and Judge Pryor resigned from the Board, the law school gave some kind of notice and/or publicized the resignation letters in some form. Why haven't we heard from the school yet about Fr. Scanlan and Fr. Fessio?

Fumed by Thales at 7:37 AM. |

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fumare Pic of the Day

Mother Immaculata discusses her favorite Fumare posts with her fellow Mothers General: "Thanks be to God for normal Catholics! They still do exist and they blog on Fumare!"

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 11:50 PM. |

Thoughts on the Board of Governors

In the past, I've often disagreed with Advocatus Militaris and his language, tone, or hyperbole in arguing about the controversy surrounding AMSoL. But I can't say that I disagree with his recent post, on which he has been taken to task by some commenters who say that some members of the Board of Governors don't deserve it.

Now I have a huge amount of respect for many of the Board of Governors members: they are great people, great Catholics who have accomplished many wonderful things for the Church and for our nation. But here are the facts: AMSoL is in disarray; there is a tremendous lack of confidence in the school's leadership; morale is terrible among students and worse among faculty; there has been no real attempt at getting AMSoL out of Tier 4 where it looks like we've been leapfrogged by University of St. Thomas; there is a real possibility that AMSoL is being run in a manner that doesn't comply with ABA standards; there is a real possibility that AMSoL may lose its full accreditation; and regardless whether you think the Florida move is a good idea or not, the move as it is being executed right now threatens the stability and survival of AMSoL.

Which body has the authority and responsibility of governing AMSoL? Which body has been making significant decisions about AMSoL's future, decisions which have contributed to the current instability at AMSoL? Which body has ignored the concerns of the faculty, students, and alumni for more than the past year? If AMSoL implodes, which body is most responsible for the end of AMSoL? The Board of Governors. And I'm sorry, but the claim that a Board member didn't know what was going on or wasn't involved in Board decisions is not a sufficient excuse for the member's negligence.

Now, I don't know what is going on in the mind of each Board member. I believe that some of the Board members want to or have already tried to resign from the Board. (Whether they can do so unilaterally or only after the Board accepts the resignation is still unknown.) If individual Board members secretly see the problems in AMSoL's governance and generally agree with the position of the faculty/students/alumni, then I applaud them. I can understand if they feel as if their hands are tied, that there is nothing they can do on the Board to change Monaghan's will, and that the most they can do is to resign from the Board. I can understand that position, but I'm still saddened because it means that the people who I trust and respect and look to for help (like Fr. Scanlon and other Board members) are jumping ship and leaving me and the rest of AMSoL on a sinking vessel from which we can't escape.

UPDATE: I've been taken to task in the comments that I'm being too lenient on the Board of Governors, and that's a fair criticism. Inaction on the part of the Board members while the law school suffers is a breach of fiduciary duty and a breach of the community's trust. Their responsibility is to govern the law school and to sneak out of this responsibility now when they haven't acted during the last couple of years is not to be lauded. They could have gracefully resigned a while ago the way that Judge Ryan and Judge Pryor did.

All of this brings up the puzzle which I think we all share: how do I reconcile the virtues of our esteemed Board of Governors with their negligence and disregard for AMSoL?

UPDATE 2: Some commenters indicate that Fr. Scanlan is no longer on AMSoL's Board of Governors, that he resigned a while ago, and that he hasn't been involved in Board of Governors activity for some time. That is good news; the criticism directed at the Board of Governors need not be directed at Fr. Scanlan. Fr. Scanlan, thank you for your work in Catholic education, and keep AMSoL in your prayers. I note also that the law school's website no longer lists Fr. Scanlan and Fr. Fessio as members of the Board of Governors, so I think it's safe to say that they're no longer on the Board. I have no idea how long the website has been changed.

Fumed by Thales at 7:00 AM. |

Prayers for Thursday and Friday

Those who have been daily communicants here at Fumare for a while might recall that this little blog was started so that a few AMSL alumni, dispersed geographically, might keep in touch. It was six months old before much of anything was said about the governance of our alma mater. Mostly, we simply commented on general issues of law, culture, and Catholicism.

One of the original Fumaristi was a man who was Thursday. Not long after Fumare started, Thursday began dating a beautiful lass, his gal Friday, and one Saturday Sunday about 10 months ago Thursday and Friday were joined in Holy Matrimony. Thursday and Friday were expecting their first child, a little girl, on Good Friday. But, as reported by Friday's sis (and sometimes Fumare puffer) Wimsey:
[Friday] was scheduled for a C-section Friday morning because her baby is breech and sitting on her feet. However, she went in for a scheduled doctor's appointment [Wednesday] and they decided to admit her to the hospital and to move the C-section up to [Thursday] morning because of some concern that the baby is measuring small, though the tests so far have come back fine. [Thursday] is in the army in basic training at the moment (about 2 hours away), so the Red Cross is trying to get him home in time for the birth.
Please take a moment's rest from whatever you are doing at this moment and send up a real Ave Maria for Thursday, Friday, and their little almost-born daughter. This includes you too, Dean Dobranski, Fr. Orsi, Alex Vernon, and any of our other closet readers. God willing, all will go well for this young family! We will keep you posted here.

Thank you.

UPDATE: At approx 7:45 this morning, Thursday and Friday welcomed their beautiful daughter [Wednesday] into the world. She was 6 lbs. 7 oz. and, reports a proud Thursday, a 10 on the Apgar scale! (Translation for single men: she's doing just fine already an overachiever.) Praise God!

Fumed by Ryder at 12:48 AM. |

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fourth Tier Leadership

Reason doesn't move the Board of Governors. Requests for communications don't move them. The destruction of the law school they are presiding over doesn't move them. The ABA doesn't move them. So what moves them? Embarassment to their reputations and their standing in the Catholic community. Long considered the vanguard of orthodox Catholic thought in the United States, their actions with regard to Ave Maria School of Law have shown that they will accede to pragmatism, utilitarianism and sacrifice basic principles of Catholic teaching:

It has shown that the faith appears to be hobby to them--an impression created by them with no mitigation forthcoming; it has shown that their world is one of elitism where other lesser-known (but no less intelligent) scholars are not welcome; it shows their lack of care and negligence over the running of an institution of higher learning; it shows their dismissal of concerns of the major stakeholders in the success and health of the institution; it shows their love of themselves and their capitalizing on the success of the faculty and students of the law school to boost their own reputations; it shows their attitude of "let's get the hell out of here" when things get tough and tough things need to be said; it shows their lack of spine when it comes to the ruthlessness of the Chairman and Dean to get their way.

It will surely be said by new hip-ster Dean "Fourth Tier" Dobranski that these thoughts and others like it on FUMARE are insulting, counterproductive, against the mission, uncharitable, etc. He will also likely say that he doesn't read FUMARE and that it ought not be read. Further, he will opine that we are small potatoes and have no effect on the major decisions concerning the law school and its future. Make no mistake about it. We do have a profound effect on things. We are watching and we are ready through serious writing, parody, or otherwise, make known the type of people the so-called "vanguard of orthodoxy" are. We will tell all who will listen, and we will present for all who have the courage to see the facts what kind of people are Tom Monaghan, Bernard Dobranski, Kate O'Beirne, Fr. Joseph Fessio, Peter Carfagna, Gerry Bradley, Robert George, Helen Alvare, Michael Uhlmann, Cardinal Egan, Cardinal Maida, Fr. Scanlan and William Harrington.

These are people who rightly may be said to have left off basic human dignity when it mattered.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 3:43 PM. |

In Lacrimarum valle

I light of Thales post, I thought I should post this. I recently received an email from a current 2L describing the tenor of things on the ground at AMSL. I am posting this with his authorization in order to give our readers a sense of things at AMSL from a student's perspective. (Incidentally, I'm sure that there might be differing opinions). To the question, "how are things on the ground at AMSL:"

Not well, which is pretty much the standard around this place. Most of my associates have determined there is really no need to fight the inevitable; Monaghan will move this place even if he has to shut it down and start all over. The dean has of course assured us that no action will be taken that will jeopardize the accreditation of the school; however, as with most statements by Bernie, this is just another example of him pissing down our backs and telling us it's raining. I should've left when everyone else did...when the rats are fleeing the sinking ship, it's usually a pretty good time to break out the life vest.

Keep up the fine work on Fumare...it's all we have to keep us informed on the shenanigans of this place. The dean's Prozac-infused, happy-making e-mails belong on the pages of Pravda and not in my inbox.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:56 PM. |

US News and World Report Law School Rankings: Where Is AMSOL?

Apparently the U.S. News and World Report's law school rankings for 2008 are now out. The magazine should be on newstands now or in the imminent future. The top 100 schools are listed here, and of course, no Ave Maria School of Law. As of this post, the website for the US News and World Report still lists last year's 2007 rankings, though if you're a subscriber, you may have greater access.

When someone gets a copy of the magazine, can you confirm where AMSOL stands? I'm not predicting that AMSOL will claw its way into Tier 3 this year, but hope springs eternal.

Update 1: From the comments, it looks like AMSOL is Tier 4. Interestingly, University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota is (allegedly) Tier 3. St. Thomas is one year younger than AMSOL. Does this mean that this is St. Thomas's first year on the rankings, debuting as a Tier 3? Anyone confirm this?

Update 2: A commenter says that there is a Townhall meeting at the law school with Dean Dobranski over lunch today. If you were in attendance, let us know what happened by posting in the comments.

Fumed by Thales at 8:53 AM. |

Firm Purpose of Amendment?

Story from the Naples News discusses a Mass and things said around it.
Apparently, this was said during the homily:
"We are almost in the Promised Land. You can see it right over here," he said.

He pointed a few hundred yards to his right where a crane poked the sky next to the nearly complete oratory surrounded by the almost-finished university buildings and accompanying condos and retail stores. Across the street, dozens of two-story single-family homes rose from what used to be tomato fields.

Promised land? Rhetorical devices aside, that's a stretch.

This quote:
"Ave Maria University is not an ordinary university. We have lofty goals and high standards."

I would agree that the students and much of the faculty and staff agree. But what about the administration? Have they made a firm purpose of amendment? Have they changed their ways?
At the heart of the controversy is the control Monaghan continues to maintain over the university, employing his attorney, Nick Healy as president, and remaining intricately involved in the university's operations.

The remaining quotes are priceless as well.

Maybe I'm just cranky as I finish my coffee, but I read that and got the idea that there is a new dysfunctional Gospel preached these days.

We move forward by returning to the center? What the...? Did anyone read or hear anything that the people who continually cause the upsets and trauma are going to be any different? Have they said anything that they are sorry?

forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
There's the standard. I agree with it. period. But I think it's strange that we are then told to ignore the wrongs done. Forgiveness is meant to open the door to reparation, not cause a blindness.

turn the other cheek
This is the standard, and seventy times seventy. But neither standard means you are supposed to pretend like the person you are forgiving has reformed when there is no clue or assurance made of such.

I don't think it's fair to suggest that those students must turn the other cheek without also telling them the truth. Nothing changed save for some PR.

Given the repeating pattern, what do you think will happen next?

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 7:08 AM. |

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Real Transition Team Blog

For about a week now, FUMARE has posted a link in our blogroll to The Real Transition Team blog. They describe themselves thus:

We formed on March 14, 2007, inspired by that day's performance of Barron Collier stock. Our forbear, the Monaghan & Sons Snowshoe Co. Transition Team(also to Florida) organized in October 1929. We will make AMSOL's trip to Immolakee free from pornography and the LittleCaesar's/HungryHowie's/PizzaHut axis. Thus we have reserved only those non-HBO motels outside axis delivery zones. For the AMSOL elite our trio of black helicopters can re-pizza midflight directly from Domino One.

We commend their insightful analysis once again to our readers. Be sure to check often for updates and late breaking news--All Ave, All the Time!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 6:39 PM. |

Domine non sum dignus

In illo tempore:

1 And when he had finished all his words in the hearing of the people, he entered into Capharnaum. 2 And the servant of a certain centurion, who was dear to him, being sick, was ready to die. 3 And when he had heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the ancients of the Jews, desiring him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying to him: He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him. 5 For he loveth our nation; and he hath built us a synagogue.

6 And Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent his friends to him, saying: Lord, trouble not thyself; for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof. 7 For which cause neither did I think myself worthy to come to thee; but say the word, and my servant shall be healed. 8 For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers: and I say to one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doth it. 9 Which Jesus hearing, marvelled: and turning about to the multitude that followed him, he said: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith, not even in Israel. 10 And they who were sent, being returned to the house, found the servant whole who had been sick.

A moving and profound story in the life of Our Lord. I bring this up because of the confusion and theological dishonesty of certain priests when preaching on war, peace and military service. What occasioned this post is the latest of the certain antics of a particular Jesuit, who, if he is not an embarassment to his order, ought to be. It seems that Fr. Ben Jimenez, S.J. and fellow travelers from the Catholic Worker Movement had a little protest in the shadow of the Dome yesterday and stated that university's ROTC program contradicts Catholic teaching.

Whoa there, Padre! What particularly about the ROTC program contradicts Catholic teaching? The last time I checked, pacifism was not the Church's position--default or otherwise. Augustine and Aquinas acknowledged the legitimacy of the military. In fact, Aquinas situates his discussion of war and soldiering in the context of legitimate authority exercising charity over the citizenry he is charged with the care of. The good Jesuit Bellarmine commented in De Laicis that if Our Lord's teaching were pacifistic, why would he not admonish the Centurion (supra) and tell him to leave his profession? Bellarmine continues by acknowledging the baptism of the Centurion Cornelius (Acts 10) with his whole family and asks: If soldiering is contrary to Catholic teaching, why was he not admonished and instructed to leave behind this ungodly profession?

In fact, if I recall, the Second Vatican Council in Gaudium et Spes #79 states:
As long as the danger of war remains and there is no competent and sufficiently powerful authority at the international level, governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense once every means of peaceful settlement has been exhausted. State authorities and others who share public responsibility have the duty to conduct such grave matters soberly and to protect the welfare of the people entrusted to their care...Those too who devote themselves to the military service of their country should regard themselves as the agents of security and freedom of peoples. As long as they fulfill this role properly, they are making a genuine contribution to the establishment of peace.
So again, I ask: what about ROTC contradicts Catholic teaching?

I have long thought that Our Lord has a special place in His Sacred Heart for soldiers, especially the grunts who do a job that no one should ever have to do. I know that Mother Church opens her tender arms to these souls who--with all their weaknesses and warts--are just as much children of God as are other poor souls. Perhaps this is why--at the moment when Heaven is united to Earth and God is united to man--we repeat the words of a humble soldier who said it better than anyone ever could: Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:12 AM. |

Monday, March 26, 2007

FUMARE Southern Command Reports: AMSL Alum Chief Counsel of EWTN

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum...habemus advocatum! Mother Angelica has a new lawyer!

A FUMARE source working at EWTN relayed that an internal email has just announced that a graduate of the AMSL inaugural class will be Chief Counsel of EWTN starting later in April. We won't post the name here, but most AMSL alums will probably know who it is as this alum worked for them before. The legal fate of the network is in his hands...Congratulations and God bless you!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 3:37 PM. |

Announcing Good News

March 26, 2007 -- Solemnity of the Annunciation.

Toss that lenten penance aside today as today is a Solemnity.

But, I'd like to suggest some meditation fodder for today's feast. Gabriel brought Mary news that revealed God's plans for her. To Mary, however, it seemed to be at odds with her abilities. She was impeded from the ordinary means of baby making, and yet, this angel told her she was to bear the Son of God. Quite a dilemma. Mary asked, "how?" It's that easy.

Mary's question both tests the angel and shows her belief that God can do all things. Mary must have thought that the angel may not be an authentic messenger, for she knew that her vow prevented the ordinary means of having a baby. But unlike Zacharias, who scoffed the notion of a baby, Mary just asks the angel to explain how these things were going to reconcile. In this easy question, she also puts it to the angel to reveal the plan God made -- for if this angel was from God, God would have made a way for all of the means to be licit. For Zacharias, 2+2=4, even 2+2+God=4. For Mary, 2+2=4 and 2+2+God = ? she knew enough to ask.

The contrast of Zacharias's response needs a little mention here. For him, he had it all figured out. Two old people couldn't make a baby. He knew it. His penance for such lack of theological hope was medicinal in many ways. To be struck dumb for those nine months means he had to shut up and watch and meditate -- not tell everyone how it is for so long. A little more of that is needed in today's age where people think they have it all figured out. Some even think they have it more figured out than Mother Church.

Some folks in today's world, upon hearing the angel might have run off and broken their vow and tried to make a baby, using their own plan. It could be anything -- they might have heard an angel say "go make a school" and then run off, broken promises and done it their own way. Same thing. If it was Zacharias, he'd have run out and bought some Viagra. Others would have dismissed the angel. Not Mary. She actually conversed with the angel and got the details, instead of acting on impulse.

Ask yourself today if you act more like Zacharias or Mary when God reveals plans to you.

Or, do you get a holy idea and then run roughshod over everything in an attempt to make that idea happen?

Mary's patience with the angel, and her humility in recognizing that God knew how all the pieces were supposed to fit together makes her the perfect model for us. Today is the day to consider not just the good news of the arrival of Jesus, but also how we are to act on such good news in our own lives.

Ask your angel to explain it all some more to you today. May St. Gabriel and our Blessed Mother bring some good news to each of us today, as well as some little treat of a day for such a holy day.

I should also mention that the Universal Calendar I use lists today as also being the Synaxis of St. Gabriel.

From the quote on the calendar: "Today is the beginning of our salvation and the revelation of the Mystery that has been planned from all eternity: the Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel announces this grace. Let us join him in crying out to the Mother of God 'Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you!'"


Archangel Gabriel is remembered as the Defender of the Church and of Christian civilization.
Captains and Leaders of the armies of heaven, unworthy as we are, we beseech you without cease to surround us with your intercessions and cover us beneath the shelter of the glory of your ethereal wings. We bend our knees and cry out with perseverance, "Deliver us from danger, O Princes of the Powers on high!"

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 7:17 AM. |

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Theologiis Liberationis, Libera nos Domine

And so He does. Uncle Di has a clever post on this as well. The liberation theologians have always reminded me of poets at "open-mike night" at the local coffee house: attracting the intellectuals from the local college, the campus ministry undergraduates and the grey-haired veterans of Kent State. Passionate. Creative. Detached from reality. (fingers snapping)

This image always warmed my heart.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:37 AM. |

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Letter from AM's Mailbag

This was emailed to me yesterday for the Fumare crowd. Father gave me permission to post it.

from "Thomas A. Greer, SJ" [email redacted]
to Advocatus Militaris [advocatusmilitarisATgmailDOTcom]
date Mar 23, 2007 10:53 PM
subject Fumare and Quotes

Dear Advocatus and Fumare,

I saw that I was quoted in your "AP" story of yesterday regarding Fessio. At my age, getting used to the technology of the internet is still a bit of a challenge. I suppose that I prefer newspapers to reading the news on the internet, however, I must say that Fumare remains both informative and refreshing. I appreciate the candor with which you gentlemen take on the issues of the day and I find much to agree with. It reminds me of the days in our Jesuit juniorate where my fellow scholastics and I would argue about anything and everything: in politics, it was the "New Dealers" versus the conservatives; in philosophy, the newer philosophies of the continent versus the pernennial philosophy; in sports, the Dodgers versus the Yanks; in drink, scotch versus bourbon. Some of us swore and were rather raucous (I probably fell into this crowd), while others were gentle and contemplative; not unlike what I read on Fumare.

It is heartening to know that there are some men left in the Church who think as you do. Don't be afraid of taking on the reigning powers-that-be. In my many years of priesthood, I find that the famous line of Burke is true, "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." To be successful in the battle that you wage for your school and for the health of our culture in general, you must take this to heart.

As Burke says, you must be "good men." What does this mean? First and foremost you must orient your entire life on the First Principle and Foundation that St. Ignatius speaks of: "I have been created to know, reverence and serve God in this world." If you live by this little phrase, the mysteries of the cosmos are opened to you! The mystery of God Himself is open to you and you will capture Eternal Life! What does this little phrase practically mean? First, we are "created." From eternity, God knew that we would be. he willed it! he brought together our parents as cooperators that we might be. How wonderful that he individually knows and loves each one of us. Second, we are created by God so that we might "know" Him. How? Through the Church he established, the saints He inspired and the obediential potency that he placed in each one of us at the moment we were conceived. Augustine rightly says, "our hearts are restless until they rest in You." Thirdly, we are created to "reverence" God. We reverence God through the worship due to Him as God, but also through the reverence for one another that we share. Human persons as made in the image of the Creator are to be loved and respected. Their lives and fortunes are to be considered. Finally, we are created to "serve" God. To serve God we must know and reverence Him. We must know that He exists, that He loves us that He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. With this knowledge we know that justice demands our service to Him, but so too does our love for Him. Justice towards God and Love of God are inseparable. Serving God consists in doing not what we want, but what He wants. This is how we are, in Burke's phrase, "good men."

I see that at Fumare and amongst the good people that comment there. There may be those who seem to be "dripping with holy water and smelling of incense" that don't appreciate the sometimes strident and biting commentary. Don't pay attention to them. "Caritas" is a supernatural virtue and is not bound by terrestrial notions of propriety; bear in mind that the virtue is in the heart and in the intellect--those must constantly be examined, lest one fall from that standard that is Christ Himself. I could go on and I apologize for the rather "stream of consciousness" that is this missive. But I will leave you with this thought: be good men.

Be assured of this old Jesuit's prayers. Pray for me.

T.A. Greer, sj

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 11:21 AM. |

Boris in the Vatican???

When Cardinal Ratzinger's name echoed around the arms of the Piazza San Pietro and from there to around the world, a joyful euphoria fulled the hearts of the faithful with a sense that we had all turned an important corner. However, that corner may yet be ahead of us.

The Catholic Liturgical Blogsphere is calling on all Latin scholars of true Faith and high morals (you know who you are) to take up the Latin original of Sacramentum Caritatis and make an accurate translation into the Vulgate. There is some evidence that directive language in the Latin original has been softened into conditional non-obligatory language in the Vulgate.

Look at this example from paragraph # 62:

Ad melius ostendendam unitatem et universalitatem Ecclesiae, cupimus commendare suasiones Synodi Episcoporum, consonantes cum normis Concilii Vaticani II: (182) exceptis lectionibus, homilia et oratione fidelium, aequum est ut huiusmodi celebrationes fiant lingua Latina; similiter Latine recitentur orationes pervulgatae (183) Ecclesiae traditionis et forte cantentur quaedam partes in cantu Gregoriano.

The English Translation with conditional language highlighted:
In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I
wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the
directives of the Second Vatican Council, (182) that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better-known prayers (183) of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung.

Unfortunately, I have the desire but not the skill to verify claims of mistranslation. But there are those among us who do have those skills. (The problems seem to be in other Vulgate translations as well, so if you also know Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, etc. then please look at these documents as well).

If the claims are true, then our beloved Holy Father still has some house cleaning to do, and he is in need of our prayers.

FUMARE is an example of how Light taken to the Internet can disintermediate centers of power. So lets come to the aid of our Holy Father and help him to clean house over at the translation office by finding the blatant ideologically driven errors in the document and posting our findings both here and here.

Boris can't hide in the Light.

Fumed by Columcille at 6:37 AM. |

Friday, March 23, 2007

Monaghan Whipping Boy: "I'm back and I'm glad."

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. tells reporters that he is delighted to be Mr. Monaghan's whipping boy. President Nick Healy sitting closer to Monaghan.

Ave Maria Town (AP)--In another act that demonstrates the competence of the Ave Maria Empire, the Naples News is reporting that less than 24 hours after his firing, Fr. Fessio is back on the job...as resident theologian. "The resident theologian is a time-honored position in Catholic universities, " stated Br. Francois de la Croix, FHV of the Fraternitas Hiberniae Vacerrosi, a new religious order established for the support of Ave Maria Town. "Resident theologian positions are generally given to individuals who distinguish themselves in some way. His briefs did it!" The briefs that Br. de la Croix refers to are the "legal briefs" that Fr. Fessio mentioned with regard to the controversy-stricken Ave Maria School of Law. "We are delighted that a mutual understanding could be reached and that Father will continue his obsequium religiosum," continued de la Croix. Yet some Ave watchers are skeptical. "What the F*$%? The priest is utterly shat upon and he comes back? Talk about issues," said Robert Patton, a first year university student who is transferring to the University of Notre Dame. This view is echoed by Fr. Thomas Greer, S.J., an elderly Jesuit who has been watching this saga closely. "When Ignatius wrote his 'rules for thinking with the Church,' he didn't equate the Church with Tom Monaghan! Fessio has lost it--big tough guy when it comes to fat women and inclusive language, but a real pansy when it comes to rich so-called conservative guys!" Fr. Greer is a retired classics professor who has spent the later years of his priesthood offering Mass and hearing confessions at a nearby military installation.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:03 AM. |

FUMARE Causes Rollback

As everyone knows, FUMARE is well connected, being read in so varied places as quiet quarters of Vatican apartments, Moscow internet cafes, and even in the homes of people who have followed the Moneyhan™ Network™ cross-country. Some of these loyal appendages to the Moneyhan™ even comment on FUMARE from time to time.

After a flurry of page hits in the past couple days, and the realization that they killed one of their own, the PR administration of AMU have figured out that they made a public relations nightmare in the Fessio incident. One keen observer said it was a lot like the Coke fiasco:

We are now pretty convinced that it was a spectacle of public-relationsness. The AMU-NEW formula wasn't as loved as much as the AMU-Classic formula, despite all the research in world demographics and polls taken prior to acting that FUMARE is sure drove the decision in the first place.

It was rumored that a PR leak early this morning announced that Benedict 16, himself, would be the new Chancellor and Provost of the budding Florida school, but sources deep within the Vatican state declared that the administrative preference was for these positions to be in name only, with a shadow administrator operating behind the public figure.

One source deep within Naples confirmed that originally, Fessio was fired to make room for the new papal appointment to the school, but the deal fell through after the Vatican officials realized that the school wasn't Notre Dame. Said Guiseppi de Urnio, "we read FUMARE and realized that the people who approached us for this deal were not from the long established University we thought they were from."

After several hours of pleading, the PR folks realized that they couldn't claim that the Pope was on AMU payroll, so they had to recover and rehired Fessio back, resulting in this story.

Comments from Cardinal Merotta are forthcoming.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 7:26 AM. |

Thursday, March 22, 2007

AM's Pep Talk for AMSL Students (I encourage my other colleagues to contribute their own!)

Professor Butterfoss from the ABA will be meeting with students today regarding the ABA Standards Investigation and it has come to our attention that some students are in need of courage. Is this true? If I had some Scotch, I would dispense it generously; alas, from this distance, there must be another way. TAKE COURAGE! Ladies and Gentlemen, you need no pep talk! You are all brilliant law students who have come to a school under the protection of Our Lord's Mother--who can be discouraged from attending? If reports are true that the administration are trying to "stack the deck" don't let 'em! Be in Room 269 at 4PM and tell this investigator--for that is what he is--the truth. Tell him that the Administration and Board have presided over the splitting of this community and have been affirmatively injurious to the institution over the past 2 years. Tell him of its impact on you and the distractions that you likely have to deal with.

The Administration and all the "impressive people" on the Board may be big, powerful and scary (might I add ugly). Truly, you might even be tempted to think that they could squish you like a bug for being "affirmatively injurious." There is only one way to act in such a situation--stare down the sons of bitches and take them on! Tell the truth.

God Bless us everyone!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 2:34 PM. |

Prof. Butterfoss's Meeting with Students, 4:00pm, Room 269

Just a reminder that Prof. Butterfoss, the ABA representative, will be meeting with AMSOL students at 4:00 pm, in Room 269 (according to commenter Jenkins). If you are able, please attend. Be honest and open. I'm confident that Prof. Butterfoss will be attentive and objective, willing to listen to all concerns.

For the rest of us not at the meeting, please post what happened in the comments. Thanks.

Fumed by Thales at 2:00 PM. |


The FUMARE Faithful are innumerable and we get many submissions to post. Of course, we have a discriminating palate, as do our readers; accordingly, only the finest of posts will do. I found this particular submission to be excellent and worthy of your consideration. Our loyal reader who submitted it has a fertile mind and a happy heart, let us call him Frater Reginaldus.

Special Command Performance!
Today and Tomorrow Only!

Ave Maria School of Law Features
An American Bar Association Production
Of a Tom Monaghan Play
Written by Tom Monaghan
Directed by Tom Monaghan
Produced by Tom Monaghan
A Tom Monaghan Adaptation


"Please Blue Fairy, Make Me a Real Law School ..."


The American Bar Association .................as............ The Blue Fairy
Ave Maria School of Law ...........................as............ Pinocchio
A Substantial Majority of the Faculty ......as............. Geppetto
Fumare ......................................................as............. Jiminy Cricket
Bernard Dobranski ....................................as............. Stromboli
Thomas Monaghan ....................................as............. Monstro

Also appearing

Thomas Read and James White .................as............ Foulfellow and his Mute Friend Gideon
Naples, Florida.............................................as ............ Pleasure Island
Fr. Michael Orsi ...........................................as............. The Coachman
Jim Sonne and Gene Milhizer ......................as............. Lampwick and Alexander (Little Boys turned into Donkeys)
Board of Governors.......................................as.......Pleasure Island Donkey Extras
Rosanne Green and Ermin Gornik ..............as ....... Figaro and Cleo


Geppetto creates Pinocchio and wants him to be a real law school. But Stromboli tries to lead him off to Pleaure Island, and Monstro tries to kill Geppetto while risking his life to save Pinocchio. Pinocchio is tempted to go along, but the ABA Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket help him in his time of need. Finally, Pinocchio becomes a real ABA accredited law school, though not without trial and risk of his own life.

Memorable Quotes:

Blue Fairy: "A boy who won't abide by the Standards for Approval, might just as well be made of wood."
Jiminy Cricket: :"Pinocchio! So, this is where I find you! How do you ever expect to be a real law school? Look at yourself."
The Coachman: "Give a bad Dean enough rope, and he'll soon make a jackass of himself."
Blue Fairy: "Now, remember, Pinocchio, be a good law school. And always let your faculty be your guide."
Blue Fairy: "A violation of Standards keeps growing and growing until it's as plain as the nose on your face
Lampwick and Alexander: "Hi-didely-day, a sychophant's life is gay."
Alexander: Please, please, I don't wanna be a donkey! Let me outta here! The Coachman: [cracks his whip] Quiet! You boys have had your fun. Now pay for it!

Special Cameos:

Alumni Board President Alex Vernon and Socialite Paris Hilton...you'll have to wait and see where they appear!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 11:08 AM. |

The Fessio Affair (or, Doing Business Monaghan Style)

Few examples are a better indication of the way Monaghan does business than the Fessio Affair. For those of you who have not read any Domino's cases in Biz Orgs, Mr. Monaghan likes things done his way. As is well known know, Fr. Joe Fessio, S.J. was fired from AMU yesterday for reasons yet to be explained. What is amazing about this move is that Fessio has been a loyal soldier to Monaghan all throughout the process--Provost of the University; sitting on the AMSL Board of Governors and giving the obligatory sycophantic vote in favor of the Chairman's wishes, all the while not deigning to speak to faculty, students or alums; and most recently, making statements to the New Yorker regarding the law school, that there are some high-powered lawyers working on "legal briefs." Obviously Fr. Fessio's briefs turned out to be underoos after all. Some have opined that "before he went to sleep last night, Benedict XVI knew" and other such B.S. Whether it's true or not, who cares? In any event, I have been looking for a metaphor for the way Monaghan treats people and runs his entities--something to drive home his "my way or the highway" method of doing things, coupled with the amazing competence with which things are done, all in the name of building up the Church. I think I found it. Lest we open ourselves up to any unnecessary crtiticism or, God forbid, legal action, I have changed the names. To assist, however, allow me this small legend to aid our readers:

Dr. Evil (Tom Monaghan)
Frau Farbisina (Kate O'Beirne)
Paddy O'Brien (Nick Healy)
Mustafa (Fr. Fessio)
Mr. Bigglesworth (The Grand Plan--AMT, AMU, AMSL and all the synergy!)
The Unfreezing Process (Doing what Mr. Monaghan wants)
Location: Somewhere outside Las Vegas (Somewhere outside Naples); Virtucon (AMU)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 9:51 AM. |

Request for Prayers

Please pray that the ABA visit to Ave Maria School of Law today and tomorrow goes smoothly, and that whatever happens in the law school's future will be according to God's Plan and for the greater good of all.

Fumed by Tommy More at 9:25 AM. |

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

And the Search Begins...

Caveat Inquisitor.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 7:39 PM. |

Fr. Fessio Whacked, Dollarbransky Next?

Anyone who thinks they will have a good gig in the Florida sun needs to pay attention to the continual trail of carnage around the Moneyhan™ Network™.

Today, it's Fr. Fessio. Says Naples News (click for story):
Provost Joseph Fessio sent an e-mail shortly after 2 p.m. today to members of the Ave Maria community, saying he’s been asked to resign and leave the campus immediately.

His brief e-mail reads:

"To the Ave Maria University community: I have been asked to resign my position as provost and leave the campus immediately.

I will miss Ave Maria and the many of you whom I hold dear.

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J."

Says NBC-2 News: "Some students were in tears after hearing the news and a few faculty members have even mentioned leaving the university because of Father Fessio's dismissal." Charlie Rice, anyone? Dominic Aquila, anyone? I think anyone who hasn't learned that this kind of thing is standard practice for the common element needs to have their head examined. stat.

The vale of tears™, created by Moneyhan™.

I love this: compare "asked to leave campus immediately" with "we may employ him as a consultant." yeah, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to call. If I were Fessio, those cameo appearances they'll ask from him to justify their outrageous PR imaging should get very, very, very expensive.

Be sure to check out the Fessio dossier on Avewatch, the site that is the repository of things Ave, especially of the undergrad institutions. There, you may find some answers as to motivation for this "failure to renew contract." Casimir is of the opinion that it wasn't a culmination, but rather a moment of clashing wills. In Casimir's mind, Fessio may have said no when a yes was requireed, or vice versa.

FUMARE has driven new language, yet again. Be sure to see the California Catholic Daily news piece, which describes AMC as having "transmogrifying" to a university. Casimir saw a comment include the term Transmogrification Team™, recently.

AMU students finally get a taste of AMSOL tactics, "After the convocation, Jones was among many students who remained dissatisfied with the lack of specific explanation of why Fessio was fired." Sounds like Dobranski helped them organize a Room 269 town hall meeting. See this piece at Naples News.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 3:13 PM. |

Timing of Dean's Last Email

I didn't see anybody else connect these dots, even though I tried albeit in a longish post to lead people to connect them, so I post this thought here.

As the ABA comes this week to do fact finding, didn't anybody else find it at least problematic that the Dean would threaten employees on the eve of the visit?

Can anyone else see this maneuver as a bully-pitched attempt to shock people into losing their candor with the ABA? In other words, am I the only one that suspects that the Dean's email was a possible threat to fire anyone who speaks to the ABA with facts that the Dean doesn't like?

Whistleblower Protection anyone?

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 9:09 AM. |

Ban's Fresh New Scent

The following is from a Reader. I know that he isn't on the Transition Team, but his talents are certainly worthy of their consideration and I hope that he will soon be asked to join:

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 8:05 AM. |

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dollarbransky's™ Denial

Had an article about Stalin bookmarked from some blog post eons ago. Read it, laughed, and placed it here.

Conspiracism contributed to Dollarbransky™'s error in three main ways: by isolating him from the outside world, distracting him with nonexistent plots, and creating in him a weird faith in Moneyhan™.

Isolation. Dollarbransky™ was vulnerable to making a monumental mistake because the purges of previous years had made it impossible for anyone to stand up to him. In Dollarbransky™'s mind, criticism of him amounted to a conspiracy against him. Anti-Dollarbransky™ jokes were a form of terrorism, contact with foreigners amounted to espionage, and after-dinner political griping constituted a first step toward his assassination. Dollarbransky™ had long seen individuals scattered across the huge Corkscrew law school expanse as a single and purposeful group who carried out the commands from distant Rome of his now-dead archenemy John Paul II, receiving his orders via such methods as invisible ink in magazines about movie stars.

Living in morbid fear of a plot, Dollarbransky™ restricted himself to the Front Office and his country house, surrounded himself with guards and yes-men, and became disengaged from reality. As it was explained in a 2006 speech denouncing Dollarbransky™, the latter never traveled or spoke with ordinary people. "He knew the law school and students only from films. And these films had dressed up and beautified the existing situation in the law school. Many films so pictured kolkhoz [collective study] life that the tables were bending from the weight of pictures and postcards of Florida and the Corkscrew state. Evidently, Dollarbransky™ thought that it was actually so." Dollarbransky™ came to believe in the illusion he had created, becoming captive—perhaps the only one in the law school—of his own dream world.

In a sense, he had no choice, for having weeded out anyone with an independent mind and accused them of conspiracies, he was left not just with sycophants who dared not express any opinion ("Yes, Comrade Dollarbransky™, of course, Comrade Dollarbransky™, you have taken a wise decision, Comrade Dollarbransky™") but with mental dwarfs who actually believed in Dollarbransky™'s wisdom and farsightedness. The system he created permitted him alone to make important decisions. Those who might disagree within the ruling councils, in the media, or in the academy had learned otherwise. "Locked up in the Front Office, the master of a world which he had created by his own selective firings and which reflected back upon him only those images he had himself ordained, steeped in his own ‘genius' and fed on its outpourings, Dollarbransky™ could rage away dissension and doubt."

In the case of Florida, Dollarbransky™ created his own dream world by deciding that Moneyhan™, wanting to avoid a two-campus school, would not attack him before May 2012. Perhaps counting too much on his own good fortune, Dollarbransky™ made up his mind, and that was that. He then set about to order the world in accord with his decision. Specifically, he made himself prime minister in May 2001; also, he directed his intelligence aide to file information about individual ambitions against him in the "reliable sources" dossier, whereas those about the Corkscrew law school Union and impending Moneyhan™ attack were relegated to the "doubtful sources" file. Generally, the "doubtful sources" did not circulate beyond Dollarbransky™

Conspiracy Theories. Building on this susceptibility, Dollarbransky™ explained away the many warnings coming his way by conjuring up conspiracy theories. The first theory was an ABA plot. Remembering the ABA's profoundly anti-Katholik sentiments from the 1920s and suspecting them of efforts toprovoke a war between the two totalitarian states, Dollarbransky™ rebuffed the ABA's many warnings. Ironically, pilfered documents from the Front Office confirmed this mistrust, for Whitehall had a more sanguine interpretation of intellectual and social isolationist intentions, and Dollarbransky™ saw these as a more authentic reflection of lawyers views than the ABA's letters to him. He suspected the prime minister of trying either to break the intellectual and social isolationist-Corkscrew law school non-aggression pact of 1999 or to join with Florida in a war against the Corkscrew law school Union. The May 2001 flight of Moneyhan™ to Naples confirmed his fear of a faculty conspiracy to join with Moneyhan™ against Dollarbransky™. Indeed, it got to the point that "Dollarbransky™ tended to see all warnings of a Moneyhan™ attack, whatever their source, as further evidence of a faculty conspiracy." For example, to predictions from a Corkscrew law school intelligence source in D.C. of a Foundation™ attack, he responded with the comment, "Faculty provocation. Investigate! Dollarbransky™." Following Dollarbransky™'s obsession with "provocation," top Corkscrew law school officials "saw provocation as an inevitable tool of the unending conspiracy by Catholic powers against the Corkscrew law school state. If the Corkscrew State allowed itself to be provoked on issues chosen by its Catholic opponents, it played into their hands and temporarily lost control of the march of

His second theory concerned freelancing Faculty. Dollarbransky™ sometimes expressed fears that the Catholic leadership, in defiance of Moneyhan™'s wishes and carried away by their extraordinary string of successes between 1999 and 2001, sought to start a war with the Corkscrew State. (In fact, nearly all the faculty opposed Operation Transition.) When, just a few hours before the all-out ABA assault, a deserter informed the Corkscrew law school of what lay in store for them, Dollarbransky™ rejected his warning on the grounds that the faculty had dispatched him "to provoke a conflict." Even after the ABA attack began, Dollarbransky™ refused to respond with full force, thinking that "this was only a provocative action on the part of several undisciplined sections of the faculty, and that our reaction might serve as a reason for the Catholic people to begin the war."

Awe of Moneyhan™. On signing the non-aggression accord in 1999, Dollarbransky™ ade two contradictory comments. To the Moneyhan™ he expressed pious sentiments: "The Corkscrew law school government takes the new pact very seriously. I can guarantee on my word of honor that the Corkscrew law school Union will not betray her partner." To his underlings he cynically asserted that "it's all a game to see who can fool whom. I know what Moneyhan™'s up to. He thinks he's outsmarted me, but actually it's I who have tricked him." It defies reason, but the first remarks describe his actions far better than the second. Dollarbransky™, in other words, displayed a unique and inexplicable trust in Moneyhan™.

For once in his life, Dollarbransky™ lived up to his word and trusted another human being; how strange that he should have chosen Moneyhan™ as the beneficiary. (The Corkscrew law school term for Moneyhan™'s assault, revealingly, came to be known as the "breach of faith," or verolomstvo). Several factors related to conspiracism help explain this choice: One was respect. At the same time that Dollarbransky™ excoriated intellectual and social isolationists, he learned conspiratorial tricks from them. For example, Dollarbransky™ watched Moneyhan™ turn on his friends and get rid of them by accusing them of conspiracies against himself. Moneyhan™'s June 2002 killing of Dominic Akwila, the Storm Troops commander, on the false grounds that Akwila intended a coup d'état, prompted Dollarbransky™'s admiration: "Some fellow that Moneyhan™. Knows how to treat his political opponents." Socrates Nueminster, a biographer of Dollarbransky™, concludes that "After Money and D.C., Moneyhan™ was Dollarbransky™'s third teacher."

Second, it could be that Dollarbransky™'s many years of conspiracist obsession with the ABA, supported by a vast police and propaganda apparatus, left him psychologically unprepared for Moneyhan™. The ruler is no less influenced by his own words than the populace—indeed, probably more so—and so turning the ABA into the devil incarnate perhaps dulled his perception of the real devil incarnate.

Third was his willingness to divide power. Dollarbransky™'s readiness to share global hegemony with Moneyhan™ apparently led him to assume that Moneyhan™ would also share power with him. That was not the case. In this sense, Moneyhan™ was one step more evil yet than Dollarbransky™; he wanted the whole world, to Dollarbransky™'s accepting just half. Thinking that Moneyhan™ would split the loot led Dollarbransky™ to believe that making it absolutely clear he had no intention of attacking Florida would cause Moneyhan™ to leave him alone. He seemed to believe that taking no steps to "provoke" the AMU people—even not taking normal precautions to defend Corkscrew law school territory—would put Moneyhan™'s mind at ease and cause him not to attack (as though Moneyhan™ would have allowed some Corkscrew law school misbehavior to set off a war he did not intend to fight). To do otherwise would bring on the ABA attack that Dollarbransky™ so feared, before he had time to rebuild Corkscrew law school faculty after the mass killings. Ironically, the one time Dollarbransky™ did not insist on total power was the one time he nearly made a fatal mistake.

Ironically, Dollarbransky™ never thought of appeasing the ABA and the law school stakeholders, whom he saw as avaricious and destructive; Moneyhan™, however, he tried to fend off by acting like a lamb. Here the Corkscrew law school dictator fell into the conspiracy theorist's most catastrophic mistake: he ascribed Moneyhan™'s character to the ABA, as well as the reverse. Thus did "appearances deceive" cause Dollarbransky™ to fire millions for imaginary reasons but not see a real conspiracy. A host of imagined conspiracies blinded him to the real one.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 3:10 PM. |

It's Just Fiction and Fiction and Fiction . . .

Regular FUMARE readers will know of the on-going discussion among members as to whether Catholicism is compatible with the Spirit of Capitalism. Our last foray into this topic led to some interesting discussion that was appreciated by some of our readers.

Well today, there is this very revealing video of Mad Money's Cramer pulling back the veil on the reality of Wall Street and our sophisticated market system.

Without trying to sound like a sandal wearing Jesuit, are these attenuated markets "structures of sin"? How secure is our national interest when our markets are kept afloat by "fiction and fiction and fiction"? What happens to a nation in the long term that has an economic public policy skewed towards this kind of financial market, rather than the more mundane tasks of growing food and making useful things?

Fumed by Columcille at 10:50 AM. |

Monday, March 19, 2007

Some Considerations re: Blogging

There's a piece on the OpinionJournal website today that contains some food for thought re: law school blogging.

UPDATE: I pulled this link to the transition team up from the comments. It's really worth visiting.

Fumed by Boko Fittleworth at 1:59 PM. |

The Church's "Missio ad Intellectum"

A not uncommon appearance in an old missal or prayerbook is the occurrence of a "Prayer for the Publication of Good Books." Now whether this was inserted by the pious authors because all of the books being published at the time were being put on the Index or whether it was a reaction to the beginnings of the "grocery-store romance" with variations of Fabio on the cover in various stages of undress holding what appears to be a woman at the height of orgasm, I do not know. Nevertheless, the prayer for the publication of good books seems to be a worthy and wonderful prayer that should be reintroduced into our prayerbooks today.

Several years ago, I had occasion to accompany Down South on an expedition to rescue good books from passing into oblivion. One of the unintended consequences of aggiornamento was, unfortunately, a fascination with novelty and a politicizing of anything deemed traditional or old. Certainly not a post hoc ergo propter hoc, but nonetheless a symptom of the time and currents let into the Church by opening the windows just a little too wide. Significantly, this attitude reached the very religious orders that were the schoolmasters of Europe. Whence does this attitude come? A full explanation of the phenomenon is probably a dissertation topic and not for a blog post, however, I will venture to say that it was a combination of the "professionalization" of the various academic disciplines beginning in the 17th-18th centuries and a modern tendency to view reality through the subjective lens of one's own experience (hence the academic aberrations of "Queer Theory," "Pastoral Counseling" and "Women's Studies.") But I digress--back to the expedition. Our trip took us to the University of Detroit-Mercy where there was a book sale. Most of the books were from the university's old library. Such sales seem to be a good barometer of the health of an academic institution. Most of the books were old, and most of them were classics. Classics in the sense of Greek and Latin literature, but also classics in the sense of John Henry Newman.

One of the books that I rescued was an old dog-eared copy of a series of lectures given by John Henry Newman on various university subjects. One of the more memorable lectures that I recall was entitled "Christianity and Letters" given in 1854. In this lecture, Newman takes to task the "experimental sciences" (what I would call "job training") and invokes the glories of Arts and Letters in forming one's mind. He certainly doesn't denigrate "job training," but he does contend that the formation of the intellect and the training of the mind are best done through study of the classics. Sayeth Newman:

The simple question to be considered is, how best to strengthen, refine, and enrich the intellectual powers; the perusal of poets, historians, and philosophers of Greece and Rome will accomplish this purpose, as long experience has shown; but that the study of the experimental sciences will do the like is proved to us as yet by no experience whatever.

Far indeed am I from denying the extreme attractiveness, as well as the practical benefit to the world at large, of the sciences of Chemistry, Electricity, and Geology; but the question is not what department of study contains the more wonderful facts, or promises the more brilliant discoveries, and which is in the higher and which in an inferior rank; but simply which out of all provides the most robust and invigorating discipline for the unformed mind.
This seems to foreshadow one of the cornerstones of Benedict XVI's pontificate. The program that he enunciated at his Regensberg Lecture was an echo of John Paul II's Fides et Ratio. If the raison d'etre of the Church is to bring man to his final end, how can She not contribute to the development of his reason? She has a duty to bring man to his destiny and to provide him the tools with which to do it. Job training is important, but it doesn't get one to heaven. "Arts and Letters"--specifically the greats of Greece and Rome--has been a proven way to form the intellect. Ought not this be the focus of our Catholic universities? Ought not this be the focus of our teaching orders? Ought not this be the focus of one determining what books to place upon a shelf? A lesser focus (viz. "job training") coupled with a platitudinous "persons for others" does not bring man closer to his God, it condemns him to the small universe of his own experience.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:48 AM. |

Defying Tom Monaghan

See the brief piece by columnist Matt Abbott floating around some conservative sites.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 9:32 AM. |

Solemnity of St. Joseph

Sancte Ioseph, ora pro nobis.

Fumed by Thales at 7:26 AM. |

Sunday, March 18, 2007

First Victim of the Afformatively Injurious Standard Fired

CorkSCREW (Novosti). Deeomond LaVohnson, longtime after-hours janitor at CorkSCREW School of Law, was sent home with mop in hand today.

"I don't get it," said LaVohnson, "all I said was I love the place and I hate to see it closed down for no good reason." LaVohnson was told that his attitudes and beliefs were causing the school to lose business, an act that was "affirmatively injurious" to the institution.

CorkSCREW public relations office has responded that "he was not fired. We failed to renew his contract. He was a the only janitorial support staff member not under a blanket contract with our preferred provider company."

Critics of the firing say that LaVohnson was the only janitor not hired by the contract company owned by Greve Pay™, a televangelist apologist and friend of Moneyhan™. "That lack of control caused by an independent contract presented a problem for them because he couldn't be surreptitiously gagged," said Ornaphelia, LaVohnson's wife.

One school official said, off the record, "I'm glad he's gone. He used to be friends with support staff at that heathen law school, and that was injurious enough. We also used to suspect that he would listen to unauthorized violent music on his headset while working. Those songs make vibrations in the air of the building that would cause harm to others, too. But he was also unwilling to support the Board's decision and get behind the mission which affirmatively harmed me."

Specialist Dr. Andreyosevsky Pretin said he believed the maneuver was caused by Vicodin-induced paranoid delusions. "I've seen this wild thrashing about in patients who are in recovery, under stress, and the euphoria of the Vicodin causes them to irrationally lash out."

LaVohnson said he wasn't sure who would clean all the crap piling up now that he's gone and that made him feel bad for the people who were remaining.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 10:40 AM. |

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Feast of St. Patrick

The Irish believe far too much in spirits to believe in spiritualism.
--G.K. Chesterton

I think that Chesterton's statement rings true. Now I know that I am venturing into dangerous territory--having not an ounce of Hibernian blood coursing through my veins--assessing what is and what is not a true Irishman. (No doubt, Columcille will troubleshoot!) Nevertheless, I am confident that I can make such a judgment. The testimony of history demonstrates the Irish character and what constitutes a true Irishman--rock solid faith, good humor, a fiery and tempestuous nature, and a penchant for a "wee drop of the creature above." Come to think of it, it seems that the spirited Hibernian temperment should be recommended to men in general! Is it any surprise that significant numbers of police and firemen in this country are Irishmen?

Patrick himself was a tough character. Having been kidnapped by pirates, among other trials, he surely knew how to defend himself. Likewise, he (like most other hard nosed types) was probably street-wise and knew how to talk to the noble chieftain as well as the humble farmer. It takes a tough man with a rock solid faith to inspire a rough and fiery people. When Our Lord brought forth Patrick to breathe the life of grace into these people, I can't help but believe that He knew he was raising a significant army of the Church Militant. Is it any wonder that St. Patrick composed a prayer entitled The Lorica ! (A "lorica" is a Latin term that means "breastplate.") Our Lord, through Patrick, took the spirited Irish people--with all their tempestuosity, humor, love of hearth and home, and love of strong drink--and added the supernatural element that has made them such a potent force in the world: the Faith. Yet, we must also be realistic. The Irish have suffered greatly at the hands of the Kennedys, Mary Robinson, Sean Hannity and countless other "enlightened pagans" who have sold their birthright for 30 pieces of political or social standing. The great traditions of song and drink, once so wedded to the Church and her calendar, have given way to secularization and weak-knee'd capitulation to so-called progress. This doesn't have to be, and indeed the pilot-light remains lit by those good Irish families who have maintained the true Irish character so inspired by St.Patrick. Now more than ever, let us join with those Irish families in asking for St. Patrick's intercession!

Finally, we must mention the Irish love of drink! Ad usque hilaritatem as always! There is nothing so wonderful as a Guiness or a good Irish whiskey to enhance conversation, the practice of law or--for the less intellectual and spiritually struggling among us--that girl in the corner. Be a good Catholic and join with the Irish in honoring St. Patrick today. Go to Mass or say the Rosary, laugh and have a drink. Alcohol may be a man's worst enemy, but Our Lord says: "love thy enemy."

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:13 PM. |

Friday, March 16, 2007

The TOP 10 Things "Affirmatively Injurious" to Ave Maria School of Law

A faithful reader and fellow alum recently suggested that FUMARE solicit our readers regarding The TOP 10 Things "Affirmatively Injurious" to Ave Maria School of Law. What a fantastic idea! In light of Dean Dobranski's email yesterday reminding us of the high standards that he expects of those employed by the law school, we assumed that he would take the lead and admit his own deficiencies in this regard. Alas, our hopes were and are in vain. Nevertheless, we thought the "Top 10 List" to be a great idea. Submissions will be accepted as "puffs" below or by emailing me at advocatusmilitaris[at]gmail[dot]com. We will leave the submission period open until next Friday, 23 March 2007. We will then evaluate the submissions and perfect a final list for publication and perhaps, even for a fun tee-shirt (via CafePress) to raise money for the Association of Ave Maria Faculty!

Two early entrants submitted their own Top 10 List.

Unfortunately, these two chaps misunderstood and submitted their list for the Top 10 People Likely to Be A Better Dean of Ave Maria School of Law.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:19 AM. |

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Caveat Dollarbranski™ & Other News

Pi Day
Yesterday (3/14), was the Day of Pi. (get it? 3.14?)

Caveat Dollarbranski™
Today is the Ides of March. "N.C."™ Dollarbranski's™ memo of the day is either the ravings of a paranoid man backed up into a corner, or some saber rattling designed to put yet more intimidation into the mix. Either way, it's still rather delicious that it occurred on the Ides of March™. Such irony makes me suspect that the former is the case. To mix a few caesars and a stalin: the epileptic paranoid madman is raving because his fiddle cannot be found.

Individual Representing Self as ABA Agent Writes Students.
Meanwhile, a professor representing himself as a fact-finder appointed by the ABA has contacted students regarding an upcoming visit next week or so. His stated purpose is to investigate a Rule 24 complaint.

Eternal Rest: Bowie Kuhn

A favorite quote of Kuhn:
"You've got to develop a sense of humor," Kuhn once said in an interview. "You have to be able to stand back and laugh. That's invaluable, or you're apt to go slightly balmy."

Seems as if Dollarbranski™ and Moneyhan™ should have listened to him more. I believe Mr. Kuhn was a good guy seeking good things, may God grant him peace.

Transition Team™ Seeks Special Talent
An email from Assistant™ Dean™ Milhizer™ today requested specially talented folks to offer their assistance to the Transition Team™ (as in "transtition team™ powers ACTIVATE!").

Real Workload
FUMARE is intrested in helping to advertise the "Transmission Team"™. The Transmission Team™ will be the ones who carry the weight of a daunting task. Among other things, the "Transmission Team"™ needs the following skills most direly:

If you have any of the above skills, volunteer immediately!

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 6:57 PM. |

The FUMARE "Affirmatively Injurious" Contest

The last two years have been very trying for the AMSL Community. What is indisputable is that the Dean and Board of Governors have presided over the law school's apparent destruction. What is most tragic is that Board members could not break out of their busy schedules of New York-D.C. dinner parties to speak with the faculty, students or alumni in any appreciable way. I'm sure that Katie O'Beirne, Fr. Joe "The Pope is a Friend of Mine" Fessio and other Board members would take issue with the last statement. Nevertheless, the impression (if not the actuality) of their disinterest was their creation and continues to be perpetuated by them. But we here at FUMARE are not the type to lose heart, nor should you, our beloved readers!!Especially now, we--those of us who have questioned the governance of the school--need to take heart and get MOTIVATED! Let us recall the Dean's words from this morning's memo:
The relocation matter has been authoritatively resolved by our Board of Governors, and so now we can all move forward consistent with their decision and in the best interests of the Law School. Any speculation to the contrary, such as the suggestion found in an email by The Association of Ave Maria Faculty, is baseless. To be clear, Ave Maria School of Law will relocate -- it will not close and re-open a new law school. Further, our Law School will relocate in its entirety- - it will not leave behind a satellite campus or split into two law schools.

(Kinda sounds like he's a bratty kid doesn't it!) Anyway...MOTIVATION! That is what we need! Thus, to that end, FUMARE presents the "Affirmatively Injurious" Contest. Drawing upon the Dean's words (in the same memo) that "activities that are affirmatively injurious to the Law School during the course of one's employment at AMSL are not acceptable" we consider it our duty to point out such (as we have been). Now we don't expect to actually witness the Dean resigning, we will nonetheless hold him to the standard that he set forth, as we motivate others in light of the injustices suffered. So gang, go here to create your motivation poster--you can "puff" it below or email it to me at advocatusmilitaris[at]gmail[dot]com. Winners may see their poster posted on one of our sidebars-- ad perpetuam rei memoriam. Deadline: Tonight at 6:00pm Eastern Time.



Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 1:50 PM. |

New Memo Takes Veiled Swing/Slash/Whack at "enemies"

Naturally, activities that are affirmatively injurious to the Law School during the course of one's employment at CorkSCREW are not acceptable.

Gotta love this open-ended standard: "Affirmatively injurious."

Makes one wonder:

Funny, the sword/shield thing again. All of it makes one wonder:


Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 11:49 AM. |

Dobranksi March 15, 2007 Email on Relocation

From: Dobranski, Bernard
Sent: Thu 3/15/2007 11:22 AM
To: All Law System Distribution; All Alumni
Subject: Relocation Matters

Ave Maria School of Law Community:

I am pleased to advise you that my surgery was successful and I am in the process of rehabilitation. I thank you all for your prayers and kind wishes. Because of the surgery, I was unable for some time to stay abreast of the many reactions to the announcement of our Board of Governor's decision to relocate Ave Maria School of Law to Southwest Florida. Now that I have had an opportunity to review some of that reaction, I believe it is appropriate to offer a few brief comments in response.

Let me reiterate that Ave Maria School of Law will relocate to Southwest Florida, subject to acquiescence by the American Bar Association in accordance with their rules, beginning in the 2009-2010 Academic Year. The relocation matter has been authoritatively resolved by our Board of Governors, and so now we can all move forward consistent with their decision and in the best interests of the Law School. Any speculation to the contrary, such as the suggestion found in an email by The Association of Ave Maria Faculty, is baseless. To be clear, Ave Maria School of Law will relocate -- it will not close and re-open a new law school. Further, our Law School will relocate in its entirety- - it will not leave behind a satellite campus or split into two law schools. I understand that some have claimed to be exploring the idea of establishing a new and unaccredited law school in Ann Arbor when Ave Maria School of Law relocates. Of course, that is their privilege as citizens. Naturally, activities that are affirmatively injurious to the Law School during the course of one's employment at AMSL are not acceptable. But be assured that any activities by any persons directed toward this purpose will have no bearing upon our Law School's relocation in its entirety to Southwest Florida in 2009.

I am well aware that while the relocation decision resolves a major issue there remain many details to be worked out. But the decision has been made and the time for dissent and destructive behavior has passed. To our students I say consider volunteering to be part of the transition planning but concentrate first and always on your studies. To our faculty and staff I say you are all welcome in Florida and should consider becoming involved in the transition planning. To the entire community I say that the best way to help preserve what truly matters about our Law School is to make its relocation as successful as possible. I hope that everyone, regardless of their opinion about the relocation decision and intent to move to Florida, will join together in working and praying for our Law School's successful relocation.

Dean Bernard Dobranski

Fumed by Tommy More at 11:41 AM. |

ABA Visits Ave Maria School of Law

The following is a copy of the text of an email that was sent to the current law students from the SBA President regarding the ABA fact-finder visiting the school. For your information.

Dear Students and Community,

I have been informed by Deans Dobranski and Milhizer that the ABA fact-finder will visit on March 22-23. The fact finder is preparing notices to be released on his behalf providing additional information. I assure the Student Body immediate notice upon any scheduling modification or additional information offered related to the fact finder's visitation.
Very truly yours,

J.D. Tripoli
SBA President

Fumed by Tommy More at 10:38 AM. |

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Reform of the Reform Goes Universal!

This week the long awaited post synodal apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist was released - Sacramentum Caritatis.

Some of the highlights:
Check out the commentary over at The New Liturgical Movement on how this document is a gentle but important foundation for the universalization of the Reform of the Reform.

UPDATE: Kudos to AM for jumping on this story right quick, beating my post by 6 minutes! Well done!

Fumed by Columcille at 5:49 PM. |