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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Faculty Spanks Bernie, BoG...

...for all the Catholic legal world to see.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 6:52 PM. |

Fumare is Not Down! Non Abbiate Paura!

Fumare.us is experiencing technical difficulties...but we are still here with wit, insight, analysis, and comments to piss off sissies everywhere.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 1:05 PM. |

They Still Don't Get It

From the scourge of the baby-boomers, libera nos Domine.

I suppose the JPII approach will not do. You know the one I mean: challenging the young to ask life's great questions--Why am I here? Where am I going? Is there a God? Why is there evil?

JPII's and BXVI's challenge to the young to go outside of themselves to serve others and to conform their lives to Christ and His Church is not earth shattering, but speaks powerfully to the human heart. It is not adolescent or condescending, it is a challenge to the young to be the best they can be--to be what they are created to be. This challenge is a lifelong committment--one that doesn't seem to resonate with the Bishops of England and Wales.

Instead, these Vicars of the "Church of Where It's At" are more concerned with image and how they are perceived. Here is a subtle indication of how they view themselves projected as how the young think of them:
The Church hopes that its manga comic, with pictures of nuns and monks playing pool and surfing the internet, will help to improve the image of the vocation, which leaders believe is seen as "monotonous and boring".

I hope they don't view themselves this way, but it is an all too common occurrence for those in charge--i.e., the baby-boomers--to wander aimlessly seeking some new faddish way to attract young people to a vocation. The result: kids laugh whilst the greying clerics get a new spiritual erection--which will ultimately go away until another cool new idea emerges from the diocesan vocations office. It has happened too many times and indicates a clergy that never seems to have grown up.

Hint for the bishops of England and Wales: Put forth models like Mother Teresa, JPII, BXVI, Edmund Campion, Thomas More, and Margaret Clitheroe. Inspire and challenge the young to holiness, let them not wallow in the selfishness and false images of modernity.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:42 PM. |

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Your Saturday Afternoon Latin Selection

It always makes me chuckle to read Aquinas' Prologue to his Summa Theologiae. His intent in composing the Summa is to provide a theology book for beginners! If there is any proof that the Middle Ages were a more intelligent time than our own, it is the fact that the Summa was intended for beginners. It was presupposed that a beginner in theology was already quite well schooled in philosophy. Likewise, as one journeys through the Summa, Aquinas assumes that the student has integrated and knows all that has gone before. In short, the tertia pars makes no sense unless one understands the prima pars and the truths enunciated therein. It takes patience, understanding and prayer to work through the Summa. Crack out those Latin Dictionaries for this week's installment. I have always thought it providential that the Latin for "summary" is summa, as the same word is for "highest" or "the topmost." Indeed that is what the Summa is.

Quia catholicae veritatis doctor non solum provectos debet instruere, sed ad eum pertinet etiam incipientes erudire, secundum illud Apostoli I ad Cor. III: "Tanquam parvulis in Christo, lac vobis potum dedi, non escam"; propositum nostrae intentionis in hoc opere est, ea quae ad Christianam religionem pertinent eo modo tradere secundum quod congruit ad eruditionem incipientium.

Consideravimus namque huius doctrinae novitios in his quae a diversis conscripta sunt plurimum impediri; partim quidem propter multiplicationem inutilium quaestionum, articulorum et argumentorum; partim etiam quia ea quae sunt necessaria talibus ad sciendum non traduntur secundum ordinem disciplinae, sed secundum quod requirebat librorum expositio, vel secundum quod se praebebat occasio disputandi; partim quidem quia eorundem frequens repetitio et fastidium et confusionem generabat in animis auditorum.

Haec igitur et alia huiusmodi evitare studentes, tentabimus, cum confidentia divini auxilii, ea quae ad sacram doctrinam pertinent breviter ac dilucide prosequi, secundum quod materia patietur.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 3:09 PM. |

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dealing with Our Critics

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 7:49 PM. |

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The two sides of the AMSL Problem

A recurring theme that comes up is that we here at FUMARE are somehow the cause of destruction to the community. Such maniacal ravings typically cause me to laugh, but occasionally I notice a trend in the motives of the sides. There really does appear to be a chasm between the things anti-ann arbor people say versus those who are pro-promise (and thus, want the school to be governed and maintained as promised).

The anti-ann arbor folks. The first thing to notice about these people is their sheer lack of knowledge of objective facts. First, they base all of their support on some utopian dream of Florida -- the great savior lives there in the marsh of the corkscrew. In order to believe this fact, however, they must ignore several, not the least of which is that there was no reason to stall the Michigan plan -- not when Plymouth offered free land. Even if Plymouth had not offered the land, had the Ann Arbor development plan, submitted by the Great Architect of the Corkscrew Utopia, included but a fraction of care to the area impact concerns, the zoning board would probably have had quite a different result. Nonetheless, we must now place all of this reality behind us for it is eclipsed by the bright future of the Florida sun and a couple of fat heads. The troublesome aspect to these people is not so much that they ignore such things, but that they insist that the promises made are meaningless now: such a viewpoint expressed by them means they believe they can escape their own promises with similar slight of hand. Thus, it raises a question of their belief in the meaning of words. Ironically, these people, despite parsing the word "is" themselves, will be the first to talk about how Clinton destroyed the reliability of public discourse. Really? Does that excuse their own use of such verbal theatrics as well?

The second observation is related to the first. Almost all of the anti-ann arbor folks relate to FUMARE as something that causes them to lose something. A near demonic twist of causal relationships. Last I checked, FUMARE had no power to remove nonprofit institutions from their public place. Oh wait, these people almost never discuss the loss of the great school that had been blossoming in Ann Arbor -- they talk about the loss of jobs, the loss of unity, the loss of a quiet calm environment in which the common lie is peacefully observed in order that all might derive benefit from it. Personal benefit. Getting on the gravy train. Uncle Tom might not pass that benefit on to them if they don't help him break his promise. FUMARE is stealing their easy gig in the Florida sun skimming off of Uncle Tom's estate. Do they really think it would work like that? Ask the Credo people -- better yet, talk to Mother Assumpta in Ann Arbor. The trail of devastation behind Uncle Tom's whims goes back into history long before FUMARE was around.

The third observation is that the anti-ann arbor people are always insinuating wrong-doing to the pro-promise people. They act alot like pro-choicers because their slogans are so similar: They are taking away our rights! They are violent and mean! They want to prevent us from doing what we want.

So much for the anti-ann arbor people.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 11:11 PM. |

The Ave Maria School of Law Annual Roast...

...is taking place as we speak! This grand tradition, begun with the inaugural class of 2003, continues with the class of 2007. FUMARE has a sneak peek at one of the awards given this year:

THE "AFFIRMATIVELY INJURIOUS" AWARD FOR 2007 GOES TO...............................DEANO!

Have fun tonight gang!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 8:34 PM. |

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Unofficial Transcript of Tonight's Faculty-Student Meeting

If accurately reported here, I can say that I have never been more proud to have studied under these professors. They are the epitome of class and love for their students. No further commentary is necessary.

April 25, 2007
Ave Maria School of Law, Room 269
8:00PM. All seats taken in the room; many people standing

Faculty Present: Professors Lyons, Falvey, Myers, O’Callaghan, Strang, Pucillo, Lee, Frohnen, Safranek, Murphy, Carr (joined later as she had a previous commitment)

Myers: [Open with the Hail Mary.] Let me begin by saying we are not here to make any explosive announcements; we mean this to be a discussion and informational meeting.

History of school: Monaghan’s financial support, pushed for Dobranski as dean, led school successfully during accreditation; nationwide support; notes the risk that the 1st year class took; done a lot in first years of existence; all original faculty were involved in writing the mission statement.

Distressing to faculty are several things that have happened in past few years; some people think faculty are trying to destroy/jeopardize school with regard to ABA accreditation. Most concerns from faculty have not involved move, but rather with Board of Governors lack of response. Faculty filed complaint with ABA due to school not living up to mission/accreditation.

Issues of complaint fairly serious, but could be easily resolved by Board of Governors. No serious risk to accreditation if school/constituency act to ensure school works within mission/ABA standards. Notes unusual action of ABA fact-finder—lends credence to the seriousness of issue. Not a significant risk to accreditation if the school will comply with issues brought forth. These issues have been rebuffed summarily.

Another example of faculty/alum trying to obstruct move. No opposition from faculty toward move to FL if in best interest of school if given the opportunity to evaluate; with the research the faculty has completed, not in best interest; no demonstration of best interest.

Move subject to acquiescence of ABA; important part of process; if ABA grants acquiescence, it looks at best interest of school. Nobody knows exactly what will happen. Spoken with legal educators outside law school—some uncertainty as to whether acquiescence will be granted. Significant issue with regard to faculty relocation, etc. If school does not receive acquiescence & decides to move—serious issue that needs to be explored. If acquiescence concerns exist within ABA, it’s because they are not sure if it’s in the best interest to move.

Contingency plan: What happens if the school does not get acquiescence? Not a lot has been said. Conversely, what will happen if it does move? Has not been disclosed. No “Plan B” has been expressed. Ex: Falvey Report—school with accreditation is viable; notes 2 years ago close to financial sufficiency. Law schools are profitable. Faculty thinks product offered here is superior legal education. Well on road to financial self-sufficiency/achieving goals. Many supporters willing to ensure long-term viability—unable to provide specific details. Entities/individuals who would support the school are out there. Optimistic about the future of the school

Question: When you say that it isn’t faculty is against FL but that there are issues that have led to complaint, what would have to change in order for the school to move in a viable way?

Myers: Complaint had nothing to do with FL move. Tried to resolve problems internally leading up to no confidence in dean. Haven’t spoken publicly b/c tried to resolve internally. Next step was ABA complaint. Issues relate to academic freedom/faculty governance. Professorss devoted life/efforts to school; no reason to want to see school fail. Want to make sure school lives up to ideals/mission. Issues w/ ABA do not have to do with FL.

When issue of relocation came up with Feasibility Study of Deans Read & White, faculty wanted to know what this would do for the school…what benefits would exist? R/W does not address. Faculty does not think it is beneficial…successful school picked up and move has serious risks. Evidence not presented that move was in best interest of school. Better to watch and see how new town/university perform; would it be in best interest to be there with them? Turns on many factors, especially health of that institution. Risky to move.
Other issues don’t have to do with relocation, rather admin philosophy, vision of community, role of faculty—these things need to be resolved prior to a move. If school isn’t living up to ideals, it will not succeed. Need to see some type of proposal—here’s what will happen to school, here’s how it will be run, here’s how issues of concern will be remedied.

Question: Where did things go wrong? If all was going well, where did it happen? 2nd: Losing some faculty. Can the remainder give assurance that you will remain to ensure quality of education?

O’Callaghan: No control over that.

Safranek: Some people are leaving, but if things put in proper order, those leaving would return and those thinking of it would stay. It would be very difficult for me to conceive remaining with the institution if current order remains. Things are so disordered. Despite what might be said, many myths promoted. Myth: Faculty come and go—the reality is boards, donors, deans come and go. Faculty remains. Four faculty been here since beginning—board members come and go. This was not a way station; many professorss treat lower schools as such. This was an aspirational place to be. #1 destination. Current order of things indicate uncertainty, especially tomorrow.

O’Callaghan: Haven’t heard of current plans, other than those heard, of leaving on their own.

Safranek: Dating analogy: Over time, things change. Same language, different meaning. One party might undergo different pressures/situations which lead to different understandings—lead to different directions. No deep detail, but from beginning, there were profound differences we weren’t attuned to; over course of things, there is a fund difference of vision. Problem we have is that the Catholic Church has vision of university based on community of scholars that reaches out in various ways. If you don’t have that, you can’t have a Catholic school. Mission and faculty has all embraced a vision consistent with Catholic vision. Frankly, leadership does not have that vision. Admitted that they do not. “New Vision” of Catholic education ordered with Monaghan on top and various administrators who run school within that vision. Inconsistent with church vision of Catholic institutions. Thought he shared my vision, he thought I shared his. Seeing fruits of Monaghan vision being borne out. [Notes all schools Monaghan has started.] Which do we embrace? Which does church embrace?

Frohnen: Ex Corde: Does this vision mean that professors are prima donnas want to be the center of everything/don’t want to work? Students are the center of why faculty is here. What happens in classroom is a shared vision…common vision…common respect. When that becomes subordinate to other concerns—efficiency, proper market conditions, etc.—it dehumanizes everyone. All faculty had other options that paid a lot more money…if the school was run with that vision, I would stay no matter what. Will not put family at risk.

Lee: As someone who is leaving—people here are among finest. Leaving pains me. Breaks my heart. I’m leaving not because I’m trying to escape or leaving the students. I’m leaving because of my family. I hope in the act to shock the administration into waking up and realizing what they are doing. This is a community of scholars…should not be diminished. Absurd. Common vision of human dignity; when it stops serving that end, time for everyone to leave. Offering heartbreak up to make this a better place. This is the best community I’ve ever been a part of.

Question: Noticed most faculty are here…some are not. Previous emails note names that aren’t on the list. Can any of you speak to relations among all faculty? Being in a minority group must be difficult for them. Can you speak to faculty relations? OK with each other?

Pucillo: What breaks my heart is that two of those people are godparents to my youngest son. We barely speak anymore. A third was a very dear friend. Why haven’t they been there with us? Don’t want to say much more than that, but nothing would please me more than to be together on this and have the common vision spoken of tonight. All faculty need to come together and decide that for the good of all of you and the school that we have to get back to where we started. I don’t know if that will happen. I pray for it constantly. Would be a lie to say it hasn’t affected relationships.

Question: Why, from your perspective…a couple of you refer to tomorrow morning and possible surprises…why is it important to you to come here and allow us to hear exactly what the vision is and stand that you’ve taken…why does it matter what the student body thinks?

O’Callaghan: Students coming into my office in tears, asking for advice, direction about where school is going. I don’t know if it’s fool’s hope, but there is hope that the institution will thrive and go forward. It’s a misconception that we either get behind the administration and go to FL or the school closes. False idea. Not reality of situation. For people to have that as guiding decision to their future is a disservice. Students deserve to have good information. The other is that I respect students here/in classes and there’s a certain. Difficult to balance goals of school—school success and keep thing together and moving forward. Balancing these things is difficult. Silence the faculty has maintained has been misleading.
Lee: Precipitous of faculty raising this issue before final exams…leaving concern lingering among students more detrimental. Better to get reaction from faculty.

Many of us have taken the time to try to talk to the Dean and express our concerns…we get half-answers, half-truths, misinformation, and changing answers. Do you get anything from him? We can get nothing from the man…does he talk to you?

Falvey: [shakes his head no]

Myers: Difference of opinions in disclosure of our opinion; I took a cautious approach; may have been a mistake. I was optimistic that issues may have been resolved….students are busy, but also have interest in what’s going on. Faculty has been more circumspect than prudent by hoping issues would be resolved internally. This meeting was a hope to promote optimism/faith in school to large group rather than individually that we are committed to having school be faithful to original ideals. Complaint/actions motivated by faith to institution—alums, current and future students—wanted to express that commitment. Value in initial public effort to give opportunity for thoughts on vision of school.

Question: Dean tells us that this is Monaghan’s school and that he’s running the show. Many students are misinformed in this respect, too. Is this remark flawed?

Falvey: When founded, we rejected idea of proprietary law school. Organized as educational non-profit—can’t be proprietary. Why not have a proprietary law school, then it’s clear that it’s Monaghan’s law school? Harder to get accreditation/trouble throughout their life. In ABA experience, proprietary law schools have problems…single board member can have too much sway in running.
When we received full accreditation, seemed to be running more and more like a proprietary law school. I had board members say same thing to me…to which I replied, “No, Your Eminence.” It’s a concern of ABA that the school is run de facto as proprietary law school but de jure it is not. Wish they had said that in the beginning…I’d have hooked onto being Monaghan’s law professor and then everyone could have said, “Shame on you, Falvey.” But I didn’t.

Question: You were seasoned attorneys, why would you sign on if that were the future?

Myers: Spent a lot of time thinking “Did we do something wrong?” Leap of faith in starting school. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Might have been better with a large endowment and run in a different way; we trusted that things would grow/mature. In a way, all talked in beginning that we all had the same vision. Monaghan has been very generous, but he said in beginning that he wouldn’t run school/would be detached; run the school at a distance. I think that in some ways we took gamble/risk, but had faith in school and thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Maybe should have had more foresight, but wouldn’t have happened if we had insisted on conditions....

Safranek: Promises/representations made. Among those were that Monaghan would spend whatever it took to ensure this would be a 1st tier law school. I understood that representation and so did first several classes. Was that promise fulfilled/on track? Not even spoken of. I teach K—promises made, promises kept. Agree with Meyers—Monaghan has donated $$, but many alums came here based on early representations made in various ways, faculty as well. My mistake was that I believed promises made to me. If people want to say I signed on to be part of law school run by Monaghan wherever/however he wanted, I would say no. The real question is—sure, there are problems that have occurred, but I can stand here and say that not a single promise/representation made by faculty has not been disregarded. I don’t want my silence to be construed as me continuing to represent something that has been represented for many years. This shift that it’s Monaghan’s school might be what the dean/Board of Governors wants now, but that’s not what we ever said. If it’s being said now, it’s being said for some purpose.

Question: There are some students who believe that school is a parental/familial analogy; this is like mommy and daddy fighting and we’re the children—should students speak up? Do we have a say?

Falvey: If a child sees a member of their family as being a victim of domestic violence, they should speak up.

Frohnen: Must have voice heard.

Question: Helplessness. Is there anything we can do to help/show support in most effective way possible?

Myers: Pray for the school. Important part of success from beginning. Power of prayer is significant. Pray for all members of community/health of school. Students are important part of community; even though short period of time, you’re part of comm. Important aspect at beginning; devoted student body/alum because we are offering something distinctive. Ask questions, make judgments about whether actions are satisfactory. Inform yourself, make judgment about interest of school. You are entitled to ask questions; be charitable and treat others politely and with dignity, but ask questions.

Murphy: Stunned by idea that faculty is stirring people. If you suspend your brain, leave this law school. Ask questions, get answers. Some confuse being civil with being resigned. Take advantage of education. Ask questions, get answers. You have responsibility to be a part of this community.

Question: Follow-up with ABA questions. With regard to acquiescence, dean has changed answer repeatedly: Is it now such that Board of Governors has made decision to move, are we in process of acquiescence or does this happen afterward? Also, current status of complaint and when we might hear something?

Pucillo: To relocate is a major change; requires prior acquiescence. Cooley got in trouble wanting to open branch campuses. Went ahead and did it, ABA said this was major change. Want to demonstrate program, ABA said no. ABA suspended Cooley for this action. Question becomes, at what point is change implemented? Is announcing to community that Board of Governors has made change the beginning? Is sending message to all other law school deans with a drawing of our “new building” a major change? Is putting building on market a major chg? At what point to you slide into a major change?

Question: Has bldg been put on market?


Question: Has app for acquiescence been entered?


Question: How will you know of the status of the ABA complaint?

Faculty will be notified if the report is closed. No notification if invest is continuing. Only if concluded.

Question: Is faculty notified if school is out of compliance?

Don’t know. Only in certain instances. Up to ABA.

O’Callaghan: Certain resolutions that might be made public.

In my coffee with the dean, it was made clear that I’m a third-class citizen: Students come last behind Monaghan, Board of Governors, the administration, and the faculty is thrown in somewhere, too. Can’t go talk to the dean or Board of Governors. I want to do something. What to do?

Murphy: He does have to talk to you, doesn’t he?

O’Callaghan: Won’t stay this way forever. Other things in the works. Don’t let this detract from education.

Lee: You have fine legal minds…doesn’t limit to analysis. Do some research. Search for similar situations that have happened before? How do students deal with similar situations? Go look it up.

Question/Interjection: You say not to let it detract from our education, but it’s hard to do. I’m sure you’ve seen the fall schedule…an influx of adjuncts, a reduction in the courses offered. It’s hard to get a quality legal education when I can’t even get the necessary courses. I can’t even get a course in real estate law…I took this to the dean, and his reply was that I should go take it at U of M because they have several offerings a semester. What kind of response is that?

Question: What of the Falvey Report: Not a valid document. Confidential. Board of Governors concerned with “Catholic Cooley.”

Falvey: Written Statement: On 2/20, letter circulated to law school community pertaining to report. Report not responsive, unrealistic, full of assumptions. Dobranski read pieces of report to community, then repeatedly claimed no such report existed. He still says so as recently as last Friday at faculty meeting. Claims have been repeated in meeting. Redacted version of report can be found on web.

Background: Monaghan acting on behalf of Board of Governors wrote Falvey a personal letter on 10/11/06 soliciting input on long-term viability of AMSOL in Ann Arbor. Given 45 days. Been asked to solicit financial viability. Completed report on 11/24/06. Left to Board of Governors to release to community. They have chosen not to. Falvey did not distribute to law school community. Did not leak to web. I draw attention now because Monaghan & Board of Governors have called into question my professional competence. Also due to denial of report. Also reports of confidentiality. As author, considered as such that it was of limited distribution. Furthermore, confidential due to confidential information provided. Information used was public. “Confidential” information given by the administration was deemed worthless. Budget information was denied. Any potentially sensitive information was placed in tabs not circulated to anyone. Heard claims that report was commissioned by Board of Governors. Was not. Was not compensated, retained. Had to pay for its copies from his own copy account. Dean claims no report/not asked for report. Monaghan wrote “your report” should be submitted within 45 days. In report, concluded that law school as approved by ABA based on assurances of financial support by Monaghan, fundraising, income, tuition, reduction in discount renders this school viable. Biggest ABA concern was “Are we viable in the long run absent Monaghan?” Board of Governors approved application to ABA, dean signed off, Monaghan signed off, stating this is our plan to reduce dependence on Monaghan and how we become less dependent. After accreditation, we deviated from that path. Now we are on path of possibly permanent dependence on Monaghan. With some adjustments, we can return to the path of independence. I wish they would have taken report more seriously. Just a box to check off for them. I think it’s persuasive, accurate, and presents damaging assessment of last couple of years.

Safranek: Disgusting to hear “Catholic Cooley.” Some Board of Governors called this a “failed experiment.” Troubling that board members would call us failed experiment. If dean said that was stated by Board of Governors member, troubling that dean would repeat it to us, the experiment. Stunning that it was said and repeated. Unbelievable about situation—here’s the board, year after year, approving budgets, spending money, overseeing dean, and here they have created a failed experiment, and that this failed experiment is entrusted to them to get it right in another place and time. They are the ones who approved the budgets, oversight of the dean, his operation of the school, oversight of faculty; if there was a problem, then they should have corrected them all along the way. If you talked prior to ABA, no words of “failed experiment” and Catholic Cooley, but rather commitment to 1st tier. They want you to be scared into believing this and that if we don’t go along with them in their plans, we’ll become Catholic Cooley. I have every reason to believe that with this faculty, student, alum, that this school can thrive with sufficient time to deal with some of the problems and move forward. Need more than 45 days to come up with a plan when the Board of Governors has spent 7 years coming up with a plan. How am I supposed to believe when the Board of Governors was the one responsible for getting us into this? How can I turn around and say you were right? I can hardly think of anything more affirmatively injurious than calling the LS a failed experiment.

Question: Acquiescence; If it turns out that ABA were not to grant acquiescence and school stays here, would that create problem for accreditation here?

Pucillo: We are accredited. We have it. This program is fully approved. A failed request of acquiescence would not affect accreditation.

Myers: If school made some other change in governance, then would have to seek acquiescence. Dean has said numerous times—no school ever lost ABA accreditation. Even if a problem occurs, there are opportunities to fix them. What we and the Falvey Report demonstrate is that the school is viable. Program offered, ability to attract students, that school is viable with plan for financial independence. Some bumps in the road over the past few years, but the basic model is that we can succeed. I do think you would see the idea of what we are trying to do here is sufficiently attractive that we would get the support from donors, students, alum. Cooley will take anyone who will come; ours was not. They’re being faithful to their vision; can’t be criticized for that vision. Not ours. Look at Falvey Report; see where school was when granted accreditation; plan is something that shows a proven record of success.

Question: Opportunity to transfer; need encouragement that made the right decision to stay.

Myers: Tried not to be critical of other schools. Lots of great law schools in the country. Can get a great legal education at those schools. The community here is what’s really special. [compares Ave to St. Thomas] Our goal was to form community; believe what we’re doing here; can’t look down on other schools. Tell students that they can get a great legal education here; confident to ensure great legal education. Faculty can control that; other parts they can’t. Tremendous benefits to being part.

Lyons: [compares our mission to St. Thomas] Here, being put to the mission. Struggling with that. Don’t know what will happen, but here we feel like we’re up against the man. Trying to figure out how to proceed, but the test you’re being put to is the mission itself. Is this the crucifixion or the resurrection? Going through this as a community. Beautiful, but a struggle.

Pucillo: Hope the fact that the faculty organized this talk shows that we feel your coming here/staying here was the right decision.

Question: Re: Financial viability. Convinced that school will not move, but what concerns me is in the next year or third year when Monaghan pulls all funding. Any feel on what deficit is? People you spoke of interested in financing the school post-Monaghan—would those people be able to meet that?

Falvey: We announced that some faculty members are committed to staying in Ann Arbor and would explore avenues to ensure that. Yes, familiar with annual grant this year and projected from the foundation. Yes, confident of survival without grants, not that they wouldn’t have to be replaced. A big key is that Monaghan made commitments to ABA and 1L class for scholarships, etc. I would hope that he isn’t talking of breaking that commitment. How do you survive in a post-Monaghan era? Easier prospect. I would hope he would keep his commitments. Bottom line: Every law school turns a profit; may not be able to keep it due to University taking for overhead. We can be there, too. No reason not to believe that. Whole pitch to ABA—we have a plan to be independent and financially sound.

Myers: It is true that law schools make money. Distinctive about us is that we aren’t trying to be like all other law schools. Ability we have to receive support is greater than one trying to make a go of it. We have opportunity to pursue excellence.

Falvey: Monaghan’s law school sales pitch. I’d like you to give your $$ so I can give less. Doesn’t sell. People came here, took a risk. Sell this school based on our benefits.

Question: Seems there is a structural authority problem. You went in with your eyes open and set up a law school with a Board of Governors and dean, but where did the faculty have authority? Where do you see yourselves? You guys are acting like a bunch of Protestants with the top-down authority. Is there a structural problem where the faculty has no authority or is it anomalous in this school that this is going on? Faculty should submit and reconcile; hearts are in the right place; courageous & just. How do I reconcile those competing notions?

Frohnen: This is a religion that is not top-down…questioning authority…natural law. Just because you say it, it isn’t so. Yes, we came in with eyes open that we were coming to work for a law school that is going to get ABA accreditation is promising academic freedom and faculty governance; we didn’t. It is clear in a law school organization that the role of the board/dean have to do with general policies; the educational program is in the hands of those whose hand it must be—the faculty. Catholics invented university as we know it; university has always been that way since the beginning; the heart of the university is what goes on between you and us. This could be fixed in an instant; all that has to happen is the Board of Governors act in accordance with the structure put forth by ABA.

Question: With the idea of being civil, noticed lot of personal attacks thrown around about faculty, students, Board of Governors, etc. The professors present have not behaved in this way. Can you speak to the idea that personal attacks aren’t needed?

Murphy: Refers to civility lecture. Emotions run high over difficult issues. If we want to transform the profession, we must practice civility with each other. Engage on merits of issues. People confuse the idea of what it is you’re trying to do. Intellectual questions on the merits. Ask questions that are legitimate, and you should get legitimate answers. Continue to press for legitimate answers. If you want to have a discussion, then operate on a civil level. Emotions get high, people get frustrated. I understand the level of frustration and encourage you to use civility, but do not let that devolve into subservience.

Question: Joke about passing hat for collection.] With all the publications about Monaghan’s school, could you relate the story of the founding faculty and how this school started.

Safranek: Troubling story to tell. When school was started, so many have contributed so much. It is inappropriate that some people claim primacy. Whatever contribution I made and others made I did so willingly. Honored to do so. Can’t take into account the sacrifices students have made. Others have mistakenly over-calculated their contribution to the law school; not so. Under-calculated. The faculty came, wrote a proposal, gave to Monaghan who made a substantial contribution, we volunteered to work to begin the school. Monaghan’s generosity has been substantial and it shouldn’t be underestimated, but to turn around and say this is his school or anyone else’s school is false. Who has made the greatest contribution? I don’t want to go into that. I wish the true story of the founding of this school had never been known. It’s embarrassing that it came out. How much more fascinating it would be that a donor that refused to be named was the donor that started this law school? The desire to claim credit…I prefer not to go into it. So many have done so much. When people tell you it’s not your school and Monaghan has donated so much and you should be obedient to him, it’s false. This is your school. You have risked far more than what Monaghan has put in. Entire community has. I find it utterly ridiculous, absurd, and shameful to downplay the risks that you have put in. The Board of Governors has no risk, it’s you.

O’Callaghan: Not just risk, but the things you build. Clubs, study groups, classroom atmosphere—these things create the community from nothing. You are the people who turn this into something valuable and unique. To treat it as fungible is bothersome.

Myers: No doubt how the school got started. Widespread agreement on how it came about. The history is not important in that it’s understood, but it says something about the vision that people have for the school. It’s quite clear—I try to point this out. We wanted the story to be about the community forming, not taking credit. People who have power and authority should exercise it to support the community. We have a vision of the school as a community of scholars that we’re trying to advance. It’s a fun story, but it only says something about how we want the school to operate and pursue the vision. If people say the school is the Board of Governors and that the faculty is fungible and only employees and that the students don’t matter that much, then they have a vision, but it’s not the vision that we have for the school. It’s not faithful to the church and the institution.

O’Callaghan: [Relates the story of the founding faculty’s donation of their salaries.]

Lee: Can you imagine how absurd this place would be if the center of meaning here was the Board of Governors? We all attend here so they have something to talk about at their meetings. The search for truth is why we’re here. That’s why we take the name of Mary, Seat of Wisdom.

Question: At this point, is it us or them? Can there be reconciliation?

Pucillo: It would mean the world if we, the faculty, could all be one again. There are very profound differences on the perception of faculty roles. It’s not too late with respect to our fellow faculty members. As for the admin…

Myers: [Close with the Lord’s Prayer]

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 11:35 PM. |

The Latest...

Students, your beloved Fumare friends will be waiting for updates throughout the night and into tomorrow.

-----Original Message-----
From: [Faculty Member]
Sent: Wed 4/25/2007 3:10 PM
To: All Students
Cc: All Law School Personnel
Subject: student-faculty discussion TONIGHT

Beloved students,

Recently, many of you have approached members of the faculty with concerns regarding the state of affairs at the Law School, and indicating that these concerns have been distracting you from your studies. Indeed, a number of you have specifically requested a formal meeting with the faculty. What a group of us would like to do instead is get together with interested students for an informal discussion this evening in Room 269, beginning at 8:00 p.m. In particular, we will offer our thoughts on recent developments, and provide some indication of how we hope things play out over the course of the next few years.

Please join us.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 7:38 PM. |

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

AMU Launches New Recruitment Team . . . On the Internets

(CNS) Corkscrew, FL - The Ave Maria University (AMU) came back to life today, after what close observers have described as institutional suicide, by launching a new recruitment team and doing so on the "Internets."

AMU has been beset by a series of public relations disasters, including the rash mysterious firing of Fr. Fessio and subsequent rehiring and demotion and exile to Europe, that have contributed to low enrollment figures and the group resignation of its admissions team.

Undeterred, the AMU leadership has assembled a crack team of recruiters led by Fr. Trent Dee - a high profile late vocation who gave up a career performing off-Broadway to follow his call into the priesthood. Fr. Trent Dee has already assembled his team from among the graduating class of AMU seniors and have launched a "viral marketing" campaign to attract the mainstream Catholic students who would otherwise want to attend Nortre Dame in Indiana.

The recruitment video entitled, "I need a hero!" focuses on AMU's mission to be a "saint factory" AND supports its image as a "cool place to keep it real."

"We realized that the 5000 students we want at AMU are looking for something different, and they are looking for it on the Internets. The customer is always right, and you have to adapt to meet your market," said Tom Monaghan, Founder of AMU. "This new recruitment team is really dedicated to work it, to work it real good. I have every confidence in our new strategy and team for recruitment," he said.

After the viral video has reached a certain number of "hits," the whole recruitment team will in turn hit the road and work recruitment fairs across the country taking their message to the streets.

"We want to take one part River Dance, one part Catholic chic, and one part recruitment; mix it all up and bake a cake that EVERY ONE wants a taste of," said Fr. Trent Dee, "if you know what I mean. Mr. Monaghan is a big idea guy and I'm a big idea guy too. I'm so thankful to Tom for all his support. When we first talked, we clicked. If we get just a fraction of the response that River Dance got, then we will be a phenomenal success. And in a way, I would be the Michael Flatly of Catholic Dance Recruitment."

Rumors at AMU have been circulating that Fr. Trent Dee and his altar boys will be "performing" at every mass and Fr. Trent Dee will eventually take over campus ministry. Nick Healy is reported to be delighted at the development, and has been pressuring other priests to move on.

On anonymous student said, "You can dance all you want on the deck of the Titanic, but it is still going down. Yep, going down. Going down in history as a cautionary tale of hubris and the need for things to be 'the biggest.'"

Fr. Fessio was unavailable for comment.

Fumed by Columcille at 10:47 PM. |

Ryder: Can you add this to our sidebar?

Fumed by Tommy More at 4:22 PM. |

Every Family, Every Lifestyle, Every Dream???

Previously on FUMARE, we have noted that the residential development at Ave Maria is designed without a Catholic sensibility - age restricted communities, class segregation, homes priced out of the average Catholic family's budget, etc. In this same line of analysis, Angel Queen has an interesting post in their Forum by Chelsea, a mother of a large Catholic family, about the Ave Maria residential community site and home plans:
Pulte advertises "Every Lifestyle. Every Family. Every Dream." on their Ave Maria brochures and website. I have found that while this is mostly true, there is one type of family that has been excluded from the planning. It is the large Catholic family.
Chelsea seems to be genuinely interested in moving to Ave Maria town, but as the mother of 8 and hoping for more children, she is perplexed and distraught that no homes are being built that take into consideration the practical needs of the large Catholic family.

This seems a bit too obvious of a problem to be an oversight. Is it possible that Ave Maria the town is intentionally trying to exclude Catholic couples who are having more than 2-4 children from living there? I heard they are trying to keep contraceptives out of Ave Maria but I'm wondering what their plan is for sleeping and eating arrangements for all the children who are suppose to be born. . . .

Perhaps they are intentionally building up the neighborhoods around the university for nominal Catholics who have more money than children and will reserve some distant neighborhood in the future for families with children. If that is not their intent, then someone needs to stop the building and add a few more floor plans to the mix so the families with children aren't so segregated from the University and the rest of the town.

Chelsea has figured it out, but she is urgently trying to get through to the "higher ups" to have the developers modify the plan to be accommodating to large Catholic families . . . as if the higher ups give a rat's arse what a dedicated Catholic mother of 8+ has to think. And then, there is this insight:
The biggest problem with this house plan is that every one of them is required to be built on a lot with a pond in the backyard and no fences are allowed in that neighborhood and no play structures either because it is the closest to the university and the planners want the neighborhood to look "nice." I explained to Pulte that it is negligent to have small toddlers and preschoolers with a pond in the backyard and no fence. They disagreed and/or told me that they agreed but there was nothing they could do about it. . . . Someones toddler is going to drown and I don't want it to be mine. . . . Yes, we should be stewards of the earth but we as humans are superior to mosquitoes, snakes and alligators and have dominion over them. Isn't that more of a Catholic approach than raising children side by side with Florida pond life?
Although the greatest problem is in the head of the team who have noodled all this out, from a practical perspective, this is a very serious and real turn off for Catholic families open to life.

For example, when I was a boy, my grandparents had a home just north of Naples and the development was just like this one with the back of the house having a bit of grass leading down to an open water network. My grandparents had a pool in the back yard which was surrounded by a mesh frame enclosure to keep out the creatures. We were warned not to go outside the enclosure or near the pond because alligators lived there.

Once someone left the door of the enclosure open and we came home to find an alligator in the swimming pool. On another occasion, I was chasing a lizard who went outside the enclosure, three steps out of it, I got bitten by a snake on the foot. Thank the Lord it wasn't poisonous. Maybe we visited them at that home 5 times tops . . . imagine the mishaps of living in this set up with toddlers all year round?

I bet Pulte has a clause in their purchase agreements which absolve them from any liability stemming from the death of little Catholic boys and girls who never imaged this for their family, lifestyle or dream.

Fumed by Columcille at 12:38 PM. |

I've been listening to the wireless...

...there is something coming in...

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 8:31 AM. |

Monday, April 23, 2007

When Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth!

Unbelievable. When I read the following quotes from this article, I was, frankly, stunned:

Officials hired a consulting firm last year to examine the school, and found the admissions department to be "understaffed and under-funded," Monaghan said. Consultants also determined that Ave Maria admissions counselors and Director Rich Dittus were using outdated practices to attempt to recruit students, he said.

"We were surprised at how out-of-date we were," Monaghan said. "We found that 70 percent of students make their college decision based entirely on the Internet and Web sites.

"We weren't doing any of that new stuff."

(emphasis added). That. New. Stuff. Uh-huh. You mean the new-fangled "internets" on the "world wide webs" that have been around for the better part of a decade as part of most major institutions' admissions arsenal? My goodness. It actually reminded me of an Advocatus post from last year.

I was simply going to link to AM's post indicating that it was hopelessly far-fetched in light of this article, but then I looked over the comments again just for kicks, and a commenter named "flyonthewall" seemed to capture what most people are probably thinking - that certain people should not be running educational institutions. Recreated for your reading enjoyment is "flyonthewall's" spoof comment:

Great post, AM. Only problem, as evidenced by the significant missteps in this mess, is that they don't get technology, blogging, and . .well pretty much anything else. The extent of the real conversation probably went something like this:

Techy: There is a blog that seems to be one step ahead of you guys, and is getting a number of hits!

P_Tiger: A BLOB? What the f*** I thought that was just in the movies. By the way, I saw the best talkie picture the other day!

Wish I were back at CU: Not a "blob," a "block" like a group of people rabble-rousing, right?

K_I Got Burned: You guys are idiots. Clearly, this peon said a"blond." Some fair-haired idealist trying to throw a monkey-wrench in our plans. Doesn't he know we are right, simply because we are . . .well . . . US!

Techy: [sigh] Wow. Ok, how about this. I'll turn on this magic box. [flips power switch on laptop, with one hand while waving the other hand in the air as if doing magic]

P_Tiger: Oh my gosh! There's gremlins in there or something. Look out, I think she's gonna explode! [flops under womb chair]

Techy: Give it a second. [logs in and goes to FUMARE] All I am saying is this website has a lot of info on it that you probably thought people didn't know.

Wish I Were Back at CU: [waves hand slowly up and down behind monitor to figure out where the "projector" is coming from]. Is this like Atari or something? I bought one of those for my kid once.

K_I Got Burned: Oh please! This is clearly some CIA gadget. Are our actions being monitored by some foreign power something? Clearly they would conspire to stop us!

P_Tiger: I have a brand new Al Jolson record I can put on. Is this thing a record player?

Techy: [sighs again, more deeply] Good grief. [unplugs laptop and walks out of room in frustration]

P_Tiger: That Blob isn't in Florida, is it? I can't handle any more delays in construction!

flyonthewall 10.05.06 - 10:34 am

Fitting, no?

Fumed by TheLawDog at 3:41 PM. |

There's a Buzz...Hmmm...

UPDATE: Ouch. That stings.

Not the buzz I am referring to though...

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:20 PM. |

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Modern Dogmas

The term "modern dogmas" is rather imprecise. A dogma, as such, is the same in whatever age. It may be described as the end of thought--a truth; and as it is a truth, it does not change and is not subject to temporal determinations. Yet, I use the term in this post for ease. (Perhaps I should say "things recently said that are held out as dogma--unassailable and irrefutable.") I think Chesterton states it well in The Superstition of Divorce, as he does everything else:

For the modern world will accept no dogmas upon any authority; but it will accept any dogmas upon no authority. Say that a thing is so, according to the Pope or the Bible, and it will dismissed as a superstition without examination. But preface your remark merely with "they say" or "don't you know that?" or try (and fail) to remember the name of some professor mentioned in some newspaper; and the keen rationalism of the modern mind will accept every word you say."

This past week has seen its share of "modern dogmas" In reaction to the Gonzales v. Carhart decision. Consider the following from Planned Parenthood (or the "they say" department or the "try (and fail) to remember the name of some professor mentioned" department):

On Wednesday, the highest court in the country voted 5-4 to uphold the federal abortion ban passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2003. The ban criminalizes abortions in the second trimester of pregnancy that doctors say are often the safest and best to protect women's health.


Planned Parenthood and women's health care providers have long told the public that if President Bush were given a free hand to nominate ideological hardliners to the court, the U.S. Supreme Court would undermine protections for women's health and safety. On Wednesday that warning came true.

there's more,

In the last 24 hours, people all across America have expressed their outrage at a Supreme Court ruling that has brought about this seismic shift on reproductive freedom.

Now check these from the gals at NOW (or from the "don't you know that?" department):

Not since Bush v. Gore has the Supreme Court made such a political decision, or one that so completely distorts the law and disregards the U.S. Constitution.


This is a clarion call for feminists, progressives and everyone who cares about justice, equality and democracy. We must link arms and say "No more."

Modern dogmatism at its finest! We'll leave Al Gore for another day--after all, his proclamation that the debate is over re: global warming sounds a lot like the end of thought. Until our next installment...vale.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 2:30 PM. |

Pie Pellicane

A common image found in many Catholic churches of an unMahony kind is the Pelican. I recall many years ago when I first saw such an image in a church. I recall wondering what it was about and whether there was some scriptural verse that I had missed that would explain what it meant. I later found out that, throughout the centuries, the faithful had used the pelican as an allegory for Christ. How so? It is an image of caritas. Persuing my Beeson (as I mentioned the other day), I found a selection on point and one which I hope that you will use to improve your ever increasing Latin acumen.

The selection is from the Physiologus, a work in which, as Beeson says, "the peculiarities of animals and fabulous creatures were given a mystical, symbolical interpretation." Originally written around the 2nd century in Greek, it was known by many of the Church fathers. It was likely translated into Latin in the 5th century.

De pellicano dicit David in psalmo ci: "Similis factus sum pellicano in solitudine." Physiologus dicit de eo quod nimis amans sit filios suos. Cum autem genuerit natos et coeperint crescere, percutientes lacerant parentes suos in faciem. Illi autem repercutiendo occidunt filios suos. Tertia autem die mater eorum percutiens costam suam aperit latus suum et infundit sanguinem super corpora mortuorum, sicque cruore ipsius sanantur resuscitati pulli. Ita et Dominus noster Iesus Christus per Isaiam prophetam dicit: "Filios genui et exaltavi; ipsi autem me spreverunt." Nos igitur auctor et conditor noster omnipotens Deus creavit et cum non essemus fecit nos ut essemus. Nos vero e contrario percussimus cum in conspectu eius potius creaturae servivimus quam creatori. Idcirco in crucem ascendere dignatus est percussoque latere eius exivit sanguis et aqua in salutem nostram et vitam aeternam.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 9:20 AM. |

Thursday, April 19, 2007

3 Unidentified Men at Law School: Who Can It Be Now?

The latest reported from FUMARE's spies at AMSL:

3 Unidentified Men were seen snooping around the law school today. They were videotaping the school, its personnel and students. Weird stuff. When asked what they were doing they responded only "We're just here." Perhaps they were just men at work.

Nevertheless, who can it be now?

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 4:36 PM. |

Insensitive, I know.

In light of this, FUMARE responds:

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 11:34 AM. |

Obama . . . You are an A-Hole!

Over the last three days, Barak Obama has given us a vivid insight into his careening ambition to be a prophet-politician draped in salvific empty rhetoric, and into the darkness of his ideological heart.

Check out what he said on April 16th about violence in society after the horrible shooting spree at Virgina Tech. He quotes Bobby Kennedy:

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded. . . . Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and munition they desire.

And his glosses:

That this society is still riven by violence, that we continue to be degraded by murders and crime and all manner of abuse perpetrated on our children and Bobby Kennedy is right: we tolerate it. . . . But I hope that it causes us to reflect a little bit more broadly on the degree to which we do accept violence, in various forms, all the time in our society. We glorify it, we encourage it, we ignore it, and it is heartbreaking and it has to stop. . . . .There is the violence of children, whose voices are not heard, in communities that are ignored.
. . . So there's a lot of different forms of violence in our society and so much of it is rooted in our incapacity to recognize ourselves in each other - to not understand that we are all connected that we are all connected, fundamentally, as a people -- that as I said at the convention in 2004 that 'I am my brother's keeper' and 'I am my sister's keeper.' And that those who may not look like me, or talk like me, or worship the same god that I do, are nevertheless worthy of respect and dignity and a sense of common humanity. . . . We pray that parents, family and friends will find strength and comfort in knowing that God is looking down on them, but I also hope this is a day of us reflecting on where we need to go as a nation. . . .
How can we restore a sense of decency, how can we protect against a coarsening
of the culture? How can we push back against the cynicism and hopelessness and despair? . . . But what [reflecting on violence] can do is address that other violence I spoke about, what it can do is make this country live up, a little bit better, to its creed. It can make sure that children who don't have opportunity do have opportunity. . . . Somebody said that the way we do that [build a better America] is by electing me, I appreciate you saying that, but let me say this: this campaign - and this I mean - this campaign cannot be about me, it is a vehicle for your hopes, it's a vehicle for your dreams. If you make a decision that change is gonna happen, then change will happen. . . . Dr. King ... gathered people together and said, 'Don't lose hope. The arch of the moral universe is long and but it bends toward justice."

Then, on April 18th, Barak Obama had this to say about the Supreme Court upholding the Federal ban on Partial Birth Abortion - perhaps the most cold blooded, grotesque and legal form of violence in American society which we are expected to tolerate and glorify as "A Human (Woman's) Right":

I strongly disagree with today’s Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women. As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman’s medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient. I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women.
Thanks Obama for showing us all (see the comments) just how deep the darkness is in that thing on your sleeve you call a heart. For the record, Obama "strongly disagrees" that the following violence should not be banned in America, that this particular violence is acceptable and should be tolerated, that the law should make it easy for this tolerable violence to occur, and that we should glorify it as a "women's right to choose." The following is taken from Justice Kennedy's majority opinion:

"Here is another description from a nurse who witnessed the same method performed on a 26½-week fetus and who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee:'Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed thebaby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal.Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus. . . .The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall.The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a highpowered suction tube into the opening, and sucked thebaby's brains out. Now the baby went completelylimp. . . .He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta.He threw the baby in a pan, along with theplacenta and the instruments he had just used.'"

For this, most of all, Obama, You are an A-Hole!

Fumed by Columcille at 9:40 AM. |

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

AMU Exposed

Angel Queen has just posted an Investigative Report: The story behind the story of Father Fessio's firing from Ave Maria University - A good priest in a bad environment by Mr. John Grasmeier. Quote:

Those familiar with the situation are nearly unanimous in concluding that the ultimate reason behind the unfortunate turn of events, was a long running power struggle between Nick Healy and Father Fessio that finally had come to a head. At the heart of that struggle is the spiritual and liturgical direction of the fledgling university. Many who spoke with Angelqueen.org (AQ) referred to the struggle in terms “war” or “warfare.” As one source put it “the administration has been extremely hostile towards Father Fessio and tradition.” The source said that there exists an atmosphere where traditional and orthodox elements, particularly in regard to the liturgy, are “shunned,” while more liberal “glory and praise” and charismatic influences are given precedence.

It examines all the variouis issues surrounding AMU (with the exception of the AMSOL aspect). Well done Mr. Grasmeier. However this quote is unfortunate and misinformed:

If the mantra of the 60s was “if it feels good do it”, then the mantra of the Charismatic movement that has its roots in that turbulent era would be, “if it feels good, it must be the Holy Spirit.” The Charismatic “renewal” sprang out of nowhere after it was literally fabricated on American college campuses in the 1960s. It more closely resembles “happy-clappy” Pentecostal Protestantism than anything traditionally Catholic. Compared to their traditional or orthodox counterparts, charismatics tend to be far more accepting of novelty in matters such liturgy and music. They are more inclined toward innovation and less inclined toward tradition and established dogma. Their spiritual orientation would tend to be more horizontal and less vertical in nature and their faith more emotional than cerebral. A higher degree of emphasis is placed on what is perceived as personal spiritual gratification, rather than liturgical reverence and catechetical development. Charismatic liturgies have been notorious breeding grounds for some of the worst liturgical abuses on record. While charismatics can range anywhere on the ideological spectrum from heretically liberal to politically conservative, there is no denying that the movement itself is wholly modernistic and newfangled. They would likely protest the labels, but in light of 2,000 years of tradition, the charismatic movement is entirely new to Catholicism or “neo-Catholic,” it’s adherents by extension “neo-Catholics.” There is no such animal as a traditional charismatic.

This is not the post to engage the misconceptions embedded in this paragraph, but enough to say that the Investigative Report is hurt by this conclusory statement.

UPDATE: Spirit Daily has a headline link to the Angel Queen story today. The story is framed as: The blogs: anti-charismatics lash out at Father Fessio firing. Did Spirit Daily frame this story as "Anti-Charismatic" due to Fumare's brief commentary on this aspect of the Investigative Report? Perhaps.

There is a tendency among Traditionalists to denigrate as inferior anything that doesn't comport to their interpretation of the "law." This can lead to cynicism and an "us against the world" mentality where the "us" becomes an increasingly narrow group of who are the true faithful. Reading through the article, signs of this mentality pop up. (e.g., the confrontations described in the Report always seem to between "two students" and the administration). This is not to take away from the overall gist of the Report, but it does raise questions as to the interpretation of the various persecutions of students and how widespread they actually are.

Fumed by Columcille at 2:58 PM. |

Abortion Case Victory

The partial birth abortion ban has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court, 5-4, with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart (Case No. 05-380) and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood (Case No. 05-1382). The opinions can be accessed here.

From Scotusblog:

Dividing 5-4, the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave a sweeping -- and only barely qualified -- victory to the federal government and to other opponents of abortion, upholding the 2003 law that banned what are often called "partial-birth abortions." Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the first-ever decision by the Court to uphold a total ban on a specific abortion procedure.

The Court said that it was upholding the law as written -- that is, its facial language. It said that the lawsuits challenging the law should not have been allowed in court "in the first instance." The proper way to make a challenge, if an abortion ban is claimed to harm a woman's right to abortion, is through as as-applied claim, Kennedy wrote. His opinion said that courts could consider such claims "in discrete and well-defined instances" where "a condition has or is likely to occur in which the procedure prohibited by the Act must be used."

Kennedy said the Court was assuming that the federal ban would be unconstitutional "if it subjected women to significant health risks." He added, however, that "safe medical options are available."

Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas in the majority. Ginsburg writing the dissent, with Breyer, Souter, Stevens joining.

Nice work, Justice Kennedy, you might have restored my faith in you.

UPDATE: After my initial optimism from the decision, Justice Kennedy has retaken his position as my Number 1 Least Favorite Justice. I can never forgive him for the Casey/Lawrence passage which is a travesty against all rational human thought and logic: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."

But Justice Ginsburg is a very close second as my Number 1 Least Favorite Justice, especially after reading her dissent. Some badges of dishonor from her dissent:
[Legal challenges to abortion] center on a woman's autonomy to determine her life's course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.

Though today's majority may regard women's feelings on the matter as self-evident, ante, at 29, this Court has repeatedly confirmed that "[t]he destiny of the woman must be shaped . . . on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society." Casey, 505 U. S., at852.

Throughout, the opinion refers to obstetrician-gynecologists and surgeons who perform abortions not by the titles of their medical specialties, but by the pejorative label "abortion doctor". [Note: Did I miss the memo on "abortion doctor" now being a pejorative label?]

[Abortion is] a right declared again and again by this Court and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives.
The rest of Justice Ginsburg's dissent is a cold-hearted and callous defense of the right to kill one's unborn child. She jumps on the majority opinion as completely irrational, by pointing out that prohibiting partial-birth abortions won't stop the total number of abortions done, and that partial-birth abortion is just as gruesome as dismemberment; and thus, there is no principled reason for prohibiting partial-birth abortion. Horrific.

Fumed by Thales at 10:15 AM. |

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dr. Kevin Granata, Requiescat in pace

Professor Messaros writes:

"A friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Kevin Granata, was one of the professors killed yesterday at Virginia Tech. Kevin was an outstanding and innovative scientist, and good family man. I will miss him, and ask the Fumare community to pray in earnest that rest be granted to Kevin's soul, and comfort given to his wife and children."

May God have mercy on his soul and comfort his family.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 1:41 PM. |

Political and Cultural Roundup--17 April 2007

Hef's new girlfriend is...HILLARY! (photo not safe for work, small children, or those who want to maintain pure thoughts.)

It seems that the man who has made his living off the backs (and fronts) of countless women has indeed thrown his support behind Hillary for President in 2008! (No dirty jokes please!)

Reports are that Bill is planning a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion set for this summer. Commenting on the donation and upcoming event, the former President was reported to have commented, "Mr. Hefner's generosity will allow us to reach out and touch a lot of people."

In other news, Rudy Giuliani continues to display his lack of common sense and philosophical acumen by telling pro-lifers to "get over abortion." Let's get over Rudy. "America's Mayor" is weenie.

In still other news, typical commies in our country continue their calls for the new inquisition and demands our attention be paid to the prevailing dogma of global warming. Please observe the holiest of days, Earth Day. (Just ignore all that snow outside, and the fact that we have only been recording temperatures for about 150 years. How old is the earth again?)

Finally, Jesuits on the east coast are still crazy, and Boobus Americanus is still a rotten Dean.

UPDATE: In still other news, Diogenes--commenting on the massacre at Virginia Tech--prefers Nebraskans in Dodge Rams to French nobles named Francois in terms of our national defense. An excellent read.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:53 AM. |

De Magistro qui legit in aere et in aqua

Desiring a respite from the goings on of work and the affairs of our beloved "Hail Mary Tech" (AMSL), I was perusing Beeson's A Primer of Medieval Latin this evening and I came across a delightful little story. It is taken from the sermons of James of Vitry, Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum (d.1240). James had spent a great deal of time in the Holy Land (9 years), was an advisor to the pope, and an exceptional preacher of his day. Often at the end of his sermons, he would insert an entertaining little story for the edification of his listeners. I found this little story--from one of his sermons--very clever and entertaining. It occurred to me that human nature doesn't change. I suspect that he had a number of parishioners, not unlike today, who were likely falling asleep at the substance of his sermon; so he threw in a little joke at the end. I post it here in Latin, because that is the tongue in which it was written, but also because it is rather simple Latin and I encourage all you "good Romans" to dust of your Latin dictionaries and enjoy a bit of your Christian heritage!

Audivi quod rex Franciae valde commotus fuerat et iratus contra praecipuum magistrum Petrum Baalardum (Abelard), qui Parisius legebat, et prohibuit ei ne de cetero legeret in terra sua. Ipse vero ascendit super arborem praeminentem prope civitatem Parisiensem, et omnes scholares Parisienses secuti sunt eum audientes sub arbore magistri sui lectiones. Cum autem rex quadam die de palatiosuo videret multitudinem scholarium sub arbore residentium, quaesivit quid hoc esset, et dictum est ei quod clerici erant, qui magistrum Petrum audiebant. Ille vero valde iratus fecit magistrum ad se venire et dixit ei: "Quomodo ita audax fuisiti quod contra prohibitionem mean in terra mea legisti?" Cui ille: "Domine, non legi post prohibitionem vestram in terra vestra, verum tamen legi in aere." Tunc rex inhibuit ei ne in terra sua vel in aere suo doceret. At ille intravit in naviculam et de navicula docebat turbas discipulorum. Cumque rex quadam die videret scholares in ripa fluminis residentes, quaesivit quid hoc esset, et dictum est ei quod magister Petrus in loco illo scolas regebat, et cum magna indignatione fecit eum vocari et dixit ei: "Nonne tibi inhibueram ne legeres in terra mea vel in aere?" Et illo respondente: "Nec in terra tua nec in aere legi, sed in aqua tua," rex subridens et mansuetudinem iram convertans ait: "Vicisti me; de cetero, ubicumque volueris, tam in terra mea, quam in aere vel in aqua lege."

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 12:05 AM. |

Monday, April 16, 2007

Damn, Fumare is Good.

Check out the latest from the Naples News. Of course--as with any publication that does not have a Catholic sense--there are statements in the piece that may be unclear, yet FUMARE continues to be a big player in Southern Florida. We are on the cutting edge of investigative reporting of "Catholicism-lite" in the U.S. (h/t, to those fun folks at AveWatch.com, who are no less cutting edge!)
Bobby Falls, eat your heart out!
UPDATE: FUMARE Confidence (some might say "hubris") Alert:
In the loud and turbulent world of business communications, getting your message noticed is not easy. That's where Robert Falls & Co. Public Relations comes in. We make sure that your message is heard, read and seen. Our clients get results because we specialize in communications heard above the roar.

C'mon now. Have they really communicated above Fumare's roar?

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:13 AM. |

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Jesu, Credo in Te

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 10:54 AM. |

Friday, April 13, 2007

And Now for A Message from Our Sponsors

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 10:46 PM.

Wayne State Law Dean Resigns

Frank Wu, dean of Wayne State University Law School, announced his resignation as dean a couple of days ago. The reasons given by Dean Wu were personal ones, concerns about his wife's health. It's important to note that in the recent US News and World Report rankings released a couple of weeks ago, Wayne State Law dropped from Tier 3 to Tier 4. Though Dean Wu denies it, I wonder whether there is a connection.

Fumed by Thales at 4:02 PM. |

The Next Great Threshold of the Liturgical Renewal

Last night I had the good fortune to be invited to a lecture given by members of the ICEL committee working on the new missal – Archbishop Coleridge of Canberra (Benedict’s first Australian appointment) and Monsignor Bruce Harbert, Executive Director of the ICEL Secretariat (and a delightful priest from England pictured above with Arinze) gave a thoroughly engaging presentation on the work of ICEL.

The lecture was fascinating to say the least. Here are some of the highlights:

Vatican II’s approach to the liturgy was colored by WWI and WWII, especially the horror of the Holocaust and Hiroshima. The question of the Church’s mission led to a realization that liturgical renewal was necessary to give a renewed energy to mission in this desolate historical context.

The 1973 English missal was hastily produced and a tactical failure in implementation. The result is that today we have a missal which has deep structural flaws and which is out of step with vernacular translations in other languages.

As we talk about a New Evangelization, it simply will not happen without a liturgical reform - “A New Missal for a New Mission.” Again the point is to energize the church for a new evangelization, by fixing the serious problems of the 1973 missal. So this is not just “Playing with words as Rome burns” or “shifting chairs on the Titanic as it goes down”, this is crucial if there is a hope for a restoration.

So what were the problems?

  1. The language of the 1973 missal opted for abstract meaning over concrete biblical metaphors which resound and echo in Scripture. E.g. “the arm of God” vs. “the power of God.” The language in the 1973 missal lacks an incarnational dimension, which leads to a denial of The Incarnation. The proposed correction seeks to subvert this broad cultural tendency and return incarnational language to the missal. The Latin missal is dripping with scripture, with the church fathers and councils and itself one of the greatest cultural achievements of mankind. The English translation is seeking to regain this in the missal.

  2. The theology of grace in the 1973 missal leads to a semi-pelagianism (salvation by merit, rather than by grace). The voice of Augustine is found in the Latin missal, but is muffled in the current English missal. The idea that God’s grace sustains us at every moment, vs. the idea that God gives us grace and then off you go to become a saint is what is at issue. The former is what the new missal is trying to amplify.

  3. The theology of the Church in the 1973 missal emphasizes the action of the gathered congregation and eschews the church universal across space and time. E.g. “blessed are WE who are called to this supper . . .” vs. “blessed are THEY who are called to this banquet” – the new missal emphasizes much richer and deeper ecclesiology.

Overall there is a new understanding that FORM and CONTENT can not be severed in the missal. The form of a prayer in Latin is just as important as the meaning. E.g. some of the prayers follow ancient pagan prayer formulas which have been baptized by the church. The 1973 missal would take one of these long single sentence prayer forms and break it up in to smaller sentences which change the meaning. An example of a direct translation into English of a prayer of this type is the familiar: “Let us pray, O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary, of the blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. AMEN.”

These prayer forms move from here to the future, and from heaven to earth to heaven. They in miniature model the journey of Faith.

There are many of these kinds of prayers in the Latin missal which have lost their power and meaning by severing form from content. The new translation seeks to change that.

With the new translation, we are at the “Next Great Threshold of the Liturgical Renewal.”

Some examples:

Latin ending to the collect:
Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omina saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Current translation:
(Grant this / We ask this) through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Notice the “one” is not in the Latin at all. Also, the theology of prayer asked of the Father, through Jesus in the unity of the Holy spirit is obscured. Now check out the ICEL proposed and read it out loud and sense how Jesus’s presence becomes more powerfully present in the prayer:

ICEL translation:
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who is God, living and reigning, with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

When the new missal is completed it will arrive with Catechetical material to accompany it to help in the process of understanding the changes and why they are so vital and necessary.

There are other examples and this is only a sketch of the points made. What is missed from this brief report is the color of the speakers characters – their humor, zeal and obvious love the church.

Please pray for their work and also that we will not see the growth of the Priestly Fraternity of Pope Paul VI dedicated to preserving the 1973 missal!

Fumed by Columcille at 12:02 PM. |