Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
This has not been officially confirmed.
Monday, July 30, 2007
July 27, 2007
Stephen J. Safranek
Professor of Law
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Dear Professor Safranek:
By action on July 26, 2007 of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of the Ave Maria School of Law, you are suspended from your employment at AMSL effective immediately pursuant to the Tenure Termination Procedures set out in Section VJ3 of the Faculty Handbook. As you know, this is not termination of your employment, the question of which is proceeding according to the Handbook Process separately. As you also know, although the period for this decision has not yet expired, we await your decision as to whether you wish to contest the recommendation of termination and request (or waive) a Hearing. Under the Handbook Procedure, without such a statement by you, the Board of Governors may decide upon termination without further action. If you wish the Board to consider your last email to me on this subject a statement that you contest termination, kindly indicate this.
During the period of your suspension, you will not be permitted to enter the premises of the Law School without the express written consent of either me or Dean Milhizer. On Monday, July 30 at 5:00 p.m. your access to AMSL email and computer systems will be suspended. We are allowing you access for the present solely for the purpose of allowing you to communicate easily with me as to retrieval of any personal effects that you may desire during your suspension. Nor are you to use, during your suspension, any AMSL property of any kind. You are also not to destroy or impair or alter any computer or other Law School property, information, or system in any way.
Also by action of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors, your pay will be continued during your suspension until September 15, 2007, with an important condition. As you know, the Handbook permits discontinuation of your pay during suspension after the end of the academic year/contract year (August 14, 2007), but the decision is that the Law School will waive this right, but only until September 15, 2007, subject to the condition that you are to avoid all misconduct. During the entirety of your suspension, you remain, of course, an employee of AMSL so that you remain obligated to avoid misconduct.
Please contact me by telephone or email immediately if you wish to retrieve any personal effects during the suspension. If so, I will determine a time, after business hours, when you may enter the premises in order to retrieve any effects. I will permit no disruption of Law School operations at this time. The sole purpose of your appearance, if any, will be retrieval of your personal effects. I thank you in advance for your cooperation in this regard.
President and Dean
Cc: Members of the Board of Governors
Associate Dean Eugene Milhizer
UPDATE: A PDF copy of the letter can be accessed here.
Founded on Catholic principles, the law school was meant to be a place where people who act on wisdom and truth convene and pursue wisdom in the context of law. It was also meant to be a school that "truly follows the Magisterium" -- even quoting "fides et ratio" on the logo blazon. But, if such a thing were true, why does the chief executive of the school have a need for lashing out and erratic behavior that some might be tempted to call psychotic?
The activity is not so new, but it has a scent of neurosis about it now. Perhaps if this were Hamlet, the Dean would be washing his hands continually. Maybe he is. Some may recall the manner in which Charlie Rice was disposed, even down to mailing his personal effects in boxes. Some other may recall his son walking around on the way to the gym. Others yet may recall the way the Dean subtly beat up students who expressed concerns to the ABA committee on accreditation. But that brings me around to my point: the ABA.
Leaving aside for a moment whether a person who acts on wisdom must be a bully to tothers in order to make them do what is right, and leaving aside the Dean's erratic past, let's look at why he'd be after Safranek now. I will premise my thesis on the idea that for every bully there is a larger enforcer in the universe. In the case of the Dean, the next larger enforcer is the ABA. The ABA has been investigating a faculty complaint. The ABA is also looking at the prospect of allowing the school to close in Michigan and reopen in Florida. There must be some evidence in front of the ABA regarding the erratic behavior and the manenr in which the Dean operates.
This situation alone, not even considering health, family health, his son's teaching faculties, or his dealings in the world of Monaghan finance (look up the 990 for the Ave Maria School of Law Foundation), must place considerable pressure on the Dean. If, as we experienced in the first couple years, he gets all bent out of shape at the idea of people mentioning unexpected issues to the ABA in accreditation reviews, then we know he has to be beside himself with the prospect of a looming ABA investigaiton on the faculty complaint. Likewise, the Monaghan empire is bearing down on him expecting some results for the retirement community there. The poor guy, having relied on his crafty expressions and slippery methods throughout the years, must surely be at wit's end to find a solution. Enter firing Safranek.
Safranek, as many of us know, is a guy whose yes means yes and who strives to be above board with each step of his life. I'm not sure if you catch the contrast I am making, but I am making an important contrast between the players. If Safranek told me that the sky in Ann Arbor was green today, I'd wonder what caused it. If the Dean told me the sky was green today, I'd wonder what he was hiding or what other fact he wanted me not to notice. As such, the Dean needs a way to cause Safranek to have less footing in possible impending fact findings. After all, what better way to make an otherwise credible witness less credible than to place a motive on him?
You got it. In my calculations, it is conceivable that the Dean wants to make it such that when the $__t hits the fan, he can color Safranek as being motivated bny nothing other than retaliation for being fired. Plus, he wants to get rid of Safranek because Safranek is a symbol of what is right with the school. The conscience can get prickly, and, when one's eyes are darkened by some problems, one fails to see what is really pricking someone. Thus, someone speaking truth may be confused with that which actually hurts: the truth. In other words, I surmise that because Safranek has been a truthful and forthright player, the Dean, who acts as though he may have a troubled conscience , needs to rid himself of any reminders that principles have a different conclusion than his own.
Sheer speculation on my part, but we'll see.
I also speculate that any reasons the Dean may put forth will be as laughable as his usual logic. Missing facts, twisted story lines, and assertions that many will see as palpable lies.
The shame in this, in my mind, is that the worldly continue to follow the same storyline: use worldly power to kill truth. It's what they did to Jesus, so I guess, as at least one saint said, who are we to expect less? Meanwhile, let us fight to preserve truth in this battle, as that is what most of us who helped found Ave Maria School of Law sought to do.
It may take a while, but Truth Incarnate will make a show -- this tragedy is at a head. Join me in asking Him, not that things stop, but that the truth, all of it about the school, will be revealed for all to see. Then, reasonable minds will see the good names, and the bad.
Veritas vincit omnia!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
What is the reason for the suspension and termination of a tenured member of the faculty, Professor Safranek? So far, no official explanation has been given, and all members of the Ave Maria community deserve a response. The excuse that this is a private matter between the faculty and administration, and thus, the Ave Maria community should not be informed, is no longer valid. The firing of a tenured faculty member is a public event, and a statement to all concerned members of the Ave Maria community (faculty, staff, students, and alumni) is warranted.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
In addition to these ongoing termination proceeding, Prof. Safranek has recently been suspended from his employment. He is now prohibited from entering on the premises of AMSL without written permission from Deans Dobranski or Milhizer, and his AMSL email and computer privileges will be suspended on Monday. His pay will be suspended on September 15, 2007.
Friday, July 27, 2007
It almost goes without saying that as a young, progressive-minded American Catholic, I'm at odds with many of the church's rules and with much of its politics. You might thus infer that my generation instinctively rejects the age-old traditions of the church. That would be wrong. In a world unmoored by violence and uncertainty, there is something deeply soothing about participating in ancient rituals practiced by so many. Whatever our issues with the tenets of Catholicism the religion, we still cling to what unites us in Catholicism the faith: our devotion to the celebration of the Eucharist. I confess I adore the rich minutiae of the Mass: the frankincense, the Kyrie, the droning of creeds in a sacred space. It comforts me to know that my family around the globe takes part in the same weekly rites. The common purpose of shared ceremony helps me reflect on the Holy Spirit. With apologies, Father, homilies based on your Netflix queue do not.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
In a recent editorial in the New York Times, Mr. Jean Edward Smith suggests imitating FDR (who is, for the record, one of my least favorite presidents), in order to overcome the "manifestly ideological agenda" of the current supposedly conservative majority.
[T]here is nothing sacrosanct about having nine justices on the Supreme Court. Roosevelt's 1937 chicanery has given court-packing a bad name, but it is a hallowed American political tradition participated in by Republicans and Democrats alike. If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two.What is particularly ridiculous about Mr. Smith's proposal to impose the "popular values" of the majority through court-packing ideological judges is that he oblivious to the fact that this can be done (and always should be done) through the normal political process of elected representation.
You've got to love it!
If buildings have a soul, the music of this video are the songs that these buildings sing!
"The student dorms and university buildings were literally devoid of any character whatsoever. The austere, McDonald’s-hamburger-grey colored, blockish structures violently clashed with the surrounding Florida landscape. They look like industrial-age ball bearing factories or correctional institutions. The buildings near the “downtown” at least have the condo/Disney/prefab-pretty style going for them. But these - the design of which were demanded by Tom Monaghan – were simply eyesores. Their ugliness was not in the eyes of the beholder, yours truly, either. Nobody can call these buildings attractive after seeing them."
"Then it was time to visit the infamous oratory. The stone façades, in front and partially in the rear, showed that at least someone, somewhere, had made a meager attempt to give this future house of Our Lord at least some degree of a classical appearance. That, however, was the extent of anything remotely traditional about the structure. The rest of the exterior was encased in cold, foreboding (most likely Chinese) steel. The huge metallic “legs” protruding from each side gave the impression that this was some type of giant mechanical arthropod about to crawl off and chastise the population of Collier County. Some have remarked that it looks like a blimp hangar, but to me, it looked more like something that eats blimps as opposed to housing them."
Avewatch has been busy recently. Interesting stuff on AMU's accreditation. Remember, these are the guys who are running our law school. Now that AMSoL has full accreditation, they seem to think they have a free hand to do what they will. Even the need for ABA acquiescence regarding the "move" doesn't sway them. Neither, so far, has the fact that the ABA is investigating (has investigated?) a complaint regarding AMSoL's failure to comply with ABA governance guidelines. I think it's fair game to examine how they run AMU and to ask questions about how that bodes for AMSoL's future.
Also, Avewatch links to a review of AveMariaTown by Angelqueen's John Grasmeier. No SS pawn, he. AMT has new photos up, as well. Bottom left under "Construction Updates."
Finally, Avewatch links to audio from AMSoL's radio show The Advocate featuring AMSoL chaplain Fr. O. Surely we'd all like to hear his thoughts on selected topics. As I don't have audio (really, I don't), I'll let the soundbites (bytes?) speak for themselves. And why don't you all speak for yourselves in the Comments. What say you? Are you proud? Hopeful? Disgusted? Amused?
For anyone interested in the best interests of AMSoL (which class does not include our BoG, apparently, but, I hope, includes you, gentle reader), there really is no excuse for not checking Avewatch regularly.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
A silent phenomena, perhaps, taking place all across America - video game consoles are growing cold . . .
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Gizmodo reports on "Spring 2007's Most Gayest Cars (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That)." I'd link to the original source, but I like to keep things safe for work. Thankfully, Gizmodo and Jalopnik have the list. Feel free to viciously mock any of your friends who own a car on the list, especially if they are driving a Toyota Yaris (not that there's anything wrong with that). "Everything's super when you're driving a Yaris!"
O St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, grant that all those taking the Bar Examination, especially those graduates from Ave Maria School of Law, may like you succeed in their examination.
In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
O St. Joseph of Cupertino, pray for them.
Our Lady of Good Studies, pray for them.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for them.
O Holy Ghost, enlighten them.
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten them.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Steadfast in my commitment to make Fumare "Ave-Free," I choose to report instead on this tragic development in family law: Washington State's new law permitting homosexual domestic partnerships came into effect today. The legislation confers hospital visitation rights, healthcare agency, organ donation authorization, and intestate inheritance, executor status, and agency for the disposition of the decedent's remains. The law extends these rights to heterosexual domestic partners as well, so long as at least one of the couple is 62-years old or older. Needless to say, despite the law's extension to certain AARP members, this is merely an end-run around Washington's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act and another crack in the foundation of real marriage.
Dozens of homosexual couples lined up outside the Secretary of State's office today to register so as to take advantage of the new rights. Early reports that Tom Monaghan and Bernie Dobranski were seen waiting in line together to register as domestic partners proved to be false. It was, in fact, just a man with his hands in another man's pockets.
In addition, several news outlets have reports on Ave Maria Town as Ave Maria Town has just become open to the public. Here is the Associated Press article, and here is an article from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Sent: Fri 7/20/2007 12:22 PM
To: All Law System Distribution; All Alumni
Subject: Letter to the Community
July 20, 2007
Over the past several years there have been many damaging, false accusations concerning the Law School, its administration, and its Board. I usually do not respond to these accusations, but the most recent ones are so false, venomous, and defamatory that I must address them in some detail.
The basic allegation, in essence, is that the Law School, particularly through its Chaplain, Fr. Michael Orsi, participated in helping a local Priest, who allegedly was accessing pornography on his computer, including possibly child pornography, to "clean," "scrub," "alter" and/or "remove" the hard drive from his computer.
This outrageous allegation is absolutely and unequivocally false. Specifically, no employee of the Law School - including our Chaplain or any IT employee - was involved in the "cleaning," "scrubbing," or "removing" of the local Priest’s computer hard drive. Moreover, there was never any conversation between the Priest in question and our Chaplain or any other Law School employee about how to "clean," "scrub," "alter" and/or "remove" the hard drive, or to assist in such efforts. Further, no Law School employee - including our Chaplain or any IT employee - ever handled, touched, or possessed the Priest's hard drive or computer. Any accusations to the contrary are false and completely unfounded.
I want to emphasize that the above statements are based on facts disclosed to me during my initial investigation of the matter, and during two investigations directed by me and conducted by outside counsel. They are also based on facts reported to me from investigations conducted by multiple law enforcement authorities, the local Diocese, and the Attorney Grievance Commission.
Briefly, this is what really happened. In late September 2005, the local Priest met with his Bishop about allegations that the Priest had been engaged in viewing internet pornography. During that meeting, the Priest reportedly was advised to remove "offensive material" from his computer. Later that same day, the Priest telephoned our Chaplain, who he previously knew, to advise him of the meeting with the Bishop and the allegations made against him, to proclaim his innocence, and to ask our Chaplain questions regarding the operations of a computer so that the Priest could establish his innocence of the charges. The Chaplain, unable to answer questions about computers, then asked a member of the Law School IT staff to talk to the Priest about how computers operate. At no time, however, did this conversation relate to cleaning, scrubbing, or otherwise replacing the hard drive. To the contrary, the conversation was about how information could be preserved on the computer hard drive - information which the Priest apparently believed would establish his innocence and might be lost forever if he took the advice he was given at the meeting to remove items from his hard drive - and not how to get rid of the information. In other words, both our Chaplain and the IT employee were under the impression that the Priest was interested in maintaining a record of his internet activity, and not in destroying or altering that record. To this end, the IT employee advised the Priest to seek technical assistance from the Diocese in preserving a record of his internet usage. Furthermore, and to the best of our knowledge, at the time that this conversation occurred there was no active police investigation involving the Priest. In fact, the Priest was told in the meeting with the Bishop, before his telephone conversation with our Chaplain and the IT employee, that county law enforcement officials, who had been asked to investigate the matter, would not be investigating it any further.
I can respond to these accusations directly and without equivocation because of the prompt and prudent steps that were institutionally undertaken by the Law School when I first learned about this matter. The allegation was initially brought to my attention by a Law School employee in December 2005, and I investigated it immediately. Despite the fact that I was satisfied after my own investigation that there was no wrongdoing by anyone at the Law School, I decided that an independent investigation would be desirable because of the seriousness of the matter involved. To that end, the Law School contracted with the Butzel Long law firm, one of the largest and most respected law firms in the state and a firm which has represented the Law School in the past. This law firm is very experienced in conducting investigations for corporations and academic institutions. As one example, this is the same law firm that recently was contracted by Eastern Michigan University to investigate the University's reporting of a campus murder, and whose investigation established that the reporting was not properly made.
Partners of the firm conducted for us an investigation in December 2005 and January 2006. After a thorough investigation, the investigators confirmed the facts I stated above and they also made several other findings. First, the hard drive on the Priest's computer had been replaced with a new one, and the old one given to someone else purportedly for safekeeping. None of these actions involved anyone at the Law School. Second, the original hard drive was turned over to the State Police. To the best information of the investigators, there was no evidence that the original hard drive was cleaned, scrubbed, or otherwise altered; rather, it was maintained intact. Finally, the outside investigation disclosed that the local Priest was advised in early October 2005, more than two weeks after his phone conversation with Law School personnel, that the Michigan Attorney General's office had begun an investigation. On November 30, 2005, the Diocese apparently was notified by the State Police that after its examination of the hard drive that had been removed, it would not be proceeding with a criminal prosecution, and the Diocese informed the local Priest of this the next day. As I indicated earlier, I first became aware of the September telephone call by the local Priest to the Law School in December 2005. Thus, to our best information, there was no criminal investigation occurring at the time I learned of the September call.
I make no judgment and express no opinion about whether the local Priest committed a crime or accessed pornography. This was not the purpose of our investigation. Rather, I directed the investigators to determine whether anyone at the Law School had done anything illegal or improper, and whether we had an obligation to report anything to the authorities. The investigators determined that no Law School employee had done anything illegal or improper. They also determined that the relevant authorities and entities - the State Police and the Diocese - had all the relevant information at the time that our investigation was conducted. The State Police were aware that the original hard drive was replaced, and they had the opportunity to examine both the old and new hard drives, before any decision not to proceed with a criminal investigation. Likewise, the Diocese was fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the allegations made against the local Priest. For all of these reasons, the investigators advised me that the Law School had no obligation to report the innocuous September 2005 phone conversation about how computers track internet usage, particularly since that conversation concerned maintaining (and not destroying) a record of the Priest's computer usage.
In December 2006, I learned that the individual who made the original allegations against the local Priest with the Diocese had filed a Request for Investigation of the Priest's attorney with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. The Request related to the attorney's role in the handling of the Priest's hard drive. I immediately asked the investigators who conducted our original investigation to look into the matter and determine whether any of the allegations made or materials submitted to the Grievance Commission in any way impacted on the conclusions that were reached in our previous investigation, conducted almost one year earlier. After investigating these additional matters, the investigators concluded that there was nothing in the later allegations or related materials that altered the original conclusion that no one at the Law School assisted the Priest in cleansing or otherwise altering his hard drive, or engaged in any other type of misconduct. They also indicated that they would re-visit the matter again if some action were to be taken against the attorney. It is now my understanding that the Grievance Commission has decided not to pursue the matter.
In closing, I want to emphasize that these most recent accusations against the Law School and its employees are incredibly serious and reckless, particularly when made in an attempt to link an innocent Priest such as our Chaplain with accusations involving possible child pornography. Much damage has been done to the reputation of the Law School over the past few years, and increasingly damage is now being done to the reputations of good and honorable people. I urge all those involved to cease engaging in senseless personal attacks because of the serious damage they inflict upon the Law School and members of our community.
UPDATE: AveWatch's response to Dean Dobranski's email can be found here.
It seems to me that a father who would want to protect his children and others' children from one who views such things is a normal and healthy reaction. If fact, it would be a holy and wholesome thing for said father to confront the individual and offer him some counseling behind the nearest woodshed. That is normal.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
During Britain's Got Talent, all of Great Britain fell in love with Paul Potts. Immediately after Paul Potts won the competition, on live television, judge Simon Cowell offered Potts a recording contract. The following week, Paul Potts was already in the studio. Now Paul Potts's CD, One Chance, is out in stores in Britain and is on track to top the list of album sales in Britain. At the British version of Amazon.com, you can listen to the whole track of "Time to Say Goodbye." Great stuff. Yes, I will be buying the CD when it crosses the Pond and goes on sale here on July 30, 2007.
I accepted the gracious invitation to join Fumare as a contributor because of the chance to visit with friends I have not seen in many years. Unfortunately, it appears to me that some of my friends and colleagues have given into bitterness in regard to the Florida issue and that this bitterness has clouded their discretion. This bitterness has made them willing to make accusations against our fellow classmates, our friends, the law school administration and the board of trustees that I do not believe they could otherwise make in good conscience. Most recently, this blog served as a vehicle for despicable allegations against Father Orsi. A number of commenters seemed to believe that the worst allegations were vindicated because the administration had not explained all the details. As lawyers, we should know better. How many of you would advise your clients that they should immediately issue a press release on detailed issues relating to criminal investigations? or to employee evaluations?
For those of you who felt that the law school should give a clear account of the allegations relating to Father Orsi, however, the administration has complied:
The alleged “scrubbing” was thoroughly investigated nearly two years ago by both Ave Maria School of Law and the police. The result of the investigation revealed that no scrubbing had occurred and no one at Ave Maria School of Law had been asked to do so, much less suggested that it be done. Had you simply bothered to call the priest in question, Ave Maria School of Law, or the police you would have learned these facts. Recklessly, you failed to do so.
In light of the inability or unwillingness of Fumare to keep the posting and discussions within the bounds of reasonable discourse, this is my public resignation as a contributor to Fumare.
"For in so far as drinking is really a sin it is not because drinking is wild, but because drinking is tame; not in so far as it is anarchy, but in so far as it is slavery. Probably the worst way to drink is to drink medicinally. Certainly the safest way to drink is to drink carelessly; that is, without caring much for anything, and especially not caring for the drink."I post this in order to intellectually skewer those who would add abhorrent appellations to the water of life such as "demon rum," etc. Likewise, to educate that fine, zealous, young Catholic woman who seems ill-at-ease at the prospect of her future husband taking a wee drop o' the creature above. This is part of life and one of the Creator's greatest gifts--it lightens the heart and enhances conversation. So tonight: have a glass of wine with your meal; pour a nightcap to your beloved; meet a friend at a pub; toast the latest statement from the CDF; or pour yourself a single malt and compose a blog post! Whatever you choose, revel in your creation as a human person and realize that not even the angels can glory in what you can.
Is this really all about fighting "Islamofacism?" Has just war doctrine been beaten to death by the pagan doctrine of "preemptive defense?"
What would be more effective, bombing the country to oblivion or sending a generation of Catholic missionaries there to have their heads cut off? Strategically, which will be more constructive: have the blood of martyrs soak that soil, or the blood of Iranian children?
Missionary work is the Catholic (in)version of imperial war. Rather than go to a foreign land and take lives (and resources, etc), you go to a foreign land and give your life (and resources, etc). The only problem is you need a vital and robust Catholic culture to give you the number of missionaries necessary to break the demon of Islam.
A society that kills 1.3 million of its own children each year based on the justification of "freedom of choice" is a society that will have few qualms about killing its neighbors, and will do so on about as much or even less justification.
We got the "freedom to choose" because of the horror of tens of thousands of women being mutilated with hangers in back alley abortion operations each year. Never mind the minor detail that these back alley abortions never happened - this was a lie of convenience.
Will new lies of convenience be served up to the American public before the end of August?
"The fruit of abortion is nuclear war." - Blessed Mother Theresa.
What a gal. Pray for us.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Such mendacity. Actually, come to think of it, they are telling the truth.
So tonight after dinner, pick up your favorite Wodehouse, Waugh, or Chesterton; position your lawn chair smartly on the driveway outside of your garage; have a nice single malt on the rocks at your side, and light up one of the choices from this list. This is an opportunity to enjoy one of the finer things in life as well as an opportunity to annoy your Marxist-environmentalist neighbor and shore up true culture. If she persists in criticizing your manly and cultured behavior in claiming that you are stinking up her air, reply appropriately: "You stink to me."
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The term has deep roots in scripture.
When Judas, the betrayer, repented and threw down the 30 pieces of silver before the chief priests and elders in the temple, they "took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in." (Matthew 27:7) Thus, fulfilling the prophesy of the prophet Jeremiah," And they took the thirty pieces of silver, and the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord directed him." It is the place where Judas is buried, the place called the Field of Blood; a potters field is where strangers are buried, strangers to men and strangers to God.
Back in the day, someone who committed suicide would not be permitted to have a Catholic funeral and likewise would not be permitted to be buried in a Catholic cemetery - it was a potters field for them as a sign of their rejection of God and his Merciful love.
A potter's field was called so, not because it was owned by a potter, but rather because the land was barren and unable to grow crops, so it was only good for potters to dig up clay.
What does all this have to do with Harry Potter's Grave?
There has been speculation that the soon to be released Harry Potter novel, the final in the series, will see the death of Harry Potter.
This presents an interesting problem for the author J.K. Rowling because she has created a world filled with magic and monsters, but where God and the transcend simply does not exist. It is a world where Christmas is celebrated in a absence of Christ. Yes, the characters in her stories have powers beyond imagining, but her stories are powerless to imagine the beyond.
So in a gnostic world of immanent powers where there is no transcendent, Harry is headed for a "Potter's Grave" - a place where strangers are buried, where those who have betrayed God for 30 pieces of silver find there end, buried in lifeless soil good only for returning their remains to clay for some eventual good in the years beyond.
In our battle for worldview there is perhaps no worse enemy than one who so seductively woos children into the snares of the devil through a molestation of the imagination. I know many a boy and girl who have been drawn away from Christianity because they grew up trusting in the worldview presented by Star Wars.
Well J.K. Rowling has her 30 pieces of silver for rejecting God, and as she prepares to end the franchise she created, the world's children will have their hero and their secularized and occultified imaginations buried with the Judases of history in the place of strangers.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
For today's selection, I thought it appropriate to take an important element from the Tridentine Mass--The Last Gospel. What is the Last Gospel? Fr. Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary defines it thus:
The Gospel formerly read in the Latin Rite [now simply "read" in the extraordinary form of the Latin or Roman Rite] at the end of Mass, usually from the first chapter of St. John (verses 1-14), except on days in Lent, vigils, and Sundays when a feast of major rank was [is] celebrated, and the third Mass on Christmas Day.(bracketed portions supplied by me) Thus, to aid in our readers' understanding of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, and to enrich their theological knowledge and devotional life, I present: The Last Gospel, Secundum Iohannem 1:1-14:
In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est; in ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum; et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt. Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Iohannes. Hic venit in testimonium, ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum. Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. Erat lux vera quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his, qui credunt in nomine eius, qui non ex sanguinibus neque ex voluntate carnis neque ex voluntante viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. Et Verbum caro factum est* et habitavit in nobis; et vidimus gloriam eius, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis.
Friday, July 13, 2007
UPDATE: Breaking News: Scratch the surface and you find more. I stand by my "affirmatively injurious" post below.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Update: Loyal reader MomofDoom has brought to my attention some potentially big news. Find out more here.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Cheerful and fun-loving Fumare contributor Boko Fittleworth now reports that "Incense - Accentuating the positive about all things Catholic!" is growing up too quickly and is censoring those comments that do not fit Incense's rigid view of what is "positively accentuated." So far, they've censored joyful commenter Don Altobello and even edited always sweet-tempered Fumare friend Kate.
Any comment that does not accentuate the positive is subject to editing or deletion - we make no apology for this policy. We do appreciate your interest and even your perspective; there are fora that accentuate the negative that you may find are more interested in propagating that perspective than we are.
Contravening comments are welcome elsewhere on the internet, but generally not in this forum.You don't welcome comments? Why Incense, oh why? Censoring, deleting, shunning comments... these actions are all filled with negative energy. They are so judgmental and divisive. Incense, have you forgotten the lessons we gave you about tolerance and acceptance of comment diversity?
Okay, I'll admit it, I don't mind how Incense is behaving, because I'm getting a real laugh out of it. Here's another little humorous remark from Incense:
This website is not for petty arguments and feuds. Negative attitudes are not welcome here, and we need to avoid stooping to the level of those with negative attitudes . . . please keep in mind that Incense is sweet-smelling.Hee. "Sweet-smelling." Hee, hee. Now this is an even funnier tidbit: if you ever mention the name "Fumare," regardless of whether the post "accentuates the positive" or not, Incense will edit "Fumare" and replace it with "[shameful website name deleted]." Heh, heh, heh. After learning of this, commenter Loyal Opposition made the following comment with, yes you guessed it, more Incense edits in the square brackets.
Are you really so uptight that you wont even allow [shameful website name deleted] to be named in the comments? Given that your blog is derived from (albeit, by way of contradiction) and the very name makes indirect reference to [shameful website name deleted], I think you might at least be honest enough to allow it to be named in the comments [honesty requires nothing of the sort]."Honesty requires nothing of the sort"? Hee, hee, hee. Silly Siteowner, honesty requires recognition that Fumare isn't always shameful... after all, we have posts about giant mushrooms! That's something positive!
Edited By Siteowner
Here's a last reflection from Incense to a commenter who had not yet learned her lesson:
Because we have been candid about our editorial bent, it would seem that you post contravening material knowing you will be edited or deleted simply so that you can complain about being edited or deleted. We are happy to oblige you in that regard.Oh Incense, but we don't want to complain about being edited or deleted... we like being edited! We want to celebrate it, we want to wear it as a badge of honor!
So, here is my challenge to you, Fumare visitors. Go to Incense and post some comments, many comments. I recommend mentioning Fumare by name as much possible. Remember, please keep your comments positively accentuated!! Then, come back here to our comments (which Fumare doesn't censor for content, unlike our little cousin Incense), and let us know what happened! Incense says that they are happy to oblige us in editing or deleting comments, so let's be kind and take up their offer!!
Dear Sr. Joan,
Yes, you're right, the Tridentine mass and the Vatican II mass offer us two different kind of churches. Benedict's decision fits St Benedict's Day, Benedict -- and Scholastica I assume -- who left the world in a first time because he felt disgusted by the schisms in the church and the on-going gory wars. So much like today.I want to say that as a Feminist Catholic, as a woman who 'dissent in place', as a woman who is waiting for the Church to open wide its heart to homosexuals, divorced, pro Choice, poor, etc., this recent decision is just one more confirmation that the Catholic Church has shifted into a putrescent mode. I'm ready to write my own Eucharistic prayers and liturgies. I am ready to break the bread praying over it. I am tired of the patriarchal rigamarole...On the other hand, I remember that our Godde is a Godde of history -- or should I say, herstory or theirstory -- hence our Godde is muddling through the male hierarchical egos with us... our Godde has to come through and clean up the mess.In the meantime, of course, since Peter's pence is 42 million dollars in the black, I would suggest that all of us stop paying. Let's vote with its Holiness the Greenback or Euro and let the whole hierarchy go down.At any rate, thank you, Sr Joan for once again saying it as it is.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Keep them, for they are Thine -
Your priests whose lives burn out before
Your consecrated shrine.
Keep them, for they are in the world,
Though from the world apart;
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure,
Shelter them in Your Heart.
Keep them, and comfort them in hours
O loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice
For souls seems but in vain.
Keep them, and O remember, Lord,
They have no one but Thee,
Yet they have only human hearts,
With human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host,
That daily they caress;
Their every thought and word and deed,
Deign, dearest Lord to bless.
Monday, July 09, 2007
(And to all you eligible guys out there, Miss Laura Hoffman'07 is quite the catch!)
Read the rest at Mirror of Justice.
(Thanks to one of our faithful readers who brought this to my attention. As this same tipster suggests: Columcille--have at it! Catholic Social Teaching is your area of expertise!)
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Read the motu proprio here.
Sandro Magister has a good commentary as well.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Cause. First of all, it should be noted that Professor Safranek is a tenured professor and as such may only be terminated "for cause." Pages 26-27 of the AMSL Faculty Handbook delineate what is considered "cause." It is important to note the following catch-all at the conclusion of the section:
The above list is illustrative, not exhaustive, and the Law School reserves the right to consider other conduct not listed above as cause for the termination of a tenured faculty member.
The Procedure. According to the faculty handbook, the procedure for the termination of a professor for cause may be succinctly stated as follows: (a) informal resolution of the matter if possible, (b) recommendation in writing by the Dean to the Board of Governors to initiate termination proceedings, (c) 30 days response time for the professor to respond to the Dean's recommendation; request or waiver of a hearing, (d) hearing, and (e) final decision by the Board of Governors. A 2/3 majority vote of the Board of Governors members is required for the termination. In addition to this process, the following (from p.29 of the handbook) should also be noted:
Notwithstanding the foregoing procedures, the Board of Governors may immediately suspend a faculty member from performance of his or her duties at the Law School, even prior to the implementation of the above procedures, in extraordinary cases.
Applying the process to the instant case, Professor Safranek is currently at step (a). FUMARE will be watching these developments and the actions of the Board of Governors. We will bring you the very latest as it occurs.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Dean and Professor of Law
Ave Maria School of Law
3475 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2550
June 28, 2007
Dear Dean Dobranski:
We received your letter dated June 4, 2007, and are sincerely disappointed that we will not have the benefit of your participation in Alumni Board meetings. We write to encourage you to reconsider your position on participation for the benefit of all members of the Ave Maria Alumni Association.
Alumni Board meetings offer a unique formal opportunity for our constituents to present questions and receive input from you about our beloved alma mater. It is certain that the Florida relocation has created tension in our community, but we believe this is a cause for greater interaction and measured discussion among concerned members of the school community. Furthermore, besides the issue of relocation, there are many other matters affecting the school community on which alumni have questions and constructive proposals, such as alumni assistance in career services, alumni efforts to improve the school's Fourth Tier ranking, and alumni public relations. These and other issues make it extremely valuable for alumni to have an opportunity to consult you through their elected representatives at Alumni Board meetings. These are, generally, the only "town hall" meetings available to alumni. Accordingly, your absence from these meetings hinders alumni in learning your perspective on these important matters.
In your letter, you list several instances where you have disagreed with certain decisions of the Alumni Board and with certain of its members. We are compelled to mention two portions of your letter. First, with regard to the February 20, 2007 decision to relocate to Florida, on the morning before the Florida press conference, an email was sent to all alumni announcing the decision to move to Florida. This announcement also explained the reasons behind the Florida decision. Accordingly, those Alumni Board members who met at an emergency meeting on February 20, 2007 and who voted in support of an Alumni Board statement expressing opposition to the Florida decision are of the opinion that they had sufficient knowledge to support their statement.
Second, contrary to our understanding of your assertion, information discussed at Alumni Board meetings is not confidential until released in approved minutes. Alumni Board members are free to discuss what occurred at Alumni Board meetings with their constituents before the minutes are approved, unless the contents of the meeting are explicitly designated as confidential, a designation that happens on very rare occasions. Since the normal course of business consists of non-confidential Alumni Board meetings, information discussed at Alumni Board meetings can be shared with interested constituents. This practice is consistent with our belief that Alumni Board actions should occur with as much transparency and openness as possible. Moreover, we are charged, in part, with connecting alumni with the happenings at their alma mater; effectively relaying information to them in a timely fashion enables us to achieve one of the objectives for which we were elected.
You also list other instances where you disagree with actions taken by the Alumni Board or some of its members. We recognize these disagreements, and we understand that you have always acted in what you believe are the best interests of Ave Maria School of Law. Please know that, in a similar manner, each member of the Alumni Board believe that he or she has always acted in the best interests of Ave Maria School of Law and of the constituent members of the Alumni Association. It is the opinion of each Alumni Board member that he or she has not violated the standards of professionalism, acted in bad faith, or acted in violation of the bylaws of the Alumni Association. Most importantly, please know it has never been the intention of any Alumni Board member to frustrate the mission of Ave Maria School of Law.
Despite these differences of opinion, and perhaps in light of these same differences, we believe that both the administration and the alumni would benefit from continued interaction by means of the Alumni Board meetings. It is our hope that, because of the strong benefits of open communication between the alumni and the administration and Board of Governors, you will soon be in a position to reconsider your decision and make it, once again, a priority to personally attend our upcoming meetings. As always, we remain dedicated to the service of Ave Maria School of Law and her alumni.
The Board of Directors of the Ave Maria Alumni Association
Monday, July 02, 2007
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