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

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Quasi-Parish Designation Is a Step in the Right Direction

The great deception surrounding Ave Maria University and related entities is that they are "Catholic" and “known for faithfulness to the magisterium of the Catholic Church." The reality is that the Ave Maria "life-style brand" is a mockery of the Catholic Faith and exploits the honest good will and trust of the "meek" - meaning those Catholics who are faithful but are of little means and power.

The fruits of the Ave Maria leadership are a wake of destruction and folly. In pursuit of Shangri-La, Monaghan has made us all pay a price, or more accurately a recurring tax, because forever our careers are "branded" by what he has done and continues to do.

But, the dedication of the Ave Maria Oratory is a bit of good news in this tragic epic and a step in the right direction.


Because it represents a modicum of surrender by Monaghan to the
Magisterium of the Church. Ave Watch has reported that the Administrator of the Oratory is a Diocesan appointee. This means that Monaghan has permitted power sharing with Bishop Dewane, something he was likely loath to do and was likely at the heart of the disagreement between AMU and the Diocese. As Fumare reported, the "oratory" strategy was all about wresting the power to appoint the pastor (and the power of collections) away from the Diocese. This would have been a spiritual disaster for the students, staff and home owners of Ave Mariaville because the spiritual counsel would be compromised because they are ultimately there at the will of Monaghan.

Back in the Christendom day, a citizen under a feudal lord would have recourse to the church to redress a grievance and injustice that was not addressed under the civil authorities. The Church acted as a "check" on the power of the feudal lord. Anyone who took Frohnen's class knows that this is the origin of our modern human rights system.

Whether the Diocese will act in such a capacity on behalf of wronged students, staff and homeowners is yet to be seen, but this is clearly a welcome development because it represents a check on Monaghan's power.

Further, it is reported that Ave Maria will create an office of Campus Ministry. The implication is that this office will also come under the authority of the Diocese and not AMU/Monaghan. Surely AMU has an office of campus ministry already. What this press release seems to say is that this new office will be under the control of the Bishop's administrative appointee and not Monaghan.

This is the normal arrangement that a Catholic Diocese has with secular universities - the Church serves the spiritual needs of the students and staff. Most Catholic Colleges are run by religious orders and so the local diocese doesn't run their ministry offices. Basically, this is saying that Ave Maria does not have the competence or authority to run their own campus ministry offices. The Bishop is correct in this assessment considering the number of reports that suggest an abusive atmosphere created by some of the priests employed by Monaghan.

We can all rejoice in the dedication of Ave Maria Oratory because it represents a "check" on Monaghan's over reaching power. However, only time will show whether this is an effective check. One thing is for sure, the students, staff and everyone else who is under Monaghan's thumb have won a victory here.