UPDATE: In order that we not be misunderstood, I am reposting here a comment authored by Dagmar Doubledick. He seems to catch the point of this post. And explained it better than I could. Thanks, Dagmar.
He calls it an "oratory" right? That's a problem. (Perhaps he is just using common paralance.) He is opening it specifically for prayer, no? While admittedly one can pray anywhere, doesn't this create confusion as to whether the place has been approved as a place dedicated to public prayer?
An abundance of caution seems to be in order, whatever is done. AMU doesn't seem to be cautious. Dagmar Doubledick 02.29.08 - 12:24 pm
A great man has died today and it would not be fitting if we did not give him a nod and offer our prayers. He wasn't perfect; in fact he was a damn dissenter from Humanae vitae. Nevertheless, he was a fierce foe of Communism, Socialism, and much of the thoughtlessness of modern thought. He was also a superb debater and called a spade a spade. Thus, I offer a memorable moment from 1968.
(Ave Maria supporters pictured left to right: Brandie Rabinowitz, Gay Antonelli, Jamie Finkel, and Roberta Klucinich.) Naples (AP)--In order to get a more balanced picture of the controversies swirling around Mr. Thomas Monaghan and the various Ave Maria entities, FUMARE correspondent, Lucia Feruzzi, interviewed supporters of Mr. Monaghan and Ave Maria. Ms. Feruzzi met these supporters outside the clothierHot Topic at the Coastland Center, a Naples area shopping mall,and discussed the issues. Feruzzi: Ladies, I want to thank you for this opportunity to meet with you and get your thoughts.
Brandie: No problem.
Jamie: It's, like, so important to clear these things up.
Roberta: You are, like, so right Jamie.
Feruzzi: Yesterday, AveWatch.com broke the story that AMU officials compromised the personal information of students in violation of FERPA by posting student grades on the internet in a manner accessible to the general public. What are your thoughts on that?
Roberta: That is, like, so totally not true. I mean, those AveWatch jerks, like, totally hacked into the university's website. I mean, its, like, so obvious. My friend NickH told me on my Facebook page. We were totally talking about it.
Jamie: Yeah, it's like, oh my god, these Fumare and AveWatch trolls just hate the mission of the school. It's so sad.
Feruzzi: Well, I really appreciate your oppenness in talking to me.
Brandie: No problem. You're a woman, so you can, like, totally understand our position.
Ferruzzi: Let me switch gears. Another point of controversy as of late is the proposed Oratory. Some have called it "the Whoratory," "Tom's Tomb," and others have likened it to a salmon steak. The reason for the criticism is because of the uncertainty of its status in the Church and the requisite approvals from the Diocese. Do you think this is fair?
Roberta: Oh my god, no way! There are so many great things going on in Ave Maria Town. It is, like, so beautiful and such a great place to be. And, it's, like, early still, you know, in its, like, being set up, so there isn't, like, an Abercrombie yet, but it's like so beautiful. I would toootallly want to live there after the Abercrombie moves in!
Jamie: And the nuns there are sooooo sweet. They are so cute walking, like, outside with their nun clothes. It's totally cool, cuz, my BFF Jill was, like, 'wow, I never saw a dressed up nun! I thought that was only in, like, old movies!' It's sooo awesome.
Feruzzi: Um, ladies, you didn't really answer my question--about the Oratory?
Roberta: Um, why do you have such an attitude?
Feruzzi: No, I'm just curious---
Jamie: You are, like, totally being rude!
Brandie: I really think that you need to accentuate, like, the positive. No one wants to hang around with, like, total babies.
Roberta: Yeah, totally. Like, my dad, is a lawyer and in Legatus and he totally supports Mr. Monaghan and the, like, Ave Maria stuff. It's totally Catholic and, like, anyone who says its not is, like, totally uninformed. And the law school thing is, like, a bunch of babies crying.
Jamie: Um, are we done? I totally have some shopping to do.
Ave Maria University Vice President of Academic Affairs Jack Sites said he had believed the posted documents were private and only available to those who specifically knew the Web site's address.
"It was intended for our internal private use," Sites said. "If anybody had any idea that anybody from the outside would have had access to it, we never would have put it up. Obviously, we regret that it happened."
Sites said he wasn't sure how long the documents had been posted to the site, but university officials removed the information once they knew it was publicly available.
The documents' existence was first reported Monday morning by the Web site Avewatch.com, which stated it accessed the documents using a Web search engine.
The Daily News also retrieved the documents using a search engine.
Avewatch published its report at 9 a.m. By noon, the documents were removed and by 2:30 p.m. the committee's entire Web site was taken down.
Sites added the university was in the process of contacting affected students to make sure they were aware of the disclosure and to apologize.
He said the school is taking steps to ensure that similar situations don’t occur in the future.
The article has interesting comments from the Department of Education:
"Generally speaking, grade point averages are protected as confidential under this law and would be considered covered by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act," said Jim Bradshaw, a Department of Education spokesman. ........ Bradshaw, the Department of Education spokesman, said typically no action is taken in cases relating to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act unless a complaint is filed.
Bradshaw added that if an academic institution is found in violation of the act, usually the department works with the school to resolve the matter, although the law does include enforcement options.
Bishop Braxton has come under fire from the modernist apostate "catholics" over at Commonweal as well as the secular press for his actions to defend and protect Holy Mother Church and the flock he has a sacred duty to protect.
Bishop Braxton courageously decided to stop talk by Luke Timothy Johnson, a declared theological apologist for same-sex fornication and "catholic priestesses." The talk was planned for college students at the Southern Illinois University Newman Center which the diocese funds. In defense of this move, Braxton said:
"I do not wish Catholic institutions or organizations to invite speakers into the diocese who have written articles or given lectures that oppose, deny, reject, undermine or call into question the authentic teachings of the magisterium of the Catholic Church."
The good Bishop Braxton is part of a growing movement among Catholic Bishops to witness to the truth even when it invites comments such as this from one of the members of the pastoral council: "I think he's stepping in where it's none of his damn business. These kids are college kids. They should be able to hear all sides."
Nice. Presumably this means that next month they should bring in a heroin addict to give the positive side of doing drugs and perhaps even pass out samples.
It looks like the good Bishop has more problems on his hands at the Newman Center. They have links on their website to Call to Action, an organization that the Church has excommunicated stating that it is “irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic Faith.” They also link to the National Catholic Reporter (but not Register), and there isn't a single pro-life link in the list.
In case some of you are unfamiliar with Professor Strang's erudition, here is a sampling:
"Originalism, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution: A Unique Role in Constitutional Interpretation?," 111 PENN ST. L. REV. 413 (2006).
"The (Re)Turn to History in Religion Clause Law and Scholarship," 81 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 1697 (2006).
"An Originalist Theory of Precedent: Originalism, Nonoriginalist Precedent, and the Common Good," 36 N.M. L. REV. 419 (2006).
"The Role of the Christian Legal Scholar: The Call for a Modern Saint Benedict," 20 NOTRE DAME J.L. ETHICS & PUB. POL'Y 59 (2006) (invited symposium piece).
"The Role of the Common Good in Legal and Constitutional Interpretation," 3 U. ST. THOMAS L.J. 48 (2005).
"The Clash of Rival and Incompatible Philosophical Traditions in Constitutional Interpretation: Originalism Grounded in the Central Western Philosophical Tradition," 28 HARV. J.L. & PUB. POL’Y 909 (2005).
"The Clash of Rival and Incompatible Philosophical Traditions in Constitutional Interpretation: Originalism and the Aristotelian Tradition," 2 GEO. J.L. & PUB. POL’Y 523 (2004).
"When a 'Rule' Doesn’t Rule: The Failure of the Oregon Employment Division v. Smith, 'Hybrid Rights Exception'," with Steven H. Aden, 108 PENN ST. L. REV. 573 (2003).
One of the things about Fumare that has been refreshing to some readers is the fact that we are not afraid of the positions of our opposition in this Ave Maria debacle. In fact, on more than one occasion, we have published the positions of our opposition or have pointed our readers where to go to receive their thoughts. I note that Advocatus Militaris has done this in his post below--admittedly in a joking manner. But I am confident that he, Thales, and the rest of the gentlemen who write here would appreciate this post encouraging our readers to visit Incense. There is new news up there and if one wants to see another perspective he should do so.
Fumare can't force our readers to believe one way or another. We have a definite position and we will not back down. We can--and do--provide information, humor, and a sounding board for any and all comers. But readers can make up their own minds as to the Ave Maria story.
Thanks to all who played! After a hearty debate over a fish fry last night (I had some delicious salmon) at the local KofC hall, the FUMARE guys in their super-secret meeting (made doubly so, by the fact that the other folks at the fish fry had no clue that it was a super-secret meeting of those hell bent on destroying Tom and his Hail Mary projects*) came to a decision.
The Winner: Columcille's The Ave Maria Worship Center (in the "Catholic" tradition)
1st Runner Up: Gambrinus' New Independent Catholic Ecumenical (N.I.C.E.) Church
2d Runner Up: Miklos Molnar's The Whoratory
*For you Incense readers, this is called sarcasm. (C'mon guys, click their link. In their daily reports to Tom, they don't want to show how few hits they have per day!)
I know all having been waiting patiently for this. You will now be rewarded for your endurance! Fumare's crack investigators have acquired part of the deposition transcript of Hail Mary Chairman Thomas Monaghan. As soon as we have a full transcript we will make it available to you.
Ms. Gordon, Plaintiff's Attorney (DG): Good morning, Mr. Monaghan.
Mr. Fink, Monaghan's Attorney (KF): [softly to Monaghan] Don't answer that.
Thomas Monaghan (TM): uh...[clears throat]
DG: Karl, I think that we should all just relax here and get comfortable because we are going to be here for a long time.
KF: We are here to be as helpful as possible.
DG: Mr. Monaghan, is it true that you have opined publicly on women's dress in your governance of the Ave Maria entities, to include Ave Maria School of Law?
TM: ...uh...What do you mean by women?...
DG: Mr. Fink, I'm going to have to ask you to instruct....
TM: ...becuase I don't think that some of those people are women.
DG: What people?
TM: Well, everybody knows that the most unattractive part of a woman is the back of her knees...
DG: Mr. Monaghan, I have no idea what you are talking about. Can you elaborate on your "philosophy of female knees?"
KF: Objection. Deb, what's the relevance of this line of questioning?
DG: Ask your client, he opened the door.
KF: May I have a moment? [confers with TM] Go ahead, Tom.
TM: I don't understand what you mean by "philosophy?"
DG: Do you know what philosophy means?
DG: Isn't it true that you wrote Pizza Tiger?
TM: I don't understand what you mean.
DG: You wrote a book did you not?
TM: uh... I don't recall.
DG: You owned the Detroit Tigers didn't you?
DG: And you founded and owned Domino's Pizza isn't that correct?
TM: uh....yeah. 30 minutes or less.
DG: Now, Pizza Tiger--the book that you wrote--is a title that incorporates your experience in business?
TM: uh...[confers with KF] yeah, I guess it is.
DG: And in that book, you recount that you made money for all the wrong reasons, correct?
DG: Now, what exactly is your relationship to the Ave Maria School of Law?
TM: uh...[confers with KF] Chairman of the Board?
DG: Are you asking me or telling me?
TM: uh...[confers with KF]...telling you.
DG: Who else serves on the Board of Governors?
TM: uh...well it changes a lot--
KF: --uh, Tom..Deb, you know who is on the Board, it is published.
DG: I just wanted to know if Mr. Monaghan knows who's on the Board. He doesn't seem to remember that he wrote Pizza Tiger, I think this is a fair line of questioning.
DG: Court reporter, let the record reflect that the Pizza Tiger just growled at me. Spelled: G-R-R-R-R-R.
Here is the excerpt that I find especially interesting:
Fr. Fessio: For reasons I have still not been given, I was asked to resign as provost. I refused to resign, so I was fired. I was asked to come back the next day in a different position. I came back because I believe the university is bigger than one person, me, or anybody else, and I think that we have a tremendous opportunity for the truth and for the faith. So, if I refused to come back, there would be some people who would be very skeptical of the university; donors, parents, and students. I didn't want that to happen.
"For reasons I have still not been given, I was asked to resign as provost." What!? As of approximately February 20, 2008, 11 months later, Fr. Fessio still hasn't been told why he was fired? Fr. Fessio is obviously more passive than I; if I were in Fr. Fessio's place, I wouldn't stand for having AMU benefit from my person and reputation, while not respecting me enough to explain why I had gotten fired.
(Picture of a real oratory provided for a reality check.)
There has been some question in the comboxes about Monaghan's original intent regarding Ave Maria Town's parish status vs. oratory designation.
Some had thought that the original plan was that Ave Maria Town would become a Catholic parish just like every other Catholic community in the world. So what gives with the parish versus oratory thing?
Well, this is all about power, independence and being somewhat unaccountable to the Church.
The primary Canonical difference between "parish" and an "oratory" is the following:
A parish is under the direct authority of the local bishop. In a parish, it is the bishop and he alone who has responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the community. Only he can appoint a priest to be stationed there. Only he can administer the sacrament of Confirmation. The parish is a juridic person or canonical right, but of a very clear character - in submission and under the direct authority of the bishop.
This is not the case with an oratory.
First of all, an oratory exists to serve the speical religious needs of a particular community of the faithful. Ordinarily, this means a community with a special charism or spirituality that is recognized by the church and being so recognized an oratory is canonical designation that says, this church building exists to serve the very unique spiritual needs of this recognized community of faithful. And although its establishment must be granted by the bishop, the bishop DOES NOT HAVE ANY FURTHER AUTHORITY BEYOND OVERSIGHT AND THE NUCLEAR OPTION OF REMOVING RECOGNITION.
The rules that govern the appointment of the Oratory Rector, or Spiritual Director have to do with the statutes and by-laws of the community of the faithful (which have been submitted and approved by the Bishop), NOT THE BISHOP!
So, by Ave Maria seeking to claim the designation of Private Association of the Christian Faithful, they are claiming that the community at Ave Maria fits the purposes of canon 298:
So basically, what Healy is claiming is that the residents of Ave Maria Town/University have freely joined an association whose purposes are outlined above and have done so by means of a private agreement amongst themselves. He is also claiming that this private association has been recognized by the Church, which means that it has statutes for its self-governance (can. 299) and these have been reviewed by the previous bishop.
Now understand what is being said.
Not that the university has statutes, not that the town has governance statutes, but that a unique Christian Community of the Faithful that has a particular charism has statues that have been submitted to the church for review and have been approved and so they have need for an oratory to serve their spiritual needs.
For a point of reference, the People of Praise Community is a REAL Private Association of Christian Faithful recognized by the Catholic Church, as are the Marian Servants of Divine Providance. Both of these communities have a particular charism and apostolic life that is governed by objective statutes that have been submitted to and recognized by the Catholic Church under canon law.
Ave Maria is a speculative real estate venture with an educational and "Catholic" twist that is trying to abuse canon law to wrest spiritual control away from the local ordinary. There is no "Private Association of the Christian Faithful" at Ave Maria, it is a real estate development and as such, the Catholic people living there should be considered under the parish structure.
Obviously, Healy's claims are a complete crock of shite'n noodle.
If Ave Maria received the canonical designation of Private Association of the Christian Faithful, then there would be a file in the canonist's office with a copy of the association's statutes. Now these statutes generally describe the particular charism, spirituality, apostolic work that is unique to the Community. They are examined for orthodoxy both in spirituality and in their governance structure. Why? Because the Church is our Holy Mother and She has a responsibility to protect her children from nut cases who think they can remake the Church in their own image.
What Healy and Monaghan are seeking is the ability to call Ave Maria "Catholic" which they explicity can not do under can. 300. And they are seeking all the power and autonomy of a "private association of the Christian faithful" which includes the power to appoint their own rector and spiritual director and do what they like without really any accountability to anyone.
In short, the "oratory" and "private association of the Christian faithful" language is about Ave Maria's attempt to give Tom Monaghan the power of a bishop in this kingdom made in his own image.
The post above about Fessio should confirm in spirit what a close look at canon law bears out about the objective at Ave Maria.
It is all pretty twisted stuff.
And now for your moment of light humor:
St. Scratchy McCracken of the Shite'n Noodle (An "Oratory" in the Dissenting "Catholic" Tradition)
King, Supreme Bishop and Grand Master of the St. Scratchy McCracken of the Shite'n Noodle "Oratory" in his Ave Maria kingdom.
Wow. I am on a roll today! 3 posts! (I originally posted a transcript of Tom Monaghan's deposition today, but I have some tweaking to do. It will be up again, post haste.) Earlier in the week I dubbed the Oratory, the Taj Monaghana. Certainly appropriate. But as we know and as has been ably pointed out by commentators here and elsewhere, until the structure is approved by the local Ordinary in accord with canons 1223-1225, we can't call it an Oratory. Of course, this is just an area where canon law hasn't caught up yet.
But we, in our solicitude for our friends Tom and Nick, wish not to let that structure be left unnamed. Thus, Fumare wishes to announce the "Name the Big Structure in Ave Maria Town" Contest. This contest will be open until 5:00pm Friday, February 22, 2008. Prizes will be awarded!
Here is a comment from the post below this one. Once again, Dean Bernard Dobranski--President of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars (hahahahaha...!!), has decided to screw the alumni of AMSL. This account from Mrs. Olesia Doran, one of AMSL's most brilliant products. Looks like Big Brother Dobranski is at it again. For all those of you who may be watching this tragedy from afar, take note. This is where AMSL is at. This is where the so-called vanguard of Catholic orthodoxy is at. My hope is that other Catholic scholars who may be watching this, don't add further legitimacy to Dobranski, Monaghan and this group of dockside bullies by agreeing to speak or participate in conferences at either of the Hail Mary entities. By doing so, one props up these despicable human beings and gives them a legitimacy they do not deserve. This is but the latest slap in the face to the alumni and current students.
Not related to this post - OK, well, actually, in its being a parody of reality, it's related. I am currently participating in the Alumni Board phone call. For all those who are interested, we have just been informed that Dobranski has unilaterally declared that from now on, the school will post alumni board meeting minutes on the school website (which till now it did in theory but in practice has not done since July), but that they will be redacted to remove information he finds inappropriate. The example we have been given is information relating to Suzy Siegle's self-maintained website, www.maaac.org, a career networking website. The website was endorsed by the board in January (those minutes are slated for approval tonight), and Ermin has told us that the motion endorsing the website, as well as every instance of the URL, will be redacted from the minutes. At last month's meeting, Ermin informed the board (before a vote on endorsing the website) that regardless of the vote outcome, the school would refuse to release the statement endorsing her project, into which she expended considerable amounts of her own resources, because of some incomprehensible possibility of confusion or duplication with the work of the career services office.
I will be happy to entertain any comments that anyone would like to send me (or have me share at the meeting or disseminate to all members of the board, or only the sane ones) on this subject. email@example.com
I also note that this comment and my summary of events are only mine, and my personal impressions at that, not the official position of the alumni board.
Here is a fascinating article in the Atlantic, written by a 40-something year-old, self-described feminist and single mother, who makes the case to women for "settling" when it comes to finding a husband. The author argues that women should give up on the notion of finding the "man of her dreams" and should settle for someone below her heightened standards, because being married is better than being alone. Some excerpts:
My advice is this: Settle! That's right. Don't worry about passion or intense connection. Don't nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling "Bravo!" in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year. (It's hard to maintain that level of zing when the conversation morphs into discussions about who's changing the diapers or balancing the checkbook.) ........
It sounds obvious now, but I didn't fully appreciate back then that what makes for a good marriage isn't necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship. Once you're married, it's not about whom you want to go on vacation with; it's about whom you want to run a household with. Marriage isn't a passion-fest; it's more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way.
I don't mean to say that settling is ideal. I'm simply saying that it might have gotten an undeservedly bad rap. As the only single woman in my son's mommy-and-me group, I used to listen each week to a litany of unrelenting complaints about people's husbands and feel pretty good about my decision to hold out for the right guy, only to realize that these women wouldn't trade places with me for a second, no matter how dull their marriages might be or how desperately they might long for a different husband. They, like me, would rather feel alone in a marriage than actually be alone, because they, like me, realize that marriage ultimately isn't about cosmic connection—it's about how having a teammate, even if he's not the love of your life, is better than not having one at all.
Read the whole thing. Though the author clearly holds a secular viewpoint, it is fascinating to see the longings for children and family so deeply imbedded in a "modern" woman. The author even admits that her position is one contrary to the feminist ideals which she herself subscribed to for so long.
What do our female readers think of the article? Should women "settle" for a husband or wait for "Mr. Right"?
Does AMU have an identity crisis? Why is there so much Marine Corps stuff at AMU?
Well, because Tom Monaghan used to be a Marine himself. I guess Tom really likes Marine stuff, and since AMU is Tom's school, Tom can introduce as many Marine stuff to the school as he wants.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't have any problem with the United States Marines Corps. I like the Marines. I am as patriotic as the next Joe American and I admire the Marine Corps as defenders of our country and our freedom. There is certainly nothing anti-Catholic about the Marines.
The problem is that there is nothing uniquely Catholic about the Marines. There are lots of groups that are patriotic and aren't anti-Catholic, but that doesn't make them good choices for an institution which prides itself on being uniquely Catholic. An example of this is the Boy Scouts organization. Having everything about the Boy Scouts at a university might be nice; after all, the Boy Scouts represent the virtues of good citizenship, patriotism, and industriousness. There is nothing anti-Catholic about the Boy Scouts.... but there is also nothing uniquely Catholic about the Boy Scouts.
Suppose that Tom Monaghan was a former member of the New York City Fire Department and was very proud of this involvement. (The FDNY is an institution that represents the virtues of patriotism, courage, selflessness, and faith, all great virtues.) Suppose AMU established an annual "FDNY Gala," at which honored members of the FDNY were inducted into the AMU Gallery of FDNY Greats. Suppose money was raised for a scholarship devoted to former members of FDNY. Suppose that the school's nickname was the "Ave Maria University Firefighters" and the school's mascot was a dalmation. There would be nothing wrong with all this, but wouldn't it seem out of place? Why celebrate the FDNY when you could be celebrating the Catholic Church? Wouldn't that be more appropriate? After all, it is the Catholic Church that makes AMU unique and special, not the FDNY or the Marine Corps.
I've explained before why I'm outraged over Tom Monaghan's actions. But now I'm more sad than outraged. It's really sad to see Monaghan's hubris in action, inappropriately naming so many AMU things after the Marines, just because of his personal preference, just because he himself is a Marine. And I'm even more sad to see that there is no reasonable person in the AMU administration who can sway Monaghan from his fascination with the Marine Corps to something more fitting Ave Maria.
From: Dobranski, Bernard Sent: Mon 2/11/2008 9:58 AM To: All Law System Distribution; All Alumni Subject: Proposed ABA Standard Interpretation - Bar Passage Rates
Dear Ave Maria Law School Community,
Recently there has some false information and rumors at law schools around the nation, including Ave Maria, about a proposed change in ABA Standard Interpretations regarding bar passage. Attached you will find a Frequently Asked Questions document from the ABA regarding the change that is being considered. In short, a proposal has been made regarding a possible alteration of the Interpretation to the Standard requiring law schools to assure that their graduates pass the bar in satisfactory numbers.
Let me stress that we are in full compliance with the Standard as it is currently interpreted and as proposed, and we fully expect that we would remain in full compliance if the proposed Interpretation is adopted.
That being said, we continue to strive to prepare our students for success on the bar exam. Just this semester, we have instituted a series of bar review programs designed to give our graduating 3L's as much exposure to the bar exam as possible, months before graduation. Our goal is and always has been a 100% bar passage rate and we will continue working toward the goal regardless of any changes made by the ABA.
Two recent disagreements between the diocese and Ave Maria indicate conflicts over how the school receives official church sanctioning. The university recently requested that the diocese confirm upon it the canonical status of a "Catholic university." That request has yet to be granted, as the diocese is reviewing the school's accreditation and other matters, according to Diocese of Venice spokeswoman Adela Gonzales White. ..... There is also a disagreement over the title of university "chaplain," a canonical term for a priest appointed by a church leader such as a bishop to guide a particular group of Catholics. Healy has said Nevins previously granted that title to the Rev. Robert Garrity, a university employee. Again, the diocese took issue. "No bishop with the Diocese of Venice has ever appointed a chaplain at Ave Maria University," Gonzales White said.
If you check your mail, today many of you have probably received a letter from the Center for Christianity and Cultural Survival penned by the very good Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ.
We are at one of those tipping points in history at which events slide quickly along previously unimagined paths, and the majority are caught unawares. One purpose of the Center for Christianity and Cultural Survival is to alert the public to the danger posed by radical Islam. . . . It's an opportunity to show that Christianity shines rather brightly . . .
A place of refuge! A Center of Christian Cultural Survival to show the world what Christianity really is!
What a great idea! Where in the world is this wonderful place where Christianity shines so brightly?
Yes, the Center of Christian Cultural Survival is Naples, Floridia!
Naples and culture, I never would have thought the two could be together.
Remember that Safranek case where he tried to uphold the Church's rights re marriage? (I know, I know, there are other ways of putting it, but this is my post, LW, so bear with me.) How'd that work out? Not so good, as I recall. Well, maybe the problem is that all religions are equal, but some are more equal than others.
It looks like a Texas court accepted Safranek's reasoning in this case. The difference, of course, is that the religion in question is Islam. This case also involved divorce and custody issues.
Look, I haven't read it all yet, and I haven't re-read the McFarlane case. I just want to throw this out to our readership and then get back to work. But I'm interested in comments on the Texas dhimmis' - er, I mean judges' - reasoning.
It always bothers me that people place so much significance on New Year's resolutions, and start all of these lofty goals during a time of year when it's still Christmas and they should be focused on the season. Then, when lent comes, and it's the appropriate time to make a life-changing resolution, they are worn out on the idea and do something pithy and not very well thought out like giving up candy. I don't make new year's resolutions. I do tend to make many for lent -- too many, but I have to say that every time I've put some effort into it, God has returned the effect in spades.
Lent is here and it brings with it all of the assistance of Heaven to make life changing resolutions become reality. If salvations were a corporate mission, and God the CEO, lent is like a corporate employee assistance program where the CEO promises to dedicate all resources of the corporation to any employee who wants to make strides in virtue and perfection. But the CEO is God (who doesn't have Enron scandals) and the resources are His (which are infinite without use of creative accounting).
Pope Benedict XVI, in his message for lent 2008, reminds us that the three ways to merit the grace we need to realize the blessings of lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. He focuses our attention on almsgiving for this year. I can't imagine why, in particular, but I leave you with his quotes on the subject.
I'm hoping for a productive lent, for me and for you.
As promised, here is paragraph 3 of pp B VXI's message for lent:
The Gospel highlights a typical feature of Christian almsgiving: it must be hidden: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” Jesus asserts, “so that your alms may be done in secret” (Mt 6,3-4). Just a short while before, He said not to boast of one’s own good works so as not to risk being deprived of the heavenly reward (cf. Mt 6,1-2). The disciple is to be concerned with God’s greater glory. Jesus warns: “In this way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5,16).  Everything, then, must be done for God’s glory and not our own. [and not for the glory of Monaghani] This understanding, dear brothers and sisters, must accompany every gesture of help to our neighbor, avoiding that it becomes a means to make ourselves the center of attention. If, in accomplishing a good deed, we do not have as our goal God’s glory and the real well being of our brothers and sisters, looking rather for a return of personal interest or simply of applause [or a return on real estate speculation and self adulation], we place ourselves outside of the Gospel vision. In today’s world of images, attentive vigilance is required, since this temptation is great. Almsgiving, according to the Gospel, is not mere philanthropy: rather it is a concrete expression of charity, a theological virtue that demands interior conversion to love of God and neighbor, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who, dying on the cross, gave His entire self for us. How could we not thank God for the many people who silently, far from the gaze of the media world, fulfill, with this spirit, generous actions in support of one’s neighbor in difficulty? There is little use in giving one’s personal goods to others if it leads to a heart puffed up in vainglory: for this reason, the one, who knows that God “sees in secret” and in secret will reward, does not seek human recognition for works of mercy.
I'm glad the Pope is a real Catholic, not like the ones a recent fundraising letter mentioned. For some reason, that letter makes me think the Pope reads FUMARE and must have seen a copy of that fundraising letter.
Back on the point for lent, I must go draft my resolution in writing that I won't weasel around the resolution later in lent.
Last week, I pointed out a mistake on avemaria.com: the phrase "Ave Maria University School of Law." As Dean Dobranski himself has assured people many times, there is no such thing as "Ave Maria University School of Law": Ave Maria School of Law and Ave Maria University are completely separate entities, with completely separate Boards of Governors, making completely separate and independent decisions about what is in the sole best interests of their respective institutions. (I know, I know, only suckers think this is actually the way Ave Maria entities operate, but hey, let's take Dobranski at his word this time, just for kicks.)
The most humorous mistake is that of Jim Fox, AMSOL Class of 2003, who really should know better considering he works in Naples, right next to AMU -- his law firm biography and associate testimonial are wrong. (Come on, Jim! You must be a smart guy, you were on Law Review! Why are you letting us down?)
So, Robert Falls, I'm talking to you! Get up off of your derriere! You've got some work to do! First, fix avemaria.com's website like I told you to (take the AMSOL blurb off of the AMU page and create a separate tabbed page for AMSOL), and then start correcting all these "Ave Maria University School of Law" mistakes! What is Tom Monaghan paying you for? To sit there twiddling your thumbs?
UPDATE: In the comments, Anonymous points out that some organizations affiliated with Myers, Rice, and Safranek have also made the same "AMU-SOL" mistake. (Note that the professors didn't make the mistake themselves, only organizations affiliated with the professors made the mistake.)
But to Anonymous I say: Thank you for making my argument even stronger! Suppose that even the professors themselves made the mistake. If people familiar with the conflicts of interest, breaches of fiduciary duty, and commingling of AMU and AMSOL decisions, can make the AMU-AMSOL mistake, how much more so will unsuspecting people be confused.
Robert Falls, even Pro-Monaghan-Anonymous thinks that you've got a PR debacle! Get your act together! You don't want to have Anonymous and myself conclude that you're incompetent!
Amid pressure from the U.S. Department of Education, the American Bar Association is poised to tighten a rule that requires law schools to show that they are graduating students who can pass the bar exam.
The ABA is expected to approve the controversial measure at its meeting in Los Angeles from Feb. 6 through Feb. 12, when its House of Delegates will consider a recommendation from the ABA's legal education section. ...... In general, the change would create a quantitative rule requiring law schools to demonstrate that 75% of their graduates passed the bar exam or to show that their pass rates were within a certain range compared with other law schools in the same jurisdiction. The change is technically a new interpretation of an existing accreditation standard. Almost all states require law students to graduate from an ABA-accredited law school in order to obtain a license to practice.
Under the current rule, the ABA does not require law schools to demonstrate a specific pass rate, but instead to show in general that they are preparing students for admission to the bar and maintaining a rigorous academic program.
Last week's Wanderer (January 31, 2008 edition) had an article entitled "Raising Questions...Ave Maria Chapel Opening Delayed." In the article, there are significant references to Fumare and AveWatch. (Unfortunately, the wrong web addresses were supplied....The Wanderer has been informed.) It was a good piece and was a good summary of the questions raised by the "status" of the Oratory and the relationship with the Diocese.