Saturday, December 29, 2007

Local Media: Sun Shines on Ave Maria University

Meep Meep: Road Runner Escapes Unscathed (yet again)

The local media in Collier County neatly summarizes Ave Maria University's progress on several fronts:

The paint has barely dried at Ave Maria’s new campus in eastern Collier County, but university leaders announced in January that a fourth dormitory is needed to handle a projected enrollment surge. That project will be completed for the fall 2008 semester, and a recreational pool and cabana complex also will be ready about the same time. Academically, Ave Maria cannot make any substantial program changes until it completes an accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities. Athletics will make a push onto campus, though, as the Gyrenes expect to field teams that will compete in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Elsewhere, the local news reports that accrediation is on track for the school and federal aid for students is secure until the end of academic year 2010 (and all-but-secure thereafter):

A decision from a federal education advisory panel looks to secure Ave Maria’s access to billions of dollars in federal financial aid funding for the foreseeable future.
What is more, the same reporter notes that the recent discussion of AMU's accreditation is rooted in a national debate about federal policy and expanded federal involvement in universities (giving the lie to those who pretend the matter is one of AMU's making):

AALE’s federal status — and by proxy Ave Maria’s — has been part of a larger debate on the accreditation process and more generally higher education’s future. The Department of Education has pushed accreditors — including the country’s six primary agencies like SACS — to shift to measuring quantitative aspects of student performance, such as college graduation rates, rather than focusing on evaluating administrative processes. Accreditors have balked, arguing the department is trying to impose a one-size-fits-all model on higher education. Congress became involved in the fight and has threatened to pass legislation limiting the Department of Education’s power.
Seems that the Chickens Little (who constantly intone that "any minute now all things Ave Maria will implode") and the Boys Who Blog Wolf (whose fanciful false alarms and tiresome conspiracy theories have voided any credibility they may have had) will end up once again like the ever-frustrated Wile E. Coyote (who obsessively calculates the delicious demise of his likable arch enemy, but always causes more harm and frustration to himself).

Doubtless some are fuming mad at this news and will react by ordering a new contraption from

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christ is Born!

Chapter 1
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, 7 but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, 8 yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord 9 appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, 10 because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
11 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until

she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Sixties are Officially (Finally) Over.

Crime, Drugs, Welfare--and Other Good News

The following are fair use excerpts from a Commentary Magazine article by Peter Wehner and Yuval Levin. Click on the headline to read the full article:
Culture itself, finally, exhibits an ebb and flow as surely as economies pass through cycles of ups and downs. In The Great Disruption (1999), Francis Fukuyama cited historical examples of societies undergoing periods of moral decline followed by periods of moral recovery. In our case, too, he argued, the aftermath of the cultural breakdown of the 1960’s had already triggered and was now giving way to a reassessment and recovery of social and moral norms.

In a number of key categories, the amount of ground gained or regained since the early 1990’s is truly stunning. Crime, especially, has plummeted. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), the rates of both violent crime and property crime fell significantly between 1993 and 2005, reaching their lowest levels since 1973 (the first year for which such data are available). More recent figures from the FBI, which measures crime differently from the NCVS, show an unfortunate uptick in violent crime in the last two years—particularly in cities like Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Even so, however, the overall rate remains far below that of the mid-1990’s.

Teenage drug use, which moved relentlessly upward throughout the 1990’s, declined thereafter by an impressive 23 percent, and for a number of specific drugs it has fallen still lower. Thus, the use of ecstasy and LSD has dropped by over 50 percent, of methamphetamine by almost as much, and of steroids by over 20 percent.
Then there is welfare. Since the high-water mark of 1994, the national welfare caseload has declined by over 60 percent. Virtually every state in the union has reduced its caseload by at least a third, and some have achieved reductions of over 90 percent. Not only have the numbers of people on welfare plunged, but, in the wake of the 1996 welfare-reform bill, overall poverty, child poverty, black child poverty, and child hunger have all decreased, while employment figures for single mothers have risen.

Abortion, too, is down. After reaching a high of over 1.6 million in 1990, the number of abortions performed annually in the U.S. has dropped to fewer than 1.3 million, a level not seen since the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized the practice. The divorce rate, meanwhile, is now at its lowest level since 1970.

Educational scores are up. Earlier this year, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reported that the nation’s fourth- and eighth-graders continue to improve steadily in math, and that fourth-grade reading achievement is similarly on the rise. Other findings show both fourth- and twelfth-graders scoring significantly higher in the field of U.S. history. Black and Hispanic students are also making broad gains, though significant gaps with whites persist. The high-school dropout rate, under 10 percent, is at a 30-year low, and the mean SAT score was 8 points higher in 2005 than in 1993, the year Bennett published his Index.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pope Benedict: Be Wary of Enviromentalist Ideology That Drives Hasty Conclusions

The Holy Father, in his 2008 World Day of Peace message, has gently rebuked the high priests of the environmentalist religion. The UK's Daily Mail -- highlighting the slightest hint of controversy -- boldly claims that Pope Benedict has:

[L]aunched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.
Of course there is much more in his message than that -- and his words are open to many interpretations, so we recommend that you read his message in its entirety yourself. Here is an excerpt:

For the human family, this home is the earth, the environment that God the Creator has given us to inhabit with creativity and responsibility. We need to care for the environment: it has been entrusted to men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the good of all as a constant guiding criterion. Human beings, obviously, are of supreme worth vis-à-vis creation as a whole. Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits and to exhibit towards nature the same responsible freedom that we claim for ourselves. Nor must we overlook the poor, who are excluded in many cases from the goods of creation destined for all. Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow. It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances. If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations. Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good News Comes in Threes For Ave Maria University

The good news keeps flowing from the sub-tropical paradise known as Ave Maria, Florida.

1: Accreditation

It looks like accreditation for AMU is simply a matter of time, despite the (by now very tiresome and predictable) nay-saying of the school's detractors. Here is a brand new teaser from the subscription-only Chronicle of Higher Education:

The federal panel charged with panel charged with reviewing college accreditors has been advised by its staff to approve all requests for recognition at next week's semiannual review, potentially averting a showdown with the nation's largest accrediting agencies.

The Google News excerpt of this same article also includes this bit that leads one to believe the "strife" is o'er:

AALE provides student-loan eligibility to 10 small, religiously affiliated institutions, including Ave Maria College, Thomas Aquinas College...

This comes on the tail of reading last week that it was never much to worry about in the first place:

Despite AALE’s problems, Sites said the school is not worried about losing federal funding. Should AALE’s recognition be pulled, schools solely accredited by the organization will retain access to federal funds for 18 months, according to an education department spokeswoman. By that point, Sites said, Ave Maria hopes to have achieved candidacy status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the regional accreditor that recognizes Florida Gulf Coast University, Edison College and Hodges University among other schools in the Southeast.

2: Enrollment

It looks like enrollment and admissions figures are also promising. The same article from last week also reported that:

According to August student enrollment statistics, there are 447 degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students on campus and 147 students enrolled in the school’s distance learning master’s program.

Local television news also reported the good news that "Students flock to Ave Maria":

Students are flocking to Ave Maria University but the housing market may be keeping others away. The University's Founder says there are hundreds even thousands wanting to move to Ave Maria but can't until they sell their homes. Despite the housing market, the Catholic town continues to grow at a fast pace. The first restaurant opens Friday [Editor: a coffee and tea shop also opened that same day] ...It's expected 300 new Freshman will enroll in Fall 2008, representing almost half of the students attending next year.

3: Construction

All those students need somewhere to live - so we also have news of another groundbreaking on campus:

Ave Maria University broke ground Thursday morning on a new dorm scheduled to open next fall. The dorm, the university’s fourth, is part of an expansion effort that will include another dorm scheduled for completion by fall 2009. The dorm begun Thursday will be 44,453 square feet with 80 student rooms, allowing for a total occupancy of 160 students. Upon completion, the school will provide housing for approximately 600 undergraduates, a university release said.

Update: Several more google news excerpts of the Chronicle article make it clear that the professional educators advising the Secretary of Education find AALE to be worthy of accreditation:
In its recommendation for next week's review, Naciqi's professional staff has told the panel that AALE has shown that it requires colleges "to demonstrate...

Lawmakers also persuaded Ms. Spellings to abandon an effort this year to rewrite rules governing accreditation that would have given her department more...

The staff recommendations include renewing the accreditation authority of the American Academy for Liberal Education…

In its recommendation for next week's review, Naciqi's professional staff has told the panel that AALE has shown that it requires colleges "to demonstrate...

"Department staff conclude that the agency has acted in good faith," the Naciqi staff report said of AALE.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Norm for Recieving Communion in the U.S. is to Stand

For the record here is the current teaching of the Church on the matter:

In the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR) for the universal Church states that "it is up to the Conference of Bishops to adapt the gestures and postures in the Order of Mass...".

The Bishops in the United States, say in IGMR 160:

The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship Released

The US Bishops have released guidelines on sacred music. Striking a balance between reverence for the Church's treasury of sacred music and an openness to new musical forms and instruments that allow us to lift our hearts to God according to local musical genres, the document places an emphasis on participation by the congregation. It is true to the ever creative freedom of man in worshiping Christ and at the same time recognizes the enduring contributions of those who have given their gifts of music in previous times. Perhaps disappointingly to some, the document does not make dogmatic, reactionary, and exclusivistic pronouncements about musical forms or instruments, though it does note the pride of place of ancient music and the organ (not the one from your local mall). Stringed and percussion instruments are explicitly allowed, where they may be adapted for sacred music.

It is to be expected that the usual cacophony is to be heard about this just being the Bishops' Confernce, its not from Rome, not what Rome really wants, etc., ad nauseam. Whatever else it may be this argument is, however, not the teaching of the Church on the issue, as the Church has explicitly given to the Congregations this authority.

The teaching of the Church on sacred music (which is a discipline not dogma and thus is subject to change over time, so you can't rely on what Pius X said in 1903 about guitars and the piano, for example) stems from the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (1963). It leaves specific implementation of the Constitution and changes in liturgical music, Chapter IV, to the Bishops Conferences: "Within the limits set by the typical editions of the liturgical books, it shall be for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to specify adaptations, especially in the case of the administration of the sacraments, the sacramentals, processions, liturgical language, sacred music, and the arts, but according to the fundamental norms laid down in this Constitution." See 39. It likewise notes that some countries have unique musical traditions that may be incorporated into the liturgy: "In certain parts of the world, especially mission lands, there are peoples who have their own musical traditions, and these play a great part in their religious and social life. For this reason due importance is to be attached to their music, and a suitable place is to be given to it, not only in forming their attitude toward religion, but also in adapting worship to their native genius, as indicated in Art. 39 and 40." See 119. And that instruments other than the organ may be approved by the local ordinary. See 120. SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM may be found at:

The above was reiterated in the 1967, Vatican II document, Musicam Sacram, which left to the competent territorial authority decisions about incorporating contemporary music and instruments into the Church's already rich musical treasury. See, e.g., 53, 54, 55, and 62.

MUSICAM SACRAM (INSTRUCTION ON MUSIC IN THE LITURGY, promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for Rites and approved by Paul VI): may be found at:

Then in May 2001 the Congregation for Divine Worship published Liturgiam Athenticam, and mandated to the territorial conferences of Bishops to implement musical norms. See, e.g., 99.


Although, it is somewhat exasperating to have to do so, I suppose it is necessary to address the inevitable and now somewhat tiring argument that the US Bishops have been disobedient to Rome, so we should not follow their guidlines. To that I say that on a matter of faith and morals, where a bishop or priest errs, we must not follow. But on matters that do not involve eternal verities, the bishop is the apostle of our diocese and the local priest is his representative, to whom we do owe our obedience in matters of liturgical norms. To be Catholic is in part to follow them, on such matters, even if, or more precisely when, their taste or judgment differs from ours. If they have truly erred, take it up with Rome, but until Rome (and I don't mean merely the head of some Congregation speaking off the cuff) says otherwise, it simply is not Catholic to say that we should not take to heart the guidelines of the Bishops' Conference.

So, Sing to the Lord a new song, or a very old one!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Monaghan's Money": A Thanksgiving Reflection

"Monaghan's money." Frequenters of this page have undoubtedly heard this phrase thrown around with more than a hint of accusation against those whose names appear in the same sentence. But what about Mr. Monaghan's wealth? What should our attitude be? The man sold Domino's Pizza for $1,000,000,000. So what difference does it really make if he has given any of us $70,000 to attend law school? That may be a lot of money to ordinary people, but it's a pretty small percentage of $1,000,000,000.

In truth, it makes a big difference. We owe a debt of gratitude, but I think it is often difficult for people to be grateful for a rich man's money. The parable of the widow's mite comes to mind and perhaps tempts us to think that the rich, because they can give more while sacrificing less, are unworthy objects of our gratitude. But the parable of the widow's mite does not concern gratitude. Rather, Our Lord addresses this parable to us as a challenge to do all that we can and to give of our substance. Gratitude is addressed by another Gospel account--that of the ten lepers. It cost Our Lord nothing to heal the lepers, so why was He so dismayed that nine of them did not return? Were the nine lepers not right to think that it made no difference to Our Lord to heal them and that therefore they owed Him no gratitude? In reality, Our Lord did not have to heal the lepers, even if doing so meant no sacrifice to Him, and so the lepers owed gratitude.

All gratitude is ultimately owed to God Himself. But gratitude is also owed to his human instruments and intermediaries. Let us never forget that no matter how small a percentage of his fortune Mr. Monaghan's benificence to any one of us may have constituted, he did not have to give us anything at all; he could have given us nothing. And let us remember that in the Mystical Body of Christ, different people have different roles according to their respective states in life. The rich man indeed has a role in the Mystical Body of Christ, even an important role. I pray that this Thanksgiving, we will all offer gratitude to the Almighty for a rich man who has concerned himself so deeply with fulfilling his God-given responsibility to do good things with his wealth.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI to visit the United States April 15-20, 2008

The Holy Father will arrive in Washington on the evening of April 15, with a visit to the White House on April 16 and a meeting with the bishops of the United States at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception that evening.

April 17 will include a public Mass at the new Nationals Stadium in Washington and a meeting with the presidents of Catholic universities and diocesan heads of education at Catholic University of America, as well as a meeting with representatives of other religions at the John Paul II Cultural Center.

Pope Benedict XVI will fly to New York City on April 18 for an address to the United Nations. He will also meet with ecumenical leaders at a New York City parish that evening.

On April 19 he will celebrate a Mass for priests, deacons and members of religious orders at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and will meet with young Catholics at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers.

April 20 will include a visit to ground zero, the site of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and a public Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Insanity of [TSM] Hatred

This WSJ piece by Peter Berkowitz (a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and a professor at George Mason University School of Law) is worth a read for several reasons. As you follow the news about all things Ave Maria we suggest that you ask yourself whether the sources for your information are mad and vengeful, as are the people described in this [altered] excerpt:

Alas, [alleged] intellectuals have always been prone to employ their learning and fine words to whip up resentment and demonize the competition. [TSM] hatred, however, is distinguished by the pride intellectuals have taken in their hatred, openly endorsing it as a virtue and enthusiastically proclaiming that their hatred is not only a rational response to the [chairman] and his administration but a mark of good moral hygiene...

To get the conversation rolling at that ... dinner--and perhaps mischievously--I wondered aloud whether [TSM] hatred had not made rational discussion of [institutional] politics [at Ave Maria] all but impossible. One guest responded in a loud, seething, in-your-face voice, "What's irrational about hating [TSM]?" His vehemence caused his [like-minded] fellow[s] to gather around and lean in, like kids on a playground who see a fight brewing.

Reluctant to see the dinner fall apart before drinks had been served, I sought to ease the tension. I said, gently, that I rarely found hatred a rational force in [institutional] politics, but, who knows, perhaps this was a special case. And then I tried to change the subject.

But my dinner companion wouldn't allow it. "No," he said, angrily. "You started it. You make the case that it's not rational to hate [TSM]." I looked around the table for help. Instead, I found faces keen for my response. So, for several minutes, I held forth, suggesting that however wrongheaded or harmful to the [institutional] interest the [chairman's] policies may have seemed to my ... colleagues, hatred tended to cloud judgment, and therefore was a passion that a citizen should not be proud of being in the grips of and should avoid bringing to public debate. Propositions, one might have thought, that would not be controversial among intellectuals devoted to thinking and writing about [law, morality and Catholic ideals].

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ann Arbor Township Rolls Out Welcome Mat for Ave Maria

More in our continued reality-check theme, this one from the archives of the New York Times:

Now [TSM] would like to move Ave Maria College, a Catholic institution he founded, from nearby Ypsilanti to a site here near an office park he owns [Dominos Farms]. He would turn the college into a university, expand it to accommodate as many as 1,500 students and, according to his development plan, include a 250-foot crucifix with a 40-foot Jesus...

...the town's planning commission, citing burdens on firefighting, police, water and sewerage resources, recommended this month that the town board reject the proposal...

...Mr. Monaghan, whose 1,300 acres here make him the community's largest landowner, will not give up his university proposal, or the crucifix, without a fight. They note his demonstrated willingness to sue the town and, though he does not live here, to try to influence local elections through political contributions. Jeff Basch, 33, complained at a recent meeting of the planning commission that the town was turning into ''a theocracy.''

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

AMSL Princess Enjoys A Great Week

Congratulations to AMSL 2007 alum E.M. Zanotti, who has much to celebrate this week. She not only found out that she passed the bar exam, but she also appeared on national television - twice - in her role as conservative blog pundit American Princess.

Note to current students: work hard and ignore the naysayers.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

New Law School Building Unveiled

The new Ave Maria School of Law building will be significantly better. Here is the latest from the school's website.

"Upon its relocation to Florida in summer 2009, the School of Law will occupy a state-of-the-art facility. The largest classroom will seat nearly double the number of students as the current facility, allowing more students to gather when the Law School hosts speakers and events. Medium and large-classrooms will offer tiered, theater-style seating, providing improved sight-lines so students can easily see the front of the classrooms. The new home of the Law School will have a total capacity of 458 classroom seats –approximately 100 more seats than the current facility, and will feature a 5,000-square foot atrium, a two-story library, a dedicate legal writing center, and expanded chapel. Wireless technology will provide students with access to online resources from all locations in the building."

View of Law School building (looking south)

View of Law School building (looking northwest)

View of Law School building (looking southwest)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reclaiming Thanksgiving

In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the second-to-last Thursday of November, rather than on the traditional date, which was the last Thursday of November. Disrupting such a long-standing tradition was highly controversial, so why did FDR do it? He wanted to add a week to the Christmas shopping season!

In this historical anecdote, we find a sad truth, which is that as far back as 1939, adding a week to the Christmas shopping season was already considered by many Americans, including the President, to be a good reason to move our traditional time of gratitude. But at least in 1939, Thanksgiving was an important enough part of our culture that Americans would not turn their attention to their Christmas shopping until Thanksgiving had passed. Until then, Thanksgiving, and not Christmas, was the focus.

Today, the secular Christmas season starts on November 1, if not earlier. Christmas is a wonderful holiday and I do not mean in any way to disparage Christmas shopping that is done in the right spirit. But I lament our loss of Thanksgiving. By turning our attention so early to jingle bells and Santa Claus, we lose sight of the magnificent day of gratitude to the Almighty that we as Americans can claim as our heritage.

Those of us who have attended Ave Maria have a particular stake in Thanksgiving. First, Ave Maria has given us so much for which to be thankful. Second, we have received an education focused on Him to Whom gratitude is to be given on Thanksgiving day. Let us never forget our gratitude! Let us never forget Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Father Orsi Hits It Out of the Park

Those who know Father Michael Orsi appreciate his candor and no non-sense approach - and know of his love for Ave Maria School of Law, especially the students. His column about the school's move to Florida is a homerun - and it is a good sketch of the history of recent events. These are some of the highlights and should be bookmarked as a primer of the situation:

  1. Rage makes it impossible to see the truth. The emotions of some here to fore supporters of the law school are very much like those of the old Brooklyn crowd. The attacks on Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan, the school's founder and principal benefactor, are reminiscent of those leveled at Walter O'Malley. But some pieces in newspapers, as well as on certain blogs - a platform of personal expression that didn't exist in 1957 - have far surpassed the vitriol of the old Brooklyn Eagle, the borough's newspaper.
  2. AMSOL is located in Ann Arbor, Mich., at a lovely facility practically across the street from the north campus of the University of Michigan. U of M has a very highly rated and much bigger law school. So at best, AMSOL would always be "that other law school in town."
  3. The original plan for AMSOL called for it to be moved, along with the Ave Maria College (then operating in the nearby town of Ypsilanti), to Domino's Farms, the prestigious Ann Arbor office park that houses the world headquarters of Domino's Pizza, which Monaghan had founded. Domino's Farms is a gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright-style complex surrounded by rolling fields of natural flora and fauna. Eventually, both AMSOL and Ave Maria College were to be part of Ave Maria University.
  4. However, integrating an educational campus into a property designated for office use required approval by Ann Arbor Township authorities. The Zoning Board rejected the proposal, claiming that it would negatively affect township revenues by converting taxable business property to tax-exempt educational use. (There was suspicion at the time that other factors might have been at work in this decision. Tom Monaghan, long known locally for his conservative views, had clashed many times with the powers-that-be in liberal Ann Arbor, and a Monaghan-sponsored university would only have given him a bigger megaphone to comment on local affairs.)
  5. Monaghan began to explore alternative locations, and during a trip to Naples, Fla., he received an offer of free land if the university would become the cornerstone of a proposed development. The idea was to design a modern university town with the flavor of a medieval European village. Florida politicians, the local bench and bar (legal community), as well as a considerable number of area people welcomed the idea. A partnership was established between Monaghan and the Barron Collier Companies, the biggest developer in Southwest Florida, to build the school facilities, along with housing, a shopping center, golf courses - in short, a whole new town: Ave Maria, Fla.
  6. A feasibility study was completed, and - like Brooklyn and L.A. in 1955 - the demographic trend of Michigan contrasted sharply with what the Naples area had to offer. The West Coast of Florida has a growing population, where Michigan is experiencing a net loss. In addition, the resources of Naples' (extremely affluent) population bode better for the long-term financial viability of AMSOL than the potential giving base in the Ann Arbor area. On top of that, there is no other law school even remotely close by. After due diligence was observed, a decision was reached by the board to relocate, with the opening of the new Florida facility set for fall of 2009.
  7. The new location will provide a very strong foundation for the law school's future. The mission of the School of Law will remain the same, yet the new location will help to ensure that the School of Law will be able to grow and prosper.
  8. Best of all, the university and law school would be the beneficiaries of money generated from the sale of single-family houses, townhomes, and condos, which in time, would put AMU and AMSOL among the best-endowed Catholic schools in the country.
  9. The warm welcome and rich source of potential funding made the move very attractive to the law school - particularly so, since up to this point, most of the school's expenses have been paid by the Ave Maria Foundation, the organization created by Monaghan to disperse funds derived from the 1998 sale of Domino's Pizza. Building a strong institutional support base normally takes many years, since the alumni of a new school can't be counted on for significant gifts until their careers have matured. Relocating to Florida and participating in the town development plan would be a major financial leap for AMSOL, even if with a lag in other giving.
  10. Ave Maria School of Law has recently experienced a good deal of internal controversy. And it must be acknowledged that not all the questions being debated among faculty, students and alumni are related to the Florida move. However - to use a legal concept - "but for" the move, I doubt that most of these other issues would have become as problematic and disputatious as they are. Certainly, we did not see the current level of acrimony when a brand new AMSOL was dazzling the legal profession with high bar-passage rates and receiving ABA accreditation in record time.
  11. [I]t takes money to have the kind of excellence that Ave Maria School of Law is committed to. AMSOL's Board of Governors had to make a choice for the long-term good of the school.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Catholic Musican Matt Maher

It is sometime thought in certain Catholic circles that the only music that can lift the soul must have been written long ago, forgetting the battles fought in yesteryear over the introduction of pagan influenced latin chants, secular musical instruments such as the organ, and the like.

This past summer I took my son to Stuebenville Atlanta. For those who don't know, Franciscan University of Steubenville youth conferences now serve about 40,000 young people each year. You have not experienced all that it is of Christ and his church until you have praised him in the Blessed Sacrament with 3,000 young people singing his praises led by someone to whom God has given the gift of music as a gift to us in these times. His songs have already been nominated for or won Grammy Awards. I have seen the next generation of the Church, and Matt Maher is one of those helping raise them up (and he introduced me to the music of Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and Hillsong).

So for those who love contemporary music and our Lord, may I suggest checking out Matt and his band here or on iTunes.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

New Guide to Catholic Colleges: Ave Maria University in the Top 10%

Its no secret: many (most?) institutions of higher education boasting a Catholic name and Catholic provenance are places where the official Catechism would be overtly mocked by administrators, faculty and students - if you could even find a copy on campus.

The Cardinal Newman Society has published a guide to 21 colleges that buck this trend, and Ave Maria University has made it onto this list of schools most faithful to a Catholic identity:

The culmination of two years of research and interviews, the unique Newman Guide recommends 21 Catholic colleges and universities which most faithfully live their Catholic identity and provide a quality undergraduate education. Each college profile examines the school's history, governance, Catholic identity, curriculum, student life and community.

Those recommended represent the top 10 percent of Catholic colleges in the U.S. based on Catholic identity and cover a wide range of institutions in terms of history, size, location and academic focus.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

U.S. Expert in Catholic Social Teaching Cuts Through the Putrid Smoke and Clears the Air

Templeton laureate Michael Novak has penned a rather fine article in National Review Online about Ave Maria School of Law. This excerpt captures the clarity and essence of the piece:

Sometimes, though, a violation of fairness seems so flagrant that one feels a duty to ask all contenders to step back, slowly examine the evidence on all sides, hear the best arguments from each, and then try to go forward in fairness and justice. Law professors, above all, should wish to hear both sides of a case. So should we all.
Ambassador Novak should be applauded, so we'll do so here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rise of the New Catholic Colleges



September 23-29, 2007 IssuePope John Paul II said that the only reason a Catholic institution exists is to evangelize. I would have a tough time looking at the vast majority of Catholic universities and saying that their primary goal is evangelization.”

Saturday, September 1, 2007

AMSL: Oranges to Oranges

Those who monitor the progress of the Ave Maria School of Law may find it interesting to compare AMSL to both another new Catholic law school (St. Thomas, in Minneapolis), and to an established Catholic law school (Catholic University of America). Data compiled by the ABA and reported each year by Cooley Law School as a public service is below (click to see a larger image):

This information represents an objective snapshot of the school - and demonstrates that the school is doing rather well. Check out the bar-passage rate (best in the nation, and far better than both schools) and employment rate (almost equal to veteran Catholic U., and 35% better than fellow-upstart St. Thomas U.). One statistic that is not in the graphic but is in Cooley's report and is based on the ABA data: Ave Maria has the number one rating of all law schools in the country for "program achievement" (an objective measure of the effectiveness of a school's academic program).

Kudos to Dean Dobranski and the entire law school community.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ave Maria School of Law Moves Forward

Ave Maria Law School Weathers Critics, Moves Forward, Says Dean
By Michael Chapman Managing Editor
August 30, 2007

Dean Bernard Dobranski clears the air about what is really going on at Ave Maria School of Law. Its well worth the read for the fair minded.

Click here for the full story.

Friday, August 24, 2007

ABA Dismisses Dissident Concerns Over Governance and Academic Freedom at AMSL

Today, Dean Bernard Dobranski issued the following statement via email to all members of the Ave Maria School of Law community:

To Members of the Ave Maria Community

The American Bar Association has reviewed the numerous allegations against Ave Maria School of Law filed by undisclosed faculty members. Of all of the various allegations regarding school governance, academic freedom, and other issues, the only matter on which the ABA has asked us to report regards faculty hiring and retention. We will, of course, provide the ABA with all of the relevant information necessary to demonstrate compliance with the ABA Standard.

Although the ABA treats this process confidentially – and it is our intention to do the same – a brief update on where the near-completed process currently stands was warranted, given the level of misrepresentation and speculation which has surfaced regarding the ABA’s inquiry.

We look forward to completing this process in the months ahead in cooperation with the ABA, and to moving forward with all members of the Ave Maria community – faculty, students, and graduates – in pursuit of our shared
mission and vision.

This action by the ABA (a disinterested third party with enormous clout in the legal community) dramatically undercuts the ardent critics of the school's move, who base their criticism primarily on matters of governance and academic freedom and who have pinned their hopes of disrupting the school's administration on ABA intervention.

While the ABA has asked for more information about faculty hiring and retention, the school's recent announcement of new faculty hires bodes well for the successful resolution of the ABA inquiry, an inquiry which was instigated by those who oppose the school's move to Florida. The ABA is rightly concerned that the school will maintain a competent faculty regardless of any move, and the school clearly has that issue under control, despite the loss (or predictable loss) of some very competent professors who oppose the move so strongly.

Happily, Dean Dobranski is well-versed in the ABA standards, as demonstrated by the school's deftly managed fast-track accreditation in 2003 (and as Steve Safranek knew when he insisted that Dobranski be the school's founding dean).

This is great news. Congratulations, Bernie.

Monday, August 20, 2007

AMU compared to Notre Dame, BYU & Liberty

Naples News is featuring Ave Maria Town and Ave Maria University all week. They make superficial comparisons to Notre Dame University, Brigham Young University, and Liberty University.

AMU: "One of a kind"

Seems like enthusiasm is bursting out all over:

“We have been surrounded by the spirit of anticipation for so long,” she said. “It has been in the back of our heads, but you sort of never think it is going to happen. It’s so exciting. To see it, it is amazing.”

University Undergoes Amazing Transformation

Naples News offers its take on Ave Maria Universities amazing transformation:

You would think $246 million would buy some peace of mind. Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan pledged that amount to conceive the permanent site for Ave Maria University, his dream of a Catholic educational institution from the heart of the church. From that promise, he’s received state-of-the-art buildings, a sparkling centerpiece in a 100-foot oratory and become one of the major players in Catholic education. He’s also got $246 million worth of headaches.

Ave Maria Prep Opens With Whopping 140 Students

Projected to have only 70 students this first year, the town with almost no current residents has a very popular K-12 school:

Enrollment has been strong,” he said. “It is double than what we expected, but we are very good at growth and adaptation, so we have planned ahead.” In fact, enrollment is so good, the school has gone to waiting lists for students in first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Students also will study languages, including Spanish and Latin, Guernsey said. Students will be educated by four nuns from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Guernsey said. “They live and study and work here. They will be in full religious habit,” he said. “They are young and joyful and I know they are going to touch the hearts and minds of our students.”

Love at First Sight For Ave Maria's First Families

Seems like everyone has the same reaction:

One future Ave Maria couple, George and Anisoara Sinclair, who are Greek Orthodox Christians, did have some reservations about moving to the town, even though they both got “goosebumps” from the excitement of taking the town tour...“There was an emotional connection for us,” George Sinclair added. “It was like you see in the movies. Having a place in Ave Maria will be wonderful for us.”

Publix to Build at Ave Maria

This is great news - proof of just how much confidence the local community has in the town and university.

Publix Super Markets Inc., the Lakeland-based supermarket chain that owns 655 stores in Florida, is finalizing a lease with the Ave Maria town developer, Barron Collier Cos.

“It’s in the final stages,” Barron Collier Vice President Blake Gable said.

Details on the proposed store are few, but the store’s plans are based on a “smaller prototype” of approximately 28,000 square feet...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

AMSL Dean Offers Simple Explanation

Sometimes the simplest answers are the best. Here is an excerpt from an apparent interview with Dean Dobranski:

Q: What is the state of relations between the Ave Maria faculty and the Board of Governors?

Dean Dobranski (paraphrased in the original):
Its relationship with much of the faculty is excellent. As to the dissident group, I don’t think the Board has a bad relationship. I think it’s the dissident group having contempt for the Board’s decisionmaking process. [The view of the dissident faculty members] is not the way boards operate. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to operate in the best interest of the law school.

[O]n the issue of faculty involvement, I made a count [of] how much instances we had of soliciting faculty input. We had at least 14 specific instances of soliciting faculty input since 2002 on the question of the move. They were also invited to present their views to the board [at meetings].

But this isn’t really about input. It’s about who is going to make the decision. And the decision has been made -- the Board has made its decision.

AMSL Announces Tenure for 3 Faculty

From: Dobranski, Bernard
Sent: Wed 8/8/2007 7:00 PM
To: All Law System Distribution; All Alumni
Subject: Tenure Announcement

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Governors of Ave Maria School of Law has granted tenure to three of our faculty members: Associate Professor Jane Adolphe, Associate Professor James A. Sonne, and Associate Dean and Associate Professor Eugene R. Milhizer. These are the first professors to receive tenure since the formation of our Law School some seven years ago. I would like to summarize briefly the many accomplishments of our newly tenured faculty members.

Professor Jane Adolphe began her legal career clerking for the Alberta Court of Appeal and Court of Queen’s Bench. After practicing with the Bennett Jones law firm, she served as a prosecutor with the Alberta Crown Prosecutor‘s Office. She then worked as a legal consultant with the law firm of Capua, Varrenti e Associati in Italy. In 2001 Professor Adolphe joined our faculty. Her course offerings include Criminal Law, Family Law, International Law, International Human Rights, and Canon Law. Professor Adolphe holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary, common-law and civil-law degrees from McGill University, and a Licentiate and a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce in Rome. Her dissertation, “A Light to the Nations: The Holy See and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” was published in 2003. Since coming to Ave Maria, Professor Adolphe has published and has had accepted for publication a wide variety of scholarly works, including several book chapters and law review articles, two of which were published in our own Ave Maria Law Review. Particularly noteworthy is Professor Adolphe’s service on the Delegation for the Holy See at the United Nations involving women’s and children’s rights. Also, she is an Advisor to the Catholic Institute for the Family and Human Rights, and an Advisor to Focus on the Family Canada.

Professor James Sonne began his legal career at McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe in Richmond, Virginia, working primarily in labor and employment litigation. During that time, he also developed expertise in litigating high-profile constitutional cases involving religion and free-speech issues on both the trial and appellate level. In 2001, Professor Sonne joined our faculty. His course offerings include Civil Procedure, Labor Law, Employment Law, and Employee Benefits and Compensation. Professor Sonne holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Duke University and a Juris Doctor with honors from Harvard Law School. Since coming to Ave Maria, Professor Sonne has published or has had accepted for publication articles in the Notre Dame Law Review, University of Richmond Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law, and Engage (a Federalist Society journal). He has made presentations on a variety of topics throughout the country, including Harvard University, Marquette University Law School, and Thomas Aquinas College.

Dean Eugene Milhizer began his legal career as an Army Judge Advocate where he participated in hundreds of appeals and tried scores of criminal cases, representing both the prosecution and the defense. He later served in various capacities with the Department of the Army, including Staff Judge Advocate on two occasions, Deputy Chief of the Government Appellate Division, Regional Defense Counsel, Magistrate, and Criminal Law Attorney. Dean Milhizer previously held a three-year teaching appointment at the Judge Advocate General’s School at the University of Virginia, where he taught Crimes and Defenses, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Trial Advocacy, among other courses. Dean Milhizer earned both a Bachelor of Arts with high distinction and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan, as well as a Master of Laws from the Judge Advocate General‘s School, where he was the first honor graduate. In 2001, Dean Milhizer joined our faculty. His course offerings include Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, National Security Law, and Military Law. Since coming to Ave Maria, Dean Milhizer has built upon his reputation as a productive scholar by publishing articles in the St. John’s Law Review, Missouri Law Review, Valparaiso Law Review, and Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal. He has made presentations at the Yale Law School, University of Michigan School of Law, Hofstra University School of Law, Wayne State University Law School, and other academic institutions. In May 2006, Dean Milhizer was appointed Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

To obtain tenure, a faculty member has the burden of establishing demonstrated excellence in teaching, a serious commitment to scholarly research and publication, and a proven record of service to the Law School. Professors Adolphe and Sonne, and Dean Milhizer, have each fully satisfied these standards. I ask that you join me in congratulating these outstanding professors. We all look forward to their continuing contributions to our Law School in the years to come.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ave Maria to become new Commerical Center

A Naples-based maker of medical devices will move its manufacturing operations to Ave Maria, bringing hundreds of jobs to the new town that’s rising in eastern Collier County.

Arthrex plans to purchase 12 acres in Ave Maria, where it will build a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. The new plant is expected to open in early 2009.

First Community Bank, with assets of more than $1 billion, is building a new headquarters at Ave Maria and plans to relocate from Immokalee.

Other businesses locating in Ave Maria include Mexican restaurant Cilantro Tamales and Island Bike, which sells and repairs bikes.

For the full story see the Naples Daily News:

Arthrex to build manufacturing plant in Ave Maria August 8, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ave Maria Law Dean Welcomes New Board Members

Email from Dean Bernard Dobranski, dated August 8, 2007:

I am pleased to announce the addition of five new members to our Board of Governors. From the very beginning of the Law School’s existence we have been blessed with great Board members who are accomplished in their various fields and committed to the success of our institution. I am confident these new Board members will continue that tradition.

Please join me in welcoming:

The Hon. Judge Patrick J. Conlin. Judge Conlin was chief judge of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court before retiring in 1998. Before that he served as a Washtenaw County District Court Judge. Judge Conlin received both his Juris Doctor degree and his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

Mr. Thomas B. Garlick. Mr. Garlick is managing partner of Garlick, Stetler & Peeples, LLP, a Naples, Florida-based law firm. He practices primarily in the areas of commercial and residential real estate, real estate development, land use law, corporate and general business law, civil litigation and mediation. Mr. Garlick graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center and received his undergraduate degree from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York.

Major General John T. (Mike) Coyne. General Coyne is a retired Major General in the United States Marine Corps where he held various positions, including Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Reserve Affairs and Deputy Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command. In civilian life he was Managing partner of the law firm Jordan Coyne & Savits. General Coyne also graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center and received his undergraduate degree from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York.

Mr. Leonard A. Leo. Mr. Leo is executive vice-president of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies. Mr. Leo is also co-editor with James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal of Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and Worst in the White House. Mr. Leo received both his Juris Doctor degree and his undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

Mrs. Cathy Cleaver Ruse. Mrs. Ruse was formerly chief spokesperson on human life issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She was chief counsel to the House of Representative Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and is currently Senior Fellow for Legal Studies at the Family Research Council. Mrs. Ruse graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center and received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa.

These new members joined the Board of Governors at its meeting last week, the first regularly scheduled Board meeting since the relocation decision.

Sadly, the Board has accepted the resignations of five members because of the term-limits policy and for personal reasons. Those leaving the Board are: Professor Helen M. Alvaré, Professor of Law, Catholic University of America; Professor Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame; Reverend Joseph D. Fessio, S.J.; Professor Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; and Reverend Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. And, as many of you know, Mr. Bowie Kuhn, a dear friend of the Law School and a Board of Governor member, passed away in March.

I thank these former members of the Board of Governors for their exemplary service to the Law School during this important time in its history. Their contributions have been immeasurable and they will be missed. All of these living, departing Board members are invited to join the Board of Advisors, which will advise and consult with the Board of Governors and myself.

I am pleased to welcome back for continuing service the following Board members: Dr. Michael M. Uhlmann, Visiting Professor of American Government, Claremont Graduate University; Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan, Chairman of the Board, Ave Maria Foundation; Dean Bernard Dobranski, President and Founding Dean, Ave Maria School of Law; Mr. William F. Harrington, Chairman, Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP; Mr. Peter A. Carfagna, Senior Counsel, Calfee, Halter & Griswold, LLP; Mrs. Kate W. O’Beirne, Washington Editor, The National Review; His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit; and His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York.

In addition to the new Board members, there will be newly hired professors, RWA lecturers, and staff at the Law School this fall. I am confident these new additions will contribute energy and dedication to the institution, and provide outstanding service to our Law School.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thomas Cole (1801–1848)

View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow, 1836

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1908.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ave Town on Today

For those of you who missed Ave Maria Town on Today, here's a link. In my opinion, the interview was done in a fair way and the town looks great. Mr. Gable was very impressive in the interview.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In Appreciation of a Priest

The date was May 17, 2003 and the community of Ave Maria School of Law gathered at Christ the King Catholic Church for a landmark event in the history of the nascent institution: the first Baccalaureate Mass. The inaugural Class of 2003 was on hand in all its glory and the occasion was marked by numerous con-celebrating priests. One priest was an obvious choice to serve as the homilist, but as he addressed the assembled faithful, he could hardly hold back his tears.

The homilist was Fr. Michael Orsi, then as now the Chaplain of Ave Maria. His tears were genuine; they were tears of love. During my three years in Ann Arbor, I saw Fr. Orsi devote himself to the service of all members of the Ave Maria community: students, staff, and faculty. He baptized their babies and occasionally presided at their weddings. And even when no monumental occasion was at hand, he was there for daily Mass, caring for his flock and pointing us in the right direction. He cared about each and every member of the community.

Fr. Orsi's love of the school's pro-life club, Lex Vitae, was emblematic of his commitment to the mission of the school. Father was also a scholar who regularly published articles. While his scholarship never devolved into an ivory-tower mentality, it made him a good fit for a community engaged in scholarly pursuits and intellectual understanding. These things, i.e., Father's scholarship and his love of the mission and those who were pursuing it at Ave Maria, aided him in the monumental task of standing at the spiritual and sacramental center of the law school. A spiritual leader is of paramount importance in a community founded to serve God in the world. We can thank the Lord that He provided an able figure to fill this role. I pray that we may never lose sight of our gratitude.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Incense: Why do YOU love us? Could you love us any more?

Based on all the feedback we are getting, Ave Marians and Catholics of good will from at least three continents consider Incense to be a welcome addition to the blogosphere - a heart-warming breath of rich, sweet, air that always pleases.

We are popular because every day we confirm and affirm what you already know: being Catholic is a wonderful privilege and the good works of Ave Maria are an extraordinary and wonderful service to Christ's Church. Apparently its nice to be reminded of that each day - and that's why we keep doing what we do.

Please tell everyone here just why you love Incense, the Church and Ave Maria.

We are an EXTREMELY independent website. We take orders from no one, and never would. But that does not mean Incense won't consider heeding your suggestions, so please post them on this thread.

This is an open thread; comments will show up instantly and [we won't be editing any comments] unless they are raunchy, calumnious, or spam.

Have at it.

Locals Discuss Positive Impact As Ave Maria "Opens"

Ahhh, the sweet, sweet, smell of incense as it rises heavenward!

Check out all the good things locals are saying about the advent of Ave Maria, Florida, now that businesses and residents are moving into the new town.

The locals have experienced - or expect to - the arrival of more steady jobs, more and better commerce for local businesses, cheaper prices for consumers, and more resident involvement in local non-profit social service boards.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ave Maria's Bishop Supports Motu Proprio and Latin Mass

According to news reports, the Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, the recently installed bishop of the diocese of Venice, Florida (including Ave Maria and all of Collier County), "seemed to endorse the Latin Mass with his recent actions and statements."

"The interesting thing is many of the people attending the Latin Mass at St. Martha's are young families who did not grow up with the Latin Mass," Dewane said Monday. "I think it is a movement of the spirit and we have to be open to that."
According to the same report, Bishop Dewane also made recent personnel changes that will facilitate the use of the 1962 rite.

***Thanks to the kind priest who sent me the tip.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It's almost here: Ave Maria Town & University Offer Sneak Preview

It seems like it was just a few months ago that the plan to move to Florida was announced - but it was actually five years ago. It's amazing what can happen - and how quickly it can happen - when vision is coupled with resources! Its almost here:

New Catholic University & Newest Town in Florida Offer Sneak Preview to Media Prior to Opening

EVENT: Ave Maria University and the town of Ave Maria will offer a sneak preview of its new, permanent campus in Ave Maria, Fla., to members of the media prior to first day of class in August. Ave Maria University and Town leadership will be available for interviews and guided tours of the campus.

WHEN: July 18, 2007

Interviews & Tours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

-- Thomas S. Monaghan, Ave Maria University Founder and Chancellor
-- Blake Gable, Barron Collier Companies Vice President of Real Estate and Project Manager, Town of Ave Maria
-- Nicholas J. Healy, Ave Maria University President
-- Donald Schrotenboer, Ave Maria Development Project Manager -- Carole Carpenter, Ave Maria University Director of Development
-- Fr. Robert Garrity, Ave Maria University Chaplain

-- Frank Lloyd Wright inspired design permanent campus including academic buildings, library, student center, dorms, physical plant, athletic fields, oratory, campus mall, waterways.
-- Kindergarten through grade 12 school
-- Town center with six mixed use buildings, including retail, office and condominiums. Other retail and commercial sites under development.
-- Town Center La Piazza.
-- Six new residential developments in various phases of development including a golf course, waterpark and infrastructure.

WHERE: Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL 34142. On Ave Maria Blvd. heading toward the town center. There will be signs to direct you to the media check-in area.

OTHER: The Town of Ave Maria will also host a "TownFest" from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 21. The public is invited to view the town, model homes and parts of the University for the first time. There will be picnic food, give-a-ways,
music, magic and activities for kids.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Christ's Church Subsists in the the Catholic Church [click here for full Vatican Text]

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has answered some questions to clarify the Church's teaching regarding her fundamental nature. Here is an excerpt:

Christ "established here on earth" only one Church and instituted it as a "visible and spiritual community"5, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.6 "This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him"7.

In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church8, in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.9 Nevertheless, the word "subsists" can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the "one" Church); and this "one" Church subsists in the Catholic Church.10

Monday, July 9, 2007

Ave Maria Law Professor Richard Myers' latest: Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy

Congratulations to Professor Myers and his colleagues upon the publication of what appears to be a great (albeit expensive) reference book:

With more than 800 topics from over 300 contributors, Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy is a comprehensive introduction to the Catholic vision of society, social relations, and the human being. It combines theoretical work on important topics and scholarly disciplines (e.g., economics, moral theology, natural law, philosophy, psychology); social science perspectives on a variety of topics (e.g., alcoholism and drug abuse, forgiveness and mercy, globalization); and treatment of practical policy implications that flow from applying the Catholic religious, moral, and intellectual tradition to contemporary issues (e.g., abortion, assisted suicide, immigration policy, school choice, torture).

The book reflects a broad range of Catholic thought that is international in scope, but with an emphasis on the American situation. Its interdisciplinary approach offers insights from a variety of perspectives: theological, philosophical, historical, economical, sociological, political, psychological, and legal. The work will appeal to individuals who want a clear and accurate introduction to Catholic social thought and a Catholic-informed social science and social policy. One certainly need not be a devotee and advocate for Catholic social thinking to find this encyclopedia of good use as a handy reference tool.

About the Editors
- Michael L. Coulter, Ph.D. is Professor of Political Science and Humanities at Grove City College.
- Stephen M. Krason, Ph.D., J.D. is Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and Director of the Political Science Program at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
- Richard S. Myers, J.D. is Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law.
- Joseph A. Varacalli, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Nassau Community College-S.U.N.Y.

Kudos as well to other AMSL faculty who contributed material to the project: Jane Adolphe, Howard Bromberg, Joe Falvey, Bruce Frohnen, Patrick Quirk, Steve Safranek, and Jim Sonne.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

New York Times Promotes Baseless Criticism of Pope Benedict

The Church's critics are - normally - easily thwarted by the full truth. In this case, the NYT repeats false information about the new motu proprio, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, that Abe Foxman is circulating as the head of the Anti-Defamation League:

Amid opposition from other Jewish groups, the Anti-Defamation League condemned the change on Saturday, calling it a “body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations.” While an earlier reference to “perfidious Jews” was removed officially from the Tridentine Mass just before the council, which set the stage for progressively better relations between Jews and Catholics, the group condemned a remaining prayer on Good Friday calling for Jews’ conversion.

“We are extremely disappointed and deeply offended that nearly 40 years after the Vatican rightly removed insulting anti-Jewish language from the Good Friday Mass, that it would now permit Catholics to utter such hurtful and insulting words by praying for Jews to be converted,” Abraham H. Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s president, said in a statement.
In fact, the new motu proprio actually states that any expanded permission does NOT apply during the Triduum (Good Friday is part of the Triduum):

In Masses celebrated without the people, any priest of Latin rite, whether secular or religious, can use the Roman Missal published by Pope Blessed John XXIII in 1962 or the Roman Missal promulgated by the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI in 1970, on any day except in the Sacred Triduum.

Which means that Foxman is complaining about a phantom reality that does not exist. It actually would seem that the pope has gone out of his way to thoroughly eliminate any basis for a Jewish person to take umbrage with the motu proprio's contents.

Which is worse: that the New York Times did not do any verification research before repeating the demonstrably false claims of Foxman, or that the Times uncritically repeated Foxman's claims in its reporting knowing they were false?

NB: I wonder if the NYT even knows that Good Friday is the one day of the year that, contrary to what Foxman states, Catholics do not celebrate Mass.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Video: AMU theologian Fessio reflects on motu proprio issued by his friend, Benedict XVI

In this video AMU theologian Father Joseph Fessio reflects on the motu proprio issued by his friend and mentor, Pope Benedict XVI. The link is found on the Ignatius Press web page that promotes the pope's book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, at Hat tip (and a "thank you" for his service to the Church and the nation) to a senior chaplain in the US Armed Forces for sending me the link.

Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. on "Pope Benedict and the Old Mass"

INCENSE Futures Spike as Motu Proprio is Released

In light of the new motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, and in the spirit of celebration and unity, readers are invited to share their most memorable, interesting or humorous experience involving the use of incense during Mass or other liturgies. Positive stories of memorable liturgies (with or without incense) related to Ave Maria are also welcome. (We will turn on the exhaust fan to rid the room of any annoying or noxious smoke and fumes).