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)