President, Ave Maria University

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Marielena Montesino de Stuart

The guest commentary by a resident of Ave Maria provides an opportunity to correct some serious misconceptions and erroneous ideas held by some.

Nick Healy

The town of Ave Maria was never intended to be an exclusive “orthodox Catholic environment” that a handful of people have demanded. Rather, it was intended — and thankfully is — a mixture of faiths. Among the Catholic residents, there is a mixture of spiritualities and differing liturgical preferences.

Marielena Montesino de Stuart suggests that Ex Corde Ecclesiae requires the local bishop to participate in the board of trustees, presumably as a permanent member. This is simply false. There is no such requirement, and to our knowledge none of the new (and orthodox) Catholic colleges initiated or sponsored by lay Catholics have the local bishop on their governing boards (e.g., Christendom College, Thomas Aquinas College, Thomas More College). We do, and very willingly, submit to our bishop, as required by Ex Corde Ecclesiae; our faculty and administrators give an oath of fidelity to the bishop; our theologians receive a mandatum from the bishop; and all our liturgies are under the supervision of a pastor appointed by the bishop.

De Stuart also makes the fundamental error of equating fidelity to the Catholic Church with a preference for Latin and/or the Tridentine Mass. She is perhaps unaware that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have strongly and repeatedly endorsed the Charismatic Renewal, with its exuberant praise and worship music. It is not for everyone, but neither is the Tridentine liturgy. Both are legitimate forms of worship and both are embraced by the church.

Ave Maria, Florida

It has been the university’s explicit desire from the onset to have all forms of Catholic worship permitted by the church to be permitted at Ave Maria University. Thankfully, the bishop and our pastor allow Mass in Latin, the Tridentine Mass and Mass with praise and worship music (all in good taste and quality). If anything, the more traditional liturgies are dominant, since our university choirs (with the support of the university’s Sacred Music Department) exclusively sing Gregorian Chant and sublime classical hymns at liturgies. Those students and town residents who prefer more contemporary liturgical music have been given very little, far less than in most parishes.

Yes, it took several months to work out the terms for the utilization of the Oratory, a building owned and maintained by the university, to be put at the disposal of a diocesan parish. The inherent complexities of such an arrangement take time and patience to be resolved, and the long and careful discussions ought not to be interpreted as “defiance” of the bishop.

As for kneeling for communion, the American bishops, with the formal approval of Rome, have established that the norm for receiving Communion is standing, although no one can be refused Communion if they kneel. Anyone who comes to Mass at the Oratory can testify that no one is ever refused Communion kneeling. In fact our pastor has installed kneelers near the altar — as is his prerogative — and in practice, many of those receiving Communion do so kneeling. Those who stand for Communion, in faithful compliance with the bishop’s explicit directive, should not be labeled as “unorthodox” as de Stuart’s too-narrow standards seem to suggest.

Diversity and pluralism are hallmarks of Catholicism and are celebrated at Ave Maria. Our multiplicity of legitimate liturgical options are attracting new parishioners from around the diocese and even from around the country. Sometimes finding a seat can be a challenge! The town is attracting both Catholics and non-Catholics due to its unique qualities as a family-friendly, safe and joyful place to live.   © Naples News

READ Marielena Montesino de Stuart’s response HERE


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NOTICE TO READERS:  Marielena Montesino de Stuart and  www.TheRomanCatholicWorld.com do not disparage anyone’s motives at Ave Maria, Ave Maria University, including the administrators, Ave Maria entities, Ave Maria Town, and Barron Collier Co.  Nothing contained in The Chronicles of Ave Maria© or Divine Comedy©, or anywhere on this blog/website questions the commitment of all involved to what they genuinely see as the best interests of Ave Maria, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria entities, Ave Maria Town and Barron Collier Co.  Marielena Montesino de Stuart and www.TheRomanCatholicWorld.com concede this.