The Roman Catholic World

Monday – February 15, 2010

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THE WANDERER, February 18, 2010 Edition (Page 7) – “Ave Maria University… A Ban Lifted, a Cardinal’s visit and Monaghan MIA” by Marielena Montesino de Stuart

Ave Maria University… A Ban Lifted, a Cardinal’s Visit and Monaghan MIA was published in the February 18, 2010 Edition of The Wanderer (Page 7).  It was available online as of February 12, 2010 at 1:00PM Eastern Time.  Here is the enhanced version for The Roman Catholic World.



AMU and The Stockholm Syndrome

Does Ave Maria University administration act on perceptions, or on principles?

During a press conference on November 5, 2009 Ave Maria University’s administration honored billionaire / politician, Tom Golisano, in violation of the rules of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).  Golisano has an active and long-standing history of breathtaking financial support of pro-choice politicians and pro-choice institutions.  But Ave Maria University’s administration does not seem to mind– and will also permanently honor Golisano by naming a 38,107 square-foot building after him.  Construction is scheduled to begin soon.

In spite of having obtained a formal press registration as a reporter for The Wanderer, AMU’s administration banned me from Golisano’s controversial press conference on November 5, 2009– and from over 900 acres of university property— indefinitely!

Click on the following important link for Ave Maria University and Golisano:  Timelines and Facts

It should come as no surprise that AMU’s administration chose to lift my ban just before the visit of  Francis Cardinal George, on February 2nd.  This came about through an unexpected notice indicating that the “senior leadership” (whatever that is) had decided “in charity” to give me permission to enter the campus, “in view of the fact that there are events on campus this spring which you might wish to attend.”  

No assurances were given when I asked that AMU stop harassing me through their Security Guards or by calling the Sheriff,  if  I step back on AMU property.  Noteworthy is the fact that I had not contacted the AMU administration, nor did I agree to anything in return for the lifting of this ban.

Sheriff Deputy and Thomas Minick (Chief Security Guard) threaten me with arrest to keep me out of Golisano Press Conference on Nov. 5, 2009

The Ave Maria University administration refuses to explain what it considers “disruptive” (the only reason given for my ban).  The administration also refuses to explain why suddenly I am not considered “disruptive”—since I continue to write– and I certainly will continue to attend town government meetings, where on 11/03/2009 I asked questions  regarding Florida statutes— questions which AMU labeled as “disruptive” and used as the basis for my ban, pursuant to their own statements to the press.

The reader should note that town government meetings are unrelated to AMU matters.  See News Coverage of Ban at the end of this article.

Ave Maria, Florida

AMU’s administration is more interested in looking good, than in treating me justly.  My ban, and the lifting thereof,  reminds me of the Stockholm Syndrome— a paradoxical phenomenon where your captors  increase your pain, then expect gratitude when they offer to relieve it back to where it was, before they increased it.

 A Prince of the Church visits the campus

While centers of higher education respect agreements established with visiting lecturers—this is not always true at Ave Maria University.

Francis Cardinal George – President of the USCCB

Case in point:  Francis Cardinal George, from the Archdiocese of Chicago, who is also President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) visited Ave Maria University on February 2nd.  Much to Francis Cardinal George’s surprise, the lecture he had been invited to give, turned into a big public event–  the Spring Formal Convocation. Ave Maria University’s administration went so far as to display the seal of the Archdiocese of Chicago on the AMU program handed to the public.

An Honorary Doctorate was given to His Eminence, amidst a display of pomp and circumstance.  The public relations machine and photo op was out in full force.  So much so, that the administration and faculty appeared in full regalia. But not His Eminence, who came in proper, but simple priestly attire—expecting to deliver a quiet lecture to a group of students.

The ceremony included a strange report by John E. Sites, V.P., of Academic Affairs, regarding the ongoing confusing status of the application for accreditation through SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools)– as well as the “exit interview”.  Sites’ remarks culminated with the following amazing warning in front of a public audience, which must have  left His Eminence perplexed, at best:

“Now, I don’t want to hear from anybody in this room, or anybody within I could get to, who says anything about accreditation.  The quickest way to do us damage is for anybody to say ‘oh, I was at the meeting and I think it’s all OK.’  Nothing is OK ‘til June, until the commission… whatever you do remember that we don’t have any control, it’s all up to the commission on colleges.  We leave the decision to them.  Nobody says anything.”

“Nobody says anything.”  That always seems to be the mantra at AMU.

Nick Healy, President of Ave Maria University

Nick Healy, President of Ave Maria University, praised His Eminence’s work, and stated that in the decades following the Second Vatican Council “confusion reigned in many theological circles.”  Healy added , “while there is still much repair work, and I think that Ave Maria is part of that repair work, I also think it’s safe to say that the worst of the crisis of Truth within the Church has passed.”

One is to assume that Healy’s expertise on ecclesiastical matters does not come from the fact that he is a maritime lawyer—but from the fact that his administration was prone to issuing liturgical directives.

In his opening remarks, Cardinal George expressed his surprise at the big convocation production, as follows:

“I hadn’t realized this was to be a convocation discourse.  I responded to an invitation from my friend of many years, Professor Lamb.  Father Lamb and I have worked together in different ways, and I thought he was inviting me to give a talk to the Theology Department, and I come to see that it’s something of far greater import, and I’m deeply honored that you’ve asked me to be part of this convocation.”

His Eminence then went on to deliver the lecture he had originally planned for the Theology Department, which covered the topic of the intersection or relationship between Catholicism and American culture, placing importance on the fact that “you have to evangelize the culture” and that  “there needs to be evangelization beyond individual conversion.” Cardinal George spoke about the Holy Father’s address to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005 regarding the hermeneutics of continuity, versus the “hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture”—“which avails itself of the sympathy of the mass media.”   His Eminence ended his lecture by quoting St. Augustine of Hippo—“Our hearts are restless until we rest in God.”

A Contradiction

The first part of Cardinal George’s remarks regarding the nature of his visit to AMU is consistent with a statement I received from His Eminence’s Director of Communication and Public Relations, the day before the Cardinal’s visit to AMU; however, Cardinal George’s additional comment of being “deeply honored” contradicts the remaining part of the  public relations statement, which is provided below, for the benefit of the reader.

Statement dated February 1, 2010 from the Director of Communication and Public Relations at the Archdiocese of Chicago:

“As to the occasion of his talk, several months ago, Prof., Matthew Lamb, the chair of the Theology Department at Ave Maria University invited Cardinal George to give a lecture sponsored by his department.  Prof., Lamb is a longtime friend of Cardinal George, and the Cardinal accepted the invitation.  The Cardinal’s lecture should not be interpreted as a statement about recent developments at Ave Maria University or about the University itself.”

On November 5, 2009 Ave Maria University’s administration violated the guidelines of the USCCB regarding the honoring of individuals who support the culture of death, when the university’s administration honored Tom Golisano, an active financial supporter of pro-choice politicians and institutions that promote abortion at a national and international level.   In addition, Golisano ran three times for governor of New York on an “abortion-tolerant” platform.  In spite of his active and breathtaking financial support of politicians and institutions that support the culture of death, Golisano says that he is pro-life.  Another case where rhetoric is not supported by actions.

Which begs the question– will Cardinal George’s visit to AMU be perceived by the public as an endorsement of Ave Maria University—in spite of AMU’s violation of USCCB rules, by honoring Golisano?

The manner in which Cardinal George diffused the embarrassing situation of his scheduled lecture turning into a full-blown formal convocation, reminds us of St. Francis de Sales words: “When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.”    

Monaghan… Missing in Action

Thomas S. Monaghan

Meanwhile, Tom Monaghan, the Chancellor of AMU, was nowhere to be seen.

Where was he?  The Washtenaw Trial Court’s website in Michigan had announced  Ernsting vs. Ave Maria in the court’s calendar for Feb. 2nd and 3rd.

On February 9th, in an article titled “Fighting the College that Pizza Bought”  Laura Berman of The Detroit News wrote about this trial:

“It’s been two years since a state appeals court panel approved her [Ernsting’s] case, ostensibly clearing it for trial.  The Ave Maria lawyers resisted.  They appealed to the state Supreme Court, which declined to hear it.  They filed a motion arguing Ave Maria is entitled to an obscure “ecclesiastic abstention” that makes the college immune from secular court review, which was denied by a judge.”

Perhaps Monaghan claimed “ecclesiastic abstention” as the reason for his absence during the Cardinal’s visit.

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RHETORIC vs. ACTIONS:  Is Abortion Allowed in Monaghan’s Ave Maria? 

AVE MARIA and ABORTION:  The Controversy Behind Monaghan’s Ave Maria Town “Scheme” (by Constitutional Scholar Charles E. Rice)

Read background story about Golisano and AMU

News Coverage of Ban:  The draconian ban that was imposed on me by AMU was covered by print and online media, which included the following:

Naples Daily News headline  print edition on 11-12-09 (click HERE).

FOX 4 News Covered the story HERE ,  HERE and HERE

Instapundit linked to the story of the ban HERE. lists Instapundit as one of the five best read national conservative blogs, averaging over 425,000 page views per day. 

Poynter Online linked to the story HERE  

The President of the Catholic Media Coalition, Mary Ann Kreitzer, wrote about it HERE

The Chronicles of Ave Maria©  click HERE for further details on the ban.

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Marielena Montesino de Stuart

Marielena Montesino de Stuart writes for The Wanderer and for

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TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:  Monaghan’s Ave Maria Town “Scheme” + Is Abortion Allowed in Monaghan’s Ave Maria? + Tom Golisano gives Millions of Dollars to the William J. Clinton Foundation + Ave Maria University Honors Tom Golisano who is an Active Financial Supporter of Pro-Choice Politicians and Pro-Choice Institutions + Catholic Media Coalition +  Les Femmes-The Truth+  Blood Money+ Ave Maria Florida + Ave Maria University is Not a Catholic University +  Ave Maria University Bullying +  Is Ave Maria University ready to face ”Blood Money”?+  Ave Maria Stewardship Community District (AMSCD) Town Government +  Does AMU have a Right to Criticize Notre Dame? + What is the ”Ave Maria University Council” and what is its purpose? +  What is the Status of Ave Maria University’s Accreditation Process?  + Ave Maria University Board of Trustees +  Bishop Frank J. Dewane + The Two Firings of Father Joseph Fessio SJ + Firing a Priest + Lack of Fiduciary Responsibility + Institutional Instability + Tom Monaghan + Nicholas J. Healy Jr., President of Ave Maria University + Barron Collier the Ave Maria Town Developer + Ave Maria Development + Nua Baile + Ave Maria University 2nd Mortgages + Ave Maria Real Estate + Naples Daily News + The Wanderer Catholic Newspaper + Open Letter to the Ave Maria University Board of Trustees + Ex Corde Ecclesiae + Summorum Pontificum + Latin Mass + Communion Rail + etc.