The Roman Catholic World

July 23, 2010

by Marielena Montesino de Stuart

(Read Important RELATED STORY) 


 This is not a good day for the supporters of the Jackson Lab deal, which is an IMMORAL and UNDEMOCRATIC bail out of the Monaghan-Barron Collier Ave Maria experiment.

For readers that may just be getting acquainted with this moral and economic scandal — Tom Monaghan and Nicholas J. Healy, Jr., — chancellor and president of Ave Maria University, respectively, have embraced the proposed coming of the Jackson Lab to Ave Maria.  The Jackson Lab’s activities include holding “workshops” and providing “resources” for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.  Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research is strictly condemned by the Roman Catholic Church. 
The proposed opening of a Jackson Lab facility in Ave Maria has been a joint effort by Monaghan, Ave Maria University, Barron Collier Companies and the Economic Development Council– working with other local entities that seek to expand the economic vision of Collier County.

The Board of Collier County Commissioners may try to finance the Jackson Lab’s move to Ave Maria through taxpayer funding, without a public vote.   Polls show that 82% of Collier County citizens oppose any taxpayer funding for the Jackson Lab’s move to Ave Maria.  

Of additional concern is the fact that the Catholic faculty at Ave Maria University has shown no public opposition to this moral and financial scandal, nor have the Catholic residents of Ave Maria–  with the exception of this writer.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of the Diocese of Venice in Florida, is letting the public know that he is very concerned about the Jackson Lab, and whether it can provide authentic human and economic development. 

Bishop Dewane’s concerns about the moral and ethical questions surrounding the Jackson Lab, casts a shadow of doubt on the credibility of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, which gave Monaghan a stamp of approval, so that he could proceed with making land available for the Jackson Lab.

The question is– why didn’t Monaghan seek the guidance of the local Bishop, instead? 

Seeking the guidance of his local Bishop, one who sits on the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University, could have stopped this Jackson Lab fiasco from happening.  A fiasco  which could have profound repercussions, not just for the residents of Ave Maria, but because of the burden it could place on taxpayers of Collier County, for many years to come. 

But, was Monaghan prepared to hear and accept the statement below?  

Bishop Dewane’s solid background in the world of business, and active participation on matters ranging from the environment to economic development, brings to the table not just moral and ecclesiastical authority as a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, but an authentic voice based on experience.

The following statement from the Diocese of Venice in Florida was issued through the Office of Communications:

While the Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida is aware of the potential economic benefits of any company coming to the region, there are other questions which have a profound moral and ethical impact that must also be considered.  Indeed, moral and ethical questions are at the very core of what constitutes truly authentic human and economic development.  Authentic human and economic development, in keeping with the Teachings of the Catholic Church, highlights not only the ‘wants’ of life, but more profoundly, the ‘oughts.’  This is also the case with regard to The Jackson Laboratory’s proposal to operate in Collier County.

Jackson Laboratory’s purported association with and openness to human embryonic stem cell research causes the Diocese of Venice concern.  Of particular note is a public statement made by the company that they are “not willing to rule out doing human embryonic stem cell research” (Naples Daily News, April 10, 2010).

People knowledgeable of stem cell research and therapy are aware that adult stem cell research has led to more medical advances and promise than that of human embryonic stem cell studies.  The Catholic Church does  support research using adult stem cells taken from a variety of sources. However, as is well known, since work on human embryonic stem cells involves the destruction of innocent human life, the Church does not approve of such research.

While encouraging and supporting biomedical research which respects innocent human life and advances the common good and in keeping fully with the Teachings of the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Venice has ethical and moral concerns as regards the potential activities at the proposed Jackson Laboratory facility.  Economic growth and development are not only components which impact the life of a community.  An organization which truly respects the rights of all human beings could and should “rule out” human embryonic stem cell research.  This is precisely because it involves the destruction of innocent human life and consequently, affects the community.  Without such an understanding, the plan of Jackson Laboratory, as it has been reported, presents difficulty for the Diocese of Venice in Florida.


Bob Reddy

Diocese of Venice in Florida

Communications Department

(941) 486-4701



His Excellency, Bishop Frank J. Dewane

Bishop Frank J. Dewane serves as the spiritual leader of more than 250,000 Catholics in the 10-county Diocese of Venice in Florida. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 as the second Bishop of the Diocese.

Bishop Dewane currently serves on a number of boards and committees, including the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” the charitable arm of the Holy See; the USCCB National Catholic Rural Life Committee as President of the Board of Directors which examines rural areas and determines what the Church is doing to help; the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace; and the Florida Catholic Conference Committee for Farmworker Justice and Immigration.
Bishop Dewane was born in Green Bay on March 9, 1950, the third child of Eleanor and Ben Dewane, devout Irish-Catholics who owned and operated a dairy farm. St. James Parish in Cooperstown, Wisc., was the center of community life for the Dewane family, which included four children. After high school graduation Bishop Dewane attended the University of Wisconsin where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. He then earned a Master’s Degree in International Administration from The American University in Washington, D.C.
Prior to entering the seminary, he worked for the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in Moscow, Russia, and then for a subsidiary of PepsiCo in New York City.
Bishop Dewane began his studies for the priesthood at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind., where he completed one year of philosophy. He then studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. While in Rome, he also completed advanced studies in canon law at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.
On July 16, 1988, Bishop Dewane was ordained to the priesthood and appointed to the Diocese of Green Bay as assistant pastor. He also worked for the Diocesan Tribunal.
In 1991 he was appointed to serve as a member of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York City. He had been serving in the Diocese of Green Bay as assistant pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
From 1995 to 2001 Bishop Dewane served on the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum.”
In 2001, he was appointed Under Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, a post he had held at The Vatican until 2006. The primary responsibility of the Pontifical Council is to promote justice, peace, development and human rights world-wide. As Under Secretary, then-Monsignor Dewane was an official delegate of the Holy See to numerous international conferences and world summits.
On April 25, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI named him Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida. On July 25, 2006 Bishop Frank J. Dewane was installed as the second bishop.
1950-born in Green Bay, WI, to Eleanor and Ben Dewane.

1988-Ordained to the priesthood

1988-1991 Assistant pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Green Bay

1991-1995 Member of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York City

1995-2001 Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” Rome

2001-2006 Under Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Rome

April 2006 Coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida

July 2006 Ordained as Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida


Member of Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”

USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace

Pontifical North American College in Rome Board of Directors Treasurer

USCCB National Catholic Rural Life Conference President of the Board of Directors

USCCB Advisory Group on Interreligious Relations to the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Catholic Legal Immigration Network Board of Directors

Holy Land Foundation Board of Directors

Florida Catholic Conference Committee for Farmworker Justice and Immigration.

Ave Maria University Board of Trustees

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Leo University

Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

Chaplain ad honorum to the Order of Malta

Episcopal Advisor to the Daughters of Isabella

Third Degree Knights of Columbus


1992, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Conference on Environment and Development

1994, Cairo, Egypt – Conference on Population and Development, Cairo

1995, Beijing, China – Women and Development, Beijing (China);

1995, Copenhagen, Denmark – World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen

1996, Istanbul, Turkey – Conference on Human Settlements

1998, Rome, Italy – Diplomatic Conference instituting the International Criminal Court

2001, Durban, South Africa – World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban

2002, Monterrey, Mexico – Conference on Financing for Development

2003, Kyoto, Japan – Third World Water Forum

2003, Cancun, Mexico – Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization, Annual Meetings of the Board of Directors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

2006, Mexico City, – Fourth World Water Forum

May 2007 – Member of an international delegation of Church leaders on a mission to press G8 European leaders to honor commitments made to aid Africa.



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Copyright © Marielena Montesino de Stuart. All rights reserved.

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TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:  Bishop Frank J. Dewane + Ave Maria Florida and First Amendment +The People’s Republic of Ave Maria, Florida + Ave Maria University + The Jackson Laboratory + Workshops and Resources for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research + Eugenics + Margaret Sanger + Tom Monaghan + Tom Golisano +  Nicholas J. Healy Jr., President of AMU + Barron Collier Companies + The Ave Maria Stewardship Community District.

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