by Marielena Montesino de Stuart

The Roman Catholic World

August 26, 2010

If Rick Scott becomes governor of Florida, it may be the end of the Jackson Lab-Ave Maria tax payer funded proposal– and more than a few may end up shaking behind their desks, if Scott takes a slow walk down the halls of the Legislature.

Scott, a Naples businessman, defeated the GOP’s Tallahassee  establishment candidate, Bill McCollum, in the Florida Republican Primary for governor.  Scott has announced his pro-life stance, and his opposition to The Jackson Lab proposal.  The Naples Daily News reported on August 22nd that “Scott also doesn’t support the use of stimulus money, on which Jackson Labs is contingent.”

Yesterday, Scott voiced his support of a judge’s ruling that bars the use of taxpayer money for experiments that destroy human embryos.

This scenario is not good for The Jackson Lab-Ave Maria deal.


The Jackson Lab’s proposed move to Ave Maria has been widely and publicly referred to as a taxpayer funded bail out (without the public’s vote) of the Barron Collier/Tom Monaghan/Ave Maria real estate “venture”– or shall we call it “experiment”?

In other words, The Jackson Lab-Ave Maria proposal is Florida’s very own model of socialist government expansion, and corporate welfare– wrapped in what appears to be one big bureaucratic scheme.  Meanwhile, a Naples Daily News  public poll continues to climb, with 84% against the use of any tax money for The Jackson Lab’s move to Ave Maria.

The Jackson Lab has a controversial past in Eugenics, and a controversial present in “workshops” and ”resources” for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (HESC).   This week’s court ruling against the use of taxpayer money for experiments that destroy human embryos may affect the mutant mouse business, that The Jackson Lab promotes as “resources” for HESC research.

In addition, The Jackson Lab’s VP, Charles Hewett, has gone on record saying that they are “…not willing to rule out doing human embryonic stem cell research.”  This more than casts a cloud of doubt over the use of taxpayer money for The Jackson Lab deal.

Meanwhile, Tom Monaghan– the pizza-millionaire with a 70-year plan to remake Catholicism in America, who is also the Chancellor of Ave Maria University, has welcomed the proposed move of The Jackson Lab to the semi-transformed swamplands near the entrance of Ave Maria.

Monaghan has also been reported as having provided the land where The Jackson Lab would sit– which brings up an interesting question:

Who will Tom Monaghan support for governor of Florida at this point, when so much is at stake in Ave Maria?

Monaghan is well known for injecting himself into the political arena, by throwing his support behind candidates like Brownback and Romney.  But their political aspirations did not end well.  Was Monaghan the “kiss of death” in these campaigns?


There is a woman named Alex Sink.  She is pro-choice and Democrat, and is competing against Scott for the governor’s seat.

Could Sink get a call from the pizza man?   Should she answer it?   Why not?

After all, Monaghan is honoring, in perpetuity, a billionaire/politician named Tom Golisano,  who has given breathtaking monetary support to NARAL-endorsed pro-choice politicians, including $1 million for Barack Obama in 2008.  Monaghan has been very happy to erect a building bearing Golisano’s name, on the Ave Maria University “unabashedly Catholic” campus.  Perhaps he could be equally happy to ask for Alex Sink’s support of The Jackson Lab-Ave Maria deal.

But the Ave Maria story has more twists than the Guoliang Tunnel in China.

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida issued a  public statement expressing his concerns over The Jackson Lab’s proposed move to Ave Maria.   Monaghan appears unmoved, and continues to welcome The Jackson Lab, in spite of the fact that the Bishop is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University.  And then of course, there is that ‘inconvenient’ 2008 document from the U.S. Bishops, calling Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research “gravely immoral.”

Interestingly,  Ave Maria University has never gained official Catholic recognition from the local Bishop, hence cannot call itself a “Catholic university” on its own website, nor on its promotional material.  In spite of this, the president of the university calls it “unabashedly Catholic.”

Meanwhile, Monaghan is moving full steam ahead, as evident in his long-standing aspiration, which appeared in Canada’s Catholic Register (May 14, 2010):

Under Monaghan’s plan, the seven-year-old university with more than 700 students will, by 2077, produce 4,000 priests — “good priests” — 2,500 nuns, 400 “top notch” theologians, 8,000 teachers for U.S. Catholic schools, 1,500 school principals and 40,000 “strong Catholic marriages” which will in turn produce 150,000 children and 500,000 grandchildren.

One wonders why The Jackson Lab would even want to find itself in Ave Maria’s bizarre and conflicting state, where Monaghan is such an influential figure– unless the folks at The Jackson Lab have a plan in place to put an end to the pizza-man’s smoke and mirrors.

Add to this the indignation and hostility from Collier County citizens, who do not want to be forced to pay for The Jackson Lab-Ave Maria deal.

All this brings to mind Greg Erlandson, the president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, and his now famous observation:

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first introduce to Tom Monaghan.”

Maybe Alex Sink should just… let the phone ring.  And don’t eat the pizza.

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You may also read Marielena Montesino de Stuart’s commentaries through: RenewAmerica, USAToday, The Dallas Morning News, U.S. Politics Today (an EIN Service for Political Professionals-*) Poynter Online, Spero News, Daily Estimate, The New Liturgical Movement-Poland, The Naples Daily News, Les Femmes-The Truth, Culture War Notes,  ProLife Blogs,  The Wanderer, etc.

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


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