'Buying Things to Get Attention, to Have People Notice Me'

June 2006

In our New Oxford Note, "Another Hurricane Hits Ave Maria University in Florida" (Feb. 2006), we noted that a Department Chairman was quitting Tom Monaghan's Ave Maria University (AMU) to go elsewhere. He gave many reasons for his departure. One was: "AMU also misled us with respect to [Ave Maria] Town. The town, as you all know, will be Catholic only in name."

Shortly after the February issue arrived in people's mailboxes, stories broke that Ave Maria Town would indeed be a real Catholic town, not in name only. And we sure did hear about it from some of our readers!

According to an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 11, 2005), in a May 2004 speech, Tom Monaghan said: "We'll own all commercial real estate. That means we will be able to control what goes on there. You won't be able to buy a Playboy or Hustler magazine in Ave Maria Town. We're going to control the cable television that comes in the area. There is not going to be any pornographic television in Ave Maria Town. If you go to the drug store and you want to buy the pill or condoms or contraception, you won't be able to get that in Ave Maria Town."

As for ourselves, we'd love to live in Ave Maria Town, if it is what Monaghan says it is.

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New Oxford Notes: June 2006

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This is another factual and perceptive article by NOR on Monaghan's Ave Maria "brand". And make no mistake, he is using BVM's reference as his brand.

A few additional quotes from Monaghan's 50/50 partners are below, just to show the doubters that this is not simply a case of NOR misperceiving the issues and motivations here. If there are any “misperceptions” about the Town, it is Mr. Monaghan’s fault; this is not a media hatchet-job (liberal or orthodox). Look what Monaghan’s own 50/50 partners are saying:

From: Okeechobee News
March 7, 2006
“Mr. Sansbury [Tom Sansbury; VP, Barron Collier Companies] stated that the university would follow Catholic standards. However, he said, the community would be diverse. He said Ave Maria would not be a Catholic town any more than South Bend, Ind., the home of Catholic Notre Dame. He also made the comparison between the community and university of Ave Maria and Boston and Holy Cross College.

From: AP/Washington Post
March 3, 2006
Paul Marinelli (Barron Collier CEO) “I think it would be boring if in fact it was all Catholic”

This will be news to the many Catholics who have already started to pursue land/home ownship based, expressly, on Mr. Monaghan’s months/years of statements about the catholicity of Ave Maria Town. Monaghan is a Florida real estate developer; his recent opening of a bank in the Naples area is further testament to this.

Ave Maria University recently advertised for a full-time senior-level PhD-trained biology professor at a salary of $37,000/yr. The mean salary for the same position other Florida universities is %56,000; AMU doesn't even meet the bottom 25th percentile which is $40,000. Let's see how many senior-level professors (let alone junior-level professors and regular ol' staff) can afford to live in Ave Maria Town.
Posted by: amessaros
June 15, 2006 11:51 AM EDT
Poor Mr. Monaghan, he can't really give up his fortune, like the young man challenged by Christ. Instead, he built a monument to himself. What a waste of good money that could have funded scholarships to those few good Catholic colleges that still exist or to orthodox orders that actually serve the poor, like the Missionaries of the Poor and the Missionaries of Charity. Posted by: Caroline
August 10, 2006 11:04 AM EDT
A recent Opinion Journal piece about Monaghan (which was in the NOR News Links) says:

"The battles between Mr. Monaghan and the Ave Maria faculties have become vitriolic. Some have even tried to unionize. When I ask if he sees a contradiction in trying to block such a move, even though unionization is supported by the Catholic Church, he says, 'I think that [the church] hierarchy doesn't know as much about those things as they do about their theology.'"

Does Monaghan not realize that the Church's teachings on social matters ARE theology?

Is this another outbreak of "Mater Si! Magistra No!"
Posted by: Fr_Richard
August 23, 2006 07:35 AM EDT
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