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“Perhaps the Most Powerful Man in the Church in America”

Who is he? None other than Fr. Joseph Fessio. So says Gerald Renner, a veteran American Catholic journalist, writing in The Tablet (June 25), the premier Catholic periodical in Britain. Renner quotes Fr. Fessio as saying, “I have a big head….” Well, if you say so, Father.

In our New Oxford Note, “Fr. Fessio Goes Ballistic” (June), we recounted how the NOR had five articles (and many letters) about Tom Monaghan’s Ave Maria institutions, mostly about Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., where Fr. Fessio is Provost. Of the five articles in the NOR, Fr. Fessio wrote the fourth.

But Fessio didn’t like the way the series turned out. He was furious, especially with the fifth article, which rebutted his own article. We informed Fessio that he could write a letter in response to the fifth article, but he chose not to do so. Instead, Fessio, also Publisher of Ignatius Press, had his spokesman yank the five full-page ads reserved for Ignatius from the NOR. Also, he had his spokesman pull the three remaining NOR list rentals reserved for Ignatius. The Catholic World Report (CWR) is owned by Ignatius, and we had a series of eight full-page ads running in CWR. Five had already run, and three remained, and we were promised that the three ads would still run (but after that no more NOR ads could run in CWR). However, CWR reneged on its promise that those three ads would still run (and without any notification to the NOR).

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