Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hail Mary, Incorporated

They say money cannot buy happiness. But as history has demonstrated time and again, it's never stopped anyone from trying.

Thomas Monaghan is the man who built his fortune on Domino's Pizza, before giving it up to do philanthropic work, in the hope of sharing his Catholic faith with others. A man considered by those who know him to be very devout, he used his generosity to found Ave Maria College in Michigan. This was a good thing, as devout young people and their families invested their time and treasure in this dream.

But after a few years, a humble liberal arts college wasn't big enough. An attempt to enlarge the campus to the scale of a university was foiled by the locals townspeople. But when you are a rich man, you are accustomed to having your way. And so (while we can never be completely sure of the inner motives of any man), Mr Monaghan decided to move the whole she-bang to Florida. Thus was founded Ave Maria University.

The only problem was, this involved shutting down the little college in Michigan.

But then a number of students and faculty in Michigan began to show their ingratitude. This was a puzzling response. After all, the only thing they had to do was relocate themselves -- and in some cases their families -- a second time, to follow a dream built by another. It wasn't as though they had the truly big task of throwing money and influence around, thus earning the lion's share of the credit.

And, as if this indignation were not enough, a group of parents got involved, with the audacity to erect a website to complain of their sorry state. Seems they thought their money was just as good as Mr Monaghan's. Sadly, it was not, for he is a rich man, and they are not.

So, the forces of sanctified capitalism will prevail over the cries of shattered plans and allegedly broken promises. A university is being built in Florida, and a town named Ave Maria, obstensibly in honor of Our Lady, will be built alongside it. They have an impressive website, successful developers, and (lest we forget) millions of dollars.

What of those left behind? Perhaps their grief will pass, and they will come to see the wisdom of those with greater means and influence, and know that the greater good has been served. An impressive show of brick and mortar will rise from the midst of an intemperate climate, a house of discernment for vocations will be erected to educate souls for the glory of God, and thousands of frustrated Republicans with sufficiently-respectable incomes will be able to drive their minivans from their safe suburban homes to daily Mass -- in Latin, of course.

And after all, isn't this what it really means to be Catholic?

Well???

12 Comments:

At 11/17/2005 04:45:00 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.

 
At 11/17/2005 07:18:00 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

An interesting character.

Monaghan also founded a private Catholic grade school in Michigan, which is a good thing, I guess.

However, when others approached him about the possibility of his making a gift to OTHER private Catholic schools, they were met with a polite (firm) request that they PURCHASE a FRANCHISE in his private Catholic school enterprise.

For a price they'd get a nun or two plus his "formula" for Catholic education.

You gotta admit that's unique.

 
At 11/17/2005 08:48:00 PM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

Dad:

Unique, but not unheard of. The franchise concept was tried by Campion College of San Francisco before they went belly up. I got an e-mail once explaining the whole thing. I don't remember much, but it was interesting at the time.

And while we're on the subject of AMC, what the kids at Ypsilanti got today was the good news. Tomorrow they get the rest. Hang on to your hats, and stay tuned...

 
At 11/17/2005 09:32:00 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

first of all, it never ceases to amaze me how almost everyone who chooses to treat the TM-AMC fiasco does so through the use of sarcasm... it's almsost omnipresent, and I have read many a discussion of the situation. Is it simply the fact that people are too horrified, too dismayed at what has happened to treat it with honest, discriptive language? Just a question, nothing ill intended...

also, I take from your last comment that you are somewhat well-informed about the situation at AMC... how do you come by your information, if I might ask? are you operating under a pen name? I thought I knew most of the major players... anyway - thanks.

 
At 11/18/2005 08:24:00 AM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

Thomas, thou hast writ:

"first of all, it never ceases to amaze me how almost everyone who chooses to treat the TM-AMC fiasco does so through the use of sarcasm..."

You think that's amazing? Not as much as that the ONLY people who cover the "TM-AMC fiasco" are those who have to use sarcasm to get any attention (which is hardly the only thing that distinguishes my piece). The "conservative" wing of the mainstream Catholic press has left it alone. The only major RC newspaper to cover it seriously is The Wanderer, and the only RC magazine to give it detailed coverage is the New Oxford Review. Catholic World Report did a Q & A piece with the Chancellor, Fr Joseph Fessio. He is also publisher of CWR. I can't imagine they would be too hard on him, which is probably why they weren't.

"Is it simply the fact that people are too horrified, too dismayed at what has happened to treat it with honest, discriptive language? Just a question, nothing ill intended..."

Or is it simply the fact that people are too horrified, too dismayed at what has happened, to raise the ire of those with the means to silence them? That's just a question too.

"also, I take from your last comment that you are somewhat well-informed about the situation at AMC... how do you come by your information, if I might ask? are you operating under a pen name? I thought I knew most of the major players..."

Relax, Tom. You're still on the inside track.

My real name is David Lawrence Alexander, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, USA. That is my real and full name. I have no personal association with AMC, AMU, or anything with the name "Ave Maria" attached, so I'm sure as hell no "player." But I have read everything to which my piece has been linked, I know some of the reporters, and I am acquainted with a number of present and former AMC students and parents with whom I have spoken over the years. (The woman identified in this forum as "Kate" is only one of them.) The stories have a remarkable similarity, and I have yet to tell the worst of them.

MWBH is not the work of a Roman Catholic poster boy on the fast track to papal knighthood, nor is it a vehicle for a writer on the parish-lecture-and-book-signing or Catholic-celebrity-boat-cruise circuit. That's the beauty of this medium; I shouldn't have to be.

If you are the insider you claim to be, you know my treatment of Mr Monaghan has been relatively kind. If I've said anything that is outright wrong, you can write me privately and I'll acknowledge the error and correct it. But until then, I would claim to have accused Mr Monaghan of little, other than being exactly who and what a man in his position in life would be.

And it doesn't take a "player" to figure that out.

 
At 11/18/2005 01:48:00 PM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

"[W]hat the kids at Ypsilanti got today was the good news. Tomorrow they get the rest..."

Make that early next week. I have some things I need to check.

 
At 11/18/2005 04:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is "being exactly who and what a man in his position in life would be"
Are you saying that what you are accusing the man of is neither good nor bad, or are you saying something else?
BTW, It's nice to see a post from you without snide remarks for a change.
Thanks

 
At 11/18/2005 04:41:00 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

okay, I found out what I needed to know.

 
At 11/18/2005 04:43:00 PM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

Which is...

 
At 11/19/2005 12:10:00 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

where you stand. :)

 
At 11/20/2005 03:30:00 AM, Blogger Julian said...

To paraphrase Cardinal Newman, "Republicans in minivans have souls".

 
At 11/20/2005 01:25:00 PM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

And your point would be...

 

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