New Sherwood

Ave Maria, Florida

I hope it succeeds. No matter the flaws in the project, there has been such a tremendous investment of resources that it would be a crime to waste the effort. The idea itself is a good one and worthy of support. Perhaps, in time, the community will lose some of the slick “country clubby” commercialism that has dogged this enterprise from the beginning.

I would have preferred to see something much more modest. The sheer grandiosity of Tom Monaghan’s vision worries me. The prices are too high, the instant neighborhoods too much like suburbia, the crucifix in the chapel too big (said to be the world’s largest!), the ambiance of luxury and convenience too contrary to the spirit of Catholicism.

On the other hand, perhaps this is the only kind of Catholic community that can succeed in America today. We could certainly do much worse, and we usually do. So let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I’ll be watching Ave Maria Town with great interest in the coming years.

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August 30, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

6 Comments »

  1. I have (ahem) “serious concerns” about the viability of the project.

    That said, I do hope it succeeds, not least because we do have friends who have relocated there.

    peace,

    Like

    Comment by Zach Frey | August 31, 2007 | Reply

  2. +JMJ+

    Jeff, were you the one who said that someone from the country can adjust to city life in six months, but someone from the city adjusts to country life after no less than two generations? Maybe Ave Maria Town has the same problem, with many of its residents moving in from Protestantised areas and needing more time (and tolerance) than usual to be unconsciously Catholic again? :S

    Like

    Comment by Marissa | August 31, 2007 | Reply

  3. I think you should reconsider your logic here. Why would anyone continue to “invest” in a sinking ship?

    The things that you don’t like about Tom Monaghan’s project are only the surface. The ethos that surrounds it damaging many faithful Catholic professionals and students; that ethos is this – question Monaghan and he will crush you.

    Don’t believe it? All I ask is that you read one article and ask yourself if this kind of dealing is simply a flaw to be overlooked.

    Intimidation and Uninvited Touching?
    http://www.avewatch.org/files/bb43b5cb171449003e8ff659345d0aa2-145.html

    Like

    Comment by kysaberinger | August 31, 2007 | Reply

  4. I wish I could be more confident, but the fact it’s a Monaghan production makes me dubious about its Catholic nature and viability.

    In the words of one wag, “Whom the gods destroy, they first introduce to Tom Monaghan.”

    What has happened to good profs at the law school here in Michigan, as well as the problems at the University, suggest the entire project is in danger if he retains a comparable measure of control over the town. Catholic social teaching doesn’t seem to play a role in his decisionmaking, when it comes down to it.

    I wish the people who have moved there the best. I pray it works out for them.

    Like

    Comment by Dale Price | September 1, 2007 | Reply

  5. “Don’t believe it? All I ask is that you read one article and ask yourself if this kind of dealing is simply a flaw to be overlooked.”

    I read the story, here and elsewhere. The Dean certainly comes off looking malicious, petty, and pathetic. If reported accurately, it does reflect poorly on Monaghan’s choice of friends.

    Let it be clear that this episode did not occur in Ave Maria, Florida, which is hopefully bigger than the nasty politics of AMSL in Ann Arbor. (I realize that AMU has its own set of political problems.)

    “In the words of one wag, ‘Whom the gods destroy, they first introduce to Tom Monaghan’ … Catholic social teaching doesn’t seem to play a role in his decision making, when it comes down to it.”

    That could well be the case. However, I’m not going to take the FUMARE crowd’s word for it. They lost my respect a long time ago.

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | September 1, 2007 | Reply

  6. The quoted language was uttered by Greg Erlandson, OSV’s publisher. Nor am I relying upon Fumare commentary, which admittedly goes over the line far too often. Mirror of Justice covers the AMSL scandal without the baggage.

    Frankly, I’m basing it on what I know of the AMSL professors who taught me at Detroit. What’s being done to Stephen Safranek is unconscionable, it’s being done by Monaghan’s appointee, and Monaghan has full knowledge of it. I’m the furthest thing from objective because of this, but the way the law school employees have been treated is appalling and un-Catholic.

    Like

    Comment by Dale Price | September 1, 2007 | Reply


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