7/22/2009 (6 years ago)
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)
The priest had previously been fired from his position as university provost in March 2007, and was rehired in a less prominent position after protests from students and other Catholics.
NAPLES, FL (CNA) - Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, the founder of Ignatius Press and a former student of Pope Benedict, has been fired from his position as theologian in residence at Ave Maria University. The action reportedly was taken because he criticized the administration's handling of the school's finances.
In a Monday letter, Fr. Fessio said that Dr. Jack Sites, Academic Vice President of Ave Maria University (AMU), had flown into San Francisco for an "amicable" Monday meeting with the priest to inform him that he was being dismissed.
Fr. Fessio said the dismissal stemmed from a November 2008 conversation Fr. Fessio had with Jack Donohue, who was then chairman of the board of AMU. According to Fr. Fessio, he told Donohue about the "urgency" of the university's financial situation.
"I told him that there were policies being followed that were at the root of the problem, that the present administration was irrevocably wedded to those policies, and that without a change of administration the university was at great risk."
In Fr. Fessio's and Dr. Sites' Monday meeting, Sites reportedly explained that Donohue had related the conversation to Tom Monaghan, a founder, major donor and present chancellor of AMU.
According to Fr. Fessio, it was decided by unknown persons "that the university could not have a faculty member making these criticisms of the administration and thus undermining the university."
The priest had previously been fired from his position as university provost in March 2007, and was rehired in a less prominent position after protests from students and other Catholics. In his Monday letter, he said the circumstances of both firings were similarly due to "irreconcilable administrative differences."
Expressing continued support for the university and a continued willingness to recommend the school to students and parents, Fr. Fessio wrote:
"I think it is an accurate summary to say that I am being dismissed as a faculty member because of a private conversation with the chairman of the board in which I made known my criticisms of the university administration; and because of allegations which have not been made known to me and to which I have not been given an opportunity to respond."
"I will continue to think my dismissal is another mistake in a long series of unwise decisions," his letter concluded.
The public relations firm representing AMU, Falls Communications, provided CNA with a statement from the university about Fr. Fessio's firing.
"Ave Maria University (AMU) has announced that it has ended its formal relationship with Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. and he will no longer serve as Theologian in Residence. The decision was made by the leadership of the university and supported by its Board of Trustees," the statement said.
"While Fr. Fessio will not be continuing in any capacity at the university, AMU wishes to express its gratitude to him for the assistance that he rendered to the university."
Adela Gonzales White, a spokeswoman with the Diocese of Venice, confirmed to CNA that Bishop Frank J. Dewane is a non-voting ex officio member of the AMU Board of Trustees and so was not involved in a vote concerning Fr. Fessio.
The bishop was only recently appointed to the board and has not yet participated in a trustees' meeting.
Founded in continued response to Pope John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world.
By Adelaide Mena and Matt Hadro, CNA News
Amid uproar over comparing struggling students to bunnies that should be drowned or shot, Mount St. Mary's University president is now under fire for criticizing expressions of the Catholic faith at the school. Emmitsburg, Md. (CNA) - Already facing turmoil, the ... continue reading
By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)
The future of religious freedom in the United States will one day be in the care of today's college students, so one Catholic college is working to equip them for that struggle. Washington D.C., (CNA/EWTN News) - Wyoming Catholic College is trying to form a "community ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
The Catholic education system is coming under attack by a plethora of policies designed to make the hiring process, acceptance of anti-Christian viewpoints, transgender issues and Catholic identity concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Cardinal Newman ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
A list of the top 40 traditional Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America was created, but were they rated fairly? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Newsmax revealed their top forty Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America, but what were their standards?The United ... continue reading
By Jessie Tappel, Communications Director at Divine Mercy University
God, the source of all mercy, provides us with an experience so great that we have no choice but to reflect it to our own brother and sister. Mercy calls for an outward response, which is made clear in the examples of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. You can ... continue reading
By Darnell Miller - University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas, a member of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, broke ground on a new Center for Science and Health Professions on Nov. 12, 2015. The new facility, containing more than 100,000 square-feet of modern lab space and classrooms, will meet ... continue reading
By Kyle Jorstad, Grove City College
Catholic Online welcomes scholarly submissions for consideration, contact email@example.com Abstract: Though members of the scientific and atheistic community alike often tout science as the downfall of religion, theories regarding Darwinian evolution ... continue reading
By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
It should be no surprise that America's colleges and universities are overrun with anti-American liberals who lack all respect for the country and the principles upon which it is founded. In an age where political correctness has run amok, students are indoctrinated by ... continue reading
By Caitlin Bootsma
It's almost an assumption in today's world that students will take out a staggering amount of debt to be able to attend a four year university. And, with college costs rising faster than the rate of inflation, 18 year olds are signing themselves up for increasingly ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education made history last week when it nominated a Franciscan nun as the first woman head of a pontifical university. In a position held usually by priests, Sister Mary Melone will become the rector of the Pontifical ... continue reading