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Trouble in Tom Monaghan’s Catholic paradise

By Matt Abbott
Catholic Online

“In the know” Catholics likely know at least something about the problems that have plagued the Tom Monaghan-funded Ave Maria College, Ave Maria University and Ave Maria School of Law.

A relatively recent example of such problems is the ousting of respected Catholic law professor Charles Rice from the Ave Maria School of Law’s board of governors – a story that made the pages of The Wall Street Journal.

In a memo dated Jan. 10, 2006, Rice explains his personal views on the issues which seemingly led to his controversial ejection. The memo can be read on the following web log:

Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., provost and theology professor at Ave Maria University, and a member of the law school’s board of governors, had the following (unedited) response to my e-mail inquiry on the matter:

“I don't think it's appropriate for individual board members to respond to this memo. I will pass it on to the Dean and the Chairman of the Board for their consideration.

“I can say that Dr. Rice's views have been consistent over the past three years and that the Board of Governors has had many occasions to hear them and ample time to reflect on them. It is an impressive board of very independent-minded and experienced men and women. I've been with them since the founding of the Law School and I have no doubt that they will continue to make policy decisions which are in the best interests of the Law School.”

Those who would like to find out more about this (ongoing) controversy may find the following sites of interest:


(Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic journalist and commentator. He is a columnist for and/or contributor to Catholic Online,,,, and He can be reached at


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