Ave Maria has not been without controversy. The Florida American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to sue if the town bans birth control, as Monaghan suggested in a speech
What, a town without birth control in the drugstores, or pornography on cable, what is this guy a Nazi or something? Sounds like the world I was born into in 1962, a world of Gidget and Patty Duke innocence, which within 5 years had literally turned upside down, with HAIR and LSD.
That hasn't appeased the ACLU of Florida, which threatened a lawsuit. Monaghan's "comments on the record give us legitimate concerns about the community he's creating," says Executive Director Howard Simon. Although many religious groups, from the Amish to Hasidic Jews, have their own communities, "constitutional issues arise when the religious group wants to act as if it also has governmental authority."
In other words, we'll tolerate crazy Amish and Hasidim who want to live decently, but no clean Catholics!
The USA already is home to more than 200 Catholic colleges and universities. But Monaghan and his administrators say Ave Maria's campus will reflect a faithfulness to Catholic teachings that they do not see elsewhere. The campus will have single-sex dorms, for instance. And every residence hall will have a chapel.
"We make no apologies for seeking to uphold Catholic moral teachings," particularly when it comes to relations between men and women, Ave Maria University President Nicholas Healy says. "We would not approve of or facilitate something that is very common, I'm told, on college campuses today, hooking up and sleeping around, and … binge drinking."
He's right. It's a terrible scandal for the Church, not only aberrant theology and morality taught at so-called Catholic universities, but the lax moral climate in the dorms, where many students are corrupted. I remember Mother Angelica on her TV show, counseling a college student in one of the above corrupt universities, "dearie, you're paying those people all that money and you're losing your soul. That's not very bright of you!"
As a parting shot, USA Today mentions that Tom Monaghan is a college drop-out. No big letters after his name. Implication; how dare this undereducated dolt think he can start a university? The liberals, both in an out of the Church are waiting for this grand experiment to fail. I hope they are disappointed.
Two years ago, I drove from my brother's home on the east coast of Florida, through the tomato fields of Immokalee where they were constructing the Ave Maria campus, and into the housing development clubhouse they were renting to house the growing school. There, I found a bastion of Catholic culture with intelligent, polite students. I always measure the character of a college student by how they react to children. I work on two college campuses where I wouldn't dream of bringing my girls, because of the indecent dress, rudeness, foul language, and filthy, profane conversations they'd encounter. Not so at Ave Maria. Girls largely wore skirts, and were delighted to see children, many missing their numerous siblings at home. Guys were neat, and chivalrous opening doors, and offering directions. Many were just the type I hope my girls bring home to meet us someday.
We visited the Blessed Sacrament which is in Perpetual Adoration, passed by a coffee house, where intellectual discussion was taking place, not rude adolescent posturing, and found a Catholic conference given for the benefit of the local community. Students were processing around campus, led by nuns in full habit, saying the rosary. Afterwards, students were given a Strauss-style waltz lesson in preparation for the 19th century ball to be held the next day. My girls and I were entranced at the sight of the twirling partners, and the gorgeous music. I thought to ask if they had graduate programs for moms. Now, this is the type of college I could trust my precious daughters to!
For an article on Ave Maria summer conferences, click here.