Saturday, October 27, 2007


(It's true! You couldn't make it up!)

An 'ELC' subscriber has been doing some digging to follow up the content of ELC#21.

What he has found is at once very sad and very funny and establishes that Joe Pearce has not disappointed his early promise of opportunism, cynicism and lust for cash.

His latest patron turns out to be -- no! not the Pope! -- but billionaire Robert Monaghan, owner of the multi-national Domino pizza chain chain; Ave Maria Town (currently "the largest construction site in the USA")near Naples, Florida, where Ave Maria University has recently moved from its original base at Ann Arbor, Michigan.

It is not, of course, Monaghan's huge heap of cash which has attracted to him the close collaboration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the USA, but his insistence that he has had "personal visitations from the Blessed Virgin Mary".

It seems that Pearce has just produced a book called "Small is Beautiful", based on the philosophy of E.F. Schumacher, in which greedy monopolistic capitalism is lambasted and small family private enterprise concerns upheld as the ideal (all of which, of course, is a re-run of 'Chesterbellocian' thinking.

This publication has been funded by......Robert Monaghan!Read on! Enjoy!Martin.P.S. By the way, publicity emanating from Ave Maria University refers to Joe as "Professor Pearce"."


He did not leave his Barking comprehensive secondary school with any GCE 'A'-level exams and never attended any university to obtain a B.A. or M.A. degree, let alone a Doctorate which would qualify him for a Professorship.

This is yet another strand of the web of ambiguities and outright deceptions which have surrounded Pearce for a long time.

======================================== 24Robert Monaghan's Pizza Palace and Ave Maria University[Photo captions:Robert Monaghan's Pizza Palace of the "Conservative" New Order.

The Chapel at Ave Maria University near Naples, Florida.Monaghan claims that he received a vision from the Virgin Mary, but he is now going to be seeing the Inside of a Courtroom as he is accused of fraudulent actions.]

Readers of the TRADITIO Network will remember the "conservative Catholic" university that multi-millionaire pizza purveyor Robert Monaghan, an avowed partisan of Newchurch, built near Naples, Florida. Monaghan pulled in another avowed partisan of Newchurch, Newjesuit Presbyter Joseph Fessio, to be chancellor.

Fessio and Monaghan later got into a cat-fight, with Monaghan firing Fessio and having security guard escort him off the campus.There have long been serious charges by faculty and parents of Ave Maria University's students, from its original site in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Now three professors of the university's law school have sued Monaghan and other university officers. They charge that they were removed from their positions in retaliation for their having reported illegal conduct by Monaghan and Dean Dobranski to law enforcement and other governmental agencies, and for refusing to go along with Monaghan's attempts to control the university board improperly by permitting his private, conflicting interests to supersede the best interests of the law school, including his attempt to re-locate the school from Ann Arbor to "Ave Maria Town" near Naples, Florida.Monaghan, whose brain is as peppered with pepperoni as it is with the New Order, claimed that the Virgin Mary "personally directed him to develop Ave Maria Town and Ave Maria University in southwest Florida."

A faculty vote against the planned move in September 2006 and a vote of "no confidence" in Dean Dobranski in April 2006 have not deterred Monaghan.

Two of these professors were denied tenure by Dobranski even though they received the unanimous support of the tenured faculty.Tenured Professor Safranek was ejected from the building and his salary and benefits terminated. Dobranski and Monaghan did not even grant him a hearing.

The suit claims that Professor Safranek has been subjected to false smears as part of the retaliation effort, that certain staff used their positions and law-school resources to obstruct a criminal investigation into a priest's alleged involvement in sex crimes and that Professor Safranek reported this to law enforcement.

All sounds like business as usual for Newchurch, doesn't it?It appears that something is desperately wrong with Monaghan's "Marian vision." This lawsuit is the latest debacle in the collapse of Ave Maria School of Law.

In the summer of 2007, nearly half of the faculty fled or were removed from the school.

Approximately 40 first-year students transferred to other law schools (out of a class of 135), and the quality of the incoming class continued to decline. Dobranski was forced to hire a slew of visiting professors and adjunct professors to keep the school afloat. [Source: Law School Reports]

Things are going from bad to worse for Ave Maria University, for Monaghan, and for Newchurch.

Newchurch is Newchurch is Newchurch. It doesn't matter whether it is "conservative" or "liberal." It partakes in the same immoral muck.


The Hypocrisy of SizeFunded by billionaire Tom Monaghan, AMU writer Joseph Pearce's new book ("Small is Still Beautiful") is either a brilliant spoof on conservative Catholic thought, or ironic to the point of being hypocritical.

The University being built by money from Domino's global fast food franchise - and located in a new south Florida super-development recently named "the nation's largest construction site" - has put forth a writer to "warn of impending calamity if rampant consumerism, technological dynamism, and economic expansionism" continue.


UPDATE, 2/22/07 - The response to this post has been stunningly positive and appreciative. Businessman Mark Egger tells AveWatch "I made a contract proposal three years ago to manage the college bookstore at AMU, but instead they selected the world's largest college bookstore contractor [Follett].

I guess a small Catholic family-run business just didn't fit with their plans." Other important points were submitted:"You can't tell Wal-Mart and Walgreens that they can't sell contraceptives, but a Catholic pharmacist could be found who would operate under Catholic teaching and would not sell contraceptive.

But this is not Monaghan's way of doing things. For him, big is beautiful."Several visitors stated that Dominos franchises, under Monaghan's tenure, would hire manager trainees with the verbal promise that they'd eventually become managers.

The trainees worked long hours for low wages. Just prior to the end of their trainee period, they were fired."Small is Still Beautiful: Economics as if Families Still Mattered" is a modern reflection on the work of economist E.F. Schumacher.

Many prominent conservative Catholic intellectuals are applauding Pearce's work as "a timely warning against the idolatry of giantism".

But some of these same writers and academics also point-out an obvious crisis of credibility - billionaire Tom Monaghan's sponsoring of Pearce.Monaghan is, and continues to revel in, the antithesis of what Schumacher and Pearce advocate.

In fact, Monaghan typifies what they call "the obsessive pursuit of wealth" in an economic lie that will not "lead to utopia but more probably to catastrophe". A reading of Monaghan's biography "Pizza Tiger" makes this clear.

Success is defined as being, and having, the biggest and best to consume. His empire is built on fast food - the very icon of corporate homogenization of culture and taste in America, even globally. The mega-corporation buys ingredients in huge quantities, hiring an army of disposable part-time employees, thereby forcing the closure of local made-from-scratch mom-and-pop shops via economic/pricing pressure.

It worked, and Monaghan achieved his goal of wealth and pizza "domination". But such an achievement would have surely been repugnant to Schumacher. What of Pearce? Is Tom Monaghan some type of changed man to Pearce, or is Pearce opportunistically using the fruits of Monaghan's gigantism to promote his writing?

Monaghan's new venture as a south Florida real estate developer may be teeming with issues contrary to Catholic social thought. He is developing a new town on the edge of the Everglades in what was once tomato fields that provided income to migrant farm workers. The endangered panther roams the area. In late January 2007, Ave Maria Florida became "the nation's largest construction site" according to Pulte Homes Inc., a contractor for Monaghan's development. Rather than opt to use local builders, as Schumacher (Pearce?) would insist upon, Monaghan hired Pulte, a FORTUNE 200 company that is "the nation's largest builder of active adult communities for people age 55 and better".

Pulte homes are considered by some to be the antithesis of Catholic culture, with artificial cookie-cutter gated-communities that sterilize and homogenize normal family life.

Try putting-up a basketball hoop or nativity scene on your property. Ave Maria town will have at least one Pulte community where home buyers are forbidden, by contract, to have children under 18 live in the house for more than 3 months. Other family-hostile implications are less apparent.

What are the effects on family and society when grandparents move en masse to places on-the-way-to-nowhere, content to have phone relationships with their grandchildren and adult children? Is it culturally healthy to have large congregations of individuals over 55 doing little but complain about the service at Denny's while riding-around in golf carts all day?

Isn't there more than self-indulgence and luxury to "active adult living"?

How many scraped-knees and First Holy Communions will be missed living in remote south Florida?

One conclusion is indisputable. This is not the kind of living that Schumacher described.Tom Monaghan's ostentatious taste is well documented:+ tried to build "the world's largest crucifix" in Ann Arbor but was denied zoning+ tried to build "the largest church in North America" (skinned in glass, no less), but finally reduced the size due to budget pressures for Ave Maria Town+ tried to build the largest Catholic newspaper in America ("Credo"); now defunct+ constructed his Domino's office building to have "the world's largest copper roof"+ owner of the world's largest private collection of Frank Lloyd Wright memorabilia+ owner of the famous "Monaghan Collection" of rare cars Monaghan has also "dabbled" in the collection art and wine; a 2005 Sotheby's sale from some of his cellar went for over $3 million, with many bottles bringing-in well over $20,000/each.

In contrast, according to New Oxford Review (June 2006, online), Monaghan's Ave Maria University advertised for a full-time senior-level PhD-trained biology professor at a salary of $37,000/year (less than 2 bottles of wine). The mean salary for a comparable position in biology in other Florida universities is reported as $56,000/year. What kind of housing could a single-income Catholic-sized family afford in south Florida, the nation's most over-priced housing market, on $37,000/year? Is this what is meant by "Small is Still Beautiful: Economics as if Families Mattered"?

It may be that Pearce's book is his first attempt to get-out from under Monaghan's influence.

Sources claim that Pearce no longer resides on campus year-round. His new book was published by ISI Press, a departure from Ignatius Press, the publisher of his other books. Ignatius is run by AMU Provost Fr. Joseph Fessio.Pearce, however, still appears solidly behind Monaghan. Sources report that Pearce's Saint Austin Review magazine has a policy of rejecting, without review, submissions from anyone thought to be unsupportive of Monaghan's management. According to former Ave Maria College (Michigan) employees, such lack of backbone runs in contrast to Pearce's rousing orations on Monaghan's administrative "violations of human dignity" offered during faculty senate meetings prior to moving to Florida.

The problem is that Pearce's writing on "smallness" gives cover to Monaghan's past and current business practices, and such practices undermine Pearce's writing.

Maybe this "scratch-each-other's-back" symbiotic relationship is an attempt by both to be shrewdly opportunistic.

But who, besides Pearce and Monaghan, benefit from such contradiction in the end?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An 'ex-fascist' would not normally get anywhere where academic employement and publishers are concerned, even if he is now a born-again anti-racist.

That doors have opened and money rained down on Pearce is very strange.

A payoff for services rendered, perhaps?

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