Skip to comments.Man to build Catholics-only town
Posted on 02/27/2006 10:26:11 AM PST by annalex
Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino's Pizza chain, has stirred protests from civil rights activists by declaring that Ave Maria's pharmacies will not be allowed to sell condoms or birth control pills. The town's cable television network will carry no X-rated channels.
The town will be centred on a 30m tall oratory and the first Catholic university to be built in the US for 40 years.
The university's president, Nicholas J. Healy, has said future students should "help rebuild the city of God" in a country suffering from "catastrophic cultural collapse".
Monaghan, 68, sold his takeaway chain in 1998 for an estimated $1.5 billion.
A devout Catholic who has ploughed millions into religious projects - including radio stations, primary schools and a Catholic law faculty in Michigan - Monaghan has bought about 2000ha previously used by migrant farmers.
The land on the western edge of the Everglades swamp will eventually house up to 30,000 people, with 5000 students living on the university campus.
Florida officials have declared the project a development bonanza for a depressed area and Governor Jeb Bush attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the university earlier this month.
Civil rights activists and other watchdogs concerned about the separation of church and state are threatening lawsuits if Ave Maria attempts to enforce Catholic dogma - none of which has deterred Monaghan, who initially tried to build his new university in Michigan but could not get permission.
Asked recently about possible lawsuits in Florida, he replied: "That's great. That would be the best publicity we could get."
Monaghan was sent to a Catholic orphanage with his brother James after the death of their father on Christmas Eve 1941. After serving with the US Marines and later dropping out of university, he founded Domino's in 1960 with his brother, who sold back his share for a Volkswagen Beetle.
Monaghan then set about building what became America's second-largest pizza chain. He collected antique cars, bought a yacht and became the owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball team.
About 15 years ago he read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. "That was a big turnaround," he said recently. "I decided to simplify my life. No more airplanes, no more yachts. It's been a big relief."
Sources close to the project said Monaghan was particularly disturbed by what he regards as the failure of Western civilisation to resist Islamic fundamentalism. In a speech to students last year Healy warned that Islam "no longer faces a religiously dynamic West".
From The Sunday Times
[I]n 1565, Pedro Menedez de Aviles placed a small wooden cross in Floridas soil and founded the Mission of Nombre de Dios. The beginnings of Christianity in this new land led to numerous missions throughout Florida and, eventually, to the flourishing of the faith that we celebrate throughout this country. The Great Cross is a tribute to that growth. It serves to remind the visitor of Christs ultimate sacrifice on the Cross, as well as the role played by the Catholic religion in the history of both Florida and our Nation.
I have not seen anything that suggest a religious test for residence, and I suspect that would be illegal under various civil rights statutes.
As you know there is nothing in Catholic moral theology that disagrees with the Orthodox Church, although the Catholics tend to adopt a more legalistic approach than, perhaps, the Orthodox.
I think its more about the laws than the legalisticness, but even in doctrinal thelogy there's not much (something, and something tangible but not much) which separate Catholic and Orthodox.
Looking at the website, they make it clear that any race, religion, or ethnicity is welcome. I think anyone willing to live under the community rules would have no problem buying a house there. It will be interesting to see the makeup of the community once it is completed and again after a decade or so. I think initially at least it will be majority Catholic, based on the university.
I think the law get more complex when we're talking about designated private communities.
It IS funny how hyper-concerned we get over the legalities of it all when it's Catholics and a private relgious community we're talking about..and not some liberal, selective, "artist community" subsidized with city funds for attracting the coveted "creative people."
Anyways, my guess is this is all probably moot because the website for the development does not mention any restrictions on who can live there.
How often do the Amish sell their land? I bet for the most part it is passed down from generation to generation via inheritance.
...or so I can invade one of those designated "artist-only" condos where their candidates are selected by a board.
Occupation is not a protected class, religion is.
It must be good as the ACLU is suing him.
He sold Dominos. Yeas ago.
This is not a "Catholics only" town. Anyone can live there.
What's he going to require? A letter from your bishop stationg whether you are a paying, committed Catholic?
Tom Monaghan is building a college. Oh, and by the way, he is using the help of developers who donated the land around the university. and THEY are building the town.
There were problems with Ypsilante,Michigan town leaders who did not want the college in the place he wanted it. So off he went to Naples, Florida. With MANY hard feelings toward the man. He promised many good professors a great job when he opened Ave Maria College. So they moved their families only to find out that they were out of a job if they wouldn't move again to Florida.
Oh brother! Just Google Ave Maria College and you are sure to find plenty! What a mess....
That's not the only lthing he has pulled financing for. There is a certain college known as Ave Maria College where he has pulled funding! He is starting an Ave Maria University in Florida.
Actually, from what I heard, that is the same University.
He wants everyone to move to FL and when I talked to one of the more $$$ employees, he said no way.
Everyone else seems to be giving the same answer. They are not moving families on an "if come".
Oooo, I should have read this post first. You know all about it...
It is sad, really.
It appears that Monaghan has a VERY big ego. It is his way or the highway.
There are So many stories from those who are there in the thick of things. AND there are a few lawsuits, from what I hear.
Ave Maria Law School is now having trouble. It is a great law school where Judge Bork taught (Still teaches ? maybe) but they are being forced to move to Florida as well. Monaghan got the Dean of Notre Dame Law School to come to AMLaw but then just fired him late last year because he didn't want to leave MI.
Actually, their numbers have increased very rapidly, and they now are approaching 200,000.
The policy is not to give the farm to the oldest son, but to buy farms for all the sons. Generally, the father is still working and quite young (mid-40's) when his first son is ready to strike out on his own and start his own family. It is only many years later that most of them retire and pass the farm on in their family or to another Amishman.
Since the Amish do not participate in modern consumerist culture, don't own cars, don't own mechanized farm equipment, don't buy insurance, don't use electricity, don't pay social security and medicare taxes, and buy their assets generally unencumbered by debts their farms (and other businesses) are very profitable, and they have a large cash accrual each year that permits them to save towards these major purchases.
What you are perhaps getting at has been two tendencies: the extremely high price of land in Lancaster, PA, forcing many Amish to migrate to cheaper parts of the country such as upstate New York, western Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Wisconsin, etc. to found new colonies; and also a new tendency to open up small manufacturies or construction trade businesses instead of farming.
I'm not aware of any Amish living in cities. Some do live in small towns.
The defection rate from every authority I've read remains about 1 or 2 in 10. Most who do go leave to become conservative Mennonites, who are nearly indistinguishable from the Amish except for slightly fancier dress, and permission to own cars and tractors. Anything more is too extreme a culture shock in most cases.
There are various ways of doing this however, while having a theoretically open process. For example, in the upper class neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, here in Philadelphia, about 1/3 of the housing is owned by a trust created by the developer of the neighborhood. These houses are rented out by an agency he founded that personally vets all of the prospective applicants, most of whom, of course, are referred to the agency by existing residents, former residents, members of the neighborhood country club, etc. as being the "right sort of people" to join the neighborhood. Sure, the riff-raff might try to apply for a unit, but I've never seen someone of that sort actually get one.
Here in Philadelphia, we have self-selecting Catholic communities. Start with terrible public schools, add in a law requiring city residence of city workers, put in a dash of a forceful tradition of Catholic schooling, and spice with intelligent home owners who understand the concept of vetting buyers before agreeing to bids and want to sell their homes to people like themselves to keep their neighborhood nice. End result? Most of the middle-class white neighborhoods in the city are 65-90% Catholic (the variable is generally the Jewish and German Lutheran element of the population - a rather constant 10-15% are other Protestants), even while the region as a whole is only 40% Catholic. This outcome is simple. Most non-Catholics don't want to send their kids to Catholic schools, and the only other viable option financially for most outside a few Lutheran and Jewish schools, are the public schools, which are just abysmal.
The same result is also present in some of the inner-ring suburbs where the public school system has deteriorated, resulting in a residual white middle-class population that is 65%+ Catholic. Generally, once a neighborhood reaches that sort of monolithic level, it drives out diversity as it gains a reputation as a place for the predominant group of people, and other people simply refuse to move to it.
And generally, it would present an irresitable challenge for liberals to take over this rogue college town...Easy to do if they can discretely slip into the system via the university. Might as well put a pink bulls eye on the map for this place. I hope and pray the developers and the university take all the precautions they can to prevent such a hostile take over.
l. Mr. Monaghan sees very clearly.
2. A Catholic-only town is an intriguing idea. Just imagine all those bingo games.:)
I'd live there. :)
I'm sure gay Catholics will be welcome. On the other hand, Catholic engaged in the sin of homosexuality might have a problem.
(Refuse to speak Leftist.)
Its not nice to spread rumors, mom.
1. The nuns are NOT suing him. I get their literature as I am a donor, and any controversy was settled amicably years ago. He remains on their board and helps them raise money.
2. He wanted to build the university in Michigan on land he owned, but the zoning was not approved despite court cases and ballot initiatives. So he land was offered to him in Collier County near Naples. Everyone had plenty of notice that this was going to happen. Some find it imprudent to move. But prudence is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone knows he is rich, catholic, and eccentric. When people benefit from those attributes, people love him. And he is villified when he continues ot be who he is.
3. The deal in Florida is as mich commercial as it is institutional, as huge land developers are invovled. There will be no backing out.
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my miscellaneous ping list.
Somebody has to mow the lawns :)
Ave Maria without the porn and bc devices/products is what America used to be like
This IS offense. he is building not destroying
Well, and I mean this with all due respect, we certainly have not done much lighting in this world have we? So, perhaps this is another way of showing Gods goodness?
As I said before, perhaps. I do wish him luck, but wouldn't live there. I am a Midwesterner, and actually like four seasons!
>>I get their literature as I am a donor, and any controversy was settled amicably years ago. He remains on their board and helps them raise money.<<
That truly doesn't mean that there wasn't a suit, just that it was settled. I'm sorry that I didn't know it was settled but it is not a rumor to tell facts. A suit was filed. God Bless him for spreading around cash where it is needed but he is not a saint, none of us are.
I have heard from people who did move here and do not want to move again. That is not rumor, maybe heresay.
I wish him the best but will tell what I know of it before FReepers start selling their houses. Nothing is wrong with information.
You have a point about the Amish, but I think that no one but them live there because they live so primitively, Catholics don't live that type of lifestyle where they abhor electricity, etc. I mean, look at how they "finance" themselves. Its not modern and no one wants to move in there, even if they could
(Refuse to speak Leftist.)
Really? Then lets correct your leftist newspeak above.
gay homosexual Catholics will be welcome. On the other hand, Catholic engaged in the sin of homosexuality sodomy and other perversions might have a problem.
A gay person is someone who is happy. Last I checked, people who are mentally deranged and in need of psychotherapy or a trip to a mental institution, such as actual sodomites, and those with a strong mental attraction to the comission of sodomy (homosexuals) are obviously by definition not happy, since they are at war with their conscience and body, and are disturbed by a perverted mind that revels in comission of disturbing and unnatural acts that normal people find physically sickening and repulsive.
Great Tag line. This sounds very interesting.
There are still little slices of Americana like this left, mostly in rural areas, but also even in some urban neighborhoods that are overwhelmingly Catholic.
Our daughter WILL be living there, if she gets into Ave Maria University!
One of the things the town wants to do is provide several types of housing, so that even those who work in service jobs in the town can afford to live there. There will be smaller homes, condos, apartments, and then larger homes for those who can afford them.
He started Ave Maria College in MI, but pulled his $$$$ because the town would not let him expand the operations. Since he was not allowed to grow the college there, he decided to move it to FL, where the Barron Collier people donated land for the University, and they started the joint venture of Ave Maria.
There is a lot of very negative chatter in some cirles about Mr. Monaghan, and Ave Maria. Frankly some of it is bordering on libel.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Ave Maria University is the entity that began as Ave Maria College, but was moved because of the restrictions placed on Monaghan by the town officials where the school was located.
The professors and students were given notice at least three years ago that the change would be made. At that point, no new students were accepted at Ave Maria College, and those who were already there were allowed to stay so that they could graduate from the college at which they began.
Professors who are new at colleges don't have automatic tenure, and can be replaced at any time. The professors who began at Ave Maria College were offered jobs in the new university; if they refused them, they were then free to find employment elsewhere. Some have been miffed by the change, and have been very vocal about it.
Hmmm. Seems like you are getting all your information from one source. I've read the 'stories' you're passing on, and they are not true. Dr. Rice was a visiting professor at the Law School; that implies that he could leave at any time. Some are saying he was fired for not wanting to move to FL, but I haven't seen any confirmation of that, only the 'rumors'.
We get information from the Law School all the time, as we are donors, and I have yet to hear anything about them moving to FL. As far as I know, they are in MI for the forseeable future. They might move to FL in the future, I just don't know, but be careful about spreading rumors planted by disgruntled former employees, or those who have a personal beef with Mr. Monaghan for whatever reason.
Are you in MI?
Have you been effected by one of these Elementary Schools closing?
Some people dream big. Monaghan put his money behind his dreams. It's not libel when one reseaches the facts.
He is in many more projects than just Ave Maria School of Law.
And actually, I would love it if he would come and build a school at my parish. It would be just what he dreamed the other schools would be, financed by the people within a few years. From what I see, he hoped that his Spiritus Sanctus schools would become just that. He is a businessman as well. I can see what happened from a business stand point.
Your comment was that nuns are currently suing him.
First, it was a rumor for which you had no proof but spread nevertheless.
Second, it is not in fact true. There is no suit. And to my knowledge (as a former employee of Tom's philantrhopic entities, a grad of his law school, and a donor to and friend of the nuns, my circle of friends includes the nuns and those who work for Tom's entities) there was never any lawsuit - instead there was only a viscious rumor that people use to smear Tom.
Third, what you might have said was that many people are upset that Tom is building his university in FL instead of MI and there is much controversy over that. I don't think you are in a position to say much more without dragging yourself down into the mud of gossip and rumor.
Fourth, I know you did not mean to smear Tom, but you did. And I am pointing out that fact - though I want everyone to understand that I see this as an anomoly and not indicative of your character - which I presume is quite laudable.
SuziQ is quite right to point out that some of you seem to get all of your information from the blogs of disgruntled people who do not want the university to end up in FL.
Dr. Rice is a great man. He was never the dean at ND or Ave. He was a visiting prof and he sat on the board of directors. I do not like the way he was removed from the board and wish he was still on the board. He did not support the move to FL and was vocal about it. The board of directors - all upstanding moral people with inpeccable reputations - approved a new by-law which term-limited him off of the board. Not pretty, not prudent, but not exactly immoral, either. As an alum I have been privy to many details and even recieved emails as an alum from the dean and Dr. Rice to explain their version of what happened.
As for the 4 elementary schools: every project he began was told from the start that the idea was to become self-sufficient eventually. As projections showed that goal to be way way off, he invested tons of cash to DOUBLE the capacity of two of the schools, and he closed the other two. The local parish that is most closely associated with his philanthropy ended up with one closed school 9whcih is adjacent to the parish). And all the schools were within the same general are of Ann Arbor, so no student ended up without the ability to stay at these great schools. My kids went to the schools until 2003 and we keep in touch with many friends who are still at the schools.
There is a place for monasteries within Christianity, and it seems that Ave Maria will serve this function. It's one of the few schools that I will consider sending my children to.
You have jsut explained why we homeschool.
I forgot: Dr. Rice remains on the Ave faculty!!!!
I thought the same thing. But then again, monasteries have a place within Christianity, and this community can serve a similar function. Additionally, and paradoxically, this seeming retreat from society could actually serve, by its way of life, as a beacon of light to our largely pagan society.
Interesting. I drove through it when I visited Disney World, and thought it was the creepiest place on earth. Well organized and laid out, but souless. OTOH, I think Ave Maria will have soul.