Report Card: Ave Maria school goes to diocese, Catholic law prof named to appeals court

Diocese purchases school from Ave Maria University

The Diocese of Venice in Florida has announced an agreement to purchase the Rhodora J. Donahue Academy, a classical Catholic school which has ties to Ave Maria University.

The move follows the Diocese’s January purchase of the Ave Maria Catholic church, which was initially built by the university and has served as a “quasi-parish” to serve both the university and the town. It is now a full parish of the Venice Diocese.

The school will be under the auspices of the Diocese of Venice Department of Education.

“The Academy will be fully integrated into the Diocese of Venice, which maintains high academic standards for its Catholic Schools,” said Bishop Frank Dewane in a news release.

Trump nominates Notre Dame Law prof as federal judge

President Donald Trump nominated Notre Dame Law Professor Amy Barrett, a mother of seven who is known for her faithful Catholicism, as a federal judge.

Barrett, who clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was nominated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, was one of nine nominations to federal courts.

Barrett has twice been honored as “Distinguished Professor of the Year” at the University of Notre Dame. In a 2006 address to law students, she asked them to make it their “life project to know, love and serve the God who made you.”

In 2015, ahead of the Ordinary Synod on the Family, she signed a public letter upholding Church teaching on marriage and family and criticized “ideological colonization.”

Walsh University president, wife meet with Pope Francis, establish scholarship in his name

Upon meeting with Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City recently, Walsh University President Richard Jusseaume and his wife presented His Holiness with a newly established student scholarship named in his honor.

The Servant of the Servants of God Scholarship will be awarded to a financially needy Walsh University student who displays the qualities and characteristics of servant leadership combined with a fervent dedication to doing God’s work on earth.

Pence’s Notre Dame invitation opposed by LGBT activists

The falsely named National Catholic Reporter warns the University of Notre Dame’s invitation of Vice President Mike Pence to speak at the commencement ceremony “may again bring the school, celebrating its 175th year in 2017, into the hot and sometimes blinding spotlight of national controversy.” But not because of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.

Comparing the invitation to then-President Obama’s address in 2009, which rightfully sparked a massive controversy for entirely different reasons, the paper says “this time, any controversy likely will focus on gay rights.”

In order to prepare for the commencement, undergraduates and alumni from the Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College LGBT community distributed almost 500 rainbow flags around campus and asked for community support in displaying them as a protest against the Pence visit. The flags were soon hanging from windows all across campus.

Catholic school upholds prom tradition

After a senior at Mercy High School, an all-girls Catholic school in Connecticut, was told she could not bring another girl as her date to the prom, a petition at gathered more than 1,800 signatures.

But with admirable fortitude and fidelity, Mercy President Sister Mary McCarthy said families must understand that students attending the school are expected to abide by official Catholic teachings.

Unfortunately, Norwich Diocese spokesman Michael Strammiello appeared to strike a less certain note: “Until there’s such time of significant policy movement, we’re in a place that all the stakeholders are familiar with. Policies established over a long time don’t change overnight.”

“In this sometimes anxious world, when you’re dealing with issues with such deep thought and sensitivity such as this, we need to be patient,” Strammiello continued. “We would be poorly served if anyone was being closed-minded about this.”

Setback for Marquette professor punished for defending pro-marriage student

A circuit court judge ruled that Marquette University was within its rights for firing John McAdams, a tenured professor at Marquette University who was fired for defending a student’s right to have an opinion against same-sex marriage.

“In November, 2014, McAdams shared a story on his blog, Marquette Warrior, of an undergraduate student who had been told by a graduate student instructor, Cheryl Abbate, that he could not express his disagreement with same-sex marriage in her theory of ethics class because doing so would be homophobic and offensive,” explains the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. “The story went national, resulting in a lot of bad press for Marquette.”

The judge ruled that “Dr. McAdams’ rights to academic freedom and freedom of expression were not violated” and the university was within its rights to fire him, because he had named a graduate-student instructor in his blog post, and she could therefore receive negative attention.

Although the case has revolved around rights of academic freedom and tenure, it also reflects on Marquette’s Catholic identity, especially by its one-sided condemnation of McAdams and not the instructor who prevented a student from voicing a fundamental belief of Catholics about marriage.

McAdams plans to appeal the ruling.

Happy outcome for Professor Esolen

More continues to be written about the ugly and sustained attack from faculty and administration at Providence College against acclaimed Catholic author and Dante scholar Anthony Esolen. He is joining the faculty of The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H.

The Boston Pilot calls it a “betrayal” with a happy ending.

“Professor Esolen thought that his job as a teacher was more than just providing lectures, pursuing his private scholarship and going to academic meetings,” the Catholic paper states. “He thought he had a larger set of responsibilities to the college and its students.”

Esolen’s new home at Thomas More College is a place where a scholar-teacher “can live out Chaucer’s old, but enduring ideal of the teacher, a joyful setting where ‘gladly would he learn and gladly teach.”

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