Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fessio pulls NOR ads from Ignatius Press periodicals

Fr. Joseph Fessio, apparently incensed by the exposure granted by the New Oxford Review to the controversy surrounding Ave Maria College (AMC) in Michigan and the establishment of Ave Maria University (AMU) in Florida. Fessio, who is Provost of the latter institution, funded by Tom Monaghan of Domino Pizza fame, was invited by NOR editor Dale Vree to respond to an article in by Andrew Messaros, a professor at AMC in Michigan, who aired numerous complaints over the handling of the move to establish AMU in Florida by Monaghan, Fessio, and the AMC board of trustees. It is noted that Messaros, who now holds an academic at another respected position, no longer has any personal stake in the ongoing controversy between AMC and AMU. Further, as numerous letters to the editor by students and staff at AMC in the current (June 2005) issue of NOR reveal, the controversy is far from being an isolated case centering on Messaros.

Instead of Fessio, Nicholas J. Healy Jr., President of AMU, responded to Messaros' article by writing a response in NOR. Messaros was then given the chance, per standard form, of replying to the response. Fessio was again contacted by NOR and asked if anyone wanted to reply to the second Messaros article. This time, he did so (in the Jan. 2005) issue, attacking Messaros in very personal terms. Again, Messaros was given the right to respond, and he did so in kind. Fessio insisted that he and AMU should have the last word. NOR editor Vree replied that according to convention, in publications the original author has the right to have the last word. When Vree spoke with Fessio on August 27th, the latter insisting that he could defeat all the arguments of his opponents single-handedly, leading Vree to assume Fessio would write a letter defending himself from the third Messaros article.

Instead, Fessio, who is also founder of Ignatius Press, had five full-page ads reserved for Ignatius Press pulled from the NOR. He also had three remaining NOR list rentals reserved for Ignatius Press pulled. NOR has also been informed that after its currently scheduled run of ads expires in October of this year, it will not be allowed to advertise in The Catholic World Report and Homiletic & Pastoral Review, both of which are owned by Ignatius Press.

The AMC/AMU controversy has nothing to do, of course, with Ignatius Press. Both AMC and AMU were conceived and brought into existence by faithful Catholics concerned with the future and integrity of Catholic education for the younger generations. Ignatius Press was conceived and brought into existence by a faithful Jesuit priest concerned with the future and integrity of Catholic publishing in the years to come. It is a sad commentary on otherwise good and decent Catholics in the modern world that they cannot resolve their problems without going ballistic with one another. (See New Oxford Notes: "Fr. Fessio Goes Ballistic.")

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