A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Monday, February 27, 2006

An All-Catholic City?

The Sunday Times: 'Pizza pope' builds a Catholic heaven---

A FORMER marine who was raised by nuns and made a fortune selling pizza has embarked on a £230m plan to build the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles.

Abortions, pornography and contraceptives will be banned in the new Florida town of Ave Maria, which has begun to take shape on former vegetable farms 90 miles northwest of Miami.

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 around a 100ft tall oratory and the first Catholic university to be built in America 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 billion (£573m). 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 5,000 acres previously used by migrant farmers.

The land on the western edge of the Everglades swamp will eventually house up to 30,000 people, with 5,000 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 new university earlier this month.

Yet 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. Environmentalists have also complained the town will restrict the habitat of the Florida panther, an endangered species.
It sounds absolutely wonderful.

And this has nothing to do with the supposed "separation of church and state," which isn't actually in the Constitution. If, let us say, it were in the Constitution, it would only apply to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. States and cities are allowed to have established religions, as long as state constitutions allow it. A number of the Original 13 Colonies had established religions at the time of the Revolution and when the Constitution was written. The Founding Fathers simply did not want the Federal Government demanding everyone practice the State Religion, like people had to in England. They said nothing, absolutely nothing, about keeping religion out of the public square or even the government.

If people can form homeowner's associations, or anything of that nature, they certainly ought to be able to form a city around a specific religion. Liberals like communes and all that goes with them. A Catholic city would be a much better sort.

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”.

Healy described the “virtual collapse of Europe” as “one of the most profound and unsettling developments of our new century”. He added: “If you consider the more telling signs, such as its plummeting birth rate, Europe does not even seem to believe in a future . . . children are a sign of hope and the fruit of obedience to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply.”
A very smart man. God bless his efforts.

(Curtsy to Drudge)