"In this segment, the first of a three-part overview, you will be introduced to Tom Monaghan, a wealthy man determined to change secular society to one more heavily influenced by his brand of ultra-orthodox Catholicism. In subsequent pieces, the specifics of his activities and organizations will be reviewed.
If you do not know who Tom Monaghan is, you should. He is perhaps one of the most influential members of the Catholic Right. An advocate of laissiez-faire economics as well as an ultra-orthodox brand of faith he has advanced those twin agendas by both his actions and his financial muscle.
In order to spread his religious convictions he has personally funded Operation Rescue as well as Fr. Frank Pavone's Priests for Life. Legatus, the ultra-conservative millionaires-only club he founded has reportedly done the same for Opus Dei.
On the business side he is vehemently anti-union,(i) blaming organized Labor for causing the federal budget deficit--a contradictory position to take considering that many middle-class Catholics make up a significant portion of Labor's rank and file. Monaghan has also pumped money into the campaign coffers of the likes of culturally conservative Senators such as Sam Brownback (R-Ks.), Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
As the New York Times recently put it:
Since netting about $1 billion from the 1998 sale of Domino's to Bain Capital, Mr. Monaghan, 69, has become one of the leading philanthropists in the country and the biggest benefactor of conservative Catholic institutions.
In the past eight years, his Ave Maria Foundation, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has donated $140 million to promote conservative Catholic education, media and other organizations, including Detroit-area parochial grade schools, a law school and small regional colleges in Michigan and Nicaragua, along with radio stations and a fellowship group for Catholic business leaders.(ii)
As of 2004, he has given away approximately $450 million to the causes he believes in. And as this sub-series will demonstrate that Mr. Monaghan prefers a society that views ultra-orthodox Catholicism as its moral cornerstone. To that end, secular law would then be subject to a Catholic understanding of Natural Law principles.
The pizza king cum power broker came from humble beginnings. His father died when he was six. Shortly thereafter his mother placed him and his brother in a Catholic orphanage after having trouble raising them. After getting kicked out of a seminary, he then did a stint in the Marines; enrolled in the University of Michigan, but never graduated. He did though acquire a desire "to save souls," a desire that was given a booster shot after reading C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity."
Monaghan started on the path that would lead to the Domino's Pizza empire in 1960 by purchasing a single pizzeria called DomiNick's. By the time of his sale to Bain, Domino's had 6,250 locations throughout the world.
In the next three postings of this series on the Catholic Right, Monaghan's influence will be closely examined. First, will be The Thomas More Law Center, its mission, its faculty, and most of all its legal philosophy. This will include a review of one of the center's lawsuits and how it reveals its members' very theocratic disposition towards government. As part of this review, his experiment at creating an ultra-orthodox Catholic community from the ground-up will be examined; including the thorny constitutional issues it raises.
The following installment will take a hard look at how Monaghan and others of the Catholic Right are building their own structures of higher education, including the Ave Maria University projects. It is a system designed to educate and prepare new generation of ultra-orthodox Catholics for positions of leadership. As we will see, it is a cause for concern even within the mainstream Catholic colleges and universities.
In the final installment the Monaghan money trail will be examined more closely. This will include a good look at the various Religious Right organizations to which Mr. Monaghan and his affiliated foundations provide vital funding. As part of this overview,
Legatus will also be examined in upcoming posts. Set up by Monaghan, this association is open only to those with a net worth of $4 million or more. Having a bent that is decidedly socially conservative, it feeds money into a whole host of ultra-conservative causes, including lay organizations such as Opus Dei. An agenda that is designed to take the Catholic Church back toward a pre-Vatican II outlook as well as catering to interests of wealthier individuals.
Tom Monaghan has a grand plan to transform our pluralistic society into one that holds everyone to one subjective form of "the truth"--even if you don't agree with that version. Because of both his wealth and his access to political power, he is a man worth watching.
The Catholic Right: A Series, by Frank Cocozzelli : Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six Intermezzo Part Eight Part Nine
(i) Deborah Birnby, "Domino's CEO Uses Company Funds to Finance Cult"The Tech, Volume 111, Number 18, April 9, 1991, Page 5; Link: http://www-tech.mit.edu/Issue/V111/N18/birnby.18o.html
(ii) Hansen, Susan, "Our Lady of Discord," New York Times, July 30, 2006. Link: http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F30916F63 95B0C738FDDAE0894DE404482"
Note: Content reposted with the permission of the author.