New President of Ave Maria University

My friends at Ave Maria Radio sent me a note that today it will be announced that there is a new President and CEO of Ave Maria University, Mr. Jim Towey.

There will be interviews on Al Kresta’s show this after noon.

I wonder if Ex corde Ecclesiae will be mentioned.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. sekman says:

    Father Z,
    Would you care to comment on the new rector of Kennrick? Fr. John Horn SJ of IPF in Omaha.

  2. chonak says:

    I wonder whether Mr. Towey’s tenure as president of St. Vincent College at Latrobe will be mentioned.

  3. randomcatholic says:

    This is very good news. Ave Maria University was suffering a credibility problem because its president was not an academic and did not have academic credentials worth noting. There have been problems with the move to Florida, accreditation issues, and a small scandal at the law school. These are more than the normal bumps in the road. Serious questions about Ave Maria remain. Mr. Towey seems like the type of guy who can take what is good about Ave and build on it, and reform and get rid of what is bad.

    I did (a little) research. Mr. Towey does, in fact, have an earned terminal degree (a JD).

    Go to St. Vincent College and check out his bio. It is impressive. Just type his name into google if you are interested. I won’t post the url…

    And he seems faithful. That is of course the most important thing.

  4. JoanW says:

    I’ve never heard a president of a college referred to as a “CEO” before.

  5. Mary Pat says:

    Jim Towey is indeed very faithful. He is a great choice for Ave Maria. Great man. Great Catholic.

  6. JulieC says:

    I’m not so sure this is good news. By sheer coincidence I’ve been researching the popular legal document Mr. Towey drew up entitled “Five Wishes,” which is supposed to aid the elderly in making medical end-of-life decisions.

    Despite Mr. Towey’s impressive Catholic academic credentials and close association with Mother Teresa, I found “Five Wishes” to be problematic from an orthodox Catholic perspective. “Five Wishes” unmistably steers the client towards refusing the use of artificial nutrition and hydration when he/she becomes very ill and can no longer speak.

    In Towey’s document, feeding tubes, IV’s, and antibiotics are defined as “life support” measures and the elderly client is not-so-subtly encouraged not to avail him/herself of them in the case of serious illness.

    Try as I might, I can’t reconcile this position with Pope John Paul II’s precise and unambiguous statement on this issue in March, 2004, to a group of physicians in Rome:

    “I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.

    The obligation to provide the “normal care due to the sick in such cases” (1) includes, in fact, the use of nutrition and hydration (2). The evaluation of probabilities, founded on waning hopes for recovery when the vegetative state is prolonged beyond a year, cannot ethically justify the cessation or interruption of minimal care for the patient, including nutrition and hydration. Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission. “

  7. oddfisher says:

    ‘insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.’

    JulieC, after a certain point in the dying process, the person’s body is no longer able to assimilate nutrition. The organs that metabolize food and water fail just like the rest of the body. Once that starts to happen, food and water can no longer attain their proper finality because they can’t provide nourishment or alleviate suffering. They can actually make dying more uncomfortable.

  8. ndmom says:

    Jim Towey is a great, orthodox guy, but he’s not really an academic either. His first university position was at St. Vincent’s.

  9. Jacob says:

    Randomcatholic, you failed to mention the entire Jackson Labs fiasco. This is window dressing. The president of AMU is a creature of the board and the chancellor. As long as Mr. Monaghan remains as chancellor and head of the board, the problems will continue.

  10. JulieC says:

    I’m not disputing the fact that in the last days of life a patient in extremis may not be able to process food and water. What I’m pointing out is that in Mr. Towey’s document, “Five Wishes,” there is no such distinction made. The client is encouraged to refuse artificial nutrition and hydration at the point when he/she can no longer clearly articulate their wishes. That could be weeks before the patient’s kidney’s or digestive system shuts down.

  11. There’s plenty of mornings when I can’t clearly articulate my wishes, at least before coffee or an alarm clock’s ring. A lot of these end of life booklets are so coy about not saying anything sad, that they end up sounding like they advocate death for people who are just a tad sickish. And of course, some of them actually do mean that.

    “That could be weeks before the patient’s kidney’s or digestive system shuts down.”

    Well, if you don’t take any water at all, it’ll only be about a week before you’re dead altogether. That’ll clear out bedspace.

  12. JulieC says:


    Just to elaborate further: In Mr. Towey’s euphemistic document, the elderly client is encouraged to choose to have food and water offered to him/her by mouth only in the case of severe illness and/or to have his/her mouth moistened with water (as he/she slowly starves and dehyrates to death.) Food and water by IV or artificial means are defined as “life support” along with CPR, ventilators and antibiotics.

    I looked through the whole booklet and could find no option listed if a client wishes to have nutrition and hydration by artificial means. This has to be written in the “special instructions” section.

    This may not seem like a big deal, but I’m troubled that a guy who’s so fuzzy on this issue and who has widely disseminated a legal vehicle facilitating questionable ethical practices is the best candidate for a job overseeing a Catholic university and law school.

  13. catholicuspater says:

    A Catholic university president really needs to know that Pope John Paul II clearly taught that food and nutrition by artificial means is to be considered ordinary care.

    If we don’t get this right, there could hundreds of thousands of Terry Schiavo’s out there being starved to death in the mistaken belief that somehow euthanizing someone in this way is somehow moral.

    Before I start repeating the line about how ‘orthodox’ and ‘faithful’ this fellow is, I’d have to know whether he’s revised his opinion in this matter in the light of Evangelium Vitae.

    As Reagan said to Gorbachev, ‘Trust but verify.’

  14. JPM says:

    Jim Towey was the other candidate being considered for the presidency of The Catholic University of America along with current president, James Garvey.

  15. Jacob says:

    Just to be clear, AMU and AMSoL are two separate entities. The president and CEO of AMU has no authority over the School of Law.

  16. Athelstan says:

    As a former graduate and staffer at AMU, I must say this has to be a step up for Ave Maria over the incumbent – but how much so remains to be seen.

    Towey was in the running as one of two finalists for the CUA presidency, and some were disappointed that CUA went with Garvey instead.

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