Dec 23, 2007

48 Legionaries of Christ Ordained

12 New Priests From U.S. 

Zenit
December 23, 2007

ROME, DEC. 23, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Forty-eight religious from the Legion of Christ were ordained to the priesthood Saturday in Rome.

Archbishop Luigi de Magistris, retired pro-major penitentiary, celebrated Saturday's ordination Mass in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

In addition to 12 new priests from the United States, the Legion of Christ's first priests from Singapore and El Salvador were also ordained. The group also included 19 from Mexico, eight from Spain, four from Brazil, and one each from Chile, France and Germany.

A delegation came from Ivory Coast, the first African country where the Regnum Christi Movement is present. Regnum Christi is the lay apostolic movement associated with the Legionaries of Christ.

Deacon Rafael Lara, father of one of the new priests, Father Paul Lara, read the Gospel. Six months ago in the United States, father and son were ordained to the diaconate together -- the father as a permanent deacon.

In his homily, Archbishop de Magistris, 81, spoke from his long experience as a priest: "Always be ministers of the truth; to be a priest of Christ is to be a priest of the Church, with the Church, and for the Church. As ministers of forgiveness, never say ‘no' to someone who asks you for the sacrament of confession. Celebrate the Eucharist as if it were the first and the last time of your life."

He cited a text from a letter of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel: "Unite yourself to Mary and your priesthood will never be without fruit."

http://www.zenit.org/article-21373?l=english

Dec 11, 2007

Author speaks about her 'Shattered Dreams' as a polygamist's wife


Brooke Adams
Salt Lake Tribune

December 11, 2007

When Irene Spencer became a plural wife she married for God, not love.

Born into a family that had embraced polygamy for four generations, Spencer believed plural marriage was necessary for her to get to heaven.

In 1953, at age 16, she became the second wife of her brother-in-law, Verlan LeBaron. For Spencer, the years that followed were a constant search for validation.

She suffered a nervous breakdown, contemplated suicide and planned to leave her 28-year marriage when fate intervened: LeBaron was killed in a car accident.

Spencer, 70, chronicles her experience as a plural wife in "Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife" (Center Street, $24.99). She will speak about her life in polygamy tonight at Salt Lake City's Main Library.


Through marriage, Spencer joined a family that would launch an infamous sect, the Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times. Based in Mexico, it is most notable for the murderous rampage set off by LeBaron's brother Ervil in the 1970s.

But Spencer said her husband, who led the sect from 1972 until his death in 1981, was a kind man who adored his 58 children.

She does not fault him for her dissatisfaction with the polygamous life, a perspective that sets her apart from other ex-plural wives who've authored books about their experiences.

"Verlan was a very good man," she said. "The publishers wanted to make him out a dog, but he was one of the kindest, nicest, understanding [men]. He was a victim in the same way I was a victim."

The polygamous lifestyle itself was the problem, incapable of delivering the promised fulfillment, she maintains.

Plural memoirs.
Books by ex-plural wives practically make up their own genre. The form began with Ann Eliza Young's "Wife No. 19: The Story of a life in Bondage," an expose of her short, unhappy marriage to LDS Prophet Brigham Young.

It entered the modern era with publication in 1975 of "Polygamist's Wife" by Melissa Merrill, the pseudonym of a woman whose marriage collapsed after her husband took three other wives.

More recent additions include "The Sixth of Seventh Wives" by Mary Mackert and "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop, both former members of the sect now led by Warren S. Jeffs. Mackert is featured in the documentary, "Damned to Heaven."

The interest in such stories appears strong; both Spencer's and Jessop's book appeared briefly on The New York Times' bestsellers list.

Just one book has offered a positive take on polygamy among fundamentalist Mormons, "Voices in Harmony." The compilation of comments from 100 plural wives was put together by proponents Anne Wilde, Mary Batchelor and Marianne Watson.

Spencer and Jessop "both have fascinating stories. They are very sad stories," said Wilde, who has read both books. "They have their experience, they have a right to write about it and my heart goes out to them."

But the books may leave readers with the impression that all fundamentalist Mormon women are suppressed emotionally and spiritually, Wilde said. "That is not the case across the board," she said.

One family's history.

Spencer is the second of LeBaron's former wives to pen a memoir. Susan Ray Schmidt, wife No. 6, published "His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy" in 2006. LeBaron also wrote briefly about his family in "The LeBaron Story," published the year he died.

Read together, the books offer a unique look at different perspectives of a single polygamous marriage.

Spencer's book is the best, and a better read than most in the genre, which have common themes of jealousy, emotional neglect and women overwhelmed by too many children.

Spencer spent her married years in Mexico, giving birth to 13 children while trying to make the best of a life of abject poverty.

The addition of each new wife brought heartbreak and exacerbated Spencer's emotional, and sexual, frustration.

"I used to tell him not to get more than seven wives because I wanted to see him at least once a week," she said.

"Living 'the law' was like torture to me," Spencer writes. "It went beyond self-sacrifice to the point of totally rejecting self."

Spencer was shocked and threatened when LeBaron took Schmidt, who was 15 at the time, as a wife.

But she participated in the ceremony anyway. By then, LeBaron was the sect's president and Spencer felt compelled to keep up a happy facade.

"It was our survival." LeBaron eventually had 10 wives; Spencer participated in four of those ceremonies, placing each new wife's hand in that of their husband.

"I did it without flinching or crying because everybody was watching you," she said. "You just smother everything you feel.

"Every woman who says they love it - I used to parrot the same things and say it was wonderful, grand, because it was expected of us and it was our survival," Spencer said. "If you didn't believe it and gave it up, you were damned."

So she suffered along, her unmet emotional, physical and psychological needs deepening. Spencer said LeBaron confided he felt overwhelmed, too, but felt "he had to do it for God."

After LeBaron's death, Spencer became a born-again Christian; she married Hector Spencer 19 years ago, finally finding the love and devotion she craved.

Lingering guilt about her years as a plural wife is due to this: Three of her children are in polygamous marriages. "I look forward to the day when they will all be out it," she said.

Spencer wrote a draft of the book 20 years ago, intending it to be an historical account for posterity. When a church group gave it a thumbs up, Spencer and a daughter began searching for a publisher.

She received 25 rejections before her manuscript was accepted by an agent who sold it to Center Street, which focuses on books that provide "wholesome entertainment, helpful encouragement and traditional values."
That, Spencer hopes, is exactly what people find in her memoir.

"I want people to know how [you] can be brainwashed and made to follow someone else's script," she said. "I feel like you can walk away from any situation you were in and become better or bitter. I have learned a lot of valuable lessons."

Brooke Adams can be reached at 801-257-8724 or brooke@sltrib.com

http://www.sltrib.com/News/ci_7693341

Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times (Ervil LeBaron)

Nov 16, 2007

Attorney Argues For Rastafarian Client



Karen Florin
The Day (CT)

November 16, 2007

Judge Doesn't Buy That Marijuana Is A 'God-Given Right'

Defense attorney Ronald F. Stevens' presentation in New London Superior Court Thursday could have been called “Marijuana 101.”

His client, 42-year-old Vernon Smith of Norwich, had pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of marijuana with intent to sell after police found him with more than 20 pounds of the drug earlier this year.

As a Rastafarian who believes that selling, trading and possessing marijuana is “a God-given right,” Smith had asked his lawyer to argue his point of view in an attempt to reduce the state's recommended sentence of seven years in prison, suspended after 30 months served and three years probation.

Smith, a father of seven from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, is a “Mr. Mom” who takes care of the kids while his wife works and supplements his income by selling marijuana, Stevens said. He does not sell to children, the attorney said.

This was Smith's third conviction, and it was his second time in front of Judge Susan B. Handy. Stevens acknowledged the judge had to follow the law, but said he had to advocate for his client.

“Mr. Smith firmly believes in his heart of hearts and in his religious and cultural convictions that marijuana is part of his human rights,” Stevens said. “He wants to fight the good fight for the legalization of marijuana.”

Stevens said he listened to audio tapes, watched television specials and read up on the history of marijuana and the Rastafarian religion. Marijuana was legal until the 1930s, he said. He referenced Supreme Court decisions involving Rastafarians and their use of marijuana. He recited a poem on his client's behalf and quoted from a Biblical passage about “the herb of life.” He said Rastafarians consider marijuana or “ganja” to be “wisdom weed.”

After referencing the Prohibition period, when alcohol was illegal but marijuana was not, Stevens said that in his practice, “I see more problems with alcohol than I've seen with marijuana, frankly.”

Stevens said his client's beliefs had made him the victim of a violent crime. Two men, whose cases are pending in the same New London court, had entered Smith's home in May while his parents were visiting from St. Croix and held guns to their heads. While police were investigating, Smith admitted he had marijuana in the home. Police recovered four ounces, and were holding a warrant for his arrest when he was pulled over and found with 20 pounds of the drug.

Smith, who wore a white robe and a tri-colored headwrap to his court appearances, said he has always tried to set a good example for his people and has followed the Ten Commandments. He does not consider himself a criminal.

“I know that the law is such in this country, but I feel one day the law will change, especially with people who indulge in marijuana and are not violent,” he said. He knows many people who use marijuana to relax and meditate, he said.

Knowing Stevens was about to make the argument, prosecutor John P. Gravalec-Pannone had said that the proper place for it would be the legislature. He also said that in his experience, the dealing of marijuana and the potency of it when mixed with other substances has led to violent crimes, including murder.

“The law is the law,” Pannone said.

Handy said she had respect for Smith's religion, but that he could not use it to hide his criminal behavior. She did not reduce his sentence. She said that as long as marijuana is illegal, possessing, using and selling it is criminal.

“That home invasion was because of what you do, which is criminal activity,” she said. “You, sir, put your children, your wife and your visiting parents at risk because you sell drugs.”

k.florin@theday.com

http://www.theday.com/re.aspx?re=40777b65-65b9-4529-9921-c9f633ca064a

Oct 24, 2007

AT&T told to pay 2 Jehovah's Witnesses



Dallas Morning News

October 24, 2007


From Wire Reports

AT&T Inc. must pay $756,000 to two former technicians who were denied time off to attend a Jehovah's Witness meeting, a federal jury in Arkansas decided.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued AT&T last year, claiming the San Antonio-based company denied Glenn Owen and Jose Gonzalez a "reasonable accommodation" of their religious beliefs when it fired them after they asked to attend a Jehovah's Witness convention in Little Rock, Ark.

The two men had "sincerely held religious beliefs" and had attended the convention previously, according to the EEOC complaint.

The verdict, delivered Oct. 19, was entered Monday, according to the court docket.

"We respectfully disagree with the verdict and plan to appeal," said AT&T spokesman Dave Pacholczyk.


http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/102407dnbusattjehovas.19e535e4d.html 

Oct 11, 2007

Aum bankruptcy to wrap up in March



Japan Times

October 11, 2007


Kyodo News Service

VICTIMS STILL SEEKING COMPENSATION

The bankruptcy proceedings for doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo are now scheduled to conclude in March, which will allow the bankruptcy administrator to find ways to compensate victims of Aum's deadly crimes.

At the 15th meeting of victims' representatives and other creditors held Wednesday at the Tokyo District Court, bankruptcy administrator Saburo Abe proposed closing the procedures on March 31, a dozen years after the cult was declared insolvent in 1996.

Abe and the victims plan to urge the government and Diet members to establish a special law obliging the government to shoulder compensation payments on behalf of Aum, which has renamed itself Aleph, and collect debts from the group.

Presiding Judge Kenji Nishi decided to hold the final creditors' meeting on March 26.

"We doubt that we can collect the debts from the group simply through the bankruptcy procedures, because the pain felt by the victims has already reached its limit," Abe said. "I am confident that our proposal was approved by the court and we will continue supporting the victims until they are provided with redress."

In Wednesday's meeting, Abe presented the conditions for closing the proceedings, under which a fund to support Aum's victims, set up in June 2006, will take over the cult's claimable assets. The victims will receive another round of payments before mid-March.

According to Abe, Aum is roughly ¥5.1 billion in debt, and about ¥3.8 billion of that should be used as compensation.

But the victims have so far received only 34 percent of that amount, or ¥1.3 billion, in the past three rounds of payments. The next payment is expected to boost their take to around 37 percent or 38 percent.

Aum was founded by Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto. Twelve people died in the group's 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway system. Another gassing in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in 1994, killed seven people.

Asahara and several other cultists have been sentenced to hang for those attacks and other murders linked to Aum.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071011a3.html 

Sep 26, 2007

Authorities urged to investigate polygamy cases



CTV News

September 26, 2007

A Canadian woman who said she escaped a polygamous group is hoping the conviction of Warren Jeffs in Utah will urge Canadian authorities to pursue similar cases.

Jeffs, the leader of a polygamous Mormon splinter group, was convicted Tuesday of being an accomplice to rape, for performing a wedding between a 19-year-old man and a 14-year old girl.

"I think that it's time that something like this happened," Debbie Palmer told CTV's Canada AM. "This is the first time in North America. It's the first time anywhere that a fundamentalist Mormon polygamist prophet has been prosecuted and then found guilty for any crimes."

Palmer is hoping the conviction will urge Canadian authorities to revisit their information on polygamous communities.

"I hope this case will help our Attorney General's office and our Crown prosecutors in Canada take further attention," Palmer said.

Palmer was assigned to marry 57-year-old Ray Blackmore when she was 15 years old in Bountiful, B.C., but she left before that happened.

The Mormon Church excommunicates members who practise polygamy. Members of the Bountiful community are a part of a breakaway sect that believes men must marry as many women as possible in order to reach heaven.

The polygamous community is split, with some people supporting Jeffs while others back Bountiful bishop Winston Blackmore.

Palmer, who met Jeffs before he came to prominence, said she has half-brothers who are enforcers in the community.

Polygamy is illegal in Canada, yet charges have not been laid against anyone in Bountiful, B.C.

Earlier this month, B.C. Attorney-General Wally Oppal ordered a review into whether to lay criminal charges can be laid against members of the colony in Bountiful.

The case is being reviewed by lawyer Leonard Doust and a decision is expected in the next few weeks.

In August, special prosecutor Richard Peck concluded that there was not enough evidence to charge members of a breakaway Mormon sect with any sexual offences.

The RCMP had initially recommended charges against members of the colony in Bountiful in 1990. But legal opinions that the polygamy ban would be struck down as an infringement on religious freedom meant that no charges were laid. The RCMP also recommended sexual exploitation charges against the colony in Bountiful in 2006.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070926/polygamy_canada_070926/20070926?hub=World 

Sep 19, 2007

Australia says no chance of Beijing Olympics boycott




AFP

September 19, 2007

SYDNEY (AFP) — Australia on Wednesday ruled out boycotting the 2008 Beijing Olympics over China's human rights record.

Sports Minister George Brandis said Australia would attend the Games, despite allegations from the Falun Gong spiritual movement that Beijing is involved in "harvesting" the organs of jailed members and other dissidents.

Brandis said Australia would not boycott the Games even if the allegations were proven.

"The Australian government isn't making a link between the two issues," Brandis told parliament.

"There's no issue about Australia's participation in the Beijing Olympics being reconsidered."

The minister said there were other ways for Australia to address human rights issues with China, although he did not specify what they were.

China last month overtook Japan as Australia's number one trading partner, with two-way trade between the countries exceeding 40 billion US dollars as Chinese demand for Australian resources continues to boom.

China outlawed Falun Gong, which combines meditation with Buddhist-inspired teachings, as an "evil cult" in mid-1999.

Since then the group, which claims to have more than 100 million followers worldwide, has campaigned from abroad against what they claim is brutal persecution of their followers in China.

Earlier this year, Canada's former secretary of state for the Asia-Pacific, David Kilgour, and human rights lawyer David Matas released a report saying the Chinese military were harvesting and selling the organs of executed prisoners.

China denied the claims, saying organ transplants were strictly controlled.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jvs3SuE2fXHt66A-DEngKLidzgYg 

Sep 8, 2007

B.C. attorney general again reviews decision not to lay polygamy charges

Canadian Press
September 8, 2007

VANCOUVER (CP) — Yet another review has been ordered on whether criminal charges can be laid against members of a B.C. polygamist colony.

This time, high-profile lawyer Leonard Doust is being asked to review a report that concluded there wasn't enough evidence to charge members at the breakaway Mormon sect in Bountiful, B.C., with sexual offences.

Special prosecutor Richard Peck concluded in a report released in August that the provincial government should ask the court to rule on the constitutional validity of Canada's laws against polygamy.

Peck said a reference to the court would avoid a lengthy criminal trial in which the defendants would likely claim religious freedom and where getting witnesses to testify could be extraordinarily difficult.

"Peck looked at it from one particular angle as to the reference part, not necessarily from the perspective of whether we should lay charges and let the defence raise (the constitutionality), and I've always sort of felt that way about it," said Attorney General Wally Oppal, a former judge, in an interview.

"I just want to cover all bases. We just want to be cautious before we do those things."

Peck's report itself was a review of past recommendations by other Crown lawyers over the years who concluded the government was at risk of losing any trial on polygamy charges. They said the defence would simply assert that the law banning the practice was illegal under the religious freedoms guaranteed by the Charter of Rights.

Critics of Bountiful have repeatedly complained the government is doing nothing but studying the question while women are exploited.

"Why now do you have to hire another high-profile lawyer? How much is being spent on this that could actually be spent in the courts prosecuting these polygamists?" asked Nancy Mereska, who runs the Stop Polygamy Coalition.

Though she said it's good to know the government is considering laying charges, the delay is frustrating.

"I see it as another delay tactic so that one person doesn't have to take the responsibility," she said. "They are elected to that position to take this responsibility. Why does he want to lay it on the shoulders of other people?"

Peck had also looked at whether members of the community could be charged with sexual offences, which was seen by many as another legal avenue available to the government to try to stop young women from being forced to marry older men.

Peck concluded it wasn't an option, and that a constitutional reference question was likely the only way for the government to proceed.

"Peck has offered us a route that is conservative and he thinks it's a good clean conservative way to go and there is some merit to that suggestion." Oppal said.

"I am a little more aggressive on this."

Doust is being asked to review the case and other factors Peck considered in coming to that conclusion.

Oppal said he also wasn't comfortable with the idea of putting the question before the courts.

"Courts often don't like giving opinions on these things," he said. "They say why should we give an opinion in a vacuum when there is no charge against us."

If Doust concludes a prosecution meets the criminal justice branch's charge approval policy, Oppal has asked that Doust conduct the prosecution.

He said he didn't expect Doust's report to take long because no new information will be gathered.

Peck declined to comment on the ministry's decision when contacted by phone on Friday.

Members of the colony, located in southeastern B.C., belong to a breakaway sect of the Mormon church and believe that in order to get into heaven, men must marry as many women as possible.

Charges against members of the colony were recommended by RCMP as far back as 1990.

The Crown decided not to proceed based on legal opinions that the polygamy ban would be struck down as an infringement on religious freedom.

In 2006, the RCMP again recommended charges, this time under the sexual exploitation provision of the code, which prohibits an adult from having sex with someone between age 14 and 18 when the adult is in a position of authority .

Again, the Crown concluded a conviction was unlikely.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church, renounced polygamy in 1890 and the Bountiful group broke away from it. The Mormon Church excommunicates members who practise polygamy.

New Democrat Opposition critic Leonard Krog said Oppal was missing the point.

"While the issue of polygamy is important, what is much more important is the protection of children. And the Attorney General's decision to restrict the terms of review to polygamy gives the wrong message," said Krog. "The women and children of Bountiful have waited a long time for justice. The time for action is now."


http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5j3frLBBCBMujmMZti_F3WnPzBTIg 

Sep 6, 2007

Attleboro cultist who starved son to death wants new trial


Dave Wedge
Boston Herald

September 6, 2007

A baby-killing Attleboro cultist wants his life sentence tossed out, claiming he was brainwashed by the sicko sect and misled to believe he could resurrect his son from the dead.

Jacques Robidoux, who is serving life for the 1999 starvation death of his infant son Samuel, “believed that no harm would come to his child if his food was restricted, and if harm did come to his child, that he could bring the child back to life,” his attorney, Janet Pumphrey, argues in a pleading set to go before the state Supreme Judicial Court today.

Pumphrey is asking the SJC for a new trial, claiming Robidoux should have pursued an insanity defense because he was the victim of “mind control” and “extreme coercion” at the hands of the cult, which was led by his late father, Roland Robidoux.

“At no time did he believe that withholding solid food from Samuel was wrong; rather, he believed it was what God told him to do,” Pumphrey argues. “Everyone in the cult believed that God’s law was higher than man’s law and they followed God’s law.”

But special prosecutor Sharon Sullivan-Puccini said Robidoux rejected an insanity defense because he believed a psychological evaluation clashed with the sect’s belief that doctors are tools of Satan. She also noted that he took the stand at trial and “took full responsibility” for the murder.

Jacques Robidoux, 34, and his wife, Karen, starved the toddler to death after a twisted prophecy delivered by Jacques’ sister instructed them to feed the boy only breast milk, even though he had already been eating solid food.

Karen Robidoux successfully used a battered women’s defense, arguing that she, too, was victimized by the sect’s heavy-handed ways. She was cleared of second-degree murder. No other members were charged.

Bob Pardon, a cult expert who has studied the Attleboro group extensively, said Jacques Robidoux was scapegoated in the case and “took the fall” for his iron-fisted dad.

“The wrong person was convicted. His father was calling the shots,” said Pardon, who has visited Robidoux in jail several times. “Jacques was under undue influence. I don’t think he got the sentence he deserved. He deserves a second shot.”

http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view.bg?articleid=1029826 

Jul 23, 2007

Ave Maria Not Just for Catholics

Brian Skoloff
W
ashington Post
July 23, 2007 

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) -- No, of course not, Ave Maria is not a Roman Catholic town, its builders say. Why would you think such a thing?

Yes, the streets have names like Annunciation Circle and John Paul II Boulevard. The town is laid out to catch the sunrise at a certain angle each March 25, the day Catholics celebrate the Feast of Annunciation. And the Catholic university whose towering 10-story church dominates the landscape bans the sale of condoms and warns that premarital sex can be grounds for expulsion.

But Ave Maria is open to everyone, said Blake Gable, project manager for the Barron Collier Cos., which is building the new town in partnership with Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, an ardent Catholic.

"When I lived in Washington, D.C., I looked out my window and I saw the National Cathedral. I didn't feel like I was in a religious environment," Gable said. "It's never occurred to me that it's a Catholic community."

The builders of Ave Maria, whose name is Latin for Hail Mary, have been struggling to get the message out that anyone can live here ever since Monaghan's headline-grabbing comments in 2005, when the site was still just a sod farm. Monaghan told a Catholic group at the time that the town would be governed by Roman Catholic principles. He said stores wouldn't carry contraceptives or pornography, and cable TV would have no adult channels.

In response, a Wall Street Journal opinion column quoted a critic of Ave Maria as calling it a "Catholic Jonestown." The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida threatened to sue. Critics called it un-American. And Monaghan backed off.

Monaghan now says that Ave Maria University, the school he is also bankrolling, will follow strict Catholic guidelines, but the town will be largely allowed to grow uninhibited _ except for no adult novelty stores or topless clubs. The developers say they will merely suggest that merchants not sell contraceptives or porn, and cable TV offerings will not be restricted.

Even with that, Monaghan seems disappointed. If he had his way, Ave Maria would be God's town.

"I thought we owned the real estate, so we can lease to whoever we want and put things in the contract, but there are laws and there were lawsuits out there," Monaghan said.

The developers say that they will allow any denomination to build a house of worship in Ave Maria, and that gays are welcome, too.

In fact, the Web site for the town and university makes no mention of Catholicism at all, not even noting that the school will be Catholic.

"Ave Maria reinvents hometown living with a flourishing new community complementing a new university," the site says. "Ave Maria is an exciting place to live, work, play and learn for every family, every lifestyle and every dream."

Monaghan has spent more than $200 million building the school, which opens next month and hopes to attract 5,500 students. It is the first Catholic university built in the United States in four decades. Gable and Monaghan repeatedly note that the university and town are two separate entities.

But the school's 1,100-seat church will be the undisputed focal point of the community, with the town center wrapping around it like a pastel-colored Italian village with overhanging balconies, verandas and glass storefronts.

Ave Maria University President Nicholas Healy Jr. said the school would "encourage students to live a Catholic moral life."

"At a number of schools, there's a problem with binge drinking or recreational sex," Healy said. "We don't permit that. ... It would be a very serious violation. We teach what the Catholic church teaches, and the Catholic church teaches that contraception is a grave moral evil and we accept that."

Barron Collier has spent about $200 million constructing the town and aims to house more than 20,000 residents. Gable said sales have exceeded expectations, with about 250 homes sold since February, though just a few of those people have moved in.

As for whether Jews or others might be uncomfortable living in a town called Ave Maria, he said: "Do people who live in San Francisco feel offended? San Antonio?"

New York retirees Henry and Roseann Knetter moved into their home about a month ago. As Catholics, the religion aspect was a big draw.

"It just appeared to be a really nice concept with the church in town," said Roseann Knetter, 64.

But they said it wasn't just religion that attracted them.

"We wanted to be in a town that was going to grow up from its grass roots," Knetter said.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/23/AR2007072300884.html

Feb 7, 2007

A Wave On The Ocean: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Meditation, Mallory and Me

Paperback – February 7, 2007
by Jon Michael Miller (Author)

Jon Michael Miller was a superstar in the TM Movement at the height of its popularity in the seventies. It attracted celebrities such as the Beatles, Clint Eastwood, Jim Hensen, and the Beach Boys. Miller's memoir traces his spiritual development as it evolved in a complicated love affair with a beautiful, enigmatic woman. It explores his childhood, his youth, and his intellectual progress. He was a devotee of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and of his teachings as he searched for answers to the difficult questions of love and betrayal in his life. The answers he found have sustained him. This is his story.