In This Year of Faith: Thank You, Mr. Monaghan, for the Catechism

“Before we begin,” said Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, “I want to thank Tom Monaghan for funding the Catechism.”

The group gathered at the Archbishop’s Palace in Vienna gasped—Mr. Monaghan, despite occasional snips in the press, has always been modest about his personal philanthropy, and even his office staff had never heard this story.  I was there, and I heard the Cardinal’s heartfelt expression of thanks.

On this twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I join with Cardinal Schönborn in extending my thanks for this singularly important gift to the Church—and I offer you an inside look at the story.

Archbishop’s Palace – Vienna

I was working as conference director for Legatus, and leading the group’s annual pilgrimage to Rome.  Each year there was a shoulder trip to another European destination; and this time, we planned a side trip to Vienna.  Our itinerary included tours of palaces and galleries, and a Danube River cruise ending in a heurigen—a traditional Viennese celebration of the harvest, replete with the new, as yet unfermented wine.

On this late September afternoon, though, we were at the Archbishop’s Palace on the north side of St. Stephen’s Square.  There we would have Mass in the Archbishop’s private chapel, then a welcome address from Cardinal Schönborn, followed by a reception and dinner.  It was an evening to cherish in memory.

Cardinal Schonborn

If I recall correctly, we sat on narrow chairs in a small room near the chapel, waiting for the Cardinal to complete his tasks in the sacristy and address our group.  Finally he arrived—a popular figure, he received a standing ovation from our group of American business leaders.

And as we took our seats, he began as I wrote above:  “Before we begin, I want to thank Tom Monaghan for funding the Catechism.”  He explained that in the mid-1980s, Pope John Paul II had indicated an interest in developing a catechism for the worldwide Church; a commission of 12 bishops and cardinals had been put in charge of the project; but for several years, it had not moved forward.  At the end of each fiscal year, various Vatican departments looked at their budgets and could not find room for such a large project.  That was, he explained, when Tom Monaghan stepped in and offered the necessary sponsorship for the research, travel, staff and equipment necessary to complete the project.  Without Tom, Cardinal Schönborn explained, the Catechism might never have been published.

Thomas S. Monaghan—who grew up in an orphanage, founded Domino’s Pizza, bought and sold the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise, then took what he called a “rich man’s vow of poverty”—has done much to advance the Catholic Faith in the modern world.  He founded the international business leaders’ association, Legatus; provided the seed funding for the Ave Maria Radio Network; established a Catholic college and law school, which are now graduating alumni well qualified to effect change in the culture; he supported Catholic elementary, high school and preschools in the Ann Arbor area; he helped to institute the Thomas More Law Center; and he provided constant support for many pro-life initiatives, nationally and locally.

But this one project—the Catechism of the Catholic Church—has implications which reach beyond our era, offering guidance and unpacking difficult theological issues for the common reader, far into the future.

For his part in bringing this to fruition, and for all he’s done, I thank Tom Monaghan.  May God continue to bless him.

  • http://www.brandonvogt.com Brandon Vogt

    Wow! I had no idea. Thanks, Tom! Your impact will be felt for generations.

  • Ted Seeber

    I didn’t know about the rich man’s vow of poverty. But I knew he was emulating St. Katherine Drexel. I wonder if she funded his orphanage?

  • Pingback: In This Year of Faith…. | beauteousadventure

  • Howard

    Yeah, I had some of that new wine on the Rhine a few years ago. I also thought it was unfermented — until I tried to stand up, that is!

  • 9th Centurion

    Thank God for men like Mr. Monaghan.

    But here’s what stuck me.

    “in the mid-1980s, Pope John Paul II had indicated an interest in developing a catechism for the worldwide Church; a commission of 12 bishops and cardinals had been put in charge of the project; but for several years, it had not moved forward.  At the end of each fiscal year, various Vatican departments looked at their budgets and could not find room for such a large project”

    So on a project central to the very thing Christ instructed the Apostles (ie the Bishops) to do, to spread and teach His Word, the Bishops of Rome could not find the money in their budgets to make the Catechism a reality?

    Here is the truth, they did have the money. The hearts of the Bishops simply desired more to spend the on their words and works.

    I think the assertions of the Bishops of not having the money in their budgets, when seen in the light of the coverups of the sexual abuse by homosexual priests, we can see more clearly two things.

    First why sometimes the Lord must work through His laity children.
    Second, though the body of Judas left the body of the twelve, his and Adam’s spirit did not.

    AMDG

  • http://www.realestateavemaria.com Bob Campbell

    Mr. Monaghan was also a United States Marine, Semper Fidelis!

  • Stephen and Kim Narcisco

    Thank you Mr. Monoghan for your most generous gift. God bless you.

  • quisutDeusmpc

    Than you, Mr. Monoghan.


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