BY LUKE COPPEN
A US JESUIT PRIEST who clashed with his superiors over the direction of Catholic higher education is to become chancellor of a prestigious new Catholic university.
Fr Joseph Fessio, founder of the Ignatius Press, said he was surprised his superiors allowed him to take up the post. Three months ago, Fr Fessio was prevented from becoming president of a fledgling liberal arts college in San Francisco and ordered to work as a hospital chaplain in southern California. One US commentator compared the assignment to the "sending of a purged communist leader to Siberia".
But barely a month into his new job, Fr Fessio was told he could take up his new role as chancellor of Ave Maria University. The university, which was founded by the Domino's Pizza billionaire Thomas Monaghan, is seeking to expand from its present home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and open a new campus in Naples, Florida.
Fr Fessio told The Catholic Herald that he did not know why the superior of the Californian Jesuit province had permitted him to accept the new position. "All I know is that the President of Ave Maria University approached the Society to request my assignment there and the request was granted," he said. "I was surprised."
Fr Fessio, whose main task as chancellor will be to develop the new Florida campus, said that the March ruling ordering him to cut all ties with Campion College in San Francisco was still in effect.