The name will probably bring a shiver to some of the more “liberal” readers of this blog. Tom Monaghan is a Catholic who might be labeled by “liberals” as the “conservative-millionaire-maverick” who has put the larger part of his wealth to the support of Catholic institutions that are self-assured in their righteousness. I’d like such readers to take a deep breath and at least read what I have to say with an open mind.
Tom Monaghan is the founder and principle owner of the Dominos Pizza chain. His leadership for the corporation made him millions of dollars… and then it made him millions more.
At the same time, Tom Monaghan is a devout Catholic and he has chosen to use his fortune to help support Catholic projects to his liking. Now, he has not taken an interest in financing open ended social relief programs. Instead, if a Catholic organization slapped the label “Pro-Life” on its mailings, demonstrated a preference for the Latin Mass, condemned talk of women’s ordination, and only spoke of God as exclusively being a “Father,” they had a good chance of getting a donation from Mr. Monaghan. He is the founder and principle financier of Ave Maria University, first in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and now in Naples, Florida. He also helped to finance the transfer of Mobile College, Nicaragua to become Ave Maria College, Latin American Campus. This is where I am currently staying while in Nicaragua.
Tom Monaghan seems to have an unusual interest in Nicaraguan philanthropy. It seems to come from the fact that he once served in Nicaragua when he was in the Navy. His first major gift to the Catholic Church in Nicaragua came after the earthquake of 1992. The Managua cathedral was condemned as unusable and Tom Monaghan was the primary financier to build of the New Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua, which I went to visit today.
I visited the new Cathedral during a rosary and Mass held for the society of St. Don Bosco. I haven’t been a Cathedral this modern since I was in Los Angeles, and at first I thought it looked like a mosque. I took particular delight in the ceiling of the cathedral which seems to somehow have been influenced by the “Dominos Pizza” corporation. Though the ceiling was not in the shape of dominos, it would be easy to pass the time in church by playing tic-tac-toe on the ceiling.
Honestly, it is admirable that Tom Monaghan has done so much to support the Catholic Church in the United States and here in Nicaragua. Whether you agree with his views or not, you have to admit that he a very generous person. Important as that is, I admire something else about Tom Monaghan much more.
Tom Monaghan is a model of a good Catholic entrepreneur, which I believe is more important than his philanthropy.
From time to time, I’ve discussed themes of globalization in these blogs. Dominos pizza certainly fits into category of a large, multi-national corporation, that have been globalized. You can find the stores all over the world, maybe not as much as McDonalds or Coca-cola, but they are there. At the same time that Dominos pizza is raking in millions of dollars, it making its money ethically. What a concept!
Just for kicks, I tried doing some research on the internet about scandals involving Dominos pizza. I found a few minor complaints about small store management, but even when such a complain arose, Domino’s corporate management took responsibility, and did its best to find a just solution. It is a company with sound ethical standards, and I’m sure that most of that comes from its leadership, starting with Tom Monaghan.
I’m not trying to put out a commercial for Dominos pizza. I live in Chicago. We have an elitist sense of what pizza is. We wouldn’t even call Dominos pizza “food.” Although it is not intrinsically evil nor universally culpable through the whole world, I believe it is probably a sin to eat Dominos pizza in Chicago. I can’t stand the stuff.
I do, however, think that there is an example to be followed in Tom Monaghan. He was able to make money doing ethical work. Now perhaps we will someday discover that Tom Monaghan deliberately chose to use a quality of cheese that was higher in saturated fat, thus causing staggering rates of obesity and heart disease but, I mean, come on! That’s got to be a least as unethical as hiring ten-year olds to sew clothing in Chinese sweat shops, or hiding reports that prove that smoking nicotine products cause cancer.
In the grand scheme of things, and especially in comparison to others, what has the business practices of Tom Monaghan done to harm the world around him? I would say very little. To the contrary, he has offered dependable jobs to thousands of people, improving their lives at the same time he improved his own. He made millions without having to dehumanize others, and then to top it off, he has chosen to give most of it back to the Church.
From my humble position in life, I could hardly ask for anyone to do anything more.
Sure. He supports causes in the Church that are more “conservative” than other parts of the Church supports, but that is why we are a diverse body. (Corinthians 1:13) We have different roles in the Body of Christ, and no part of the body can say to the other “I do not need you.” We might be able to say, “I do something different than you.” But not “I do not need you.”
The Church needs Tom Monaghan, and we need more people like Tom Monaghan, people who can lead global corporations, while adhering to good ethics. I have a real gripe about capitalists that make a thousand dollars by robbing the poor, give a hundred dollars back to charity, and then want a pat on the back. My complaint has never been about capitalists, and I certainly don’t think that communism/socialism offers us a better solution to the world’s problems. There is nothing wrong with making money, but making money should be done in such a way that EVERYONE prospers. That’s the aim of a good Christian economy in a globalized world.
In the long run, good ethical businesses are going to do more to bring peace and justice, than all the philanthropists in the world put together.