Ave Maria University has fired Rev. Joseph Fessio, a theologian who was previously fired as provost, The Naples Daily News  reported. Fessio's dismissal as provost provoked protests by students and supporters at the college, which prides itself on close adherence to Roman Catholic teachings. Father Fessio is a friend of and former student of Pope Benedict XVI. According to the Naples newspaper, Ave Maria's split with Father Fessio is rooted in financial disagreements, not theology. Father Fessio recently told the university's founder that it was at "great risk" because of its reliance on real estate development -- a view that has been expressed by others, but that is apparently not shared by university leaders.