Wheeling Jesuit alum raises the NASA issue

A Wheeling Jesuit U. alum has posted an open letter to the Towson MD-based Maryland provincial, Rev. James Shea, SJ, complaining about “the myopic arrogance of the oligarchy temporarily occupying the president’s office and permanently occupying the dual boards” of the university.

Their arrogance “has caused these scandals to explode throughout the blogosphere, newspapers, television, and talk-radio,” says Michael J. Fahy. “WJU’s public image created by the current regime, on a scale of 1 to 10, has been zero.”

He cites three issues, asking Fr. Shea to:

Remove the accused homosexual predator [trustee Rev. Thomas Gleeson, SJ] . . . . Reinstate the president [the ousted Rev. Julio Giulietti SJ] . . . . Restore accountability to the NASA program by requiring full disclosure of [interim President] Davitt McAteer’s oversight of the NASA debacle.

The third issue has been largely in the background since Giulietti was removed from office Aug. 6, but was a looming presence nonetheless, as noted in a lengthy Inside Higher Education report of Sept 8.

When Father Giulietti was fired, it was reasonable for outsiders to assume that a critical report from NASA on the university’s administration of federal funds might have had something to do with it.

The report, issued August 3,

suggested that NASA grant officers had failed to recognize the university’s double billing and other accounting errors on the order of $4 million.

Fahy smells a rat in the timing:

Immediately preceding the initial board action against Julio Giulietti, NASA issued an audit report highly critical of WJU. That timing cannot be dismissed as merely coincidental!

He apparently wants to say that the firing was timed to follow the NASA report, rather than the other way around, though his letter is

 murky on the point — in which case the Sept. 8 Inside Higher Ed piece makes or implies the same point.

[I]f the trustees who ousted Father Gulietti [sic] were upset about the NASA report, their selection of McAteer as acting president is puzzling. As university vice president, McAteer had oversight of the NASA projects, according to board members.

A month earlier Inside Higher Ed quoted from the report:

An audit by NASA’s inspector general has found that the U.S. space agency “inappropriately approved, obligated, and partially expended” more than $4-million in costs incurred at Wheeling Jesuit University, in West Virginia. As a result of the audit, the agency has agreed to renegotiate the rates it pays Wheeling Jesuit to run a center for encouraging the transfer of technologies between NASA and private industry.

Fahy wants “full disclosure of Davitt McAteer’s oversight of the NASA debacle.”

Hope sprang yesterday

Yesterday was bad-news day at Chi Trib, as noted.  But it was good-news day in pulpits throughout the world, wherever the so-called common lectionary is followed.  Link is to RC bishops’ site.  Vanderbilt Divinity Library has it too, if organized less for worship than for study.

It was definitely feel-good time in Christian churches — at least in those who did not veer off into discussions of health care and the like.

The often dreadful and dread-inspiring Jeremiah quotes the Lord:

Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel.

. . . .

They departed in tears,
but I will console them and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall stumble.

As one who has stumbled badly — down stairs, on sidewalk, off bicycle — I respond to that with some gratification.

“The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy” is the repeated theme of the “responsorial Psalm,” with memorable phrases such as:

Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.


Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.

Ah that carrying sheaves — bundles of newly reaped grain — as in the old Protestant hymn:

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

With then, of course, the titular refrain:

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves

And in the letter to Hebrews, a kind word for the priest, “himself beset by weakness,” as we have become painfully aware in recent years:

He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.

Finally, Mark’s account of the miracle worker at work:

Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

Shut up, they told him, but he kept yelling, “”Son of David, have pity on me.”

“Call him,” Jesus told them.  He jumped up and came up.  “I want to see,” he said.

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.

Well, we’d all like to see things clearly, I’d say, if only to clear up the question on the minds of us all, “What the hell is going on here?”

The whole business is a case of hope we can believe in.