It is with great sorrow that we come together today with the departure of our president and dear friend, Fr. Julio Giulietti, S.J. We have all come here to seek the truth, and to know and understand what has happened within the university walls and what has become of the reputation of WJU. In this light, please invite anyone to read the blog and feel free to comment as you wish.

Any posts with profanity are not welcome, otherwise, please speak your mind. You are a part of this university and we want to hear your voice!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Mount is Gone!

Last month I found myself in two places far appart one from the other: Wheeling, WV and Zurich, Switzerland.  There are surprising connections between them.

First Wheeling. The Mount is gone!  The wrecking ball and tractors were driven onto the former property of the Sisters of the Visitation.  Under great security, information silence and noise, they knock down all the building except the gymnasium.  I saw it for myself.  Someone shucked into the property to take pictures which later appeared publically.  Other than that, silence.  I wonder why?  Evidently the ownership of Wheeling Hospital wanted its actions and plans kept secret.  As if in contemporary America that could ever happen!

The sadness and anger is not only for the city of Wheeling and the Mount's graduates. The sadness and anger is alive for the college.  The entire city knows that the former president, Fr. Giulietti, had negotiated transparently with the Sisters a just and satisfactory agreement that Wheeling College would to purchase the property in a payment that would stretch out over an agreed upon time.  The Sisters would remain in their community house for as long as they wanted.  Their cemetery, resting place for almost 80 Sisters, would be maintained.  Their more than 150 years of educational excellence would continue next door.  Father won the agreement of a highly polarized board that allowed him to continue forward in discussions with the Sisters. Contacts in Washington, who want to remain anonymous, tell me that it was the ownership of Wheeling Hospital that pulled some archaic-ecclesiastical-slight-of-hand to pressure the dysfunctional Jesuit Trustees to stop the conversation leading to a legal, just and educationally viable negotiation.  

Another proof that Fr. Giulietti's plan to integrate the Mount into Wheeling College, with the agreement of the Sisters of the Visitation, ran foul to the desires of the ownership of Wheeling Hospital.  Father is exonerated from a false accusation once again.
Now Zurich. My business trip coincided with a well publicized conference held at a Benedictine monastery in Switzerland. The conference was organized so that media specialists, who cover Church affairs, could dialogue with Church leaders from Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany and other West European nations about how journalists encounter the Church.  Swiss news media reported the top Abbot of the Benedictines, Abbot Notkre Wolf, as saying about the Church: "There is not point in hushing thinks up.  We need openness and transparency, and a clarification of facts."  

Would that American Church officials be honest enough to offer clarification of facts about three points: why the silence over the Mount's destruction?  What plans are in the works to use the property?  And what about the common perception that Fr. Julio's transparent, just and successful negotiations with the Sisters were a threat to others.  

Maybe the ownership of Wheeling Hospital could benefit from a trip to Zurich.

Larry Catraro

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In Memory of Bishop Schmitt

The beloved Bishop Bernard Schmitt, retired and loved Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, died peacefully on August 16, the day before his birthday.  Bishop Schmitt had a good relationship with Wheeling College, especially with Fr. Giulietti whom he thought was smart and knew what a Catholic and Jesuit institution should be.  That friendship led Bishop Schmitt to include WJU in his will as part of his desire to assist catholic education in his beloved West Virginia.  Not long after Fr. Julio was foolishly fired from the college, Bishops Schmitt changed his will so that no funds would be left to the college upon his death.  The Sister of the Visitation were also in Bishop Schmitts will.  But when they were not allowed by the local bishop to sell their property to their friendly neighbors and shortly departed West Virginia, they too came out of the will.  This in not news to those who were close to Bishop Schmitt.

Let's shift topics.  According to friends working at a West Virginia bank, the present president, Mr. Byer (I forgot what number president he is since there were so many over the last eight years!) is full of strange news.  He's broadcasting that the college is ready for a gigantic burst of new students.  People who know money, WJU and the Tri-State area are perplexed.  They wonder where this fellow's mind might be. From where will these students come from?

One natural location would be the catholic schools in Pittsburgh.  Fr. Giulietti smartly cultivated those catholic schools so that many seniors went to attend the college only to find that he was fired.  Most of them left by mid-year.  No others have arrived since.  The leadership of the catholic schools in Pittsburgh seem not willing to point their students toward WJU.  My Pittsburgh acquaintances say they feel it is no longer a Jesuit school although some dysfunctional and retired ones live there. Duquesne is the only catholic school on their radar.

Does not Mr. Beyer and his aids realize that billing WJU as a source of Jesuit values is no longer true? The card that made the school unique and worthy of parental sacrifice is non-existent.  The "Jesuit charted and values" were wiped out with the departure of its last Jesuit president.
The tuition at the college is very high in a region that is financially damaged.  Why would financially strapped families send children to an expensive school that has lost its soul?  West Liberty University, here we come!

There is more. According to local business sources, Mr. Beyer has been using needed depreciation funds to plug a deep and wide red hole in his budget.  What will he do the next time?  What is left to pilfer?

The mediums of false advertizing and financial plugs are at the brink.

Larry Catraro

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tim Murphy (Class of 1974) probes Solyndra scandal

9/14/11 - Congressman Tim Murphy (Wheeling College Class of 1974) seeks Solyndra truth by aggressively interrogating an Obama administration official -- hear Tim here on video (3:12 minutes) of Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations grilling of Department of Energy's Jonathan Silver.

"Who's fault is it? ... What do you do for a living? ... Stop throwing your staff under the bus." Excellent hard-hitting examination.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A new Jesuit foothold in Vietnam

Please read the article. CLICK HERE.

There were and are dysfunctional board members and mentally disturbed Jesuits who wanted to blame the college's decades long problems on him. We all know now those accusations were proven rancid and without substance.  Fr. Julio's resilience is incredible!

- as published at the National Catholic Reporter

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Easter Season

         The Easter Season continues for some weeks so it’s fitting to recall some of the struggles of the players involved in the weeks following the Passion of Christ and his return to his Father. (I went to a Jesuit high school so I know about these things.) First there is Peter who betrayer his best friend, Jesus.  For days Peter stayed hold up out of fear for the local Jewish religious authorities who had Jesus tried and condemned and insisted on his murderous execution.  Jesus meets him by the water’s edge.  I imagine they had a lot to talk about.  Can you imagine Peter’s tears?  His words?

          Then there are those religious authorities who were gloating over their success in having that dangerous man Jesus wiped out.  After all, Jesus’ way of seeing the world, his preaching and actions seemed so alien to their compulsion to maintain the status quo.  Their fear of anything new and different frightened and threatened their religious purity.  They needed at least to silence him but better to have him executed.  And at no time did those religious authorities allow Jesus to speak, to defend himself.

          At no time was Fr. Julio ever able to speak and to defend himself in front of modern local and provincial religious authorities.  When some board members, never happy with his or any Jesuit’s appointment as president, could not silence him legally, they turned in the dead of night to religious authorities to carry out their nasty act.  Such an action is what thinking people expect from Iran and North Korea.  It is that narrow and dysfunctional mindset and behavior that troubles so many alumni and friends of the college.  Do these religious authorities or new administrators think we are so foolish as to believe their actions helped the college?  Or helped to model for students and neighbors an honest, legal, ethical – need I say moral – behavior?

          Without tears shed as Peter shed tears, the religious authorities keep the college shackled.  Without those tears Wheeling College will remain under populated, unable to attract alumni dollars and will ultimately surface to be the first of the 28 Jesuit colleges to be cut loose.

Larry Catraro

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WJU Board Member in Trouble Again

CLICK HERE to see details on St. Joseph's University Student Newspaper.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

WJU Professor Gets Sabbatical in the Pen

FAIRFAX, Va. (2/18/11) -- Rev. Felix Owino, WJU Associate Professor of Philosophy, was sentenced today to five years in a Virginia penitentiary after which he may be deported to Kenya.

The professor-priest-pedophile has been incarcerated without bond since his 7/8/10 arrest. On 9/29/10 he was convicted of aggravated sexual battery of an eleven-year-old girl.

His five-year sentence was suspended except for nine months, so he will remain in prison for two more months. Judge Michael F. Devine said the suspended sentence is required by Virginia sentencing guidelines.

After he is released, Owino will be on probation for five years. He will also be required to undergo alcohol counseling and sex offender treatment. Owino was also ordered to remain abstinent from alcohol, to register as a sex offender, and have no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

Owino is not a U.S. citizen, so he faces likely deportation to Kenya for the sex felony conviction. He has hired a separate immigration attorney to fight his deportation. Owino was ordained in 1992. He joined the faculty of Wheeling Jesuit University in the fall of 2008 and taught there until his incarceration prevented him from teaching last semester.

Owino did not exactly apologize when given the opportunity to speak before sentencing by Judge Michael F. Devine. Instead he quoted scripture, and called out, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven, treat me like you do your highest servant.... Rescue me, God, my helper."

His attorney, Joshua Wilson, told the judge that Owino has a problem with alcoholism which began when Owino taught in Uganda, and continued during his two years at Wheeling Jesuit University. Judge Michael Devine responded that Owino’s problems extended beyond alcoholism and told Owino, “There is something terribly wrong with you that you need to get fixed, if it can be fixed.”

Wheeling Jesuit University has never issued a statement that Professor Owino has been fired, saying only that he “was on summer break” when arrested for the felony which WJU euphemistically called his “alleged behavior.” Could not WJU have at least referred to Owino’s grotesque felony as misbehavior rather than behavior? WJU’s attitude toward this sexual abuse felony has been severely assessed by David Clohessy’s 9/7/10 posting criticizing WJU’s “shamelessly self-serving news release” and WJU’s “herculean efforts to duck and dodge and distance themselves from a credibly accused predator.”

Credibly accused homosexual predator Thomas F. Gleeson, S.J., the WJU Trustee who cast the decisive vote to fire WJU’s last Catholic President, is still at large.

Mike Fahy

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reconciliation: Admitting our Past Mistakes to Help Us Move Forward for a Better Future

          In his January letter to alumni and the campus community Wheeling College’s most recent president, Richard Beyer, alights on the enthusiasm and energy he sees on campus.  This news is meant to stir up alumni enthusiasm and commitment to their school.   Doesn’t anyone tell Mr. Beyer that Wheeling College has never been on its alumni radar screen for significant giving since its inception?  Do not “seasoned” board members tell him that alumni who gave $10 ten years ago still give $10 now, if they give at all?
          Mr. Beyer seems not to know that the past history is never dead.  It is either reconciled or it lurks in the memory or under the skin.  It’s especially true when history is not dealt with in a civil manner and, not to belabor the point, a Christian manner.  Mr. Beyer does not yet recognize the effect of the college’s painful history over the last two years: the dark “assassination” of a good man, Fr. Giulietti.  I use the term “assassination” because of its specific historical meaning.  It refers to the unjust killing of a human being without and due process or public discourse about crimes allegedly committed.  Even Roman law, which dealt quickly and efficiently with criminals, respected the tradition of due process.  In the college’s history, the “assassination” was emotional: the spirit of the school, the alumni and the city itself was “killed”.  Men and women of good character do not forget such history.
          As a “jesuit” school one would expect justice and truth to be at the core of what it is about.  The mistake the school’s “leadership” made, and continues to make, is the decision to “assassinate” a good man without any chance of self-defense, or even to know the reason for his demise.  History again: dysfunctional board members who tried to “kill” him could not even pull the trigger on their own.  The jesuit Trustees – itself an outdated form of control and manipulation - needed the silence of the darkness of night to do so.  And two of the three have already been publicly disgraced.  What about the bishop and the provincial?
         What a helpful step it would be if Mr. Beyer courageously invited Fr. Giulietti to campus (or at least off campus) to start a dialogue of reconciliation that would lead to forgiveness.  (I do not mean Fr. Giulietti’s forgiveness.  Knowing him, that was done long ago.)  I refer to the forgiveness still needed by alumni and many staff.   Only then could honest and successful fundraising be possible.  What would Mr. Beyer’s jesuit counselors say about that?
          Fr. Giulietti could talk with alumni about the truth of the college’s financial situation and inspire them to want to help build a sustaining base of safety and hope.  Now without alumni reconciliation and forgiveness, there is no hope.  With no hope, UPMC, we are all yours!

-Larry Catraro

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Will the NEA Organize WJU Employees?

Catholic schools have always been protected from union organizers, but In re Manhattan College (1/10/11), NLRB Region 2, Case 2-RC-23543, a 26-page NLRB decision, holds that that protective religious exemption does not apply to a CINO (Catholic-In-Name-Only) college, i.e., a secular institution with religious roots.

The NLRB found that the religious exemption is inapplicable where a religious order does not exercise control over hiring, firing, and day-to-day operations; where the school's stated purpose does not involve the propagation of the Faith; where teachers are not required to adhere to or promote Catholic tenets; and where teachers are given academic freedom. The union successfully argued that that college "does not meet the test of a religious institution." The NLRB decision dismissed the college's purported "commitment to social justice" as so vague that it is equally applicable to a government school.

Ask yourself: Is WJU a Catholic school or a CINO school? Is not President Beyer the first unread Protestant President in 477 years of Jesuit history? Does Beyer have a graduate degree? Has Beyer ever taught a college course? Does Beyer have a background in Jesuit values? Does Beyer have a baptismal certificate? Does Beyer promote the propagation of Catholicism? Does Beyer look the other way when pro-abortion literature is distributed on campus?

Provincial Shea, say hello to the NEA.