TORONTO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Canadian priest resigned this week from a Catholic television network, months after his rampant plagiarism was exposed.
Father Thomas Rosica, formerly the CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, announced his resignation on Monday.
"After 16 years as the founding Chief Executive Officer, I have submitted my resignation to the Board of Directors of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, effective today," Fr. Rosica wrote in the June 17 statement.
He said elsewhere in the statement, "I ask forgiveness for errors in not properly acknowledging individuals and attributing sources in my writings."
Father Rosica, formerly a Vatican spokesman, is a priest in the Congregation of St. Basil. He founded Salt and Light TV in 2003.
He has been on sabbatical since March this year, after revelations that he committed plagiarism repeatedly over the years in his writings and speeches.
After that report was published, further digging indicated that Rosica had a long-time habit of stealing other people's words without credit.
Rosica offered an apology to Toronto-based The Catholic Register on Feb. 19, saying, "I realize that I was not prudent nor vigilant with several of the texts that have surfaced and I will be very vigilant with future texts and compositions."
The priest emphasized in a Feb. 22 phone interview with the National Post, "What I've done is wrong, and I am sorry about that. I don't know how else to say it."
Rosica mentioned to National Post that he often had the assistance of interns in finding sources to quote. He also said he sometimes lost track of attributions and would neglect to get things sorted out due to tight deadlines.
"I realize I relied too much on compiled notes," he said.
Even after this apology, people continued unearthing more and more instances of plagiarism in Fr. Rosica's works. Plagiarism was even found in academic writings by Rosica from more than 20 years ago — long before he had interns.
Later in February, America magazine announced it had removed a September 2015 Rosica article due to plagiarism. Similar announcements came from other publications, such as the Catholic Herald.
Doughtery petitioned the editors of liturgical studies journal Worship to retract a 1994 article by Rosica, which was replete with stolen, unattributed quotes. Retraction Watch announced that the editors of Worship decided to retract Rosica's 25-year-old piece.
Hochschild posted on Twitter this March about a 1989 essay by Rosica which contained signs of plagiarism. Hochschild called it "ironic" that the title of the 30-year-old essay was "A Time to be True to Our Words."
Earliest Rosica plagiarism noted yet, and most ironic.— Josh Hochschild (@JoshHochschild) March 4, 2019
Rosica's essay, "A Time to be True to Our Words," The Priest (December 1989): 41-43.
Sentence on last page is essentially taken from p. 33 of Carlo Maria Martini's Women and Reconciliation (Dublin: Veritas, 1987). pic.twitter.com/SVH3b7g7Jt
Father Rosica stirred up controversy in July 2018 with a blog post (no longer available online) celebrating Pope Francis as a radical reformer. Rosica even said that the Pope "breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is 'free from disordered attachments.' Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture."
The blog post drew immediate criticism from faithful Catholics, who called it scandalous that a priest would write in such a celebratory tone about a pope "break[ing] Catholic traditions whenever he wants."
In March, it was reported that Fr. Rosica was misrepresenting his academic credentials.
As head of Salt and Light, Fr. Rosica repeatedly gave a platform to notorious dissident theologians. For instance, he once interviewed on camera the late ex-priest Gregory Baum, who had left the priesthood and married an ex-nun.
Baum openly dissented against Catholic teachings on numerous subjects, including contraception and homosexuality. In a book he wrote shortly before his death, Baum admitted to having a homosexual affair with a fellow ex-priest.