Fr. Rosica Resigns From University After Plagiarism Scandal

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by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 25, 2019   

Growing evidence reveals long history of copying, going back 25 years

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TORONTO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A prominent Canadian priest and former Vatican spokesman has resigned from a university governing body after he admitted to plagiarism.

The University of St. Michael's College (USMC) in Toronto announced on Twitter Monday that Fr. Thomas Rosica has resigned from his role at the Collegium, a governing body at USMC.

USMC's Twitter account quoted Collegium Chair Fr. Don McLeod as saying, "Over the weekend, I received and have respectfully accepted his resignation from the Collegium."

This comes after a spokesperson for the university told LifeSite in a statement last week, "We are troubled to hear of the allegations against Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB."

LifeSiteNews first broke the news of Rosica's apparent plagiarism on Feb. 15, in reference to the Canadian priest's recent lecture at Cambridge University. Portions of the speech were copied without attribution — and in many cases word for word — from Fr. Thomas Reese, Cdl. Walter Kasper, Fr. James Martin and others.

In the days to come, even more evidence came to light online of Fr. Rosica committing plagiarism in speeches and writings. Church Militant reported on Feb. 18 that Fr. Rosica has been accused of rampant plagiarism.

Over the weekend, I received and have respectfully accepted his resignation from the Collegium.

Rosica, a Vatican media consultant and CEO of Salt + Light Media, offered an apology. He told National Post in a Feb. 22 phone interview from Rome, "What I've done is wrong, and I am sorry about that. I don't know how else to say it."

The priest, part of the Basilian Fathers (CSB), mentioned to National Post that he often relies on texts prepared by interns. He also said he sometimes loses track of attributions.

But signs of plagiarism continue surfacing in Rosica's works. As noted by Breitbart, there is evidence that the Basilian priest has plagiarized numerous journalists as well as theologians and Church leaders.

First Things editor Matthew Schmitz put out a Twitter thread with samples of Rosica's expansive history of plagiarism.

Elsewhere on Twitter, Catholic professor Josh Hochschild shared screenshots of plagiarized passages in scholarly writings by Rosica from more than 25 years ago.

Hochschild shows how a 1994 article by Rosica about the encounter on the road to Emmaus appears to plagiarize a 1988 book titled The Resurrection Stories, written by New Testament scholar Jerome H. Neyrey.

Elsewhere in the 1994 article, Rosica apparently plagiarized from another piece of Scripture scholarship published in 1978. 

Though Rosica cited the two sources elsewhere in the article, there are no such citations in the part of his article where he copied these sources word for word.

Caroline Farrow, a Catholic journalist and commentator, pointed to other instances of Fr. Rosica apparently plagiarizing. She showed that passages from a 2015 piece by Rosica in The Catholic Herald side by side with an excerpt from a 2014 speech by Cdl. Lorenzo Baldisseri.

Farrow also pointed to a 2018 piece by Rosica about Pope Francis (now apparently deleted from the Salt + Light blog), which repeatedly plagiarizes a July 2013 article in America magazine written by Jesuit Fr. Drew Christiansen.

Amid the various revelations of plagiarism, many are calling on colleges and universities to revoke various honors given to Fr. Rosica.

David Mulroney, former president of USMC, commented on Twitter on Feb. 18, "Failure to investigate suggests that major Catholic universities in Canada value ideological compatibility over academic rigor."

Shortly before news broke of Rosica's plagiarism, it was announced that the Canadian Jesuits will be honoring him with an award in April at the annual Provincial's Dinner.

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