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Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, appeared on Al Jazeera English to speaks of Pope Francis' Visit to Myanmar, November 28, 2017. Salt and Light / screen grab
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‘Alarmed and dismayed’: Fr. Rosica’s publisher runs books through plagiarism-checking software

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

TORONTO, March 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Revelations that Vatican spokesman Father Thomas Rosica was a serial plagiarizer has prompted the publisher of four of his books to search them thoroughly for misappropriated material.

Joseph Sinasac of Novalis, Canada’s preeminent publisher of religious books, told LifeSiteNews via email that the news story came as a shock to him.

“I was naturally alarmed and dismayed,” he stated. “We have had a long and fruitful relationship with Fr. Rosica, and he has done some wonderful books for us.”

Sinasac added that he wasn’t overly worried about plagiarism because Novalis has a very thorough editing process.  

“However, to reassure ourselves, we decided to run his four books and two recent articles in [the missalette] Living with Christ through plagiarism software,” he added. 

Sinasac and his team spent last weekend searching the text and questioning Rosica, whom the Novalis chief described as “very cooperative.” 

“The good news is that the texts were very clean,” Sinasac stated. “There were some references to which we gave closer scrutiny, but Fr. Rosica had solid explanations for each one of them.” 

There was, however, one missing attribution for an online resource. Sinasac told LifeSiteNews that when this came to light, Fr Rosica immediately contacted the appropriate person to apologize and get “belated permission” to print the passage. 

“We will convey this to readers of this book,” Sinasac said. “All told, this passage represented less than 1% of the text in one book.” 

Rosica has also apologized to Novalis, and Sinasac confirmed that the publishing company had accepted his apology.

In addition to pastoral pamphlets published by Franciscan Printing Press (1992) and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Press (1994), Rosica has produced four books for Novalis and the “Words Made Flesh” series for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). As the long-time CEO of Salt + Light Catholic Media, the brainchild of the late Gaetano Gagliano, Rosica has also participated in the creation of numerous documentaries, as well as providing essays for Salt + Light’s webpage. After the National Post picked up the Rosica plagiarism story, over a thousand posts signed by Rosica disappeared from the website. 

Since the death of its founder, Salt + Light Catholic Media has maintained strong ties to the Gagliano family and its St Joseph’s Communications company. Tony Gagliano, the CEO of St. Joseph’s Communications, is the Chair of the Salt + Light Board of Directors. John Gagliano, the President of affiliates St. Joseph Print and St. Joseph Documents, is also on the Board. St. Joseph’s Communications owns many media outlets, including magazines Wedding Bells, Toronto Life and Quill & Quire, the journal of Canada’s book trade. 

Salt + Light, however, is a not-for-profit, reliant on charitable donations.  According to the Toronto Star, in 2009  the organization “received a $1 million gift from the Hilary M. Weston Foundation for Youth, $500,000 from the Knights of Columbus, and $50,000 from the Demarais family and Power Corp. in Montreal.”   

A week after LifeSiteNews broke the story of a partly-plagiarised lecture Rosica gave to the Von Hugel Institute at Cambridge University, it came to light that the media priest had frequently misappropriated the work of others in his speeches, newspaper columns and even articles for peer-reviewed journals. After Rosica confessed to the plagiarism to Canada’s National Post, the story went viral around the world.    

LifeSiteNews has contacted both the CCCB and Salt + Light several times for comment on the Rosica story, but has not yet received a response. LifeSiteNews has also reached out to former employees of Salt + Light who have either not replied or refused to comment.

Canada’s Globe and Mail stated earlier this week that it would no longer publish Rosica on its platform. Instances of plagiarism by Rosica have now been traced back as far as 1991. 

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