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Fr. Rosica resigns from Salt and Light after plagiarism scandal

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

TORONTO, Canada, June 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Former Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica, who was discovered to have plagiarized dozens of his writings, has resigned as CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation almost four months after his misuse of the work of others became public knowledge.

According to the Toronto Catholic Register, Rosica, 60, made a statement yesterday announcing his resignation.

“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,” he said. “It has been a great privilege to work closely with our founder, [the late] Gaetano Gagliano, his family and a dedicated board of directors on this media project. I am grateful for the young adults working with us who helped realize Gaetano’s vision for Catholic television and media.”

Rosica alluded in his statement to the scandal that made his name a Twitter byword for cut-and-paste internet plagiarism.

“I ask forgiveness for errors in not properly acknowledging individuals and attributing sources in my writings,” he stated.

Yesterday Tony Gagliano, the Chair of the Board of Salt and Light, also issued a statement regarding Rosica’s resignation.

“The Board of Directors of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation has accepted today Fr. Thomas Rosica’s resignation as its founding Chief Executive Officer,” he wrote.  

“Together with our founder [my father], Gaetano Gagliano, Fr. Rosica played a critical role in the founding and growth of this network over the past 16 years. The involvement of many young women and men on our various media platforms has made a positive difference in the lives of many people around the world. We are grateful to Fr. Rosica for his leadership,” he continued.

Salt and Light is now actively searching for a new CEO. Alex Du, the Chief Operating Officer, will serve as the interim CEO.   

Professor John Rist, whose description of Fr. Rosica’s address at Cambridge University this February led to the priest’s downfall, suggested to LifeSiteNews that justice had been served.

“It is good to know that occasionally plagiarists and [slanderers] are called to account even in the Church,” he said via email.

Professor Joshua Hochschild of Mount St. Mary’s University, who was one of the researchers active in discovering examples of Rosica’s misuse of others’ published writings, was even more laconic in his response to the news of the priest’s resignation.

“It was inevitable,” said Hochschild via social media.  

David Mulroney, both a former Canadian ambassador to China and a recent president of the University of St. Michael's College, with which Fr. Rosica is associated, told LifeSiteNews that Salt and Light has done the “right thing.”

“This is the right thing to do,” Mulroney said through social media. “It would be impossible for Fr. Rosica to remain at the helm of a major Catholic media organization given what has been revealed about his plagiarism.”

Mathew Adam Block, who wrote an op-ed in Canada's National Post about the scandal shortly after LifeSiteNews broke the story, praised Rosica for having taken responsibility. “I am grateful to see Fr. Rosica take responsibility for his past misdeeds and step down from leadership with Salt and Light. I pray that God would grant him forgiveness and comfort in what must be a very difficult time.”

When the scandal first broke in February, Rosica seemed both to apologize for copying the work of others and to blame interns and others for sending him the quotes without proper attribution. However, as the weeks wore on, it became clear that several of Rosica’s works, including newspaper columns, speeches, and books, were “patch written,” combining passages from several writers, sometimes with words omitted or moved around, which made detection more difficult. Some plagiarism dates back over 30 years, long before the founding of Salt and Light TV.   

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