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Canadian bishops pull books they published by Vatican adviser guilty of plagiarism

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

OTTAWA, Canada, June 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has formally withdrawn works it published with former Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica in the wake of a plagiarism scandal. 

In a “Notice of Retraction” published last Friday, June 21, the Canadian Bishops (CCCB) indicated that they had been made aware of irregularities in the Basilian Father’s publications. 

The CCCB statement reads as follows: 

“Given that the works authored by Rev. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., which were published by CCCB Publications, failed to provide all the appropriate citations, as well as bibliographic references, and did not acknowledge a number of original sources, CCCB Publications has retracted said works and apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

Works Rosica submitted to CCCB Publications included his three-volume Words Made Flesh series. The books contained meditations on the readings of the contemporary Catholic liturgical cycle. They were a spin-off of the three-year cycle of reflections Rosica finished for the ZENIT news service in 2011.  

In March 2019, LifeSiteNews discovered over 30 examples of plagiarism in Words Made Flesh: Biblical Reflections for Year B A close reading of the volume’s first 100 pages showed that Rosica had taken sentences, paragraphs, and even passages from different sources without attribution. The work included uncited material from Fr. Paul Scalia, Pope Benedict XVI, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Fr. Frederico Lombardi, and the CCCB’s own 1986 Letter “New Hope in Christ.”  

The CCCB’s retraction of Rosica’s works is likely to affect several libraries across North America, particularly those belonging to seminaries and theology departments. It appeared without fanfare four days after the priest announced his resignation as CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation.   

Some scholarly journals, including The Bible Today, Worship, Seminary Journal, Ecumenism, Ecumenical Trends, and The Priest, have formally retracted Rosica’s essays. Several newspapers and magazines, including Canada’s Globe and Mail, Britain’s Catholic Herald and the USA’s America magazine, have removed some of his articles from their online editions. 

Mount St. Mary philosophy professor Josh Hochschild is one of the journalists and academics who began to investigate Rosica’s works after LifeSiteNews discovered irregularities in a speech the former Vatican spokesman gave at the Von Hügel Institute at Cambridge University this February. Hochschild told LifeSiteNews today by email that it was “inevitable” that the CCCB would retract the material it published with the priest. 

“Like the other retractions, once the extent of plagiarism was exposed, this was inevitable. Publishing integrity requires it,” Hochschild wrote. 

In his notice of resignation, Rosica apologized for not “properly acknowledging” his sources. 

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

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