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(LifeSiteNews) — An internationally notorious plagiarist-priest is being presented as a “respected” authority to Catholics once again.

The Jesuits of Canada are hosting a webinar with serial plagiarist Fr. Tom Rosica, CSB on January 17, 2023. The former CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation will share his opinion on how “the Gospel of Matthew can help us discern and take the wide-angle view of salvation history, as well as help us re-imagine the Church today.”

The invitation looks like a change of heart for the Canadian Jesuits; they publicly withdrew their support and affiliation with Rosica in 2019 following articles in both Catholic and mainstream media revealing that he had engaged in multiple acts of plagiarism. A spokesman for the Jesuits at the time called Rosica’s fraud “a grave offense against intellectual honesty and the community of scholarship.”

READ: Vatican media expert Fr. Rosica admits to plagiarism, blames interns

But Rosica’s Jesuit-supported comeback will not be his first post-scandal re-emergence into the public life of the Church.

In November 2021, when it was announced that Pope Francis was going to visit Canada, journalist Michael Swan of the Toronto Catholic Register quoted Rosica as an authority on the impending visit. Swan called Rosica the “former Salt and Light Media CEO” and did not mention his scandalous history as an academic fraud.

In October of this year, the Saint Andrew’s Parish in Oakville, Ontario invited Father Rosica to speak about Pope Francis’ visit on October 21 and 22.

Pastor Father Cornelius (Con) O’Mahony, also the Vicar for Education for the Diocese of Hamilton, wrote that Rosica was “a scripture scholar [and] a respected commentator on church affairs at home and internationally.” Father O’Mahony failed to mention that Rosica is known at home and internationally to have plagiarized for decades and to have exaggerated his academic attainments.

Father Rosica was also invited to speak in November at Blessed Sacrament Church in Chatham, Ontario, giving three Advent reflections.

This month, Rosica was invited and give three Advent reflections at Saint Peter’s in Toronto. The parish website called Rosica “a noted Scripture scholar, lecturer and author…” again without any mention of his exaggeration of his academic credentials and numerous instances of plagiarism.

Allegations of recent plagiarism 

It may be that the Society of Jesus and other priests believe that their fellow cleric has atoned for his sins by his long absence from the limelight. However, it was alleged as recently as October 2022 that Rosica had been plagiarizing again.

Plagiarism expert Michael V. Dougherty stated to the media that Rosica “used others’ texts without citation” in his article about the 60-year anniversary of Vatican II.

Dougherty, a philosophy professor at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio told Catholic News Agency (CNA) that uncited passages in Rosica’s article were from outlets such as America Magazine, the National Catholic Reporter, and even a 2021 essay by Canadian Jesuit Cardinal Michael Czerny.

READ: U.S. priests association defends having plagiarist Fr. Rosica as retreat director

“It turns out that the article is constructed using the methods that caused newspapers, journals, and book publishers to retract so many of [Rosica’s] works for plagiarism,” he told CNA.

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Responses to Fr. Rosica’s return to public life

A former president of the University of Saint Michael College (USMC) and former Canadian ambassador to China gave a statement to LifeSiteNews about Rosica’s re-emergence.

“I have been hearing about his return to public life,” said David Mulroney through social media.

“Forgiveness and a path to some form of rehabilitation are essential. But I wonder about his being restored to the role of spiritual guide and trusted preacher so quickly given the nature and extent of his recent plagiarism. Decisions like this are hard for lay people to understand when, in sharp contrast, they also witness the harsh punishment meted out to faithful priests who dare to speak the truth.”

Mulroney knows Rosica well, both because he believed Rosica to be a friend of his parents and because they had a professional relationship that went sour when Mulroney attempted to reform USMC to make it more Catholic.

Another reaction to Rosica’s return to public life came from Professor Joshua Hochschild, who tweeted his dismay at the news of Rosica being scheduled as a public speaker.

He said: “Unfathomable to me that Fr. Rosica is still being scheduled as a public speaker and theological consultant. At this point I don’t blame him. His order, the bishops, and fellow clergy are just being irresponsible now.”

Hochschild can be considered an authority on Rosica’s written work. With Professor Michael V. Dougherty, he published an article on the topic in Cambridge University Press’s journal of theology, Horizons, entitled “Magisterial Authority and Theological Authorship: The Harm of Plagiarism in the Practice of Theology.”

The study focusses on the “serial plagiarism in the extensive theological and journalistic publications of Thomas Rosica,” and comments on a “selection of Rosica’s hidden sources.”

Dougherty has a history in his own right of flagging Rosica’s plagiarism, having been instrumental in the formal retraction of examples of Rosica’s academic work, including a piece published in the theological journal Worship in 1995.

In addition, Dougherty also published an academic book about plagiarism which included a chapter detailing Rosica’s plagiarism when he served as a ghost writer for Canadian Cardinal Ouellet.

READ: Revealed: Ghostwriter Fr. Rosica plagiarized in homilies for top Canadian archbishop

On Twitter Hochschild stated: “Fr. Rosica is the most egregious plagiarist I have ever encountered. He’s plagiarized for his entire career, including during pursuit of graduate degrees. Shamed out of public life for a couple years, he emerged only to plagiarize again.”

Hochschild told LifeSiteNews that  he doesn’t “have much to add” to what he has already recently expressed on Twitter. He pointed to two additional tweets in which he commented on the affair.

In one tweet the professor stated: “Any publisher would be foolish to publish anything by Rosica, and if tempted to they should at least ask first for a strict review by multiple parties familiar with his habits.”

In another wherein he reacted to the most recent news of Rosica’s scheduled webinar for the Canadian Jesuits he called the fact that the Jesuits had scheduled him “shameless.”

He added:  “I could accept a rehabilitation tour, if it came after an honest acceptance of responsibility, a prominent public apology, and a clear account of what he has done to rehabituate his writing process.”

LifeSiteNews discovered in 2019 that Rosica’s dishonesty included not only plagiarism but exaggerating his academic claims. In 2017, for a Salt and Light interview whose online video recording has since been taken down, he stated that he had “degrees in Scripture in Toronto, and in Rome, and in Jerusalem.”

His statement about Jerusalem related to his time spent studying at the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem (EBAF) in the early 1990s. His biography at Salt and Light TV stated that he had he held an advanced degree from the EBAF obtained in 1994. That claim turned out to be false, as the EBAF clarified to LifeSiteNews that he held no such degree, but had merely studied there and began a degree program, which he didn’t continue.

LifeSiteNews reached out the office of Father Rosica’s order, the Basilians, asking for a comment. A secretary said that no one from the media was available to talk about the Rosica affair, and said she would pass along the request.

The pastor of the Chatham Family of Parishes, Father John Jasica, told LifeSiteNews during a phone call that he was not interested in talking about Rosica’s appearance at his parish. He said to contact the communications department at the Diocese of London, which was done via email.

As of yet, no reply has been received from the London diocese.

Furthermore, the pastor of Saint Peter’s in Toronto, Fr. Michael McGourty, has not replied to an email request to speak about Rosica’s appearance, nor has anyone from Fr. Con O’Mahony’s parish in Oakville. 

LifeSiteNews has made two attempts to contact Jose Sanchez, the Director of Communications for the Jesuits’ Canadian province. A message was yesterday afternoon asking for a comment on “the recent Canadian Jesuit promotion of Father Thomas Rosica in light of his history of plagiarism.” There has been no call back in response. Also, an email was sent to Sanchez around noon asking for a comment about the Jesuits’ recent promotion of Rosica. No email reply has been received as of yet.

READ: Fr. Rosica plagiarism scandal spreads to book published by Canadian bishops