Fr. Rosica takes ‘sabbatical’ from Salt + Light after being exposed as serial plagiarist
TORONTO, March 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The priest at the center of a plagiarism scandal is taking a lengthy sabbatical from the Canadian Catholic media organization he heads.
Tony Gagliano, Chair of the Board of Directors of Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation, released a statement revealing that Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, will be taking a “sabbatical of several months for rest and renewal.”
In addition, a professional editor will be searching the material Rosica has produced for Salt + Light for incidences of plagiarism.
“We are engaging a qualified editor to review all the material Fr. Rosica has prepared for use in articles, addresses and blog posts to ensure there is proper attribution of original sources,” Gagliano wrote. (Full text of statement below.)
“The properly sourced materials will be shared on the Salt and Light website once the review is complete. We expect that will take several months.”
Gagliano stated that Alex Du, the Chief Operating Officer, will oversee the operation of Salt and Light while Rosica is away. Meanwhile, Salt and Light will be establishing protocols for editorial content.
“The Board recognizes the need to continue to improve governance and oversight processes and protocols to reflect the dynamic and multi-faceted organization Salt and Light is today,” Gagliano wrote.
“Measures to enhance transparency and accountability will include a new Board subcommittee on editorial policy.”
Released without fanfare two weeks ago, this is Salt and Light’s second statement regarding Rosica’s serial plagiarism. Then, as now, the Board expressed support for the embattled cleric. Gagliano stated again that the Board had accepted Rosica’s apology and added that the priest “understands the gravity of his actions, accepts full responsibility for them and has pledged to the Board that this will not occur again.”
Over a thousand articles written by Rosica have been removed from the Salt and Light website.
Professor Joshua Hochschild of Mount St. Mary’s University is one of an informal team of journalists and academics who have been reviewing Rosica’s published writings since LifeSiteNews broke the news this February that the priest had heavily plagiarized a speech he gave at Cambridge University. Hochschild believes that there is more than meets the eye in Salt and Light’s second statement.
“Two things stand out to me in this second announcement,” he said via Twitter.
“First, they are employing an editor to go through Rosica's posts. I don't think there is any way a single person could go through it all thoroughly, but it suggests that some posts that have disappeared might come back.”
Hochschild doesn’t think they will return, however, as there is no way to know “what might not be plagiarized” in Rosica’s work.
“Absence of evidence of plagiarism doesn’t prove it wasn’t plagiarized,” he tweeted.
The professor also believes that the sabbatical and editorial review will buy Salt and Light some time to make some “quiet, face-saving changes.”
“A new role for Fr. Rosica, new leadership for S+L. That’s what I expect to happen,” Hochschild continued, “as the time-buying steps also allow time for more plagiarism to be exposed, more retractions, more controversy as Rosica invitations are rescinded, more time for journalists to catch up to the story.”
In an earlier tweet, Hochschild praised LifeSiteNews for its ongoing coverage of the Rosica plagiarism scandal. Since our February 15 story, researchers have discovered that Rosica has misappropriated the work of others for speeches, columns, blog posts, academic articles for peer-reviewed journals, books, and script for a Salt and Light documentary. Examples occur over 30 years.
In addition, LifeSiteNews discovered that Rosica has been exaggerating his academic credentials. Despite course and book blurbs claiming that the Basilian Father has “advanced degrees in theology and Scripture” from Regis College in Toronto, the Biblicum in Rome, and the École Biblique in Jerusalem, Rosica holds only an M.Div./STB, which is a “basic degree”, from Regis and a License in Sacred Scripture from the Biblicum. He has not received a diploma from the École Biblique.
Newspapers, magazines and academic journals have retracted several of Rosica’s contributions, and many of his essays have disappeared from the online Zenit.org. "Waiting for the Day when the Spirit Will Make Us One” in Ecumenical Trends 47.5 (May 2018) is the most recent Rosica article facing retraction, thanks to its lengthy passages taken from other writers without credit.
Statement of the Board of Directors
Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
March 14, 2019
The Board of Directors of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation has accepted the apology and deep regret of Chief Executive Officer, Fr. Thomas Rosica, for instances of plagiarism where passages and texts were not properly attributed. Fr. Rosica understands the gravity of his actions, accepts full responsibility for them and has pledged to the Board that this will not occur again.
The Board believes that plagiarism is wrong and is committed to correcting the record. We are engaging a qualified editor to review all the material Fr. Rosica has prepared for use in articles, addresses and blog posts to ensure there is proper attribution of original sources. The properly sourced materials will be shared on the Salt and Light website once the review is complete. We expect that will take several months.
Salt and Light has grown into a global media network reaching millions of viewers. As it continues to grow, the Board recognizes the need to continue to improve governance and oversight processes and protocols to reflect the dynamic and multi-faceted organization Salt and Light is today. Measures to enhance transparency and accountability will include a new Board subcommittee on editorial policy.
The board supports Fr. Thomas Rosica. We are grateful for the passion and dedication he brings to his work and the vital role he has in leading people to Christ and helping them to find greater meaning for their lives. We support his decision to take a sabbatical of several months for rest and renewal. While Fr. Rosica is away, Alex Du, Chief Operating Officer will oversee the operation of Salt and Light and pastoral ministry will continue to be provided to staff, volunteers and interns.
We stand together with the dedicated staff, interns and volunteers of Salt and Light. We will continue working with them in their mission of education and evangelization at the service of the Church. As always, we remain grateful for the continued support of Salt and Light’s many donors and media partners.
Chair of the Board of Directors
Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation