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Father Thomas Rosica, English-language spokesman for the Holy See Press Office, walks with Cardinal Walter Kasper after a session at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in October 2014. Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews
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University ‘troubled to hear’ of plagiarism allegations against board member Fr. Rosica

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TORONTO, February 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The University of St. Michael’s College has responded to charges that Fr. Thomas Rosica, a Basilian Father, has committed multiple acts of plagiarism.

Rosica is on the Collegium, one of the governing bodies, of the Toronto Catholic college. The University of St. Michael’s College (USMC) is affiliated with the University of Toronto and run by the Congregation of St. Basil.

Martyn Jones, a spokesman for the USMC, told LifeSiteNews, “We are troubled to hear of the allegations against Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB. The University of St. Michael’s College holds its students and its academic community to the highest standards of accountability and academic integrity, and as a federated university in the University of Toronto, we follow the U of T’s Office of Student Academic Integrity and its Code of Behavior on Academic Matters.”

Yesterday a former President of USMC, David Mulroney, responded to a tweet by First Things editor Matthew Schmitz about the Rosica scandal.

Reflecting on Rosica’s honorary doctorates and his participation in the governance of USMC, Assumption University in Windsor, and St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, Schmitz tweeted,  “If someone who holds so many honors from, and so many positions of responsibility at, Catholic institutions suffers no consequences for extensive plagiarism, observers could reasonably question the quality and integrity of Catholic academia.”

In response, Mulroney tweeted that this was a valid criticism.

“This is an important point,” he wrote. “Failure to investigate suggests that major Catholic universities in Canada value ideological compatibility over academic rigor.”

LifeSite revealed last week that Father Thomas Rosica, a prominent media consultant for the Vatican and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and long-time CEO of Canada’s Salt + Light Television organization, had plagiarised portions of a speech he gave at the Von Hügel Institute at Cambridge University. The Von Hügel Institute’s video of the lecture has now been removed from YouTube.

Since then, journalists and other members of the public have found and published on Twitter several new incidences of plagiarism found in Rosica’s published writing.

Mathew Adam Block, editor of the Canadian Lutheran magazine, discovered that Father Rosica had passed off as his own the words of veteran reporters John Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter, Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press, and Cindy Wooden of the Catholic News Service in an article he wrote for Canadian daily The Globe and Mail in 2006.

The Canadian Lutheran editor also found out that Rosica had reproduced parts of a 2006 Catholic News Agency (CNA) article by Jim Thavis in a 2013 article the Salt + Light chief wrote for the Globe and Mail.  

Block also discovered an article Rosica wrote for the Globe and Mail in 2016 years later, in which certain sentences are taken from Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times and E.J. Dionne Jr of the Washington Post.

He also disclosed that Rosica had, on the occasion of the beatification of Pope John Paul II in 2011, plagiarized from a week-old article by Cindy Wooden and a 2005 Der Spiegel interview with Rüdiger Safranski.  

Block has, by press time today, also found reproductions of the work of Archbishop Bustros, Bishop Robert McElroy, and Father Thomas Reese of America magazine in Rosica’s newspaper journalism. He also found a review of Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ in which Rosica had  copied sentences by from then-Father, now Archbishop Augustine Di Noia and historian Elizabeth Lev.  

“And yet, despite all this, there hasn't been a public word about the crisis from Fr. Thomas Rosica,” Block tweeted.

“I pray that he will publicly acknowledge his sin and repent that he may receive Christ's mercy. May God give him strength for this difficult task.”

Today Caroline Farrow, a well-known English Catholic apologist, told LifeSiteNews, via social media, that Rosica had reproduced a section of Cardinal Baldisseri’s speech to British Parliamentarians in 2014 in a 2015 article he wrote for the UK’s Catholic Herald. Farrow later tweeted this information and her discovery that Rosica reproduced part of a 2013 America article by Drew Christiansen, S.J. in an article he wrote for his Salt + Light blog in 2018.

Farrow was astonished at the amount of evidence weighing up that Fr. Rosica has been plagiarizing undetected for years. It reminded her of a disgraced Swiss writer whose journalistic malfeasance made headlines in 2011.

“He’s the Vatican’s Johan Hari,” Farrow told LifeSiteNews.

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the Superior General of the Congregation of Saint Basil, Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario, St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, the Von Hugel Institute and St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge University, but has not yet received responses from these Catholic institutions.

 

See side-by-side comparisons, courtesy of Mathew Adam Block:

 

Read LifeSite's previous stories on Fr. Thomas Rosica here.

Correction: This article originally misattributed the work of Rüdiger Safranski to Friedrich Schiller. Safranski is the author of a biography of Schiller.

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