Vatican media expert Fr. Rosica admits to plagiarism, blames interns
February 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt + Light Media, has admitted to serial plagiarism over many years.
Rosica has told Joseph Brean of the National Post that he, in Brean’s words, “depended too much on compiled notes” and also that he “relied on material prepared by interns.”
“What I’ve done is wrong, and I am sorry about that. I don’t know how else to say it,” said the priest. Rosica is in Rome covering the Vatican abuse summit that ends Saturday.
A week after LifeSiteNews broke the story of the partly-plagiarised lecture Rosica gave to the Von Hugel Institute at Cambridge University, the story hit the mainstream media. The National Post and its affiliates across Canada have now picked up the story.
To date LifeSiteNews has complied seven pages of material taken from unattributed sources and published under Rosica’s name. Sometimes the misappropriated material has been used in up to three different articles, lectures, or speeches.
Figures attached to the Basilian order and the University of St. Michael’s College who did not acknowledge emails from LifeSiteNews were nevertheless willing to speak to the National Post reporter.
“Over the course of his career, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, has served the Collegium and the general community of the University of St. Michael’s College with distinction,” said Fr. Donald McLeod, C.S.B.
“We acknowledge the gravity of the developing situation, and intend to address the matter internally going forward.”
McLeod is the Chair of the Collegium, part of the governing body, of USMC.
Rosica’s Basilian superior, Fr. Kevin Storey, told Brean that the order did not have a “precedent” for the scandal.
“We don’t have a precedent for this,” he said. “As an academic order, we would obviously take that very seriously.”
Canadian Lutheran’s Mathew Block, who helped uncover Rosica’s plagiarism, says in an op-ed published today at the National Post, that it is “inevitable that [Rosica] will face professional consequences.”
“It is difficult to imagine how he will be able to continue serving with any educational institution now that he has acknowledged the accuracy of these reports of plagiarism,” he writes.
“Whether we know him or not, many of us in Canada’s Christian media have long considered him an example of how to do Christian communications well. That confidence is now broken,” he continues.
“As a Christian, Rosica would know that plagiarism — passing off another person’s words and work as our own — is a sin. I am grateful that he has made public acknowledgement of that sin. And I pray that through repentance he will find comfort in the mercy and love of Jesus Christ, even as he must now deal with the earthly consequences of his actions. May God give him strength for this difficult task.”
Since LifeSite’s first report on Rosica’s plagiarism, journalists and other members of the public have found and published on Twitter numerous instances of plagiarism found in Rosica’s published writing. Brean reports that the National Post found still more.
Meanwhile LifeSite has also discovered that Rosica used plagiarised material in his May 24, 2018 “Fr. Henry Carr Lecture” at St Mark’s College, University of British Columbia, two days before his acceptance of an honorary doctorate in sacred letters from the college.
“While the Church can offer a broad theological vision that focuses on the interconnectedness of all things, it cannot pretend to have all the answers to specific concrete questions. In these circumstances, ‘honest debate’ must be encouraged that respects divergent views. This means that the church itself should be included in the dialogue, but it also means that voices currently not in the debate need to be included,” Rosica read.
The passage was from Gregory Hillis’ “‘Filled With Words of Love': Pope Francis on Dialogue as Spiritual Conversion”, an article published in ABC Religion and Ethics on March 16, 2016.
Rosica repeated this passage in his lecture at the Von Hügel Institute on February 8, 2019. The 2019 Von Hügel Lecture has been removed from the internet.
LifeSiteNews reached out to the Von Hügel Institute for an explanation of the removal, but as yet none has been forthcoming.