TORONTO, February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Over the weekend, Catholic academics and media figures responded to revelations that Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. plagiarized parts of a speech he gave at Cambridge University this month.
In the February 8 speech, in which Fr. Rosica described Archbishop Viganò as a liar and his testimonies as a “diabolical masterpiece,” the famous priest took passages nearly word-for-word from Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, theologian Gregory K. Hillis, Fr. Thomas Reese, Cardinal Walter Kasper, and Fr. James Martin.
Further investigations by both LifeSiteNews and other journalists, notably Matthew Schmitz of First Things magazine, have revealed that the Basilian Father has passed off as his own the work of other writers on numerous occasions.
Responding to the original LifeSiteNews story on Twitter, Schmitz reported that Rosica had copied notes, without attribution, from the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABR) in his February 11 blogpost for Salt + Light Television. Rosica is the longtime CEO of the Canadian Catholic media organization.
The First Things editor then tweeted that Rosica’s “widely discussed article ‘The Ignatian Qualities of the Petrine Ministry of Pope Francis’” plagiarizes both Wikipedia and an interview by Sean Salai SJ with author Chris Lowney published on August 4, 2016 in America magazine.
See the side-by-side comparison here:
Tweeted out a plagiarized article on Sunday
Schmitz also discovered that in an August 20, 2018 post for Salt and Light, Fr. Rosica took twelve paragraphs from a 2013 article in the National Catholic Register by Fr. Roger Landry. Fr. Rosica tweeted out his article yesterday.
Another instance of Fr. Rosica’s plagiarism: An article he published last August lifts twelve paragraphs from a column published by Fr. Roger Landry in 2013. https://t.co/cxWj9aGgfuhttps://t.co/hIby6O7xco pic.twitter.com/fznv6Mcok8
— Matthew Schmitz (@matthewschmitz) February 18, 2019
Plagiarism of 2015
To date Rosica’s earliest known use of work without attribution was his famous declaration, delivered at a 2014 lecture, about doctrine. Instantly notorious, the passage was later discovered to be the work of Dr. Richard Gaillardetz. News of the misappropriation was first published by David Domet of the “Vox Cantoris” blog.
Will Father Rosica be held accountable?
On February 16, Villanova Theology professor Gregory Hillis responded to Rosica’s use of his own work by tweeting, “Rosica appears to have stolen an entire paragraph from me and stolen a bunch from others as well. Bad form.”
Damian Thompson, editor of the UK’s Catholic Herald, tweeted: “Rosica faces credible accusations of plagiarism ― and also caught defaming Vigano in the most wicked way.”
Journalist and recent Catholic convert Sohrab Ahmari underscored how serious plagiarism is.
“Will @Father Rosica give some answer to these charges?” he asked over Twitter. “In secular settings plagiarism on this scale is taken very seriously, and I would hope the fact that he works in Catholic media doesn’t shield him from scrutiny and accountability.”
Fr. Rosica's biography on the Salt and Light website says he holds “advanced degrees in Theology and Sacred Scripture from Regis College in the Toronto School of Theology , the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome  and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem .” From 2011-2015, he served as President of Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario.
He holds honorary doctorates from Gannon University, Niagara University, St. Mark’s College at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Toronto's Regis College.
Rosica, a 1980 graduate of St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, is also on its board. The academic integrity policy of the College begins as follows:
All students, regardless of level or school, are responsible for following the St. John Fisher College Academic Integrity Policy in addition to any other individual school’s or program’s academic expectations and/or professional standards. Every student is expected to demonstrate academic integrity in all academic pursuits at all times. If a student suspects that another student has violated the Academic Integrity Policy, he or she should contact the instructor for that course and provide support for that suspicion. Any finding of responsibility and associated sanctions for a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy is retained per the College records policy.
Repeated violations of the “Academic Integrity Policy” can lead to the expulsion of the student from St. John Fisher College. One form of violation is plagiarism.
The College defines as plagiarism as “Representing another person’s work as one’s own, or attempting ‘to blur the line between one’s own ideas or words and those borrowed from another source’” or “the use of an idea, phrase, or other materials from a written or spoken source without acknowledgment” or “submitting work that was procured through sale or trade”.
If you have any more information on this story, please contact Dorothy Cummings McLean at [email protected].
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Father Kevin Storey, C.S.B.
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