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Fr. Thomas Rosica. Salt and Light / Youtube
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In heavily-plagiarized speech, Vatican spokesman accuses Archbishop Viganò of ‘lies’

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

Feb. 19, 2019 update: Fr. Rosica's Feb. 8 lecture at Cambridge University has been removed from Youtube. A message when attempting to watch the video now states: "This video is unavailable." LifeSiteNews downloaded the original video before it was deleted. A shortened version of this video is now included in this story. 

CAMBRIDGE, England, February 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Vatican consultant and frequent English-language spokesman for the Vatican accused Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò of “lies” in a lecture in which he passed off other writers’ words as his own. 

At a February 8 lecture at Cambridge University,  Fr. Thomas Rosica, executive director of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, suggested Archbishop Viganò was a liar. Rosica described the Vatican whistle-blowers' witness as a “diabolical masterpiece.” 

Authors whom Fr. Rosica plagiarized in that speech - often word-for-word and at significant length - include Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Gregory K. Hillis, Fr. Thomas Reese, Cardinal Walter Kasper, and Fr. James Martin.

(View a comparison of Fr. Rosica's original speech with the plagiarized passages. Click here. Or see table at bottom.)

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 [1985], the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome [1991] and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem [1994]." 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.

In his 2018 testimony, Archbishop Viganò revealed that disgraced Archbishop Theodore McCarrick had been protected by high-ranking Church authorities, including Pope Francis himself. 

Describing the current events in the Church as a “perfect storm”,  Rosica said:

Some of you in the room may be too young to remember a book and related movie entitled The Perfect Storm –an expression … which describes when several weather patterns meet at the same time, clash and produce violent and horrible damage. The Catholic Church that we love and strive to serve is in the midst ... of a perfect, diabolical storm. Not just the Church in Great Britain, the USA, but also around the globe: Chile, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and God alone knows how many more countries to come! 

The appalling, shameful life of a Cardinal of the Church, the shocking 900-page plus report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury that related unspeakable depravities of priests against young and vulnerable persons; a former Vatican Nuncio’s vicious accusations against the Church’s highest authorities that is nothing but a full-frontal attack of half-truths and lies against the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter. 

“A series that has been rightfully called a ‘diabolical masterpiece’ of Archbishop Viganò,” he added to the prepared speech in his recorded presentation. 

Bishop Robert Barron had originally used the phrase “diabolical masterpiece” last summer to describe the clerical sexual abuse scandal, not Archbishop Viganò’s testimony. The phrase was subsequently picked up by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien. In his speech, Rosica reproduced - with some adjustments - a section of the Cardinal’s September 8, 2018 letter to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher about “the perfect storm” without attribution. 

Cardinal O’Brien’s original passage read: 

Many of you recall the book and movie The Perfect Storm – when several weather patterns meet at once – they clash and create terrible damage.

Our Catholic Church is in the midst of a perfect storm – a perfect demonic storm: Chile, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, the United States – and how many more to come?! The revolting, profoundly shameful double life of a Cardinal of the Church. The almost pornographic 900-page report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury –unspeakable depravities of priests against the young and vulnerable. A former Vatican Nuncio’s accusations against the Church’s highest authorities.

It has been called ‘A DIABOLICAL MASTERPIECE’!

Cardinal O’Brien was mentioned in Archbishop Viganó’s testimony as a member of a “homosexual current” in the Roman Catholic Church. The harsh language in Rosica's speech about he “former Vatican Nuncio,” however, seems to be Rosica’s own addition.  

Near the beginning of his lecture, Father Rosica reproduced a passage - word for word - from an essay by Gregory K. Hillis, a professor of Theology at Bellarmine University, without attribution. The passage, originally published by Hillis on 16 March 2016, read:

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 also borrowed extensively, without attribution and usually word-for-word, from an essay by Fr Thomas Reese published in the National Catholic Register in 2017. He also mined Cardinal Walter Kasper’s work, again without attribution, and slightly adapted paragraphs from an article by Fr. James Martin, S.J. titled “The Witch Hunt for Gay Priests.” Once again, Rosica failed to give credit to the author. 

(View a comparison of Fr. Rosica's original speech with the plagiarized passages. Click here.)

LifeSiteNews reached out to Fr. Rosica via Salt+Light TV for comment but did not receive a response. 

Professor John Rist, who was present at the talk, told LifeSiteNews via email that Rosica’s lecture was “a very rhetorical affair” and that he challenged the priest’s ecclesiology in the subsequent question session. 

“You have spoken much of unity and dialogue within the Church while also directing slanderous comments at Archbishop Viganò,” Rist recalled saying to Rosica. 

Rist then quoted Father Rosica’s notorious remark regarding his belief that, with Pope Francis as its earthly head, the Catholic Church is now “openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”  

Rosica defended himself by saying that the passage was taken out of context, the scholar recalled. 

The professor then asked Rosica if Pope Francis himself were not responsible for the “now near total rift” among Catholics. 

“If your description of the state of the Church is accurate, must one not conclude that the present pope, so far from carrying out his primary duty of unifying believers, has more than any other single individual contributed to the now near total rift between liberal and traditional Catholics which is putting the faith of thousands of Catholics at risk?” Rist said he asked.  

In response, Rosica said only that the distinction between “liberal” and “traditional” did not go back to the time of Jesus, Rist told LifeSiteNews. 

Rosica was the guest of the Von Hügel Institute at  St Edmund’s College in Cambridge University. His gave his lecture, “Catholicity: Crises and Opportunities,” to an audience of about 30 people. 

Father Rosica is known for speaking harshly of orthodox Catholics, whom he accused years ago of forming a “Catholic Taliban.” He roughly admonished Catholic pro-lifers in print when they objected to the ostentatious funeral given for pro-abortion Senator Ted Kennedy by Boston's Catholic hierarchy.

Rosica is also known for his pro-homosexual sympathies. He has defended LGBT activist Fr. James Martin, rejected the Catechism’s description of the homosexual inclination as “objectively disordered,” and said the phrase “intrinsically disordered” is “harsh.” Rosica was a longtime admirer of the late Gregory Baum, a homosexual dissident former priest whom he interviewed on Salt and Light in 2012.

The advertisement for the Von Hügel lecture described Rosica as a “renown[ed] author, speaker, commentator and lecturer in Sacred Scripture at Canadian Universities” as well as “the Vatican’s English language media attaché at the last five Synods of Bishops as well as assistant to the Director of the Holy See Press Office during the Papal Transition of 2013.”

If you have any more information on this story, please contact Dorothy Cummings McLean at [email protected].

 

A side-by-side comparison of Fr. Rosica's original speech with the plagiarized passages. View this table as a PDF here.

Fr. Thomas Rosica

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.

Gregory K. Hillis

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.

Fr. Thomas Rosica

[E]cumenism is not just about theological dialogue over matters of doctrine. There is also the ecumenism of friendship, prayer and social action.

Ecumenical friendship at work and in neighborhoods and among families has taken us way beyond the uncomfortable tolerance of the past.

the ecumenism of social action as members of different churches work together to change the world.

Fr. Thomas Reese

Ecumenism is not just about theological dialogue over matters of doctrine. There is also the ecumenism of friendship, prayer and social action.

Ecumenical friendship at work and in neighborhoods and among families has taken us way beyond the uncomfortable tolerance of the past.

...

The ecumenism of social action has also progressed significantly as members of different churches work together to change the world.

Fr. Thomas Rosica

The crisis of the ecumenical movement is paradoxically the result of its success. Ecumenism for many became obvious. But the closer we come to one another, the more painful is the perception that we are not yet in full communion. We are very impatient. We are hurt by what still separates us and hinders us from joining around the table of the Lord; we are increasingly dissatisfied with the ecumenical status quo; in this atmosphere, ecumenical frustration and sometimes even opposition develops. Paradoxically it is ecumenical progress that is also the cause for the ecumenical malaise!

...

The results of ecumenical progress have not yet penetrated into the hearts and into the flesh of our Catholic community and of other churches as well. Ecumenical theology is not present as an inner dimension in many theological programs and ministerial formation.

Cardinal Walter Kasper

... the crisis of the ecumenical movement is paradoxically the result of its success. Ecumenism for many became obvious. But the closer we come to one another, the more painful is the perception that we are not yet in full communion. We are hurt by what still separates us and hinders us from joining around the table of the Lord; we are increasingly dissatisfied with the ecumenical status quo; in this atmosphere, ecumenical frustration and sometimes even opposition develops. Paradoxically it is the same ecumenical progress that is also the cause for the ecumenical malaise.

...

The results of ecumenical progress have not yet penetrated into the hearts and into the flesh of our church and of the other churches as well. Ecumenical theology is not present as an inner dimension in theological programmes.

Fr. Thomas Rosica

after the first rather euphoric phase of the ecumenical movement that followed the Second Vatican Council, the last decades have seen us experiencing signs of tiredness, disillusionment and stagnation. Some speak even of a crisis, and many Christians no longer understand the differences on which the churches are arguing with each other.

Others hold that ecumenism is outmoded and that interreligious dialogue is now the only agenda du jour. Let us be very clear about such discussions: there is a difference but not a competition between the two dialogues, for ultimately to be effective, interreligious dialogue presupposes that Christians can speak one and the same language. The necessity of interreligious dialogue makes ecumenical dialogue even more urgent.

...

crisis? How do we,overcome the current problems? What are these problems?

...

outside the Catholic Church, which, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling towards Catholic unity. The concept “elementa” or “vestigia” comes from Calvin. Obviously, the Council – unlike Calvin – understands the elementa not as sad remains but as dynamic reality, and it says expressly that the Spirit of God uses these elementa as means of salvation for non-Catholic Christians. Both the Council and the ecumenical decree acknowledge explicitly that the Holy Spirit is at work in the other churches in which they even discover examples of holiness leading to martyrdom.

...

and the Decree on Ecumenism state expressly that the Church is a pilgrim Church, an ecclesia “semper purificanda”, which must constantly take the way of penance and renewal.

...

Ecumenism is not possible without conversion and renewal. Ecumenism therefore is no one-way street, but a reciprocal learning process, or – as stated in

Cardinal Walter Kasper

after the first rather euphoric phase of the ecumenical movement which followed the Second Vatican Council, the last decade has seen us experiencing signs of tiredness, disillusionment and stagnation. Some speak even of a crisis, and many Christians no longer understand the differences on which the Churches are arguing with each other.

Others hold that ecumenism is outmoded and that interreligious dialogue now represents the new agenda. In my opinion, there is a difference but not a competition between the two dialogues, for ultimately to be effective interreligious dialogue presupposes that Christians can speak one and the same language. Indeed, the necessity of interreligious dialogue makes ecumenical dialogue even more urgent.

...

Why this crisis? How do we overcome the current problems? What are these problems?

...

outside the Catholic Church, which, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.[7] The concept “elementa” or “vestigia” comes from Calvin.[8] Obviously, the Council – unlike Calvin – understands the elementa not as sad remains but as dynamic reality, and it says expressly that the Spirit of God uses these elementa as means of salvation for non-Catholic Christians.[9] Consequently, there is no idea of an arrogant claim to a monopoly on salvation. On the contrary, both the Council and the ecumenical Encyclical acknowledge explicitly that the Holy Spirit is at work in the other Churches in which they even discover examples of holiness up to martyrdom.[10]

...

and the Decree on Ecumenism state expressly that the Church is a pilgrim Church, an ecclesia “semper purificanda”, which must constantly take the way of penance and renewal.[14]

...

Ecumenism is not possible without conversion and renewal.[16] ... ecumenism is no one-way street, but a reciprocal learning process, or – as stated in

Fr. Thomas Rosica

Some of you in the room may be too young to remember a book and related movie entitled The Perfect Storm –an expression … which describes when several weather patterns meet at the same time, clash and produce violent and horrible damage.

The Catholic Church that we love and strive to serve is in the midst ... of a perfect, diabolical storm. Not just the Church in Great Britain, the USA, but also around the globe: Chile, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and God alone knows how many more countries to come!

The appalling, shameful life of a Cardinal of the Church, the shocking 900-page plus report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury that related unspeakable depravities of priests against young and vulnerable persons; a former Vatican Nuncio’s vicious accusations against the Church’s highest authorities that is nothing but a full-frontal attack of half-truths and lies against the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter.

Cardinal Edwin O’Brien

Many of you recall the book and movie The Perfect Storm – when several weather patterns meet at once – they clash and create terrible damage.

Our Catholic Church is in the midst of a perfect storm – a perfect demonic storm: Chile, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, the United States – and how many more to come?!

The revolting, profoundly shameful double life of a Cardinal of the Church. The almost pornographic 900-page report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury – unspeakable depravities of priests against the young and vulnerable. A former Vatican Nuncio’s accusations against the Church’s highest authorities.

It has been called ‘A DIABOLICAL MASTERPIECE’!

Fr. Thomas Rosica

many priest abusers had a homosexual orientation.

The majority (but not all) of the clerical abuse crimes were cases of priests preying on male adolescents and boys. Also, the majority (but
not all) of the sexual harassment cases were men harassing other men or young men.

However, that many abusers were priests with a homosexual orientation does not mean that all or even most gay priests are abusers. It is a dangerous and unjust stereotype.

... lead to places of deep darkness, characterized by an increased hatred for innocent individuals, the condemnation of an entire group of people who are part of the Church, and a distraction from the real issues underlying this crisis of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults

Fr. James Martin

Many priest abusers had a homosexual orientation. That is undeniable.

...the majority (but not all) of the clerical abuse crimes were cases of priests preying on male adolescents and boys. Also, the majority (but not all) of the sexual harassment cases were men harassing other men or young men.

It is a dangerous and unjust stereotype. Simply because a certain percentage of a group acts in a certain way does not mean the entire group or even most of the group acts in the same way.

That many abusers were gay priests does not mean that all or even most gay priests are abusers.

... lead us to a place of great darkness, characterized by an increased hatred for innocent individuals, the condemnation of an entire group of people and a distraction from the real issues

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