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Catholic university to review Rosica work for plagiarism

Fr Rosica (Chris Adamczyk/Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation)

Assumption University in Ontario will review published work by its former president

A Catholic university in Ontario, Canada, says it will review any published work by its former president and vice-chancellor, Fr Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.

“In so far as Fr Rosica has admitted that his published work has included unattributed material originally published by others, it is possible that what he published as President contained similar material. We will endeavour to determine if this is the case,” Richard Corneil, president of Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario, told the Windsor Star on March 8.

Rosica served as president and vice-chancellor of the university from 2011-2015. In recent weeks, the priest has come under fire amid revelations of extensive plagiarism in his published articles, books, and speeches.

The priest, a long-serving English language press aide at the Vatican Press Office, and the CEO of Canada’s Salt+Light Television network, was reported by Life Site News on February 15 to have plagiarized sections of text in several lectures and op-eds from a variety of writers, among them priests, theologians, journalists, and at least two cardinals.

The priest apologized for plagiarism on February 22, shortly after initial reports emerged.

“What I’ve done is wrong, and I am sorry about that. I don’t know how else to say it,” Rosica told the National Post.

“I realize I relied too much on compiled notes,” Rosica told the National Post, adding that his plagiarism was inadvertent and not malicious. He explained that “it could have been cut and paste,” apparently meaning that he had mistakenly included passages of text written by others in his texts without remembering to attribute them.

“I realize the seriousness of this and I regret this very much … I will be very vigilant in future,” he said.

Subsequent reports found widespread plagiarism in essays, speeches, and op-eds by Rosica, dating back more than a decade.

In late February, evidence emerged on Twitter that Rosica had also copied directly and without attribution the work of several theologians in a 1994 article he published in the theological journal “Worship.”

Liturgical Press, which publishes the journal, announced on February 26 “that the editors of Worship are retracting the [1994] article by Thomas M. Rosica because of plagiarism.”

Liturgical Press subsequently retracted two additional articles published by the priest.

The 1994 article covers the same topic as Rosica’s 1990 licentiate thesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, leading some to raise questions about whether that text, through which the priest earned a pontifical degree in scripture, might also have been plagiarized.

Last week, the priest was discovered to have misrepresented his studies at the Ecole Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem. While he had claimed to have a degree from graduate school, its director told journalists that while Rosica had been enrolled there, he had not earned a degree of any kind.

On February 24, Rosica resigned from the Collegium, or governing board, of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, and the governing boards of St. John Fisher College in New York and the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

On February 25, Rosica acknowledged to The Catholic Register that he had plagiarized. “We know that plagiarism is wrong, especially when it is practised deliberately. Please note that my actions were never deliberate. Nevertheless they were wrong,”

While the board of directors at the Salt and Light Media Foundation has acknowledged that Rosica’s plagiarism was wrong, board chairman Tony Gagliano said in a March 7 statement that board members “unanimously pledge our support of the continued leadership of Fr. Rosica as Chief Executive Officer.”

“For the past 16 years, Fr. Thomas Rosica has worked consistently with young adults on many media platforms and in multiple languages to offer experiences of unity, prayer, celebration, reflection, education, dialogue, thought-provoking reporting and stories of faith and action. This work must continue,” the board statement said.

The Knights of Columbus, financial supporters of Salt+Light, have told reporters that they will review and reevaluate their relationship with the media network.