Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Canada's Salt and Light Media Foundation, listens to a speaker Nov. 10, 2014, during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. CNS photo/Bob Roller

Fr. Rosica resigns from St. Mike’s following plagiarism revelations

By 
  • February 25, 2019

Accepting "full responsibility" for failure to credit his sources in several published articles and lectures, Fr. Thomas Rosica has resigned from the collegium of the University of St. Michael’s College.

The Basilian Father's resignation followed allegations that he lifted word-for-word sections of other peoples’ work that he used in lectures, blog posts and articles. Rosica is the CEO of Salt + Light Media, has been an English-language spokesperson for the Vatican and has sat on the board of a number of educational institutions. He has apologized for his mistakes and taken full accountability.

He has also resigned from the board of directors at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and at St. John Fisher College in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. 

“As a sign of contrition and acknowledgement of the error, I freely submitted my resignation (Feb. 24) to the Collegium of the University of St. Michael’s College,” said Rosica in an e-mail to The Catholic Register. “It has been a privilege for me to serve that excellent university for many years in various capacities. I did not want my errors to cloud over the university governance and offer a bad example to students, educators and staff. We know that plagiarism is wrong, especially when it is practised deliberately. Please note that my actions were never deliberate. Nevertheless they were wrong.”

Collegium chair Fr. Don McLeod acknowledged the resignation in a tweet on Feb. 25: “Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB made significant contributions while serving the St. Michael's community as a member of its Collegium. Over the weekend, I received and have respectfully accepted his resignation from the Collegium.”

The Jesuits of Canada have also announced, “with great sorrow,” that it has withdrawn an invitation for Rosica to receive its Magis Award for service to the Church at its annual provincial’s dinner in April.

“Plagiarism is a grave offence against intellectual honesty and the community of scholarship,” the Jesuits said in a release Feb. 25. “At the same time, many of us know Fr. Tom personally, and celebrate his genuine service to the Church in Canada and around the world.”

Among sources Rosica is accused of plagiarizing are the New American Bible Revised Edition, Cardinal Walter Kasper, Dr. Richard Gaillardetz, theologian Gregory Hillis and John Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter in the United States.

“I realize that I was not prudent nor vigilant with several of the texts that have surfaced and I will be very vigilant with future texts and compositions,” said Rosica. “I take full responsibility for my lack of oversight and do not place the blame on anyone else but myself.”

Rosica said he never wilfully plagiarized and noted he has relied for years on volunteers, interns and colleagues to send him ideas for his lectures and articles. 

“If there was an error on my part, it is that I have often relied on others who have generously helped me in my preparation of various texts and I did not do the necessary checking into sources, etc. I regret that. It was never wilfully done,” he said. 

The accusations against Rosica first appeared on LifeSiteNews.com. They appeared six days before the Vatican’s summit on clergy sexual abuse, Feb. 21-24, where Rosica was engaged as an English-language liaison. After the story broke, Rosica said he could "clearly see that in several of the stories, words were similar or exactly those of a previous author and at times a colleague and friends in Catholic media,” he said.

In one instance, Rosica was accused of taking 12 paragraphs from a 2013 article by Fr. Roger Landry in the American publication National Catholic Register. Landry, however, said he was not upset. He called Rosica “one of the hardest working priests I know” who wears many hats in serving the Church. 

"I don’t think he’s dishonest, but probably overworked.”

Rosica has been an occasional contributor to The Catholic Register. Publisher and editor Jim O'Leary said he was surprised by the allegations.

"I have always known Fr. Rosica to be an honourable person who works extremely hard and maintains very high professional standards," O'Leary said. "While plagiarism is obviously unacceptable, I take Fr. Rosica at his word that he truly regrets what has happened and that it won't happen again."

A spokesperson for the Basilians said that because Rosica has been in Rome they have not addresssed the issue with him.

“We hope to have a conversation with him when he gets back,” said Fr. David Katulski. “At the present moment we don’t have any kind of statement to make other than we are looking into the matter.” 


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Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

He says he takes 'full responsibility' for the plagiarism. But then he follows that by says this: "Rosica said he never wilfully plagiarized and noted he has relied for years on volunteers, interns and colleagues to send him ideas for his...

He says he takes 'full responsibility' for the plagiarism. But then he follows that by says this: "Rosica said he never wilfully plagiarized and noted he has relied for years on volunteers, interns and colleagues to send him ideas for his lectures and articles. If there was an error on my part, it is that I have often relied on others who have generously helped me in my preparation of various texts and I did not do the necessary checking into sources, etc. I regret that. It was never wilfully done,” he said."

GOOD GRIEF! In one example he used 12 PARAGRAPHS of material from a work by another author. 12 PARAGRAPHS!!!!! I understand that one might inadvertently use a phrase or two from something someone else wrote without realizing that they are wilfully plagiarizing. I'm sure I done that in talks, homilies, or blog posts that I've authored through the years. But it beggars belief to think that one could use 12 PARAGRAPHS of another's text without realizing that one is not using their own words and are in fact knowingly stealing the work of another to claim it as their own.

So nice try Fr. Rosica... but you most definitely are not taking responsibility for your many EGREGIOUS acts of plagiarism. If you continue to say that they were inadvertent acts in which you didn't realize what you were doing, you are in fact lying to try to get as sympathetic a hearing from others in a vain attempt to salvage your now ruined reputation.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Fr. Rosica says he takes 'full responsibility' for the plagiarism. But then he follows that by says this: "Rosica said he never wilfully plagiarized and noted he has relied for years on volunteers, interns and colleagues to send him ideas for his...

Fr. Rosica says he takes 'full responsibility' for the plagiarism. But then he follows that by says this: "Rosica said he never wilfully plagiarized and noted he has relied for years on volunteers, interns and colleagues to send him ideas for his lectures and articles. If there was an error on my part, it is that I have often relied on others who have generously helped me in my preparation of various texts and I did not do the necessary checking into sources, etc. I regret that. It was never wilfully done,” he said."

GOOD GRIEF! In one example he used 12 PARAGRAPHS of material from a work by another author. 12 PARAGRAPHS!!!!! I understand that one might inadvertently use a phrase or two from something someone else wrote without realizing that they are wilfully plagiarizing. I'm sure I done that in talks, homilies, or blog posts that I've authored through the years. But it beggars belief to think that one could use 12 PARAGRAPHS of another's text without realizing that one is not using their own words and are in fact knowingly stealing the work of another to claim it as their own.

So nice try Fr. Rosica... but you most definitely are not taking responsibility for your many EGREGIOUS acts of plagiarism. If you continue to say that they were inadvertent acts in which you didn't realize what you were doing, you are in fact lying to try to get as sympathetic a hearing from others in a vain attempt to salvage your now ruined reputation.

Read More
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