Tracking Father Rosica’s (very) long history of plagiarism


Before being exposed for serial plagiarism, Vatican spokesman Father Thomas Rosica was perhaps best known for a controversial claim concerning Pope Francis. According to Rosica, because Pope Francis is “free from disordered attachments,” the Church is for the first time “openly ruled by an individual” rather than by Scripture or tradition. Now we’ve found that those lines too were plagiarized.

Since mid-February of this year, we have been carefully examining for plagiarism the extensive published writings of Rosica, the CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and sometime media attaché of the Holy See Press Office. The goal of our investigation has been to obtain published statements of retraction for plagiarizing books and articles that have appeared in scholarly and journalistic venues under Rosica’s name. Such statements of retraction mitigate the damage plagiarism inflicts on the scholarly and journalistic records.

When the first cases of plagiarism, in recent speeches and lectures, were discovered in February, Rosica claimed it was unintentional, and suggested that his misuse of sources might have been due to sloppy research by interns. Our scrutiny of Rosica’s literary output stretching back 30-plus years has revealed that his plagiarism is a long, consistent habit. So far almost everything Rosica has published has been found to include substantial plagiarism — an astounding fact for a professional communicator — and to date publishers have issued eight retractions for plagiarism in response to our work; 20 retraction requests are pending, under review by publishers, and we expect even more to follow.

Most recently, we turned our attention to Rosica’s July 2018 reflection on “The Ignatian Qualities of the Petrine Ministry of Pope Francis.” Circulated widely online, it generated considerable international attention especially for the following passage, intended as praise: “Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants, because …read more

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