Toronto, Canada, Jun 18, 2019 / 11:20 am (CNA).- Fr. Thomas Rosica, SDB, has resigned as CEO of the Salt and Light Media Foundation, four months after reports emerged that the priest had plagiarized sections of texts in lectures, op-eds, scholarly articles, and other writings.
“After 16 years as the founding Chief Executive Officer, I have submitted my resignation to the Board of Directors of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation effective today,” Rosica said in a June 17 statement. The priest, who led the Salt and Light network since it launched in 2003, was placed on leave from the non-profit in March.
Rosica also apologized for his acts of plagiarism.
“I ask forgiveness for errors in not properly acknowledging individuals and attributing sources in my writings,” he said.
In a separate statement released June 17, the Salt and Light Foundation’s board said that “Fr. Rosica played a critical role in the founding and growth of this network over the past 16 years. The involvement of many young women and men on our various media platforms has made a positive difference in the lives of many people around the world. We are grateful to Fr. Rosica for his leadership.”
Rosica was first reported by Life Site News Feb. 15 to have plagiarized sections of text in lectures and op-eds from a variety of writers, among them priests, theologians, journalists, and at least two cardinals.
Subsequent reports found pervasive plagiarism in academic articles, essays, speeches, and op-eds by Rosica, dating back more than a decade. Rosica has served as a Vatican press aide and was a central figure in the planning of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto.
The priest was reported in March to have misrepresented his academic credentials, claiming falsely in his official biography to have earned an advanced degree from École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem.
“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,” Rosica told The Catholic Register Feb. 18.
“I take full responsibility for my lack of oversight and do not place the blame on anyone else but myself.”
Rosica told the National Post Feb. 22 that “What I’ve done is wrong, and I am sorry about that. I don’t know how else to say it.”
Rosica also told the National Post 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.
In April, it was discovered that one of Rosica’s most controversial publications, a July 2018 blog post, had been plagiarized from a 2014 blog post by by Richard Bennett, a former member of Dominican Order and an apparently laicized priest, who is now active in a fundamentalist Protestant organization which says it “places particular emphasis on the evangelization and conversion of Roman Catholics.”
In his July post, Rosica copied Bennett’s passage saying that Pope Francis “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’ Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”