Liturgical Press, which publishes the journal, announced Feb 26 "that the editors of Worship are retracting the  article by Thomas M. Rosica because of plagiarism."
Journalists who have worked with Rosica told CNA they were surprised by the evidence of plagiarism, noting the priest’s intellectual gifts and his reputation for charitable generosity toward young staff members and journalists.
Sources noted that Rosica is known to work extremely long hours and to eschew vacations or time off. Some praised the priest’s love for the Church, and his availability to assist the bishops of Canada and the Holy See whenever he is asked.
The priest told the National Post that some plagiarism might have occurred because he neglected to check sources and overlooked attributions in background material prepared for him by interns.
He elaborated Monday, telling The Catholic Register that “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 willfully done.”
One source confirmed to CNA that the priest sometimes has had interns assist him with research, adding that he was not aware of incidences in which interns would have written speeches or op-eds for Rosica, and that he was unaware of what role interns might have played in the priest’s plagiarism.
Rosica is no stranger to controversy. In August 2018, the priest generated considerable debate when he wrote 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.”
The remark prompted considerable debate among Catholic commentators and theologians.
Rosica was also a member of the Board of Trustees at St. John Fisher College in New York; on Feb. 25 the college notified CNA that the priest "is no longer a member of the Board of Trustees." Rosica had served since 2010 on the Board of Directors at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, which told CNA Feb. 26 that he resigned the position earlier this week.
Rosica was scheduled to be honored in April at the annual Provincial’s Dinner of the Canadian province of the Society of Jesus. The province withdrew its invitation Feb. 25.
“The Jesuits of Canada have followed the recent media reports regarding plagiarism by Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, actions for which he has taken responsibility and offered a full apology. Plagiarism is a grave offense against intellectual honesty and the community of scholarship. 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. It is with great sorrow then that we have written to Father Rosica and withdrawn our invitation to him to receive the Magis Award on April 24, in the context of the Annual Provincial’s Dinner,” the province said.
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This story has been updated.