Fr. Richard McBrien named in ‘apparent plagiarism’

University of Notre Dame officials have been alerted to a case of “apparent plagiarism” that involves one of its well-known staff members — Catholic author and former chairman of the university’s theology department Fr. Richard McBrien.

William Hobbib sent a letter to university officials stating that Fr. McBrien, who sits on Notre Dame's Academic Code of Honor Committee, copied some text from a Boston Globe article for a column he submitted for the Jan. 6 issue of The Tidings online.

Hobbib, a software industry executive, is a speaker at the Archdiocese of Boston's Defense of Marriage meetings and co-orgainzed the Convention on Voting "Authentically Catholic" on the eve of the Democratic Convention in 2004.

“I am writing to inquire as to the most appropriate way of lodging a complaint about a faculty member's apparent plagiarism,” wrote Hobbib.

Fr. McBrien “appears to have copied passages directly or almost directly from a Boston Globe columnist's Dec. 11 column,” stated Hobbib, who had attached the two pieces for comparison.

“Although the amount of text copied is not significant and this is not a major academic publication by Fr. McBrien, I imagine this sort of behavior is not what you would consider tolerable by any Notre Dame faculty member,” said Hobbib.

“I urge you to protect Notre Dame's reputation for academic integrity and to take the strongest action possible to punish this violation and also alert the school and general public about the problem of plagiarism by such a prominent theologian and faculty member,” said the layman.

Fr. McBrien, a diocesan priest, was hired as a consultant on the “Da Vinci Code” film and has been on record for expressing opinions that differ from those of the Pope.

The two articles can be seen at:

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