Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

counterpoint

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 16, 2006

The Cardinal Newman Society has been sparring with Fr. Richard McBrien recently over McBrien's literary borrowings. The editors of the National Catholic Reporter, unsurprisingly, were quick to draw conclusions about McBrien's opponents from his acquittal. Below is a spunky letter in reply, from the Newman Society's president.

You have published claims by Notre Dame theology chairman John Cavadini that there were no questions of plagiarism by Fr. Richard McBrien prior to the Cardinal Newman Society's recent complaint, yet two weeks earlier NCR reported serious questions raised in a 1998 book review by fellow Notre Dame professor Fr. Marvin O'Connell (NCR , Feb. 10). That's quite an oversight by Cavadini, yet NCR publishes his claims without challenge. NCR also does not challenge Cavadini's curious notion that plagiarism is not plagiarism unless one can prove intent to plagiarize. Many Notre Dame students welcome this impossible-to-prove standard, I am sure, but I cannot find it in any published Notre Dame policy.

Editor Tom Roberts assures us that NCR takes charges of plagiarism seriously, since it's a matter of journalistic integrity. (Perhaps also because McBrien is an occasional NCR columnist?) But NCR never reports its own investigation of the facts. You did investigate, right?

Had you studied McBrien's column and our complaint, you would have reported that the concerns involve more than one Boston Globe article. Had you researched O'Connell's troubling questions about McBrien's Lives of the Popes, you would have found extensive similarities to J.N.D. Kelly's prior work. It seems NCR is responsible only for reporting that Tom Roberts doesn't like the Cardinal Newman Society. Yawn.

Fortunately the Cardinal Newman Society's members don't look to NCR for the facts, but -- silly me -- I thought that we were the advocacy group, and you were the journalists!

Patrick J. Reilly
Manassas, Va.

Nice work, Pat.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our July expenses ($15,502 to go):
$35,000.00 $19,498.29
44% 56%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 16, 2006 12:46 PM ET USA

    What a refreshing contrast between this piece from Patick J. Reilly (mayhap an Irishman) and the drivel just above by Sean Brady (ditto). I have always envied the happy way at least some of the Irish have with, er, English.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Renewal with God before Us: Christ Determines All 10 hours ago
Sons of Dominic Prepare for Family Synod July 29
Dominican theologians assess proposals for divorced and remarried July 29
The ‘Pope Francis effect’—changing the way the world sees the papacy July 29
Renewal with God Behind Us: Man Determines All July 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21