Did McBrien plagiarize his column?

Did McBrien plagiarize his column?

A reader points out a very interesting detail that escaped my eye when it first occurred. Did Fr. Richard McBrien plagiarize Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara when he wrote his column on the protests against Boston mayor Tom Menino receiving an award from Catholic Charities?

Here are the relevant paragraphs. First from McNamara (note the highlighted sections):

These folks do not just miss the Latin Mass; they miss Cardinal Bernard Law.

Who exactly organized that hardy handful of protesters out there in the snow holding signs denouncing abortion and gay rights? They claim to be apolitical, mainstream, traditional Catholics. Judge for yourself.

There’s Bill Cotter, pining for the good old days when Law would allow Operation Rescue to use Catholic churches as staging areas for illegal blockades of abortion clinics.

And McBrien:

These ultra-conservative activists, for whom abortion is the only moral and political issue that counts, not only miss the Latin Mass but also the former archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law, who allowed Operation Rescue, a militant anti-abortion organization, to use Catholic churches as staging areas of illegal blockades of abortion clinics.

That’s close enough that if I were a teacher and this were a student’s paper, he’d be failing the class for plagiarism. 

There are other wholesale pickups as well.

McBrien:

The foundress of Faithful Voice, a counterpart to Voice of the Faithful, has said on her Web site that the Republican governor of Massachusetts, by urging all hospitals to obey a new state law mandating that emergency contraception be offered to rape victims, was in effect saying that Catholic hospitals “must be forced to kill children.”

McNamara:

There’s Carol McKinley of Pembroke, who says she is an “authentic” Catholic who just “speaks as a mom defending the faith.” This is what Mom has to say on her website, Magisterial Fidelity, about Governor Mitt Romney’s view that all hospitals are required to obey a new state law mandating that emergency contraception be offered to rape victims: “Romney Now Says Catholic Hospitals Must Be Forced To Kill Children.”

McBrien:

Regarding the president of Catholic Charities, Father J. Bryan Hehir, one of the most respected priests in the United States and a long-time staff member at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, she wrote: “That man is pure unadulterated evil. He literally sends shivers up my spine. If he and his cronies think we’re going to tolerate he and the Archbishop’s material cooperation in abortions — we’ll chase them out of town faster than you can say Voice of the Faithful.”

McNamara:

This is what she has to say about the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, the president of Catholic Charities who refused to capitulate to demands from McKinley and her pals that Menino’s honor be rescinded because the mayor supports a woman’s constitutional right to abortion and a gay couple’s civil right to marry: “That man is pure unadulterated evil. He literally sends shivers up my spine. . . If he and his cronies think we’re going to tolerate he and the Archbishop’s material cooperation in abortions—we’ll chase them out of town faster than you can say Voice of the Faithful.”

Okay on that last one, they’re both just quoting Carol, but it’s the exact same quote set up the same way. He even writes them in the same order as McNamara: Latin Mass, Cardinal Law, Operation Rescue, Romney, Hehir.

Ironically, McBrien used his column to attack the Internet and blogs as a bunch of wannabes who can’t get published (Um, I’m published in a magazine) and who are only interested in creating controversy. 

You want a controversy? How about a famous author and Notre Dame professor who allegedly plagiarized a Boston Globe columnist in his own syndicated column? That would be an interesting controversy.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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