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University addresses plagiarism accusation

Karen Langley | Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A national Catholic organization has asked the University to investigate the possibility that Notre Dame theology professor Father Richard McBrien plagiarized arguments, structure, themes and some exact language in a Los Angeles Catholic publication – an allegation the University has addressed, McBrien said Monday.

The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) – which aims to renew Catholic identity at United States Catholic universities – requested an investigation of the case in a Jan. 19 letter to University President Father John Jenkins.

The CNS alleged that McBrien’s Jan. 6 column in The Tidings of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles mirrored an op-ed piece by Eileen McNamara that had appeared in the Dec. 11 issue of the Boston Globe. McNamara had denounced a protest of a Catholic Charities fundraiser honoring Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who supports abortion rights and homosexual marriage.

The University has not released a report, but McBrien said the University has addressed the situation.

“The University of Notre Dame has conducted a review of this allegation according to its normal procedures, and I am completely satisfied with its outcome,” he said Monday via e-mail.

University spokesman Dennis Brown declined to comment Monday on any such review.

“We can neither comment on the results of a review nor acknowledge that an investigation or review has taken place,” Brown said. “From the University’s standpoint, it is completely a confidential matter.”

Brown also would not confirm whether or not a Notre Dame professor has been found guilty of plagiarism in the past.