That’s one blogger’s response to this post about a priest who used one of my homilies, verbatim and without attribution, last weekend.
From Quantum Theology, here’s Michelle M. Francl-Donnay:
The deacon isn’t particularly perturbed, “As far as I’m concerned, the Holy Spirit owns the copyright to my work, not me, and I’m glad others can make use of the material that I post.” though he stops far short of endorsing the practice. Most of his commenters concur – it’s not a big deal. Personally, I’m appalled. And where I teach, that sort of behavior could get you expelled.
Could I submit as my weekly column one of Karl Rahner SJ’s columns for Die Presse, and not attribute it to the late Fr. Rahner? It’s been a busy week here, I have a sick kid, lots of grading to do and a grant deadline. The message is the same, we both write with the Holy Spirit’s inspiration (at least in my case, I hope and pray I do). What’s the big deal, after all?
To quote one of the commenters on the Deacon’s Bench: “A big cheer for your attitude. The Holy Spirit likewise holds my copyrights. If someone wants to use them and not attribute, that is fine with me. If some from a distant parish gets something out of it, even better.” It’s been a long time since Rahner’s columns appeared, and they’re in another language, and if my readers get something out of it, even better. AMDG (ad majorem Dei gloriam – to the greater glory of God) as the commenter closed. Another commenter intimates that we (I?) shouldn’t be so fussy – Matthew and Luke plagiarized Mark after all.
Would you say something to the editor or to the bishop in charge of the archdiocesan paper? I imagine so, and you would be right to do so. To pass off Rahner’s words as my own, no matter how good my intentions are, is plagiarism, pure and simple. (I think I still remember my moral theology!)
As Pope John Paul II put it the homily “commits the person who pronounces it to a dual responsibility: towards the Word and towards the assembly.” This behavior seems to me to be irresponsible to both the Word and the assembly.
Check out the rest. She raises some excellent points.