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Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet leaves after attending the final congregation before electing a new Pope, on March 11, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“Academic plagiarism is almost always serial plagiarism,” said Michael V. Dougherty, professor of philosophy at Ohio Dominican University, in an interview about his newly published book, Disguised Academic Plagiarism.

Ouellet could not be reached for comment at the Vatican. Ghost writing is as common and uncontroversial among Catholic leaders as it is among executives in public and private organizations. Ouellet was once Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada, and is now prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican department that selects new bishops. He was considered a potential pope in the run-up to the election of the current Pope Francis.

In 2007, for example, Ouellet gave a talk in Windsor, Ontario titled “A Culture of the Eucharist for a Civilization of Love,” which was soon after published under his name in Origins, a Catholic journal.

One finds herein the remarkably complex phenomenon of a plagiarist plagiarizing a plagiarizing text produced by a different plagiarist.

“At least a third of the talk is unoriginal, however,” Dougherty’s book claims. “Ouellet’s plagiarizing ghostwriter misappropriated passages without attribution from a wide range of works to produce a fraudulent amalgam for the cardinal’s address.”

Curiously, those plagiarized passages include the work of a different cardinal published a few weeks previously, which is the subject of the first part of Dougherty’s analysis, and which is also largely plagiarized.

“It appears that Ouellet’s ghostwriter worked within a very narrow timeframe,” Dougherty writes. The result is that, in Ouellet’s published lecture, “one finds herein the remarkably complex phenomenon of a plagiarist plagiarizing a plagiarizing text produced by a different plagiarist.”

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