Coleridge draws fire over book review

The Australian has apologised over a book review by Canberra Archbishop Mark Coleridge that the newspaper said contained similar content to a review by another author published earlier in a British publication.

The Tablet reports that The Australian published the following brief notice on 27 February: "On Saturday February 24, The Weekend Australian published a review by Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion.

"It has since been discovered that the archbishop's review contained some similar content to a review of Dawkins' book by Terry Eagleton published in The London Review of Books in October. The Australian regrets that this occurred."

Archbishop Coleridge, who worked in the Vatican's Secretariat of State and was an auxiliary bishop of Melbourne before becoming Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn last year, was unavailable for comment, the Tablet says.

The story has also been picked up in the blogosphere with Catholic World News blogger, Diogenes, describing the similarities as "culpable pilferage".

Diogenes says the most "obvious explanations" are that either Archbishop Coleridge plagiarised or that he "farmed out the job to some understudy who plagiarised".

"The latter explanation doesn't add lustre to the archbishop's reputation as a man of letters, but it may fall within the permissible range of 'official' authorship generally understood to be staff-written - in roughly the same category as the op-eds that senators publish in the New York Times," the blogger writes, calling on the Archbishop to make himself available for comment.

According to an Age column earlier this month, a reader first challenged the archbishop's review soon after it appeared. In the review, Archbishop Coleridge quoted Mr Eagleton by name but the challenge is about further material that had no attribution.

Paper apologises for archbishop’s article (The Tablet, 17/3/07) - free subscription to view
the australian regrets (Catholic World News, 16/3/07)
Heavens above, how did that happen? (The Age, 1/3/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Debating the divine (The Australian/Voice for Values, 24/2/07)
Terry Eagleton, "Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching" (London Review of Books, 19/10/06)
Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn | Archbishop Mark Coleridge
The God of Delusion (Wikipedia)

New Mass a challenge: Archbishop Coleridge (CathNews, 1/2/07)
Mark Coleridge new Archbishop for Canberra (CathNews, 20/6/06)
Coleridge plans to "stir up some energy" in Canberra (CathNews, 27/6/06)

19 Mar 2007

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