Vatican Plagiarizes Wikipedia

The Vatican used Wikipedia to obtain biographies for new cardinals. They then sent those bios to the press.

There’s nothing wrong with using Wiki for background information, but it seems really strange that an organization like the Vatican couldn’t have put together short biographies for the press. They could also have abstained from sending any biographies at all. Research is, after all, one of the functions of the press.

What I really don’t like is that the Vatican didn’t bother to properly attribute the biographies until after the fact. Wikipedia is available to most people for information, but it isn’t fair to take the information they offer and act as if you have no responsibility to the author to admit where you got it.

Ultimately, this is just amusing:

In the kind of language not normally used by the Vatican, a Dutch archbishop, William Jacobus Eijk was described as being “one of the most talked about religious men in the country”.

This was because of his “strong leaning towards conservatism, especially with regard to abortion and homosexuality,” the biography said.

A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said his staff had no advance notice of the names of the new cardinals and had been in a hurry.

They actually passed out biographies about their new cardinals that said things like “‘one of the most talked about religious men in the country'” and “‘strong leaning toward conservatism, especially with regard to abortion and homosexuality’.”

Your staff was in such a hurry, Father Federico Lombardi, that you couldn’t bother to put together original biographies for 22 men? Or, at the very least, cite Wikipedia as your source?

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