Revealed: Archbishop Ugorji, Rev Fr Alkuin And The Turnitin Report  – Dan Ugwu 

There are rising concerns over the reputation of the new Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji. The prelate who is now in the eye of the storm has come under attack over his 1984 doctoral thesis in Germany whose contents have been found to be filled with plegiarism.

In a detailed turnitin report already in Google and several search engines, the revelation was made by Rev Fr Alkuin Schachenmayr, the Austrian monk, historian, archivist and professor at Heiligenkreuz Abbey in Lower Austria. The development has already been updated in the Wikipedia as part of the archbishop’s profile. Even though the archbishop studied moral theology, such an act is a grave moral issue which indicates a fundamental option for evil.

Archbishop Ugorji

PLAGIARISM is the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and presenting them as your own. It is theft of another person’s intellectual property. Plagiarism is most commonly associated with written work, such as research papers or books. It also occurs in artistic expressions or in spoken work, such as a speech. For those of us who studied international business management, plagiarism is associated with stealing of someone’s business content and that is why trademarks, patents and copyrights are branches of intellectual property law that protects tangible and intangible assets of entrepreneurs. While plagiarism is not strictly seen as a criminal offence in some societies, it is punishable by law in most civil societies where it goes with jail term and also considered as felony under certain state and federal laws. In countries like Germany and Nigeria it is considered a violation of honor or ethics codes and results in disciplinary actions. To ward off the allure of such theft, most public institutions in Europe and America have deployed mechanisms such as Turnitin that detects similarities in research work.

Religious institutions frown heavily against plegiarism because it is a dishonest adventure which advances the cause of falsehood. The CATHOLIC church treats it with disdain and that is why seminarians who willingly indulge in it are expelled from the seminary if established. MORAL THEOLOGY which is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching discourages all indices of fraud. The Bible condemns plagiarism and sees it as self-seeking (see Romans 2:8; Philippians 2:3; 2 Timothy 3:2). The Bible in 1 John 1:9 says that If plagiarism has been a part of someone’s old life, it must be renounced and confessed to the Lord as sin and plagiarism has no part in the life of a follower of Christ (see 1 Peter 4:15).

Rev Fr Alkuin

One of the major propellers of plegiarism in written work is careerism which Wikipedia has described as the propensity to pursue career advancement, power, and prestige outside of work performance. This is a sad development for the Church which strives to fumigate virtues in a society almost overrun by fraud. The Church cannot be salt and light of the world while it is advancing the cause of falsehood and deceit. The Archbishop has to take a second look at his action and consider the integrity of the position he currently occupies. This is not the best time to mobilise the African-Nigerian mentality of seeking to wangle out of an indictment or looking for whom to blame. If we should pretend and hide truth, the Archbishop should not resign but if we must say truth without diplomacy, the best honourable response to this current development by the Archbishop should be resignation of all exalted positions which he occupies as he cannot effectively preside over moral issues with such a grave moral burden. Unfortunately, resignation is a strange word to African leaders, both political and religious even when they are caught pants down on filth. This is not the same with their European counterparts who resign to reserve honour. The latest case of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has resigned his position for slightly breaking the covid isolation law he is meant to protect is a classic example. However, the Catholic Church must show example to the world with her actions and reproach for evil. Anyone or institution working to sterilise this scandal or generate logic to cover the disrepute on basis of loyalty is an enemy of the Church. We commend the approach and unbiased understanding already given by some individual bishops in Nigeria in this matter. We also encourage the bishop’s conference of Nigeria to guide the new Archbishop on the best way to follow as a moralist. This will be the only way of saving the Church from the accusation of playing ostrich and equipping it with moral gut, otherwise it will become a cog and a reference point that will weaken the archbishop’s audacity to function.

Note: All criticisms of the Austrian report should be forwarded to Fr Alkuin at St. Peter Church Bezirk 1, A-5020 Salzburg or through his email on


Reference To The Report

Concerns about Archbishop Ugorji’s Dissertation on Double Effect
Alkuin Schachenmayr*
Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji’s 1984 dissertation,
The Principle of Double Effect. ACritical Appraisal of Its Traditional Understanding and Its Modern Reinterpretation
 was written under the supervision of Bruno Schüller (1925–2007) and accepted by
the University of Münster. Peter Lang Verlag published it in 1985 as volume 245 inthe European University Series on Theology. The author Ugorji, born in 1952, wasordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Umuahia in 1977 before moving to
Germany for doctoral studies in moral theology. Elevated to the episcopacy in 1990,
before he was forty years old, Ugorji was the second bishop to lead the young dioceseof Umuahia. In 2022, he was installed as archbishop of Owerri and, in the same year,
elected president of the Nigerian Bishops’ Conference (Catholic Hierarchy). He has
served as the chairman of Caritas Nigeria (“Fleeing”) and as chairman of the govern
ing council of Imo State University (“Ugorji, Ezenna”). The moral theologian pub
lished several books after becoming a bishop, including theological monographs andan autobiography in 2000. A Festschrift dedicated to him on his sixtieth birthday(2012) is titled
 In the Service of Charity and Truth
.The thesis supervisor, Bruno Schüller, was a Jesuit and distinguished professor
of moral theology at the University of Münster, where he taught from 1974 to 1991.
Before that, he had taught at a number of universities in Germany as well as the Pon
tical Gregorian University in Rome. Several of his publications were translated
into English. His 1973 monograph,
 Die Begründung sittlicher Urteile
 Reasoning Moral Judgments
), saw its third edition in 1987. Several of his students became fullprofessors at German universities (Hagel).
Ugorji’s dissertation on the double effect grew out of Schüller’s own interests. Inthe foreword to the thesis, Ugorji thanks his
 for “inspiring it and for ac-
companying me at each stage of my research” (9). The dissertation is 150 pages longand divided into ve chapters. The rst introduces the principle and explains its histor
ical development. Defenders of the principle of double effect argue that certain actions
with bad effects are morally justiable. This doctrine has fascinated moral theologians
Forum Katholische Theologie 38 (2022) 135–148
P. Dr. Alkuin Schachenmayr, Erzabtei St. Peter, St. Peter Bezirk 1, A-5020 Salzburg. E-Mail:
because of the complicated tie between a good intention (e.g. defeating an aggressivearmy) and foreseen but unintended bad effects (killing innocent noncombatants in theprocess). Chapter two describes the acts for which the double effect is applicable. The
third chapter goes more deeply into the “direct/indirect” distinction crucial to many
instances. The last two chapters are devoted to two modern reinterpretations of doubleeffect among individual German theologians, with chapter four being devoted to a cri
tique of Peter Knauer (born 1935) and chapter ve to one of Franz Scholz (1909–1998).
Positive Reception
For a dissertation by an inexperienced international student, Ugorji’s book on the
double effect was exceptionally well-received, not only in the English-speaking world,but also among authors publishing in Spanish and German. The monograph was re-peatedly endorsed in an enthusiastic manner by the moral theologian James Keenan,
now of Boston College. In a 1993 publication, Keenan referenced Ugorji’s dissertationas an example of “exhaustive historical research” (301). In a book chapter publishedin 2001, he amplied his praise, calling the bishop’s book “the most denitive study”
of double effect’s meaning and use (230n25). Keenan’s endorsement of the disserta-tion seems trustworthy, since the American Jesuit is a respected theologian who lists
“Church leadership ethics” among his research interests (Keenan Faculty Prole).
The African theologian Odozor called the book “pioneering” in a presentation atDuquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (20), and an international manual
published by the major European distributor De Gruyter cites it as well, making
Ugorji standard literature (von der Pfordten 108n25). With such kudos, it is not sur
prising to nd Ugorji cited in many doctoral dissertations, a recent example beingVillaseñor Roldán’s. The bishop’s thesis appears there in dozens of footnotes. Ugor
 ji’s dissertation has even been cited in disciplines outside of theology. For this moreremote audience, e.g. in Chartier’s 2003 article, the Münster thesis serves as a repre-
sentative of ofcial Catholic teaching. Chartier cites Ugorji in his attempt to secure
a system of ethics for grading academic work fairly (76n49).
Closer examination of the book reveals recurrent patterns of error and confusion in
matters of attribution. In many cases, it seems clear that texts in Ugorji’s dissertationwere published by other authors, but the texts are presented as Ugorji’s own. To achievegreater clarity about the dissertation’s quality and, consequently, its author’s theologicalqualications, seven tables follow. They point to disturbing instances of verbatim or
near verbatim text overlap with publications by major theologians who are not properly
identied as sources. Several instances call for clarication and, if necessary, correction.
Layers of error in attributing secondary sources
The left column in the following table presents itself as a paraphrase and extraction
of a 1949 article by an author identied in the dissertation as “John Mangan.” The
column on the right contains text published in a widely-distributed reference work.
Concerns about Archbishop Ugorji’s Dissertation on Double Effect 
 Alkuin Schachenmayr 
Table 1 Mangan or Connell? John or Joseph?
gorji 43Connell 1021John Mangan believes he can trace theapplication of the principle back to theOld Testament. He instances 1 Macca-bees 6 as a striking example where the
principle was employed in the justica
tion of self-killing. In this text Eleazar, a
Jew, was ghting in the army of the
 op-posing Maccabees against an enemyforce. Identifying an elephant on whichhe believed the king of the opposing sidewas riding to battle, Eleazar ran under itand slew it, knowing that he would becrushed, but hoping that he would thuskill the king or at least disable him. Theinspired narrative presents this act as so-mething commendable.The Old Testament (1 Mc 6) contains astriking example of a lawful applicationof the principle of the double effect.
Eleazar, a Jew, was ghting in the army
of the Maccabees against an enemyforce. Seeing an elephant on which hebelieved the king of the opposing sidewas riding to battle, Eleazar ran underthe beast and slew it, knowing that hehimself would be crushed, but hopingthat he would thus kill or disable the leader of the enemy. This narrative is told inthe inspired book as something com-mendable.The doctoral candidate misattributed the analysis of First Book of Maccabees to
the Jesuit scholar Mangan, whose rst name was in fact Joseph, not John. Mangan’swell-known 1949 article receives mention on Ugorji’s page 41 (n13), but with an
incorrect page range (41–46 instead of 41–61). Although Mangan did address the Old
Testament passage (42), his description of the biblical event is linguistically quitedifferent than Ugorji’s rendering. Ugorji’s phrases are, however, nearly identical topassages from F.J. Connell’s article “Double Effect, Principle of” in the 1967 edition
of the
 New Catholic Encyclopedia
. Connell gets no credit for his intellectual proper-ty; his name appears nowhere in the dissertation.The differences between the two columns in table 1 are minimal. Instead of writ-
ing “the beast,” Ugorji uses “it.” Instead of Connell’s “seeing,” the later archbishopused “identifying.” For this minimal effort, the dissertation’s author nonetheless
implies that he has analyzed several generations’ worth of moral theology, reachingback to an article published in 1949. In fact, Schüller’s advisee seems to have appro-priated the text from the readily-available
 New Catholic Encyclopedia
Unattributed Sources
When Ugorji sets out to dene the term “side-effect” (130–31), he references fourdifferent dictionaries. In writing about “scandal,” however, he makes no referencesto contemporary secondary sources, thus suggesting that he is dening the term in his
own words. Indeed, the metaphorical reference to slums in a city as an example of
scandal might strike readers as an unusual approach. There are no quotation marks in
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