Response to Dr. Peter Chojnowski

Hello Everyone! I am back from my five days away on retreat. It was a great time and thank you very much for your prayers!

While I was away, Dr. Peter Chojnowski wrote a blog post* on September 1 in which he discussed my article Doctored Photo with Sr. Lucia? I wrote about Chojnowski last year.

For those who need to be caught up to speed:

Dr. Chojnowski is developing some new material for an old conspiracy theory on Fatima. This theory alleges that there was an “impostor” Sr. Lucia. The notion arose some years ago and was championed by Dr. Marian Horvat and Atila Guimaraes. The theory never really went anywhere and even Fr. Nicholas Gruner and Christopher Ferrara rejected it.

Owing, however, to what I shall call a “challenge,” the “impostor hypothesis” has received new life in recent days.

I am told that the professional company Pallorium – International Investigative Services (founded by Steve Rambam) was recommended to Dr. Chojnowski in order to investigate the “impostor hypothesis.”** He sought and apparently obtained $25,000 (and recently requested additional monies to the tune of $4-5,000, if memory serves, for some additional work) in order for photo comparisons, facial analyses, etc., to be performed.

The “impostor hypothesis” is a rabbit-hole that is only going to end in disaster for anyone promoting it. I have tried in all charity to dissuade Chojnowski, first privately and then publicly, from his present course. He seems determined to proceed. While it is better not to give Chojnowski any press whatsoever, I want, however, to dispel a misrepresentation that he makes in his recent response to me.

Chojnowski claims the following in the incipit of his article, “Since Kevin Symonds refuses to allow me to take any piece of his posts to post on this website — I will just give you the link to his blog.

Just what is Chojnowski talking about?

On June 6th of this year, I wrote a private E-mail to Chojnowski. The reason for the communication was that in another post for his own web site, Chojnowski had copied and pasted wholesale an article that I wrote. He did not request my permission. Therefore, I wrote to him a respectful E-mail on June 6, asking him to remove the text. Here are my exact words:

Good afternoon, Dr. Chojnowski,

I had wondered why my web site received so many hits from Canada yesterday, but an alert I received to your article has answered my question.
While I appreciate your effort to let people read my article wholesale, you do not have my permission to reproduce my article on your web site. Please adjust your web site accordingly.
Respectfully,
-Kevin J. Symonds

I never said that Chojnowski could never “take any piece of [my] posts.” I was quite clear in what I was asking. Moreover, being involved in the academy, I thought Chojnowski understood “fair-use policy” but apparently I was mistaken.

To be clear: my problem was that Chojnowski reproduced my entire article without my permission. Quotations from published works are, obviously, in accordance with a fair-use policy. Wholesale reproductions, however, do not accord with said policy and require permission from the author or publisher.

In the end, the take-away from this incident, for me, is that Chojnowski failed to read carefully what I said and misrepresented the facts before the public. Therefore, I have grave reservations about his ability to oversee or conduct a critical evaluation of the identity of Sr. Lucia.

As to the rest of what Chojnowski says in his recent missive, I think it is clear from what I have said above that the whole “impostor hypothesis” is absolutely ludicrous and I am not going to dignify it with a systematic response. Quite frankly, I have better things to do with my time.


Notes:

*I have no intention of linking to Chojnowski’s article because it is scurrilous.

**Whether or not Chojnowski accepted the recommendation has not been stated by Chojnowski.

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