The 8-year-old boy killed in the Boston Marathon bombings has been identified as Martin Richard.
The young boy was at the event with his family to watch his father compete. According to reports he was waiting along with his mother and sister to congratulate and hug his dad, who was just finishing the race, according to CNN.
However, as they waited near the finish line they were hit full on by one of the explosions. Martin was tragically killed by the blast, and his mom and sister also suffered serious injuries.
Martin’s 6 year old sister is said to have survived the explosion but reportedly lost a leg due to her injuries. She is currently in hospital recovering from the ordeal and receiving medical treatment.
According to other reports, Martin’s mother was also seriously injured and may have suffered brain injuries. She has undergone surgery to treat her head injuries, and her present condition is uncertain. Both mother and daughter were still hospitalized by early Tuesday afternoon. The boy’s dad is thought to have been uninjured in the blasts, but is devastated and trying to come to terms with the tragic turn of events.
Father, Bill Richard, is reportedly very active in his local community in the Ashmont section of Dorchester. Locals are said to have been devastated at the family’s loss and many have been seen leaving flowers at their family home.
One mourner had written the word “Peace” at the entrance to the driveway; a reference to a sign made by Martin last May when he helped organized a peace walk. During that event children made signs at home and walked together around the city to make a simple statement urging peace in Boston, and for violence to stop.
In a photo that is being shown of Martin he can also be seen at his first communion smiling and posing for the camera in a white suit. In that picture the young boy is seen holding a colorful communion banner with a dove on it symbolizing the Holy Spirit.
It is now believed that as many as 3 people were killed, and more than 170 were injured in the two explosions that hit on Monday afternoon near the finish line of the marathon. By Tuesday early afternoon no suspects were being named by authorities, however, President Obama had pledged that those responsible for the attacks would be hunted and be brought to justice.
Here is a video news report into the tragic death of Martin Richard:
In addition to making artisanal pickles, rocking out to vinyl records and riding their precious fixie bikes, hipsters could make going to Catholic mass their new signature hobby. At least, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn hopes so.
Since the beginning of April, the organization has put up ads reading “The Original Hipster,” depicting a robed man wearing red Converse sneakers, throughout the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn — including the dive bars and coffee shops of Williamsburg, widely considered the Holy Land of East Coast hipsterdom. The blog Animal New York first noticed the campaign plastered on bus stations and phone booths and tweeted a photo. Then The Huffington Post, CBS New York, and CNN picked it up, and the image started going viral. (As Salon joked, the next thing we’ll see is a Cardinal Timothy Dolan cameo on Girls.)
But note that the ad doesn’t actually mention Jesus anywhere. “Everyone just assumes that we were talking about Jesus and that shows religious conversation is a part of our everyday discussions for all people, no matter who you are, no matter where you’re coming from,” Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington, the Diocese’s Vicar for Communications, tells TIME.
The ad is part of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s latest attempt to encourage more young people to attend church. “You can be a hipster in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and be a faithful, good Christian,” Harrington says. “There are a lot of different depictions of Jesus. If you go to Asia, you will see depictions of Jesus as an Asian, and if you go to Latin America, you will see depictions that are very reminiscent of a Latin American.” Thus, maybe the “counter-cultural” people in Williamsburg may see in this Converse-clad Savior a little bit of themselves. “Jesus went to the highways and the byways, and we’re going to bars, restaurants, gyms, to get the message out.”
The Vatican has been consciously trying to reach out to Catholics on social media for a while, for example, through the Pope’s Twitter account, @Pontifex, which boasts more than 2.4 million followers. The social media interns who manage the Church’s social media accounts even got their own fifteen minutes of fame earlier this year during Pope Francis’s ascension.
Laypeople are also trying to use viral memes to reach the young, with varying results: for example, the site CatholicMemes.com, which generates religion-themed photo memes and GIFs; its Facebook group boasts more than 85,000 fans, while another has more than 21,000.
By Hada Messia and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Rome (CNN) – Pope Francis has appointed a group of eight cardinals from around the world to look into ways of reforming the Catholic Church, the Vatican said Saturday.
The group, which includes U.S. Cardinal Sean O’Malley from Boston, will examine ways to revise the Vatican constitution, Pastor Bonus, which sets the rules for running the Roman Curia, or church hierarchy.
The cardinals – who come from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe – will first meet in October, the Vatican said.
The move follows on from suggestions made during the General Congregations, a series of meetings that brought together all the cardinals last month before they elected Francis as pope, the Vatican said.
Editor’s note: Michael D’Antonio is the author of “Mortal Sins, Sex, Crime and the Era of Catholic Scandal.” He is a former religion writer for Newsday.
(CNN) — Thirty days of signs and signals have revealed to the world in Francis I, a pope who seems eager to earn the title pontiff, or bridge-builder. Beginning with his choice of a name, which evokes the beloved image of St. Francis of Assisi, the former cardinal of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, put the world on notice that change was afoot by forgoing the fancy red slippers and ermine stole favored by other popes.
Since then he has shown a remarkable common touch in his encounters with the public and greater sensitivity to others than the man who came before him.
Try as he did, Francis’ immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI, never looked comfortable in his own skin, let alone in pastoral contact with others. Clad in his ornate robes, he seemed to keep the world at arm’s length in a way that betrayed his long service as Rome’s “Rottweiler” (a nickname he received from the press) in charge of disciplining those who deviated from doctrine.
While personally warmer, the pope before Benedict, John Paul II, was stern when it came to religious matters and approached the world with an Us vs. Them mindset. As the church was rocked by a seemingly endless number of sex abuse scandals — thousands of child victims and systematic cover-ups by the hierarchy — he blamed secular society, especially the media, and capitalistic materialism.
In contrast with John Paul and Benedict, Francis doesn’t seem capable of greeting anyone without a big, sincere smile and whenever given the choice between clerical privilege and everyday human experience, he opts for the human.
This was demonstrated most clearly as he visited a jail during Holy Week to symbolically wash the feet of a dozen people who represented the apostles. Among them were two women and two Muslims. Their presence, and Francis’s ease with them, dismayed traditionalists who recoiled at the sight of females and non-Catholics being included in the ritual. It thrilled those who hunger for a more accessible and inclusive church.
The survivors of clerical abuse, who I have come to know during three years of writing my book “Mortal Sins,” hope that Francis will bring real change. However, they have been discouraged by 30 years of church evasions and counterattacks and are understandably wary.
Tough-minded evaluators, they criticize Francis’ record on abuse in Argentina. There he was among many of the world’s Catholic bishops — fully 25% — who failed to meet a deadline for establishing policies to deal with complaints and priests who were accused, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Victims also wait for Francis to demonstrate that he will discipline offenders and reveal their records. “We don’t think statements make kids any safer,” SNAP leader Barbara Blaine told me this week. “Unless he makes kids safer, he’s not doing his job.”
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Blaine’s “show-me” attitude is echoed by her SNAP colleague Peter Isely, who was sexually abused when he attended a Catholic boarding school in Wisconsin. Isely said he admires the new man’s style and sees, in his personality, reason for hope.
“St. Francis was the single greatest reformer in the history of the Catholic Church,”‘ noted Isely. “My favorite quote by St. Francis is, `Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’ Confronting and reforming the church’s global system of child sex abuse and cover-up, that is doing what is necessary. If Pope Francis does that, who knows what’s possible? Better yet, what’s impossible.”
Jeffrey Anderson, the attorney most responsible for the waves of litigation that have revealed the church’s secrets on abusive priests, is even more optimistic. Regarded by some as the most dreaded enemy of institutional Catholicism, Anderson told me, “This pope has already demonstrated in action and words a humility we haven’t seen before. I see that as revolutionary and it is in direct contrast with the hubris that was the source of the abuse crisis. It gives me hope that he can, if he chooses to, go against the power structure and fundamentally change things. For today I have hope like I never had.”
Although I am also skeptical of church leaders and well aware of the hierarchy’s long-standing failure on the abuse issue, Francis’ first 30 days have led me to agree with Anderson when it comes to the new pope’s personality. This is a shift for me, and I make it tentatively, because like all Catholics and former Catholics, I know we are susceptible to the influence of church stagecraft. We want to believe, and that desire has been exploited too often in the past.
If Francis makes the changes that the church must make to end the sex abuse crisis, it will happen because he grasps and wields the power of his office. As a cardinal, he was bound by his oath of obedience to “go along.” As pope, he is the one who makes the rules and requires others to obey. What if one of those requirements included an open, transparent and serious program to make children safe and heal the trauma of the past 30 years?
Many of history’s transformational figures have been men who, when they finally achieved power, used it in surprising ways.
Theodore Roosevelt, son of wealth and privilege, became the trust-busting enemy of corporate monopolists. Southerner Lyndon Johnson used his considerable skills to champion civil rights. Richard Nixon, Republican friend of industrialists, created the Environmental Protection Agency.
Francis has his chance now.
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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Michael D’Antonio.
Castel Gandolfo (CNN) — Pope Francis is having lunch Saturday with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in what the Vatican said was the first such encounter in the history of the Catholic Church.
Francis, who was inaugurated as the new head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Tuesday, has made some changes since taking the helm — most notably by adopting a simpler, personal style and calling for the Church to focus on serving the poor and needy.
The new pontiff was flown to Castel Gandolfo by helicopter for the lunch date.
He was greeted at the helipad by Benedict XVI, and the pair exchanged an embrace, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said. They rode in a car together to the Castel Gandolfo residence, the Vatican said.
Both men wore simple white cassocks but only Francis wore the white papal mantle and sash over his robe.
The two then prayed together, side-by-side, in a chapel before meeting in a library at the residence for 45 minutes of talks ahead of lunch.
Relations between Francis and his predecessor were warm and cordial, Lombardi said. Francis presented the latter with the gift of a painting he said reminded him of Benedict’s gifts to the Church.
Seen, but not heard
Lombardi declined to tell reporters what the pair discussed, saying only that they were private talks.
Vatican observers believe that one item on the agenda will have been the contents of a 300-page dossier presented by three cardinals to Benedict in the wake of the so-called Vatileaks scandal.
Benedict passed on the report — ordered after leaks last year revealed claims of corruption within the Vatican hierarchy — to his successor.
Italian media reports suggested the cardinals had uncovered a series of scandals involving sex, money and power, but the Vatican press office sought to tamp down what it called a rash of “often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories.”
The pair may also talk about possible appointments by Francis. The people he chooses to hold key roles may give an indication of his priorities for the Church at a time when some are calling for reform and modernization of its hierarchy.
They have spoken several times by telephone since Francis was elected 10 days ago but this is their first face-to-face meeting, the Vatican said.
Crowds who had gathered in the small town’s central square waved and clapped as the white papal helicopter twice passed overhead before landing. Some chanted “Francesco, Francesco” — the pope’s name in Italian.
According to police at Castel Gandolfo, the crowds numbered between 1,500 and 2,000.
Many had gathered in the hope of seeing Francis appear at a balcony to wave but Lombardi said this was not scheduled to happen.
Francis was elected on March 13 after Benedict became the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign, citing age and frailty. A new pope usually takes the reins only following the death of his predecessor.
The hilltop castle overlooking a lake is the summer papal residence and has been home to Benedict since he left Vatican City on February 28.
Benedict’s last public appearance was at a window of the castle, when he blessed the crowds below before retiring into seclusion.
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The pope emeritus is expected to move back to Vatican City at the end of April, once restoration work on a small monastery within its grounds is complete. There, he will devote himself to prayer and study.
Before resigning, he pledged his obedience to the new pope.
Benedict “has attentively followed the events of recent days,” including Francis’ inauguration Mass before crowds of well wishers and dignitaries, the Vatican said.
When the last pope to resign, Gregory XII, stepped down in 1415 it was to help resolve the worst institutional crisis in the Church’s history — a schism that had led to three rival claimants to the papacy.
And when former hermit Pope Celestine V resigned in 1294 after less than six months in office, he was imprisoned soon afterward by his successor, Pope Boniface VIII.
Busy week ahead
Pope Francis, meanwhile, is starting to get to grips with his new role now that the pomp and ceremony of his inauguration is out of the way.
On Friday, he met with the Vatican diplomatic corps and thanked them for the work they do to “build peace and construct bridges of friendship and fraternity” with some 180 states around the world.
“Through you I encounter your peoples, and thus in a sense I can reach out to every one of your fellow citizens, with their joys, their troubles, their expectations, their desires,” he said.
The coming week, which leads up to Easter Sunday, will be a busy one for the new pontiff, starting with Palm Sunday Mass.
On Thursday, Francis will break with tradition by celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper — which is centered on the gesture of the washing of feet — at the Casal del Marmo youth detention center, the Vatican said.
The service has in past years been held at the grand Basilica of St. John Lateran, the official seat of the bishop of Rome.
“In his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio used to celebrate the Mass in a prison or hospital or hospice for the poor and marginalized,” the Vatican said in a statement.
“With this celebration at Casal del Marmo, Pope Francis will continue his custom, which is characterized by its humble context.”
It will not be the first time Francis visits the prison. He was there in March 2007 to celebrate Mass.
CNN’s Hada Messia and Ben Wedeman reported from Castel Gandolfo and Laura Smith-Spark wrote and reported from London.
New Zealander Richard Dunleavy was the world secretary-general of the Marist Brothers in Rome for 13 years.
Among the references to the background of the new Pope Francis given by BBC, CNN and European media when the Pope was first presented to the world on TV on Thursday, I noted that nothing was said about his being the first Pope to be born under the “Cruz del Sur”, the Southern Cross.
Nor did I hear a reference to the fact that he is the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere.
The emphasis was placed firmly on his coming from the Americas, particularly Latin America. Yet his having been born, educated, and lived most of his life in Argentina makes him in those senses clearly “one of us” and a true “Southern Man”.
I seriously believe that the very fact that he is someone born well away from Europe which has historically been the dominant influence on the universal Catholic Church is one of the strongest qualities that Cardinal Bergoglio brings to the papacy. And when the commentators refer to the election of Pope Francis as “inspired” I agree that his being from outside Western Europe is perhaps one of the key elements of that inspiration.
He himself inferred it in his first words from the Vatican balcony when he remarked that his fellow cardinals had “gone to the other end of the world to find a new Bishop of Rome!”
But this inspiration, I am convinced, is more than just geographic or even symbolic. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, one of the basic principles of renewed Catholic theology and spirituality today is that they be inculturated, that is integrated with local cultures. For us south of the equator, where the majority of Catholics live, these cultures are many and varied, especially throughout Africa, and Oceania, and so vastly different in many ways from Europe. So we now have at the helm someone who is fully aware of the need to reach beyond the West European influence, and open up the Church Universal more to the cultures and mentalities of our southern peoples. In this sense the aim is to become less Roman and more Catholic , that is “universal”.
That is not to say that we can expect some kind of democratic tsunami of Latin American, African – much less Oceanian – influences to sweep through the corridors of power in the Vatican. No, but I do think the cardinals in choosing Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope at this time were taking into account both the size and growth of numbers in the Southern Hemisphere Church there and also the vigour and comparative youthfulness of its membership.
Secondly, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires during the last fourteen years he has identified strongly with the poor and suffering in his local church. In his efforts to bring social justice in Argentina he confronted the Government there during and after the years of the dictatorships, and he made a clear and practical decision to “live simply so that others may simply live”, forsaking the traditional archbishop’s residence for a small apartment, and he adopting a lifestyle which enabled him to live his daily life and work as far as he could in solidarity with the poor of Buenos Aires.
Furthermore, his break with tradition in choosing the new papal name of the poverello, St Francis of Assisi, is, I suggest, another clear sign of his witness and identification in this regard.
As for us Kiwis, I think we can take comfort that, although Pope Francis comes from an immigrant Italian family, and is no doubt more at home with “the beautiful game”, we will, for the first time, have a Pope who knows at least something about rugby since, as I know from my visits there, the leading Catholic boys’ colleges in his Archdiocese of Buenos Aires are all bastions of “our” game. Perhaps he will have even learned something about the unexpected bounce of the oval ball which may stand him in good stead as he faces the many tricky balls that will come his way in the Vatican and the wider church.
By Richard Dunleavy
CNN’s Piers Morgan asked Penn Jillette, author of Every Day is an Atheist Holiday, what he thought of the pope’s resignation. His response?
“I think I may be somebody who believes in the Pope’s position more than most Catholics. . . . if you have someone who is a conduit to God and is speaking God’s word, even if you can’t understand exactly what God’s plan is . . . that still doesn’t mean you get to vote on what God actually believes.”
…just explain that you aren’t a sinner, you’re just “vernacular“. Then explain that the next Pope needs to be faithful to the Third Vatican Council which will, we are assured, remake the Church in the image and likeness of CNN and the faculty lounge at Hofstra.
(CNN) — Her doctoral thesis dealt with how we form our conscience. Turns out she plagiarized chunks of it.
A university stripped Germany’s education minister of her Ph.D. on Tuesday, after a blogger caught the plagiarism and spent months vigilantly presenting the evidence to the public.
Annette Schavan is the second minister in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet who has this embarrassing distinction.
Former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg stepped down in May 2011, after large passages of his dissertation were found to have been directly copied from other sources.
At the time, Schavan sharply criticized Guttenberg publicly for his shortcomings, according to German media reports.
Since April 2012, the blog “schavanplag” (for “Schavan” and “plagiarism”) has compared passages of Schavan’s 1980 dissertation with sections of written works by other authors — in multiple instances they match word for word, or nearly.
The blog alleges Schavan did not properly source her work and claimed others’ work as her own.
Schavan, who studied education, philosophy and Catholic theology, received her doctorate with highest honors, including for the verbal section of her dissertation. She has spent her career in education roles in the Catholic church.
She denies wrongdoing and plans to sue the University of Dusseldorf for invalidating her degree, according to her lawyers.
She has been fighting the blog’s allegations in public for months and has given no signs of stepping down as education minister.
The board of the department that awarded her the degree said that there are just too many borrowed passages in her dissertation entitled: “People and Conscience — studies on the foundations, necessity and challenges in forming a conscience in our time.”
The board found that she had “systematically and deliberately laid claim to intellectual achievements, which she in reality did not produce herself.”
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The British journalist has been divisive with American viewers with his strict stance on gun laws following the Sandy Hook massacre.
“Both the Bible and the Constitution were well intentioned but they are basically, inherently flawed. Hence, the need to amend it,” Morgan said while interviewing Pastor Rick Warren on his CNN show.
“Not a chance,” Warren said. “What I believe is flawed is human opinion, because it constantly changes.”
“But you and I know the Bible is, in many places, a flawed document,” Morgan continued. “My point to you about gay rights for example – it’s time for an amendment to the Bible. You should compile a new Bible.”
Saying that he believes that the Bible reveals the truth, and the truth is never outdated Morgan replied to Warren “We’re going to agree to disagree on that.”
It was just the longest line of Morgan’s outspoken opinions after he offended thousands of Americans with his anti-gun remarks. Morgan has demanded tighter U.S. gun laws following the Sandy Hook massacre.
Morgan certainly doesn’t seem to respect those who disagree with him. He declared a gun advocated interviewee as an “unbelievably stupid man.”
In response, a man in Texas launched a petition on the White House e-petition Web site earlier this month, demanding Morgan be deported immediately for “exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”
The petition has already garnered more than 84,000 signatures, far exceeding the 25,000 signature threshold required to get a White House response.
Undeterred, Morgan replied “If I do get deported from America for wanting fewer gun murders, are there any other countries that will have me?”
There a few in the United Kingdom who don’t want Morgan back. Hundreds have signed the “Keep Piers Morgan in the USA” petition after it was proposed by Janusz Jasinski, a Birmingham-based Web site designer.
A third petition is calling on Home Secretary Theresa May to stop him from returning to Britain.
“We got rid of him once and why should we have to suffer again,” the Web site says. The Americans wanted him so they should put up with him.”
2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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