Vatican Radio reports this morning that Pope Francis conveyed his “sympathy and closeness in prayer” to the people of Boston.
In the telegram sent by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State to His Eminence Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Pope Francis writes:
Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer.
In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response.
At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.
Vatican Radio also reports today that the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, releases the following statement:
The Archdiocese of Boston joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon today. Our prayers and concern are with so many who experienced the trauma of these acts, most especially the loved ones of those who lives were lost and those who were injured, and the injured themselves.
The citizens of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are blessed by the bravery and heroism of many, particularly the men and women of the police and fire departments and emergency services who responded within moments of these tragic events. Governor Patrick, Mayor Menino and Police Commissioner Davis are providing the leadership that will see us through this most difficult time and ensure that proper procedures are followed to protect the public safety.
In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today. We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.
Cardinal O’Malley had been in Israel since Monday — with other priests in the Archdiocese of Boston on a pilgrimage to the various sites that have Biblical significance. He was in the Holy Land, as he learned of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.
John Allen Jr reports in the National Catholic Reporter that Pope Francis appointed Cardinal O’Malley and 7 other cardinals from all around the world to “advise him on the government of the universal church” and “to study a project of revision” of the Pastor Bonus document from John Paul II, relating to what is known as the ‘Roman Curia,’ and to reassess the administrative oversight of the Roman Catholic Church.
In keeping with another characteristic theme of Pope Francis, the Introduction of that document includes the following:
The power and authority of the bishops bears the mark of diaconia or stewardship, fitting the example of Jesus Christ himself who “came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). Therefore the power that is found in the Church is to be understood as the power of being a servant and is to be exercised in that way; before anything else it is the authority of a shepherd.
This applies to each and every bishop in his own particular Church; but all the more does it apply to the bishop of Rome, whose Petrine ministry works for the good and benefit of the universal Church. The Roman Church has charge over the “whole body of charity” and so it is the servant of love. It is largely from this principle that those great words of old have come — “The servant of the servants of God” —, by which Peter’s successor is known and defined. evaluate to help the Pope govern the Catholic Church and reform its troubled central administration.