MondayâÂ?Â?s Religion News Roundup: Titanic near-miss, PopeâÂ?Â?s passage, Richard Land -- plagiarist?

Prayer and silence, as well as movie marathons, marked the centenary of the Titanic’s sinking, which resulted in the loss of all but 700 of the 2,208 passengers and crew.

A Jesuit seminarian who took famous pictures of the ship as he journeyed on board during the first legs of its maiden voyage was curtly ordered off the ocean liner in Ireland by his provincial before it departed on its ill-fated North Atlantic crossing. Frank Browne, at left, was eventually ordained a priest, and later said it was the only time holy obedience had saved a life.

Pope Benedict XVI is 85 today, and one of the oldest popes ever, and he says he’s feeling it. That is also naturally making for lots of speculation about whether another old guy will take his place.

It’s also Tax Day, so render unto Caesar – and you can feel good about it.

Australian Cardinal George Pell is backpedaling as fast as he can for some problematic remarks he made about the Jews during a debate with atheist Richard Dawkins, and for adding: “Probably no people in history have been punished the way the Germans were. It’s a terrible mystery.”

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien reminds Fox News head Roger Ailes that the Virgin Mary, her namesake, was the mother of Jesus before she was a prison.

Catholic traditionalists remind the U.S. Bishops that their exaltation of religious freedom is actually a pretty new thing for Catholics, and still a heresy for some.

Remember Richard Land’s explosive comments about the Trayvon Martin case and black pastors and Barack Obama? The Southern Baptist leader is doubling down, and he defended the idea that people are justified in seeing young black men as threatening: A black man is “statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man,” Land says.

Now it turns out that Land copied some of his controversial statements verbatim, without crediting the source. What’s worse, saying something dumb or repeating something dumb and claiming it as your own?

Local clergy are taking a different tack, standing united across racial and ethnic lines to bring healing to Sanford, Florida.

Gay Christian activist and longtime Jerry Falwell frenemy Mel White is leaving Lynchburg with his partner because he says that even after Falwell’s death the State of Virginia is haunted by the anti-gay ghost of the Moral Majority founder.

The late “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade was apparently battling the demons of alcoholism in recent years, his brother says, upset over a split from his wife and the dismissal of his work by the critics.

Tim Tebow got a cool reception when he showed up at Yankee Stadium, his first public foray into Gotham since becoming New York’s latest sports icon. But hey, it’s the Bronx.

-- David Gibson

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