The former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, seemed increasingly isolated this year.
He was “relieved of public and administrative duties following the release of personnel files that suggest he protected accused priests from criminal investigation,” official reports recounted. Criticism from parishioners, the media and others mounted. And in Rome, where Mahony attended the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, cameras captured him, well, alone.
At the memorial service for South Africa’s Nelson Mandela this month, he shook hands with Raul Castro, president of the long-estranged communist Cuba and brother of Fidel. As The Times said: “A handshake with the leader of a nation that’s been a foe for half a century is never just a handshake.”
Not since Queen Victoria’s time has it been possible: Today’s queen of England was photographed this year with three potential future kings -- the first such image of royal succession in more than 100 years.
Marking the autumn royal christening of baby Prince George was his father Prince William, his grandfather Prince Charles and his great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
“They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed,” proclaimed Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, who was shot and nearly killed by Taliban fighters, to the United Nations in July.
“And then, out of that silence, came thousands of voices.”
Her cause: Girls should have the right to go to school.
Wearing a pink shawl that belonged to slain Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Malala told the U.N. assembly on youth that she didn’t want revenge against the Taliban, which has threatened to hunt her down again.
Oh, and she gave those first formal, public remarks since the shooting on what was also her 16th birthday.
At first, the source for the leaked data about top-secret electronic intelligence programs was anonymous. Rumors flew, cloak-and-dagger stories were spun.
Then, days later, the man dubbed a “traitor” by ex-Vice President Dick Cheney emerged. He turned out to be a mild-looking, bespectacled 29-year-old high school dropout and computer tech for a defense contractor. Edward J. Snowden told interviewers last summer that he spilled details of classified surveillance programs because, well, “Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded.”
Edith “Edie” Windsor was angry, according to The Times.
If her longtime partner, Thea Spyer, had been named Theo instead, the estate she left to Windsor would not have been taxed. “So I decided to sue and get my money back,” said Windsor, now 84.
This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, clearing the way for same-sex married couples to enjoy the same inheritance laws and other benefits granted opposite-sex couples.
Really, who else could have been grand marshal this year at the Gay Pride Parade in New York?
Yosemite, our universally acclaimed and beloved national park, celebrated its 123rd birthday in the fall. Instead of welcoming crowds, though, the usually packed and always popular Yosemite had to turn visitors away.
As the partisan bickering in Washington shut the federal government, one of the most visible repercussions was the immediate closure of the country’s 401 National Park Service sites.
As a forlorn Irish couple on their honeymoon told The Times: “We grew up seeing pictures of it in books. You know, the cars underneath those huge sequoia trees. That was America.”
Oh c’mon -- didn’t we all think: Can’t we compromise? Do we have to close our national parks?