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Pontifications

Pontifications

Bio

DAVID GIBSON is an award-winning religion journalist, author, filmmaker, and a convert to Catholicism. He came by all those vocations by accident, or Providence, during a longer-than-expected sojourn in Rome in the 1980s.



Gibson began his journalistic career as a walk-on sports editor and columnist at The International Courier, a small daily in Rome serving Italy's English-language community. He then found a job as a newscaster and writer across the Tiber at the English Programme at Vatican Radio, an entity he describes as a cross between NPR and Armed Forces Radio for the pope. The Jesuits who ran the radio were charitable enough to hire Gibson even though he had no radio background, could not pronounce the name "Karol Wojtyla," and wasn't Catholic. Time and experience overcame all those challenges, and Gibson went on to cover dozens of John Paul II's overseas trips, including papal visits to Africa, Europe, Latin America and the United States.



When Gibson returned to the United States in 1990 he returned to print journalism to cover the religion beat in his native New Jersey for two dailies. He worked first for The Record of Hackensack, and then for The Star-Ledger of New Jersey, winning the nation's top awards in religion writing at both places. In 1999 he won the Supple Religion Writer of the Year contest, and in 2000 he was chosen as the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year. Gibson is a longtime board member of the Religion Newswriters Association and he is a contributor to ReligionLink, a service of the Religion Newswriters Foundation.



Since 2003, David Gibson has been an independent writer specializing in Catholicism, religion in contemporary America, and early Christian history. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Boston Magazine, Commonweal, America, The New York Observer, Beliefnet and Religion News Service. He has produced documentaries on early Christianity for CNN and other networks and has traveled on assignment to dozens of countries, with an emphasis on reporting from Europe and the Middle East. He is a frequent television commentator and has appeared on the major cable and broadcast networks. He is also a regular speaker at conferences and seminars on Catholicism, religion in America, and journalism.



Gibson's first book, The Coming Catholic Church: How the Faithful are Shaping a New American Catholicism (HarperSanFrancisco), was published in 2003 and deals with the church-wide crisis revealed by the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The book was widely hailed as a "powerful" and "first-rate" treatment of the crisis from "an academically informed journalist of the highest caliber."



His second book, The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World (HarperSanFrancisco), came out in 2006 and is the first full-scale treatment of the Ratzinger papacy--how it happened, who he is, and what it means for the Catholic Church. The Rule of Benedict has been praised as "an exceptionally interesting and illuminating book" from "a master storyeller."



Born and raised in New Jersey, David Gibson studied European history at Furman University in South Carolina and spent a year working on Capitol Hill before moving to Italy. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter and is working on a book about conversion, and on several film and television projects.

Moving on, and many, many thanks…

posted by David Gibson

So…my recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from PoliticsDaily.com to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site’s very successful first 100 days.  That means, in short, that […]

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Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0

posted by David Gibson

If you thought you knew John Calvin–who turned 500 last week–you probably don’t know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex […]

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Apologia pro vita sua…Kinda

posted by David Gibson

 In my defense, I’ve had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it’s off for a week’s vacation. […]

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When Benny met Barry: “I’ll pray for you!”

posted by David Gibson

The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said “moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church’s contribution in developing countries” were key […]

Signs of the times: Obama’s eye

posted by David Gibson

Yes, this photo of Obama ostensibly eyeing a young woman (apparently a 17-year-old delegate from Brazil–where are her parents?!) at the G-8 Summit is the hottest Google search item. And of course the question of what Obama was thinking is a leading […]

The Pope and the Prez: Together again for the first time

posted by David Gibson

The meeting between the spiritual and political leaders is on shortly. Which one is spiritual, which political? Obama has invoked Jesus more than Bush did, at this point. And with his pointed encyclical on the economy this week, Benedict ruffled some […]

Are social encyclicals binding?

posted by David Gibson

It is a good question, and an honest question that many may wonder about, both inside and outside the Catholic orbit. I wince at the “social” qualifier,” but Joe Carter, a Baptist, poses the questions well at the First Things […]

Obama’s faith-based administration?

posted by David Gibson

The president today nominated Dr. Francis S. Collins as head of the National Institutes of Health. Uh-oh: There are two basic objections to Dr. Collins. The first is his very public embrace of religion. He wrote a book called “The […]

George Weigel and the (Curial) Chamber of Secrets!

posted by David Gibson

Parody is hard, but over at Vox Nova, Morning’s Minion nails it with this “fabulous” version of George Weigel’s red-pencil deconstruction of the encyclical. A taste: Justice and Peace was angry. Very angry. Skulking in the darkest corners of the […]

Roma locuta: Is anyone listening?

posted by David Gibson

Is the pope’s new encyclical on economics and social justice the proverbial tree falling in the unpopulated forest? That’s the question I pose in my follow-up at PoliticsDaily on what, if any, impact Caritas Veritatis might have. An excerpt: This […]

Pope Benedict: Liberal, schmiberal!

posted by David Gibson

At Mirror of Justice, Rick Garnett has a good critique of my “Pope is a Liberal” piece: No doubt, the Pope’s views on many questions regarding the organization and regulation of the economy put him well to the “left” of the American […]

Encyclical upshot: Is the Pope a liberal?

posted by David Gibson

That’s the question I pose, and try to answer, in this essay at PoliticsDaily: But what is clear, whether one reads every word or just excerpts, is that the pope is a liberal, at least in American political terms. He […]

Benedict’s “word cloud”

posted by David Gibson

The folks at CNS put together an awesome “word cloud” of Caritas in Veritate to get to the heart of the matter. Sometimes a graphic is worth a thousand words, or in the case of this encyclical, 30,000.

Text of the encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate”

posted by David Gibson

Here, in an easily searched version. Analysis and excerpts to come. ENCYCLICAL LETTERCARITAS IN VERITATEOF THE SUPREME PONTIFFBENEDICT XVITO THE BISHOPSPRIESTS AND DEACONSMEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUSTHE LAY FAITHFULAND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILLON INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENTIN CHARITY AND TRUTH  INTRODUCTION […]

Vatican runs a deficit

posted by David Gibson

The Vatican City State reported a deficit of $22 million for 2008 as a consequence of the “global economic-financial crisis,” RNS reports. Maybe Obama can offer a stimulus package when he meets the Holy Father on Friday? Or will tomorrow’s […]

Commonweal editor on Obama meeting

posted by David Gibson

Paul Baumann, editor of Commonweal and participant at last week’s Roosevelt (that’d be TR) Room confab with the current POTUS in the White House, weighs in with the real deal on what went down in his essay, “Yes, Mr. President”: […]

Kudos to Christiansen

posted by David Gibson

The editor of America, Drew Christiansen, SJ, has a knockdown post on last week’s meeting between Obama and select members of the Catholic press (and one WaPo religion writer). It’s a particular examen of the profession and the church rather than Obama. […]

Model priests, long lives, short shrift

posted by David Gibson

Speaking of priests-as-monks…Boston radio station WBUR has this grim news for the priests there: BOSTON — The Boston Archdiocese has admitted that, within two years, it won’t have the money to pay for the care and housing of its elderly […]

Contraindication: Papal honor for abusive prelate

posted by David Gibson

Pope Benedict has to his credit always been brutally frank about his disgust over sexually abusive clergy, and in his talks for this year for the Priest he has made the personal holiness of clergy a touchstone. Remember his Way of the […]

BREAKING: Nuns investigate Vatican!

posted by David Gibson

Okay, that’s a joke. Actually, it’s the other way around. (You knew that, right?) But friends in the religious community have suggested that turning the tables might not be a bad idea. The reason for the asperity is set out […]

“Freedom and Catholicism”

posted by David Gibson

That is the title of Michael Sean Winters’ fascinating essay at NCR on Cardinal Gibbons’ 1887 sermon delivered in Rome at Santa Maria in Trastevere (my old neighborhood church, alas). The ocassion was the consistory elevating Gibbons, of Baltimore, to […]

Bernardin and Obama and “Common Ground” (UPDATE)

posted by David Gibson

The current president has cited the late cardinal before, most recently in his speech at Notre Dame: “He was a kind and good and wise man,” Barack Obama said then of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. “A saintly man.” And the “Common Ground” […]

Karl Malden, beloved actor–and pastor, of sorts…

posted by David Gibson

Like too many people, I suspect, I never watched “On the Waterfront” straight through until well into adulthood. And probably just as well, because I could appreciate it–and the labor priest and activist Fr. Pete Barry, played by Karl Malden, […]

Farrah’s funeral mass

posted by David Gibson

It took place at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and seemed to represent everything about Farrah Fawcett, and the Catholic imagination–if you can imagine that combo. I can, or I would like to. For […]

Priest pushback on Pope letter?

posted by David Gibson

Benedict XVI’s rather pious letter opening the Year for Priests is beginning to elicit some reactions–diplomatic but also clearly stating that the pontiff’s invocation of the Cure’ d’Ars as a model priest may not be terribly relevant for working priests today. The […]

Obama’s abortion reduction packaging

posted by David Gibson

The debate over the President’s “common ground” approach is focusing on two aspects: reducing abortion by supporting pregnant women, and reducing unintended preganancies by promoting sex ed and contraception. With the package of legislation having been hashed over, the divide […]

Year of St. Paul ends with revelations…

posted by David Gibson

First, Benedict XVI confirms that tests done on bone fragments from a tomb venerated as that of the Apostle–but often considered more legend than fact–belonged to a man who lived between the first and second century. “This seems to confirm the […]

Obama’s new church: St. Elsewhere’s?

posted by David Gibson

Or St. Nowhere’s? In a report disputed by the White House, TIME’s Amy Sullivan writes that the much-anticipated decision on where the Obama’s would worship has been settled, and instead of joining a congregation in Washington, Obama will do like W. and […]

Nixon on Catholics: “Split down the middle”

posted by David Gibson

And that was back in 1973! Another fascinating bit of transcription from recently-released tapes of conversations between Nixon and Billy Graham, this time focusing on Nixon’s take on Catholics of the day. At America magazine’s blog, Jim Martin has the […]

Michael Jackson…Pop theologian?

posted by David Gibson

Anthea Butler makes the case at ReligionDispatches: We loved the music, but the trash sold much more. Yet, for all of the crass tabloid fodder, Michael was his best when singing these hopeful songs that called listeners to become better […]

Michael Jackson’s faith

posted by David Gibson

The pop icon was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, but according to some accounts had been “disfellowshipped” for various infractions. Last fall it was reported that Jackson had become a Muslim and changed his name to Mikaeel: The 50-year-old singer, who has […]

Michael Jackson, tortured genius

posted by David Gibson

Sad life, sad death–great music. So much people are saying, but the music says it best. YouTube has a site dedicated to his videos here, and it’s interesting that the most popular ones are of a later vintage. Many are superb. […]

Farrah Fawcett, RIP

posted by David Gibson

The actress who began as everyone’s favorite pinup (mine, too–I’m of that vintage) has died after a long and public battle with cancer. Hers was a remarkable journey, really, from those blow-dry feathered hairdos to really superb acting roles to the latest […]

Sarah Palin: Last (wo)man standing?

posted by David Gibson

Now that the GOP hopefuls are flaming out, is Sarah the saviour? A new Pew poll shows Palin well ahead of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich among Republicans, with 73 percent favoring her as opposed to 57 and 55 percent […]

GOP infidelity month: Gov. Mark Sanford

posted by David Gibson

From the “Department of What Was He Thinking?!” here comes South Carolina’s Republican governor and a GOP hopeful for president, admitting that his five-day off-the-radar escapade was to visit his Argentine lover–not to hike the Appalachian Trail, as aides said. Unbelievable. […]

Notre Dame’s fundraising: Thank you, Obama?

posted by David Gibson

As part of the protests over Barack Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame, one alum, David DiFranco, launched a website to get ND pres Father John Jenkins fired and to tally donations withheld from the university as a way of quantifying […]

Benedict XVI and Barack Obama

posted by David Gibson

Together again, for the first time, on July 10: VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI will welcome U.S. President Barack Obama to the Vatican July 10 for an audience scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Obama will visit Italy […]

Was Nixon anti-abortion?

posted by David Gibson

Well, sort of. Newly released tapes show that in the wake of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, Tricky Dick worried that legalized abortion would lead to “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw abortion as “necessary” […]

Is Neda a martyr?

posted by David Gibson

The simplest answer to that question is “yes.” Neda Agha-Soltan died terribly and publicly while at a protest for freedom against a repressive regime. Her story has spun around the globe, drawing broad support and rallying the reform cause at […]

The Christian Right channels Obama

posted by David Gibson

First it was Focus on the Family’s new CEO saying he wanted to “see more families like Obama’s,” and now it is Ralph Reed invoking the President as a role model of sorts. Reed, the wunderkind behind the Christian Coalition […]

Banning burqas: France’s secular dogmatism

posted by David Gibson

French president Nicholas Sarkozy wants to ban burqas–the head-to-toe covering worn by some very conservative Muslim women. The burqa, he says, is a symbol of “enslavement,” adding: “I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory.” […]

The Bishops according to Bill

posted by David Gibson

William Donohue, the outspoken head of the right-tilting Catholic League, has a neat thumbnail sketch of the politics of the bishops conference. It is contained in an email message he sent to USNews’ Dan Gilgoff, apropos of Dan’s post arguing […]

Was Pius XII a saint? More Jewish-Catholic tensions

posted by David Gibson

The canonization process for the wartime pontiff is an ongoing source of drama–and tension. The latest dust-up concerns remarks by Fr. Peter Gumpel, the Jesuit promoter for Pius’ cause for sainthood, who blamed Jewish pressure for the delay in the controversial pope’s […]

Happy Father’s Day! Here’s what you missed…

posted by David Gibson

No doubt you Dads got wonderful gifts and lots of love, but will any of you smell like a Holy Father? You could if the family had thought to buy Fred Hass’ private formula, The Pope’s Cologne, the recreation of […]

Promoting fatherhood: Obama’s family values

posted by David Gibson

If the new Focus on the Family CEO loved Obama’s family values a few days ago, how much more will he love him now that he’s pushing so strongly for responsible fathers? “When fathers are absent, when they abandon their […]

Ken Starr (hearts) Sonia Sotomayor

posted by David Gibson

From the WaPo, via dotCommonweal: Kenneth W. Starr – investigator of President Bill Clinton and longtime pillar of the conservative legal establishment – has endorsed President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court. During a question-and-answer session after a speech Thursday […]

“Hell-raiser in a collar”

posted by David Gibson

That’s how this Plain-Dealer profile describes the Rev. Bob Begin, Cleveland’s “rebel priest,” who has grown savvier as he has grown older, but still with the same zeal on behalf of his flock. The story focuses on Begin’s campaign to fight Bishop […]

“We want to see more families like Barack Obama’s.”

posted by David Gibson

Who said it? Not Focus on the Family’s old lion of the religious right, but his successor as CEO, Jim Daly. (Pictured at right in a Denver Post photo.) As the Denver Post reports (via Dan Gilgoff at US News), Daly’s remarks […]

Pope to clergy: “After God, the priest is everything!”

posted by David Gibson

Benedict XVI, in his letter today proclaiming a “Year for Priests,” puts forth Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney–the Cure’ d’Ars–as the model, since this year is also the 150th anniversary of the death of that remarkable French pastor. On the other hand, centering the Year […]

Osservatore editor stands by Obama comments

posted by David Gibson

The editor of the Vatican daily has taken a lot of heat for his coverage of Barack Obama and his comments that Obama is “not a pro-abortion president.” In a lengthy Q-and-A with Delia Gallagher (a veteran Vatican hand, formerly […]

Notre Dame gets a pass from Bishops

posted by David Gibson

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, a Chicago native and in line to be the next president of the U.S. bishops conference, foresees some informal discussions about the Notre Dame-Barack Obama invite flap, but nothing substantive or punitive. I suspect some side […]

The Bishops’ Dispirited Agenda

posted by David Gibson

That’s the title of an “On Faith” column by Tom Reese, the Jesuit political scientist cited in the post below on the bishops spring meeting in Texas. Father Reese’s take is that the bishops’ agenda “will keep it busy but […]

Bishops meet: Leadership from a flock of shepherds

posted by David Gibson

The U.S. hierarchy gathers for its spring meeting tomorrow, in San Antonio, in the wake of one of the most divisive and ugly stretches the Catholic Church has seen since, well, Joseph Bernardin was alive. And the bishops themselves have […]

Decommissioning Latin: Killing a dead language?

posted by David Gibson

Rome should switch from Latin to English, Thomas G. Casey, SJ, argues in this America essay, “Ave atque Vale.” Casey, an Irish Jesuit and professor of philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, notes that Italian is understandably the Vatican argot, but Latin […]

Iran: Revolution on?

posted by David Gibson

Watching history unfold is one of the great benefits of modern media. The Daily Dish has wall-to-wall updates, including links to neocons apparently pleased with Ahmadinejad’s “victory”–spare no effort to confirm one’s bias. The NYT is here with the latest on supreme […]

Sex selection comes to America

posted by David Gibson

The New York Times reports on apparent evidence of sex selection among Asian immigrants, a cultural holdover from their home countries: The trend is buried deep in United States census data: seemingly minute deviations in the proportion of boys and […]

Vatican employees: No rest for the…weary?

posted by David Gibson

Q: How many people work at the Vatican? A: About half of them. Ba-da-boom! Only that rimshot was reportedly delivered by Pope John XXIII himself. Though I’ve never found the citation, it is–as we say at the tabloids–too good to […]

Internal Vatican grudge match: Who you calling a relativist?

posted by David Gibson

The excommunications surrounding the abortion for a nine-year-old Brazilian girl who was raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather continues to roil Rome. Back at the time, a top Vatican official, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Academy […]

Quote of the Day, Part II: “Serpentine secularism”

posted by David Gibson

Pope Benedict XVI has a way with words, but also sound bites (who knew?!), from “the dictatorship of relativism” slogan on the eve of the conclave to this formulation from his homily for the Feast of Corpus Christi: “Today there arises […]

Quote of the Day, Part I: The “responsible” white separatist

posted by David Gibson

“The responsible white separatist community condemns this. It makes us look bad.” –John de Nugent, an acquaintance of James W. von Brunn, who opened fire at the Holocaust Museum. Via Steve Waldman via The WaPo. PS: De Nugent also called […]

Carrie Prejean, Miss California slacker?

posted by David Gibson

Donald Trump has fired her for not fulfilling her duties. How tough is a beauty queen’s job? “This was a decision based solely on contract violations,” Keith Lewis, the executive director of Miss California USA said in a statement, citing […]

Who speaks for the GOP?

posted by David Gibson

Rush and Dick and Newt are in a dead heat. No Dubya, no Sarah. Is that good or bad news? Read the USA Today/Gallup survey for more details: Gingrich as the standard-bearer of the Republican religious bloc? He just became […]

SF Catholics facing a Holocaust?

posted by David Gibson

The write-up is from CWNews, via the San Francisco Chronicle: A week after the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of a 2006 San Francisco Board of Supervisors resolution “urging Cardinal William Levada, in his capacity as […]

Tiller’s clinic to be anti-abortion museum?

posted by David Gibson

From the NYT: Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, said on Wednesday that his group, which had long fought to close the clinic, was considering trying to buy the squat, beige building to perhaps turn it into a memorial […]

More right-wing violence: Holocaust Museum shooting

posted by David Gibson

An 88-year-old man, James W. von Brunn, who is apparently known as a white supremacist, shot a security guard at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington this afternoon–near the Smithsonian and across the Mall from the White House. The Washington Post has […]

Obama Catholic official: TOO pro-life

posted by David Gibson

That is the judgment of Frances Kissling, she of Catholics for a Free Choice, now rebaptized Catholics for Choice, on the appointment of Alexia Kelley as Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services. Kelley […]

A Catholic judge’s response

posted by David Gibson

Re the post below on the “problem” with Catholic justices on the Supreme Court…Cathleen Kaveny at dotCommonweal points to a response that Judge John T. Noonan (who gave the Laetare “address” at Notre Dame) provided when he was petitioned to […]

Historian’s verdict: Catholic justices can’t be trusted

posted by David Gibson

That headline is perhaps too blunt a summation of an argument by the UCLA professor emerita of history, Joyce Appleby–but not by much. In a column in the Tallahassee Democrat, Appleby argues that Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination raises concerns because six of nine Supreme Court […]

Tiller abortion clinic closing permanently

posted by David Gibson

That’s the story from Tiller’s family, via the laywers. So can the argument be made that suspected killer Scott Roeder’s act was effective and perhaps justifiable? The pro-life movement is worried: Even some abortion opponents, who had long devoted their efforts to […]

Barack Obama: Prophet of our civil religion

posted by David Gibson

And he’s channeling Abraham Lincoln. At least that’s my angle, in a piece at PoliticsDaily titled, “The Gospel According to Barack.” Secularists worry that Obama has imbibed Bush’s faith-based Kool-Aid, conservatives rail that he’s (again) exalting himself as a false […]

Douthat’s abortion distinctions

posted by David Gibson

Ross Douthat’s column in today’s Times, “Not all abortions are equal,” goes where other Catholic pro-lifers often do not: In arguing that law and policy must make distinctions on abortions, as people do. “The argument for unregulated abortion rests on the […]

iMessiah 3.0: The Third Coming

posted by David Gibson

Can you take still more sensuality and spirituality from the blog? The third generation of the iPhone is indeed here. The adepts at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco have seen the revelation: The new iPhone 3GS goes on sale […]

Eastern erotica for a Monday morning…

posted by David Gibson

Apropos of my earlier post on the death of David Carradine in somewhat ambiguous circumstances in Bangkok comes today’s NYT book review: It is on “The East, the West, and Sex: A history of Erotic Encounters” by Richard Bernstein, a fine […]

A pastor’s lesson in dying, and living

posted by David Gibson

“I’m not busy dying. I’m living better.” That’s one of several moving takeaways from Michael Paulson’s story in The Boston Globe–and brief video below–about Father James A. Field, a parish priest who is dying of pancreatic cancer. Everything about him speaks […]

Scott Roeder and Osama bin Laden…

posted by David Gibson

The abortion doc killer and the 9/11 “mastermind”…More strange pairings? Maybe not. Bin Laden has been stuck in a cave in Waziristan or thereabouts for a few years, sending out audiotapes of threats periodically when he feels he needs attention–such […]

David Carradine and Thomas Merton…

posted by David Gibson

Both were well-known Westerners associated with Eastern spiritual traditions, both died accidentally in their rooms in Bangkok. That, it appears from news reports, is where the similarity ends, sadly: BANGKOK, June 5 — Thai police officers investigating the death of David […]

Vatican steps back on Obama love?

posted by David Gibson

Concerns that the Vatican seems to like President Obama a lot more than the U.S. hierarchy seem to be behind a rowback of sorts as L’Osservatore Romano. As RNS’s Francis X. Rocca reports: VATICAN CITY (RNS) The official Vatican newspaper emphatically […]

Activist: Tiller killing “biblically justified”

posted by David Gibson

So says the publisher of Prayer and Action News, an anti-abortion newsletter and Web site that slay suspect Scott Roder liked. Dave Leach tells the Des Moines Register that Tiller’s murder could be biblically justified as a way to prevent what he […]

Be (gay) afraid (gay). Be (gay) very (gay) afraid (gay)…

posted by David Gibson

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is keeping count: “If, as the saying goes, people are policy, then we have no doubt where this White House stands. At last count, the Obama administration employed 36 open homosexuals.” As opposed […]

Saint Francis and Obama

posted by David Gibson

And the connection? Islamic Cairo, 800 years ago. My colleague Paul Moses, a religion writer and journalism professor, is set to publish a book about Francis of Assisi’s encounter with the sultan of Egypt, Malik al-Kamil, during the Fifth Crusade […]

Radicalizing pro-lifers: The line from “Roe” to Randall Terry

posted by David Gibson

Why is anti-abortion violence spiking–with George Tiller’s death at the hands of alleged shooter Scott Roeder just the latest and most high-profile episode? Jon A. Shields, an assistant professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and author of an intriguing […]

Tiller’s killing: Necessary…but unlawful?

posted by David Gibson

In a commentary today, First Things editor and Creighton theologian R.R. Reno parses the justifications for killing an abortion doctor like George Tiller, and finds that alleged murderer Scott Roeder came up short–though barely. Reno says that “The blanket condemnation [by […]

Benedict’s kiddie kaffeeklatsch

posted by David Gibson

The pope meets with children every year about this time, taking a few questions and providing rare–and affecting–personal insights that he doesn’t offer up elsewhere. Last Saturday he met with 7,000 children from the Holy Childhood Association, which is affiliated with […]

Will Obama resurrect the Catholic left?

posted by David Gibson

“Liberal Catholicism is an exhausted project,” Chicago Cardinal Francis George famously said more than a decade ago. As noted earlier, the eminent church historian John O’Malley argues that Barack Obama could be reviving the “spirit of Vatican II” that is associated with a “progressive” Catholicism […]

Scott Roeder’s mystery religion

posted by David Gibson

That Scott Roeder is mentally unstable, a devotee of right-wing, anti-government extremism, and a fierce opponent of abortion seem to be a few of the hard facts  we have on him. But the suspect in the killing of Kansas abortion doctor […]

Obama and the spirit of Vatican II

posted by David Gibson

There have been several efforts to tease out connections between Barack Obama and Catholicism–not surprising given many clear affinities, if clearly not a wholesale overlap. Some have been more adept than others. John O’Malley, the Jesuit historian of the church whose […]

“You cannot prevent killing by killing.”

posted by David Gibson

“If anyone has an urge to kill someone at an abortion clinic, they should shoot me. … It’s madness. It discredits the right-to-life movement. Murder is murder. It’s madness. You cannot prevent killing by killing.” – John Cardinal O’Connor. It’s […]

George Tiller: Portrait of a…serial killer?

posted by David Gibson

You fill in the blanks. And many are, with varying answers. Here’s Bill Donohue’s take: “The Catholic League unequivocally condemns the killing of serial killer, Dr. George Tiller.” Okay…Donohue goes on to condemn what he sees as the “politicization” of […]

Scott Roeder: Portrait of a zealot

posted by David Gibson

Anti-abortion and anti-government, Scott Roeder appears to be a bomb with a short fuse. The Wichita Eagle has the best profile up so far: The suspect in custody in connection with the slaying of abortion doctor George Tiller was a […]

Is it okay to kill an abortionist? Seriously…

posted by David Gibson

Not a rhetorical exercise, especially not today. And not for the theocon journal First Things, which took up the question in seriousness in 1994 following Paul Hill’s killing of an abortion doctor in Florida. Hill said in his defense, “Whatever force […]

Tiller killing: Suspect may have right-wing ties

posted by David Gibson

Local TV reports are naming the 51-year-old suspect as Scott Roeder, and other reports indicate he may have been a member of the anti-government Freemen group who was arrested in 1996 after authorities found what were apparently bomb-making materials in his […]

Abortion doc killed in church; pro-lifers decry shooting

posted by David Gibson

George Tiller, the Kansas abortionist whose willingness to perform late-term abortions made him especially anthema to pro-lifers, was shot and killed as he served as an usher this morning at his church, Redeemer Luthern. He was reportedly shot by a […]

Kmiec-George Smackdown!

posted by David Gibson

Fellow pro-lifers, Catholic conservatives–and since the 2008 campaign political antagonists–Doug Kmiec and Robert George faced off in a “discussion” (not a debate) last night at the National Press Club in Washington. The discussion was titled “The Obama Administration and the Sanctity […]

Bill Donohue (hearts) Sonia Sotomayor

posted by David Gibson

If you didn’t know that the head of the Catholic League was an old softie at heart, then his email exchange with Steve Waldman will change your mind. Responding to a question from Steve, Bill wrote: “I like the fact […]

Do I disgust you?

posted by David Gibson

Then you’re probably a conservative. But if you would slap me, then you’re probably a liberal. I think… Nicholas Kristof has the latest science on how our political and cultural leanings are products of our neurons: Would you be willing […]

“Father Oprah” goes Episcopal: UPDATE on marriage

posted by David Gibson

Father Alberto Cutie’, a.k.a. “Father Oprah,” the hunky South Florida priest with a popular television minstry on relationship advice and–it turned out–a girlfriend of his own on the side, has joined the Episcopal Church. That was fast. The AP reports: […]

The Mary Heresy: Papal support for Co-Redemptrix?

posted by David Gibson

A lobby of hyper-Marianists sees signs that Benedict XVI is open to declaring the dogma that the BVM “corempetrix” of humanity with her Son–that’d be Jesus Christ. From the Vatican, RNS’ Francis X. Rocca reports this week: At least 7 […]

Obama names Vatican ambassador: Miguel H. Diaz

posted by David Gibson

A banner week for Latino Catholics, and Barack Obama. The new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See (replacing Mary Ann Glendon) is a Cuban-born, 45-year-old associate professor of theology at St. John’s College in Collegeville, Minn. As Fr. Jim Martin […]

Sotomayor gets it from the Right…and the Left

posted by David Gibson

Conservatives are honing strategies to take down Sonia Sotomayor, and are coming up with some of the usual beauts: After several conference calls to talk strategy with other conservative leaders, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said they […]

Esther, schmester: Carrie Prejean as Bible heroine

posted by David Gibson

Don’t see the connection? Check out my essay on the topic at PoliticsDaily. The lede: So why does it seem as though every prominent shiksa wants to be a Jewish queen? As in Queen Esther, a favorite heroine of the […]

Octo-mel: Gibson yuks it up over infidelity

posted by David Gibson

Okay, it’s one thing for uber-Traditionalist Catholic Mel to dispense with his marriage of 28 years and 7 children in private court proceedings. But what’s up with the talk-show parade to promote his latest squeeze, Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva, who […]

Sotomayor: Reax roundup

posted by David Gibson

Notre Dame law professor and Obama supporter Cathleen Kaveny tells the Chicago Trib’s Manya Brachear that Sotomayor’s “shows you that you can’t put Catholicism in the U.S. in a box.” Indeed, whatever the level of the nominee’s practice, she seems to […]

Is Sonia Sotomayor Catholic? UPDATE: Yes

posted by David Gibson

Steve Waldman has White House confirmation. But an administration official later elbaorated: “Judge Sotomayor was raised as a Catholic and attends church for family celebrations and other important events.” Sotomayor also served with Jesuit Father Joseph O’Hare, the retired president of […]

The new “Terminator” as a “sci-fi Nativity story”

posted by David Gibson

That’s the take from CT movie blogger Peter Chattaway on Terminator Salvation, which opens today: Regarding Terminator Salvation, director McG told mtv News that he and writer Jonathan Nolan were influenced by the stories of Luke Skywalker, Neo from The […]

Quote of the day: Synagogue bomb plotter’s sister

posted by David Gibson

    “Right now, to me he’s, like, the dumbest person I ever came in contact with in my life.”     –Wanda Cromitie, sister of James Cromitie, described as the leader of the foiled plot to bomb a synagogue in the Bronx. […]

Notre Dame: Have you no shame?

posted by David Gibson

I was okay with Obama. But now the Fighting Irish are in talks to be the first to play college football in the new Death Star, er, Yankee Stadium: Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame‘s athletic director, [told the New York Times […]

Vatican editor: “Obama is not a pro-abortion president.”

posted by David Gibson

That is the judgment of the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, Gian Maria Vian, whose paper’s rather neutral (neutered, to some) coverage of Obama has been in decided contrast to segments of the American church–and no small cause of consternation to […]

Saint Newt’s conversion: “Part of me is inherently medieval.”

posted by David Gibson

Many would agree, no doubt. But that line, from Dan Gilgoff’s conversation with Gingrich on his conversion to Catholicism, refers not to his political philosophy (that comes later) but to part of the appeal of the church for the former […]

Howdy, cowboy!

posted by David Gibson

Er, yer Holiness, sir… Must be spring in Rome, as Benedict brought out the saturno, so-called because of its resemblance to the planet. From today’s weekly general audience. [Photo via CNS/Reuters]

Barack Obama: The second Catholic president?

posted by David Gibson

At the Immanent Frame, the sociologist of religion Michelle Dillon sees a “Catholic sensibility” in Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame: “I am not thinking of Obama’s references to the “imperfections of man” and to “original sin,” or to the […]

PBS v. “Mass for Shut-Ins”?

posted by David Gibson

Do they really want to go there? The Public Broadcasting Service’s board is to vote in June on a  recommendation to “strip the affiliation of any station that carries ‘sectarian’ content,” as the Washington Post account has it. And apparently […]

Jesus in a Cheeto: Miracle or substantiation “con”?

posted by David Gibson

Yes, another “Cheesus,” and again in Texas. We had one here last July, though it was Christ on the Cross–more than blasphemous enough for me. (And what it means for Protestant theology on the Eucharist, God knows.) This week’s version […]

Notre Dame reaction roundup

posted by David Gibson

The Vatican newspaper (hearts) Obama at Notre Dame: The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said the president also confirmed that pushing for a more liberal abortion law would not be a priority of his administration. The comments came in a L’Osservatore report […]

FULL TEXT: Judge Noonan’s Laetare remarks

posted by David Gibson

A brief and to-the-point reflection that I think bears reading–a real signpost for the day, and the era: Mr. President, Father President, Distinguished Faculty and Guests, Members of the Class of 2009, Families and Friends. Graduates, you know today is […]

The other Notre Dame speaker: Judge Noonan

posted by David Gibson

He was the last-minute replacement after Mary Ann Glendon’s last-minute cancellation. The federal judge and former Lateare Medal honoree (this was the first time since 1883 the medal was not awarded) was a very smart pick, and he did not disappoint. […]

ND reax: “Is it possible for us then to join hands in common effort?”

posted by David Gibson

That’s the challenge President Obama laid down. What is the answer? Powerful speech of genuine substance and gracious delivery that put hecklers to shame. Who will take up his challenge? Will any bishops step forward? Or who? Thoughts? What struck […]

Text of Obama’s Notre Dame speech

posted by David Gibson

Via the HuffPo: Below is the text of President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech, as prepared for delivery. Thank you, Father Jenkins for that generous introduction. You are doing an outstanding job as president of this fine institution, and your […]

Politics as Sacrament: WaPo story on the Church

posted by David Gibson

The title of my piece in Sunday’s “Outlook” section of the Washington Post is “Who Is a Real Catholic?” and it is already garnering some tough comments in reaction. That may be because in pointing to the assimilation/engagement trend in […]

Support for Notre Dame and Obama

posted by David Gibson

As cited below, retired Archbishop John R. Quinn, who wrote in support of the Notre Dame invitation earlier in America magazine, has sent a personal note to President Obama in which he says wants “to offer a different voice from […]

Text of Archbishop Quinn letter to Obama

posted by David Gibson

The text of Archbishop John Quinn’s letter of support to Barack Obama: The President The White House Washington, D. C. 20500 Mr. President, I am writing as a Catholic Bishop to offer a different voice from the often strident outcries […]

Angels & Demons: Read all about it right here

posted by David Gibson

So here’s the good news: It is safe to go see “Angels & Demons.” I didn’t think the novel of the same name was especially anti-Catholic, but director Ron Howard was apparently stung by reactions to “The Da Vinci Code” […]

The Pope in the Holy Land: Two verdicts

posted by David Gibson

At PoliticsDaily.com, Elizabeth Lev (the daughter of Mary Ann Glendon) titles her analysis “How Israel Could Have Been a Better Host to Benedict,” and as the title suggests, takes aim at Israel and some Jewish leaders for undermining that leg of […]

U.S. Catholics: Let Obama speak (and keep abortion legal)

posted by David Gibson

That’s the overwhelming verdict of the latest poll on President Obama’s invitation to speak this Sunday at Notre Dame’s commencement. The Quinnipiac University Poll shows that say Catholic voters favor keeping Obama on the program by a margin of 60-34–even […]

Obama’s commencement address

posted by David Gibson

This is it. Really. Only it’s the commencement at Arizona State–a university that decided not to give Obama an honorary degree, in contrast to what Notre Dame will do on Sunday. The honorary degree issue is becoming the favored talking point […]

Benedict as Reagan

posted by David Gibson

That is the trope taken from Pope Benedict’s words today in the Aida refugee camp. The full text is here. And as Cindy Wooden writes in CNS: While Israeli officials, citing security concerns, forced organizers of the event at the camp […]

Benedict among the Christians

posted by David Gibson

For me today’s events–in Bethlehem and the Occupied Territories–are highlights of this papal trip to the Holy Land. Much of the focus is, inevtiably, on the pope’s relations with Islam and Judaism–not the best, especially in the latter case–and it […]

Catholics FOR Notre Dame! Better late than never…

posted by David Gibson

It is more than six weeks since Notre Dame extended an invitation to President Obama to deliver the commencement address, sparking outrage from conservatives. And that address is now just five days away. BUT…Notre Dame supporters are just now officially out of […]

Ave Maria Town: Roman Catholic and…un-American?

posted by David Gibson

Ave Maria Town in southern Florida is the newly-constructed enclave of pure-land Catholicism founded and funded by former pizza magnate Tom Monaghan, and it has drawn its fair share of criticism since construction began in 2005. Even many conservatives are […]

Obama’s speech at Notre Dame: A sneak preview

posted by David Gibson

By great good fortune, or the designs of Providence, the text of President Obama’s commencement address this coming Sunday at Notre Dame has fallen into my hands. It is a powerful exposition of Obama’s approach to the most controverted aspect–for […]

The “anti-Mom” as a new anti-abortion icon

posted by David Gibson

Ayelet Waldman’s essay in the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column a couple years ago was even more irritating than the usual fare in that space–which of course makes you watch it, the way some people watch Fox News or […]

Hiking salvation: Lost, but how I’m found

posted by David Gibson

The tale of three-year-old Johua Childers, who was lost in the deep Missouri woods with wild things and no food or water for more than two days, riveted the public the way such stories do. As the parent of a […]

Forgive trespasses? Alan Keyes and 21 others arrested at Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

The perennial fringe candidate of the Republican right, Alan Keyes, was arrested today along with 21 others who entered campus to protest Barack Obama’s commencement invitation and refused to leave. As Chicago Breakng News reports: Keyes was among a group of […]

FULL TEXT: Archbishop Raymond Burke’s speech at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

posted by David Gibson

  KEYNOTE ADDRESS OF THE MOST REVEREND RAYMOND LEO BURKE, D.D., J.C.D. ARCHBISHOP-EMERITUS OF SAINT LOUIS PREFECT OF THE SUPREME TRIBUNAL OF THE APOSTOLIC SIGNATURA NATIONAL CATHOLIC PRAYER BREAKFAST   “CELEBRATION OF THE TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH”   WASHINGTON, […]

The uses and abuses of Newman

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal John Henry Newman is, in death, and like Saint Paul in life, all things to all people. I am a great fan. But those who might see themselves as my polar opposite–say, the watchdogs of the Cardinal Newman Society–also embrace […]

Dom DeLuise, RIP

posted by David Gibson

Maybe I am of a certain age now, but Dom DeLuise was a favorite. And the testimonies of his colleagues–the likes of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner–is enough to guarantee his comedic legacy. But do they make ‘em like that […]

Women as Swiss Guards? They could make this look good…

posted by David Gibson

And they say the Catholic Church never changes…Which is why when the commandante of the Swiss Guards suggests women could be Swiss Guards–the all-male corps that has protected popes since 1506–opens the possibility, it makes headlines. VATICAN CITY (AP) — […]

Do you pray?

posted by David Gibson

The National Day of Prayer is today, Thursday, May 7, and though it is a thoroughly politicized event run out of Focus on the Family–read Dan Gilgoff’s USNews report on the maneuverings this year now that Barack Obama in the White […]

Obama=Hitler? A debate rages…

posted by David Gibson

The Obama-Hitler meme has been repeated ad nauseum during the Notre Dame commencement controversy, threatening to become a self-sustaining corollary to Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies. It is the verbal equivalent of the gruesome anti-abortion plane banners being flown around campus, […]

The Three-Minute Confirmation Stick

posted by David Gibson

All about Supreme Court nominees and the “A-word.” That word is not “awesome.” But this segment is. Hat tip to Cathy Kaveny at dotCommonweal, a “Daily Show” devotee. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c […]

Bishop Wenski’s Notre Dame “reparation” homily

posted by David Gibson

The homily from Sunday’s mass is posted. Here is the full text…(I’d pasted the wrong text before…mea culpa.) As Amy Welborn said, the reparation idea is kind of strange, and Bp. Wenski seems to try to finesse it. But it still […]

Obama supporters: Russell Shaw wants an apology

posted by David Gibson

Our Sunday Visitor’s Russell Shaw, a longtime conservative Catholic journalist and observer–and often trenchant critic–of the American scene says Obama supporters should apologize for saying Catholics could support Obama because the president has, and will, do nothing but expand abortion, […]

Notre Dame “reparation” Mass: Bishop Wenski explains

posted by David Gibson

The Mass of Reparation for sins against the culture of life, and specifically for the Notre Dame invite to Barack Obama, took place Sunday evening at the Cathedral of St. James in Orlando. [NB: I had the date wrong in earlier version […]

Pope in the Holy Land: “Keep your head down–in prayer”

posted by David Gibson

That’s my walkaway in this scene-setter for Benedict’s trip to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, which is being recognized as the most difficult and risky of his pontificate–not least because of some of the baggage he himself will bring. […]

Scottish Cardinal on the uses of controversy

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has always had a knack for making headlines, and he recently explained why he likes to use “colourful imagery” in pronouncements on issues such as abortion and stem-cell research, as he has done lately: “Churchmen have been speaking out against […]

The Garden of Eden?

posted by David Gibson

According to a new genetic survey, DNA tracing indicates Eden–and the first humans–emerged somewhere along the border between what is today Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa (pictured above). Maybe it didn’t look like that eons–or 6,000 years–ago. The New […]

If no FOCA, what now for the anti-abortion movement?

posted by David Gibson

The relevant text of Obama’s 100-day newser (excerpt below, from HuffPo) indicates that the dreaded FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) is not in the offing, at all. When many of of suggested that was the case (as I did here) […]

“America” on Notre Dame: Beware neo-Donatists!

posted by David Gibson

In a powerful editorial just up on their website, the editors at America magazine decry the “sectarian Catholicism” that seems to be emerging, with the Notre Dame furor epitomizing the drift toward the insular self-righteousness of the Donatists of Saint […]

Abortion rights support falling, gun rights support rising

posted by David Gibson

The latest Pew survey shows a significant drop in the support for abortion rights, with the percentage of Americans saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases declining from 54 percent last August to 46 percent today: The […]

Poll on Notre Dame controversy: Good news, bad news

posted by David Gibson

Which is which may depend on where you stand on this divisive issue. A new survey from the Pew Forum (main graf at right) shows that Catholics in general approve of Notre Dame’s decision to invite and honor Obama at […]

Chrysler: Bad cars, great skyscraper

posted by David Gibson

In reporting in the wake of 9/11, I did a piece on the skyscrapers of New York, and spoke with the people at the Skyscraper Museum, which was about to move to new digs at the World Trade Center when […]

BREAKING: Judge Noonan to deliver Notre Dame Laetare address

posted by David Gibson

But he won’t receive the prestigious medal, as he has already has it. Instead the federal judge (appointed by Reagan) and author of several excellent books, especially his Newman-esque treatise on the development of doctrine, “A Church that Can and Cannot Change,” will “deliver an […]

Obama the Conservative

posted by David Gibson

Since everyone else is honoring the momentous, history-changing and completely fatuous journalistic landmark known as “The First 100 Days Milestone” of a presidency, let me dip my toe in the water. Or rather, let me cite some others who beat me […]

Aborted fetuses fly over Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

Yes, that’s right. According to PoliticsDaily’s Kaitlynn Reily (see post below) it has come to this: “At around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, I heard the droning noise of a small plane and looked out my window to see one flying low […]

Glendon’s daughter: Don’t mess with Mom

posted by David Gibson

Over at PoliticsDaily.com, Mary Ann Glendon’s daughter, Liz Lev (at right), has penned a tart defense of her mother’s decision to decline the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame–the highest honor given an American Catholic–because she would share the stage with Barack […]

In praise of (Benedict’s) folly…

posted by David Gibson

An op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times, by the religious affairs correspondent of DW-TV, Germany’s international state broadcaster, takes a different angle on what most consider Pope Benedict’s various missteps with Muslims, Jews, and Catholics, and on issues like AIDS and condoms. […]

Campus speakers: Double-standard?

posted by David Gibson

Rocco also has a Providence Journal story about former GOP congressman (and former Catholic, I believe) and outspoken immigration opponent Tom Tancredo not being allowed to speak at Dominican-run Providence College. A PC spokesperson, Pat Viera, indicated the student group asked […]

Here’s an eye-catching foto

posted by David Gibson

But Father Angelo Idi of Vigevano, a bastion of neo-fascist sentiment in Northern Italy, is making no apologies, according to Austrian Times: Fascist Father Angelo Idi, 51 – who once saw off a charity box thief with a truncheon at […]

Moving on: Notre Dame looking for Glendon replacement

posted by David Gibson

The response from Fr. Jenkins: “We are, of course, disappointed that Professor Glendon has made this decision. It is our intention to award the Laetare Medal to another deserving recipient, and we will make that announcement as soon as possible.” […]

Mary Ann Glendon bows out of Notre Dame event with Obama

posted by David Gibson

Catholic World News has the story, and the text of Glendon’s letter to UND president Fr. John Jenkins: Dear Father Jenkins, When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I […]

Gay marriage and Champagne

posted by David Gibson

What do they have in common? As Rhode Island’s Bishop Thomas Tobin explains, nothing. Homosexual marriage is more like Chianti. (Or is it oysters and snails, Antoninus?) In any case, Bishop Tobin seems to be emerging as one of the bullier […]

Jesuit weekly: Church should consider married priests

posted by David Gibson

America magazine, the Jesuit weekly that has taken serious heat from Rome (and in particular Joseph Ratzinger) in recent years, this weeks shows again that in the year of its centennial, it remains a rare venue for serious discussion of […]

Another Catholic commencement, another bishop boycott

posted by David Gibson

This time it is Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans who has said he will boycott graduation at Xavier University because they are giving an honorary degree to Donna Brazile, the veteran Democratic political strategist and Catholic and New Orleans native […]

Bishop D’Arcy: Notre Dame made “terrible breach” with the church

posted by David Gibson

That’s the latest blast from the Bishop of South Bend, Bishop John D’Arcy. The statement concludes: As I have said in a recent interview and which I have said to Father Jenkins, it would be one thing to bring the […]

Angels & Demons, Howard v. Donohue

posted by David Gibson

But which is the Angel and which the Demon? The feud before the May 15 premiere of “Angels & Demons,” the latest film version of a Dan Brown novel is heating up. (My take from last year: Brown is actually […]

Do you believe in global warming?

posted by David Gibson

Earth Day is tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22, and the folks at Pew have a poll out showing who think the Earth is warming and who doesn’t, and whether they think we (humanity) have anything to do with it. Not surprisngly, […]

Obama and “Bo-bama.” A Prez and his Dog.

posted by David Gibson

C’mon, whatever you think of Barack, you’ve got to love this shot. No? Yeah, I knw Ted Kennedy gave them the dog. But it’s for the girls. Read Michael Shaw’s analysis at the HuffPost.

The real Susan Boyle: Her parish priest’s testimony

posted by David Gibson

Here, from Catholic News Service, is a wonderful story about the amateur talent shocker and Internet sensation, Susan Boyle. It’s from the mouth of Father Basil Clark, her parish priest in Scotland, who says he has seen stunned faces like those of […]

Mass of Reparation for Notre Dame’s Obama invitation. Wow…

posted by David Gibson

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando is going to lead a Mass of Reparation linked to Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama. This whole thing has truly gone into an alternate universe. The mass is May 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the […]

Finding Obama’s ambassador to the Vatican

posted by David Gibson

After all the rumors and misdirection about who Obama will or can’t or won’t pick, Eric Gorksi of the AP has a very good and realisitc look at the process and possible candidates here. The lede: Since the United States and […]

Porn star dies, Catholic theologian jumps on the grave

posted by David Gibson

Marilyn Chambers, who went from the “Ivory Snow” poster mom to star of the porn classic, “Behind the Green Door,” died on Easter Sunday. She was 56. A fulfilling life? She was a mother in ral life it seems, but never […]

Obama nixes Jesus? Of crosses and urban legends

posted by David Gibson

So the latest Obama-hates-God “story” making its way around the conservative blogosphere is that the president ordered religious symbols covered during his policy speech on the economy at Georgetown this week. The clear implication is that, obviously, Obama is an […]

Montreal Cardinal: Abortion sometimes only choice

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte made the comments in reference to the widely-publicized case of the nine-year-old sexually abused girl in Brazil impregnated with twins by her stepfather. In his interview with Quebec’s Le Devoir newspaper (click here for the original en […]

Rush Limbaugh as Saint Francis?

posted by David Gibson

The right-wing crock jock does love animals–don’t get between Rush and his cat, Punkin. So it’s no surprise that he is the latest celebrity plugger enlisted by the Humane Society in its campaign to underscore the link between faith and the […]

Move to oust Notre Dame’s president

posted by David Gibson

While the chief goal of the more strident opponents of Obama’s scheduled appearance at Notre Dame’s commencement has been to get the president dis-invited, a new effort is being organized to fire university president Father John Jenkins, CSC. The campaign […]

“To Whom Shall We Go?”

posted by David Gibson

That was the question Simon Peter posed to Jesus, and it is Archbishop Dolan’s motto. Heraldry maven Fr. Guy Selvester at “Shouts” has the fascinating whys and wherefores of the symbols of the coat of arms: The red saltire or “X” shaped cross […]

Church “honoring” Bill Richardson?

posted by David Gibson

The pro-choice Democratic–and Catholic–New Mexico governor is going to Rome next week with his archbishop, Michael Sheehan, to a special lighting ceremony at the Colosseum in honor of the state’s decision to repeal the death penatly. The effort was a […]

Susan Boyle has gone viral

posted by David Gibson

But if you haven’t, by some chance, seen the video of the audition from “Britain’s Got Talent” (or “American Idol” as we call it, complete with Simon), check it out. You likely know what’s coming, but I guarantee you’ll smile […]

Dolan the Diplomat

posted by David Gibson

True to form, at his first news conference as Archbishop of New York, held this morning before this afternoon’s installation Mass, Timothy Dolan was humorous, enthusiastic, engaged and–not swinging at every pitch. While many might see him as a “throwback” […]

The Passion of the Gibsons

posted by David Gibson

PEOPLE magazine reports that Mel Gibson (no relation, in so many ways) and his wife of 28 years, Robyn, have filed for divorce and joint custody of their one minor child, a nine-year-old boy. (They have six older children.) Granted, […]

“It sure beats sitting at home doing our last-minute tax returns…”

posted by David Gibson

That was Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s opening quip tonight–and not his only one–at the Vespers service this evening welcoming the city’s tenth archbishop (and lucky 13th bishop). The Times “City Room” blog has a fine play-by-play here, with lots of color and moving […]

A Pagan responds…

posted by David Gibson

Beliefnet’s own Gus diZerega, author of “A Pagan’s Blog,” has a very thoughtful (he’s nicer than I am, that is) response to my post below on Starhawk calling on Pope Benedict XVI to apologize for the church’s persecution of witches. […]

Obama at Georgetown blasts a culture of “instant gratification”

posted by David Gibson

His speech at the Jesuit university today on the economy (he is speaking as I write) evokes the themes of personal responsibility and the similarly “old-fashioned”–dare I say conservative?–values that he has reiterated since his inauguration. (It has been an interesting shift, […]

Wicca Smackdown: Starhawk calls out the Pope!

posted by David Gibson

She demands: Apologize or…Well, not sure what the stick is, but I wouldn’t want to find out. Starhawk, one of the nation’s most prominent advocates for Wicca, the modern-day reincarnation of neo-paganism, has an “On Faith” column at the WaPo today […]

Joy and hopes…

posted by David Gibson

At another U.S. parish, this time in Vermont, there is rejoicing over the dramatic and traumatic conclusion of the hostage ship captain held for five days by Somali priates. Richard Phillips (at right, with the captain of the USS Bainbridge) […]

Griefs and anxieties…

posted by David Gibson

The death of the young Angels’ pitcher, Nick Adenhart, and two others in the car he was driving, was one of those tragedies that hits you in the gut, even though it happens very day, everywhere–a drunk driver plowing into […]

Another Easter gallery…

posted by David Gibson

More superb pictures of Easter around the world via the Dallas Morning News…  

Catholic Identity Crisis resolved: An ID card!

posted by David Gibson

Yep, and you can get one from an organization called World Priest, which is the brainchild of Quantum Universal, a group of Catholic communications lay people in Ireland and the US, led by CEO Marion Mulhall, a fascinating person who is […]

And back to the sublime…If you like Peeps

posted by David Gibson

And who doesn’t? Personally, I snatch ‘em up at the drug store for next to nuthin’ this week, open the wrapper and let them get nice and stale and snappy. Aged to perfection, I enjoy them slowly, like a fine […]

Easter Pageant: From the sublime to the…

posted by David Gibson

…Well, less sublime. My Easter weekend was busy with egg-decorating and egg-hunting and family gatherings, and, oh yeah, Mass. It was all greatly enjoyable, if more hectic than I want. But such is life, and that’s fine. Back to blogging, […]

The Crucifixion, human and divine

posted by David Gibson

Here is the “God’s eye” view of the Crucifixion, from the artists who brought us the Exodus-via-satellite, as posted for Passover here.  

Twittering the Passion

posted by David Gibson

I will give in and sign up for Twitter at some point, sooner rather than later. But this is the sort of thing that gives me pause: NEW YORK (AP) — Experience the Passion of Christ — in 140-character bursts. […]

Bishop Zubik: “I beg you–the church begs you–for forgiveness”

posted by David Gibson

Those were some of the extraordinary words of Bishop David Zubik at an extraordinary “Service of Apology” held earlier this Holy Week in St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh for anyone hurt or abused by the church. This is not out of character for […]

“What is it like to let Jesus serve you?”

posted by David Gibson

Fr. Jim Martin poses that question at the America blog in light of the painting below. He writes: The answer is in the look on St. Peter’s face, in this my favorite painting, by Ford Madox Brown of the scene from the […]

Debunking the Vatican-Obama ambassador report

posted by David Gibson

Reports have circulated for the past couple of weeks that the Vatican has rejected three would-be ambassadors to the Holy See put forth by the Obama Administration. It apparently started with an April 2 NewsMax report that cited Massimo Franco, author […]

A priesthood returning to its roots?

posted by David Gibson

Today is Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, as it is popularly know, though that descriptor seems as odd as “Good Friday.” Maundy actually comes from the Latin word mandatum, which refers to Jesus’ words to the Apostles as he washes their […]

Blairs Glitch Project: Church faux pas on condoms and gays

posted by David Gibson

Cherie Blair, Catholic wife of the former British PM and recent convert Tony, in December spoke at the Angelicum in Rome despite some protests over her pro-life bona fides. Now she tells The Times of Malta she is “saddened” by the pope’s […]

Exodus: A God’s-Eye View

posted by David Gibson

I posted this photo last year, but what are holidays like Passover and Easter about if not reliving traditions? The ancient is new every year. So this makes Year Two. “I am Tradition!” as good ol’ Pope Pius IX would have put […]

Confession: My Cross of Palms

posted by David Gibson

Three days after Palm Sunday and I still can’t figure out how to make a decent cross from the fronds. I suspect this is evidence of an incomplete conversion. Last year a nice lady stood in the vestibule after mass […]

Take the Easter Quiz!

posted by David Gibson

And see how many you get right. Via Christian History. A couple teasers: 1) Around the year 326, Emperor Constantine ordered the traditional site of Christ’s crucifixion and burial to be excavated and a church to be built there. According […]

My “Desert Island” blog

posted by David Gibson

That phrase strikes me as contradictory–or the kind of one-portal option you’d get in China. In any case my choice would be Andrew Sullivan and his “Daily Dish.” And this is why. Sullivan calls this video, from the Antwerp rail station, “A Cheney […]

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Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!   ...

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks...
So...my recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from PoliticsDaily.com to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That ...

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored ...

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, ...

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's ...

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »

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