Benedictions: The Pope in America

The evil geniuses at Slate have come up with a series of cellphone rings that will leave those around you with no doubt about your political views. They include Hillary’s laugh (I’d use other descriptors), John McCain calling a young questioner a “little jerk,” and of course Jeremiah Wright’s ringing “God damn America!” There is…

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has said that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius–a Democrat, Catholic, and abortion rights supporter whose name has been mentioned as a possible Obama running mate–should stop receiving communion. The action, outlined in Naumann’s May 9 column in The Leaven, the archdiocesan weekly, was triggered by Sebelius’ veto of a bill…

Former GOP presidential candidate and exemplar of everything Mormon, Mitt Romney, last night received the 12th Annual Canterbury medal from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a law firm that (admirably) takes on cases of religious freedom on behalf of all faiths. (The medal is for “Courage in the Defense of Religious Liberty.”) In his…

Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Center on Long Island released a pastoral letter today [PDF file] ending the fairly common practice of communion services in the absence of a priest–an “extraordinary” form that came into being because of the priest shortage. According to this Newsday story the pastoral letter seems to have…

While John McCain is arguing that Barack Obama is a friend of Hamas (I guess Hamas has signed on to McCain’s political team to give him advice?), and while Hillary continues to play the race card to bolster her campaign, the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue is invoking Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies by putting a…

A week after the Catholic League’s resident megaphone–a.k.a. Bill Donohue–blasted Obama’s blue-ribbon Catholic advisory panel as a bunch of “dissidents” whose presence offends “practicing Catholics” (not to mention making them out to be Catholic versions of Jeremiah Wright) the panel has responded with a more measured (that’s not hard) but pointed rejoinder. The statement essentially…

Doug Kmiec, the widely-respected conservative legal scholar and pro-life Catholic, made waves back in March when he wrote a piece in Slate endorsing Obama. Now he is back to reaffirm his endorsement and again explain his position. In short, he says: Not because Senator Obama’s position on abortion is mine; it is not. Not because…

Want to know why Obama hasn’t put away the nomination already? One word: Catholics. (Or, for those of you with more ultramontanist sensibilities, two words: Roman Catholics.) We’ve expended lots of bytes debating it here, and it will surely figure in tomorrow’s contests in North Carolina and most especially Indiana. For a primer on the…

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights–basically a Catholic version of the Anti-Defamation League, or a wannabe, some would say–is often over the top in denunciations of anti-Catholicism, real or perceived, and of other Cathoilics who Donohue sees as not toeing the proper Catholic line. But even Bill Donohue may have…

I am somewhat reluctant to respond to Deal Hudson’s rejoinder if only because he has such a great walkaway: “Catholics in the GOP may be step children, but not orphans.” I wish I’d thought of it. But I can find plenty of other drawbacks in his argument that will help me overcome any hesitation… First…

David Gibson
about

David Gibson

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.

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