Benedictions: The Pope in America

By Daniel Burke c. 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON — Pope Benedict XVI’s address to Catholic educators on Thursday (April 17) has become one of the most anticipated moments of his first U.S. trip as pontiff. Already there is debate over how strict Benedict — himself a former university professor — should be in insisting…

Associated Press – April 16, 2008 Remarks by Pope Benedict XVI at the White House on Wednesday, as transcribed by the White House. Mr. President, thank you for your gracious words of welcome on behalf of the people of the United States of America. I deeply appreciate your invitation to visit this great country. My…

Associated Press – April 16, 2008 A joint statement by the White House and Holy See on the Oval Office meeting Wednesday between Pope Benedict XVI and President Bush: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and President George W. Bush met today in the Oval Office of the White House. President Bush, on behalf of all…

While Pope Benedict voiced his revulsion at the sexual abuse scandal for the first time yesterday, it is important to understand that the genesis of his statements went back to a meeting that took place more than four years ago, not with other bishops, but with leaders of the lay review board set up to…

The indefatigable American Papist, to whom the papal presence is what caffeine is to the rest of us, has a very cool entry on the history of meetings between American presidents and Roman pontiffs, including great photos like this one of JFK & PPVI. He starts with Woodrow Wilson meeting another Pope Benedict, this one…

Yesterday’s strong and welcome words by Benedict XVI to reporters on the papal plane saying he was “deeply ashamed” at the clergy sexual abuse scandal set the tone for his visit–first impressions are important, and those words did a great deal to signal to Americans that Benedict “gets it” in a way too many, though…

Yeah, so at the media hotel this morning there they were, on the buffet table (a.k.a. the feeding trough), eggs benedict. I steered clear. At my age, c’mon. They didn’t look like these at the right, but I was convinced the hotel set them out to honor His Holiness. The server was puzzled when I…

(Yes, I’m a day behind, but please forgive.) Today’s question regards the debate over whether there was once a woman pope–a story that has had a longer life than even “The Da Vinci Code”… Q: Was there really a Pope Joan? Read more from the papal answer man, Chris Bellitto and his new book, 101…

By Daniel Burke c. 2008 Religion News Service ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. — Pope Benedict XVI, the shepherd of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics, arrived here Tuesday (April 15) for his first U.S. visit as pontiff and was warmly greeted by President Bush, first lady Laura Bush and their daughter Jenna. Neither the…

The Baltimore Sun, Maryland Apr. 14–Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the United States this week amid a full-throttle presidential campaign, with Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain seeking support from the same engaged Catholics the pontiff hopes to reach. The pope won’t directly weigh in on the presidential race during stops in Washington…

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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