Benedictions: The Pope in America

Associated Press – April 14, 2008 WASHINGTON – The leader of the world’s Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history. That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI’s plane, bringing a giant audience…

EWTN, Mother Angelica’s legendary Catholic (I won’t put in any controversial modifers) TV station, scored an interview with President Bush about the Pope’s visit…No surprise. Bush and anchor Raymond Arroyo played softball–or perhaps volley ball, as Arroyo mainly set up balls for the prez to spike. In any case, there’s much to chew over and…

Over on the Commonweal magazine blog where I occasionally contribute, Sister Mary Wood points out, apropos of my papal fashion story, that the pope has “snubbed” (their words Down Under) the organizers of this July’s World Youth Day in Sydney, declining to use the vestments they had designed for the event. According to this story…

This it it: I have tried to maintain a certain degree of poise and charity despite the fact that Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating Mass on Sunday at Yankee Stadium (altar mock-up at right) and ignoring Shea. Full disclosure: I am a lifelong Mets fan. That is my pride, and, of late, my shame. But…

Today’s topic is one of the most controversial–and misunderstood, for Catholics as well as non-Catholics: papal infallibility… QUESTION: Do I have to believe every word the pope says? Read more from the papal answer man, Chris Bellitto and his new book, 101 Questions on Popes and the Papacy.

Benedict’s vintage vesture has been a topic of much blog-babble and tongue-wagging. No, not just the Prada shoes (knockoffs, actually). Vestments of greater import, including the news that the pope has commissioned a set of 30 new vestments modeled on those worn by the notorious Medici pope, Leo X, a corpulent, corrupt fellow who at…

Dan Burke of RNS poses the question in today’s Washington Post. It’s an interesting question. Bush appoints Catholic justices and talks about “the culture of life.” But…this does not a Catholic make.

Rather than dissipating ahead of Benedict’s visit to New York and Washington, Catholic-Jewish relations appear to be growing more problematic by the day. There is a history here, not just of the past 2,000 years, but also over the past three years under the pontificate of Pope Benedict. But the issue tapping into that unease–from…

Catholic World News relays news of Polish church officials as saying they would like the heart of the late John Paul brought to his old Wawel cathedral in Krakow as a relic (seriously first class) if–er, when–the Polish pope is beatified. (Others say a small piece of the pope’s heart, or other body part, would…

A papal visit like next week’s trip to the U.S. by Benedict XVI is an opportunity not only to check out the current occupant of the Chair of St. Peter, but also to learn more about the 2,000-year history of the papacy and the Catholic Church. To help us do this, author Christopher Bellitto, an…

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.

read full bio
More from Beliefnet and our partners