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 tiny daily in Rome serving Italy's English-language community. He then found work as a newscaster across the Tiber at Vatican Radio, an entity he sees 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" (go ahead -- try it) and wasn't Catholic --- at the time.
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 and to write for leading magazines and newspapers in the New York area. Among other journalism prizes, Gibson has won the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year Award, the top honor for journalists covering religion in the secular press, and has twice won the top prize writing on religion from the American Academy of Religion.
Gibson currently writes for Religion News Service and until recently was covering the religion beat for AOL's Politics Daily. He blogs at Commonweal magazine, and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI. He would like to write another -- but can’t seem to find the time.
He has co-written documentaries on early Christian and Jewish history for CNN, and recently worked on a March 2011 History Channel special on the Vatican. He currently has several other film projects in development. Gibson has written for leading newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, Boston magazine, Fortune, Commonweal, America and, yes, The Ladies Home Journal.
Gibson is a longtime member of the Religion Newswriters Association. He and his wife and daughter live in Brooklyn.
Posts By This Author
Pope Francis Makes Waves With His Surprise Picks for the College of Cardinals
These new cardinals include prelates from 11 dioceses and six countries that have never before had a cardinal, and from places far outside the traditional European orbit of ecclesiastical influence: Albania, for example, plus the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
But the real surprise in these picks, as in past appointments, is that they came as a complete surprise to many of the new cardinals themselves, and to the pope’s closest collaborators.
Jerry Falwell Jr. on Twitter: 'Pope Francis Lost All Credibility'
The alliance between Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants on a range of issues dear to social conservatives has been one of the biggest storylines in religion and politics in recent decades.
But in the Age of Pope Francis and the Era of President Trump that union may be fraying.
In a tweet posted Nov. 14, Jerry Falwell Jr. — a Baptist and leader of the religious right who was one of Trump’s chief promoters — delivered a pithy and pointed critique of the pontiff.
Catholic Bishops Follow Trump's Election With a Message of Their Own
A week after Donald Trump’s stunning election as president sent the country’s governance lurching to the right, the nation’s Catholic bishops sent a message of their own — at least on immigration — by putting Mexican-born Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles in line to become the first Latino to lead the American hierarchy.
But the vote at their annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 15 also suggested that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is still hesitant to fully endorse the more progressive and pastoral approach to ministry that Pope Francis has been championing since his election in 2013.
Bishop Launches Probe of Priest Who Posed With Fetus on the Altar
The Rev. Frank Pavone, a leading anti-abortion crusader and Donald Trump supporter, was jubilant on Nov. 9 after his candidate’s surprising win in the presidential race.
But the head of the Staten Island-based Priests for Life group is also facing a stern rebuke and investigation from his bishop, over Pavone’s shocking election eve video, in which he posed with an aborted fetus on an altar while delivering a 44-minute appeal to voters to elect the Republican nominee.
Is Augustine the Patron Saint of the 2016 Election?
In the summer of 430, the great Christian writer and bishop Augustine of Hippo lay dying as barbarians besieged his North African city – basically a mop-up operation in the slow-motion fall of the Roman Empire.
Today, in the fall of the year 2016, a lot of Christians can relate.
Pope Francis on Ecumenism, Secularism, Terrorism, and Gossip
Pope Francis leaves on Monday, Oct. 31 for an overnight trip to Sweden, a historically Protestant country that today is one of the most secular in the world.
The visit is to mark the start of observances of next year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which traditionally dates from Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of a German cathedral.
Cardinal Dolan Confesses: Charity Dinner With Trump and Clinton Was Tough
Behind the scenes, for example, the two candidates – who couldn’t bring themselves to shake hands at the third and final presidential debate a night earlier – were brought together by the cardinal during a brief pre-dinner prayer.
“They were both icy from the beginning, you could tell,” Dolan said. “They’re not on each other’s Christmas card list, I can tell you that. You could tell those two had a rather, I’d say, frigid relationship, more than icy.”
Pope Francis' New Cardinal Choices Illustrate the Church's Continued Shift
With these picks, the third round of cardinal appointments Francis has made since he himself was elected pope in 2013, he did a number of nontraditional things that have become almost customary for him:
First of all, he moved the church’s center of gravity further away from the Old World and toward the “peripheries,” as he says, by selecting more cardinals (six total) from Africa, Asia, and Oceania than from Europe (five).
Is This The Tipping Point for Christians Supporting Trump?
But even after a weekend spent huddling in Manhattan plotting strategy, a crucial question for the Republican nominee was whether this latest outrage would finally repel conservative Christians who are key to the GOP’s hopes for recapturing the White House.
So far the verdict appears mixed.
'Liturgy Shaming' Is a Growing Internet Phenomenon
In a telephone interview, Bornhoft stood by his critique, but said he understood the sense of powerlessness that seemed to motivate many liturgy shamers:
“There are a lot of liturgical issues today and they don’t trust that leadership can do anything. So they see liturgy shaming as an important and effective tool we didn’t have before.”
Indeed, diehard traditionalists — who tend to be the main liturgy-shamers — say the stakes are too high and they don’t feel they have a choice.
Trump, Clinton to Trade Jokes Instead of Barbs at Al Smith Dinner
“The presidential nominees will share the dais with Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, and they will deliver the evening’s speeches in the spirit of collegiality and good-humor that has become a hallmark of the gala,” said a statement issued Sept. 27 by the New York Archdiocese and the foundation that runs the event.
The Oct. 20 dinner “honors a cause that transcends the polarizing political rhetoric of the day and exemplifies the vision of Gov. Alfred E. Smith, known as ‘The Happy Warrior,’ for his ability to maintain his positive outlook even as he tackled the pressing social issues of his day,” the statement said.
Does the Pope Ever Fall in Love?
Centuries ago, of course, the love lives of the popes — and cardinals and various powerful prelates — became a source of constant fascination and scandal. In these days of great anxiety in the church about the role of gays and gay rights, leaking stories about papal crushes can also be useful for signaling that a pope is straight, and not just straight but also virile and seriously attractive to women, an attraction he naturally must renounce.
But it’s still a balancing act — trying to advertise a pontiff’s shared humanity with the flock while not encouraging prurient speculation.
Mother Teresa Is 'Saint of the Doubters,' Says Author
The Rev. James Martin is a Jesuit priest and popular author who wrote about his lifelong fascination with the saints and the many aspects of sainthood in the Catholic tradition in the best-selling book My Life With the Saints.
Loyola Press is issuing a 10th anniversary edition of Martin’s memoir in September, which also coincides with the Sept. 4 canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who even during her lifetime – she died in 1997 – was regarded by millions as a “living saint” for her work with the destitute in India and around the world.
Pope Francis and Mark Zuckerberg Aren't Facebook Friends ...Yet
Pope Francis is the king of Twitter and other social media outlets but he’s still not on Facebook, the most dominant digital platform in the world.
Will that change following his meeting with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Aug. 29?
Cardinal Burke: 'I Will Never Be Part of a Schism' Within Catholic Church
Ever since Pope Francis was elected in March 2013, he has faced strong opposition from traditionalists unhappy with his push for church reforms — and the face of that opposition has often been Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American prelate who has worked in senior positions in Rome for most of the past decade.
Police, Muslims Seek Answers After Cleric and Associate Killed in Queens
Police were questioning a possible suspect in the double homicide of a popular imam and his associate in Queens but there was still no clear motive even as the shocking daylight murders were becoming a flashpoint in the national debate over anti-Islamic rhetoric.
Authorities and news reports on Monday said police had taken a “person of interest” into custody on unrelated charges and were interrogating him about the Saturday shootings of Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his associate, Tharam Uddin, 64.
Top Catholic Bishops Criticize Biden for Officiating at Gay Marriage
When Vice President Joe Biden last week tweeted a photo of himself proudly officiating at the same-sex civil wedding of two White House staffers, it quickly became fodder for news stories and commentary both pro and con — the latter by religious conservatives who thought Biden was betraying his Catholic faith and deserved a rebuke.
American on Women Deacons Panel: 'I Feel Like I've Won the Academy Award'
The Vatican this week unveiled Pope Francis’ picks for a 12-member panel of scholars who will study the question of whether women were ordained as deacons in the early church, and whether they could be ordained in the Catholic Church today — a historic step, if it were to happen.
What will the commission, which will operate under the supervision of an archbishop from the Vatican’s doctrinal office, do?
Knights of Columbus Leader Says Catholics Cannot Vote for Abortion Advocates
Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus fraternal order and one of the most influential lay Catholics in the church, has said that abortion outweighs all other issues in the presidential campaign and Catholics cannot vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights.
Abortion is not “just another political issue” but “is in reality a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths,” Anderson told the Knights’ international convention in Toronto in a speech on Aug. 2.
Franklin Graham Rebuts Pope on Islam: 'This Is a War of Religion'
Pope Francis is once again making headlines for comments declaring, as he has before, that Islam is not “terroristic” and that all religions, including Catholicism, have “fundamentalist” splinter groups that can commit violence.
The pontiff made his comments during a flight back to Rome on July 31 from Poland, where he was presiding over the church’s triennial World Youth Day festival.