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

Can Clinton-Kaine Bring Catholic Voters Back to the Democrats?

Image via REUTERS / Gary Cameron / RNS

If there is one constant in this unconventional presidential campaign it is the unpredictability — and importance — of the Catholic vote.

Once a reliably Democratic cohort, Catholics have in recent decades swung back and forth between the two parties. And because they represent more than a fifth of all voters, and are concentrated in key Midwestern swing states, the candidate with the most Catholic support has wound up winning the popular vote.

The Divided Soul of the Democratic Party

Image by JP Keenan/Sojourners

The religious enthusiasm that animates so many in the party’s grass roots hasn’t always filtered through to the party elite where concrete policy decisions are made.

Great Quote, Tim Kaine, But John Wesley Never Said That

Image via REUTERS / Scott Audette / RNS

It may not rank up there with Donald Trump’s “Two Corinthians” coinage or Hillary Clinton’s tortured email explanations, but a phrase that Tim Kaine used in an effort to yoke his Catholicism to the Methodist faith of his Democratic running mate deserves closer scrutiny.

“I’m a Catholic. Hillary is a Methodist,” Kaine said during a Florida rally on July 23 as Clinton introduced him as her vice presidential pick. “Her creed is the same as mine: Do all the good you can.”

Can Hillary Clinton Close the ‘God Gap’?

U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event at the Culinary Academy Training Center in North Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 19, 2016. Courtesy of REUTERS/David Becker

True, Trump has finally rallied the crucial white evangelical Christian base of the GOP to his side. But he still has outspoken detractors among prominent Christian conservatives and he is viewed with ambivalence and even deep suspicion by many Jewish and Muslim voters and members of other minority faiths.

 

U.S. Cardinal Says 'Christian Nations' in West Must Counter Islamic Influx

Cardinal Raymond Burke. Image via Alessandro Bianchi / RNS

Amid heightened tensions over ISIS-fueled terror attacks and anti-Muslim rhetoric, a prominent U.S. cardinal says Islam “wants to govern the world” and Americans must decide if they are going to reassert “the Christian origin of our own nation” in order to avoid that fate.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a Rome-based prelate known as an outspoken conservative and critic of Pope Francis’ reformist approach, said in an interview on July 20 that Islam is “fundamentally a form of government.”

Pope Francis Asks Leaders in Nice, 'What Can I Do for You?'

Image via Stefano Rellandini/REUTERS/RNS

Pope Francis has telephoned leaders of the terror-stricken French city of Nice, asking them what he could do to help in the wake of last week’s gruesome truck attack and promising to meet with the families of the victims as soon as possible.

The pontiff made his call out of the blue on July 17, reaching the former mayor of Nice and leader of the region, Christian Estrosi, through the head of a national association of Italians who live in France.

That Anti-Semitic Star of David Tweet? 'It's Just a Star!' Trump Insists

Donald Trump can’t let it go.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has faced days of pointed criticism for a Twitter attack on Hillary Clinton that used an image that looked like the Star of David and appeared to deploy anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Obama Laments Ramadan Attacks on Muslims in US and Abroad

Image via REUTERS/Gary Cameron/RNS

In a message marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, President Obama lamented the spate of vicious terror attacks around the world in recent weeks and warned against anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S.

“No one should ever feel afraid or unsafe in their place of worship,” Obama said in a message for the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan’s monthlong observance of daytime fasting and abstinence.

Could Trump's Political Salvation Come from Christian Conservatives?

Bill Dallas, head of United in Purpose and a chief organizer of the summit, said the encounter with Trump was “overwhelming” and “exceeded our expectations on many levels.” RNS photo by David Gibson

Donald Trump’s flagging presidential bid is enjoying a boost of that old-time religion after conservative Christian leaders gave the candidate high praise and standing ovations at a critical closed-door meeting that one observer described as a “campaign rally.”

White Evangelicals Are Backing Trump, New Poll Shows

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

White evangelical Christians, a crucial bloc of Republican voters, are backing likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump by a wide margin over Hillary Clinton but their support is significantly lower than for previous Republican candidates.

That relatively tepid faith-based endorsement could wind up undermining Trump’s chances for victory in November.

Chicago Archbishop Decries Targeting of Gays in Orlando Attack

Archbishop Blase Cupich. Image via Goat_Girl / flickr.com

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich has decried the apparent targeting of gays and lesbians in the Orlando nightclub massacre and called for greater efforts on gun control, the first senior U.S. Catholic churchman to identify a likely reason the victims were singled out and raise the controversial issue of access to weapons.

Baptist Official Says Religious Freedom Is Not for Muslims

Gerald Harris. Image via RNS

Religious freedom is a foundational tenet for Southern Baptists, but apparently one church official in Georgia didn’t get the memo, at least as it applies to Islam.

Now Gerald Harris is facing sharp criticism, but also the prospect of a Ramadan meal with local Muslims who have invited him so he can get to know them better.

Will Bernie Sanders' Defeat Also End America's Latest Great Awakening?

Image via REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson / RNS

As Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination heated up in these past months, so too did comparisons between the fervor fueling Sanders’ political movement and the faith-based mobilization of an old-time religious revival.

“More than any other candidate Bernie draws on the language of right and wrong to make his pitch. Politics for Bernie isn’t a job, it’s a crusade,” Grant Diamond, pastor of Faith Baptist Mill Creek, west of Chicago, wrote on his blog last month.

The Winding Spiritual Path of Muhammad Ali

Image via REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/RNS

When boxing star Cassius Clay declared himself a member of the controversial Nation of Islam back in 1964 and demanded to be called by his new name, Muhammad Ali, he shocked the world of sports and rattled a nation already struggling with social unrest over civil rights and the Vietnam War.

But Ali’s conversion also launched a pilgrimage of faith that would take him from the fringes of Islam through its orthodox heart, and from a virtual pariah to a global ambassador for faith — his own and others — as the key to peace.

Southern Baptist Leader: Donald Trump a 'Lost Soul' Who Must Repent

Russell Moore. Image via Theology147 / Wikimedia Commons

Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore has not been shy about mixing it up with Donald Trump, and now Moore is at it again, telling an interviewer that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is a “lost person” who needs to find Jesus.

“My primary prayer for Donald Trump is that he would first of all repent of sin and come to faith in Jesus Christ,” Moore told David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network in a video posted June 3.

Drunken Anglican Priest Claims Vatican Immunity to Evade Cops

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

The Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church have been on a long road to reconciliation in the centuries since Henry VIII broke with the pope.

But it’s unlikely that the latest faith-sharing move by a drunken Church of England vicar will do much to advance the cause of ecumenism.

Is David French the Social Conservative Savior of 2016?

David French. Image via Gage Skidmore / flickr.com

If some political conservatives are appalled that Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, many social conservatives — especially evangelical Christians who are the soul of the movement — have been practically gnashing their teeth over the stunning success of the brash New York real estate magnate.

A Vatican Conspiracy Persists, and a Bigger Mystery Unfolds

Image via REUTERS/Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters/RNS

The Vatican has always been a hothouse for conspiracy theories, and a new controversy over the so-called Third Secret of Fatima is showing just how persistent such fixations can be — to the extent that the latest episode even forced Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI out of seclusion to refute claims that he once shaded the truth about the mysterious prophecy.

WATCH: New Commercial for the Drug 'Islamophobin' That Will Help With Your Delusional Fear of Muslims

Image via CAIR / RNS

The nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization has been earnestly educating Americans for years about Islam while denouncing the growing tide of anti-Muslim bigotry.

But it’s always an uphill battle, so this week the Council on American-Islamic Relations decided to try a little humor instead. The result is the introduction of a spoof medication called “Islamophobin” that seems sure to get more notice than CAIR’s usual campaigns.

Donald Trump Moves to Win Over Wavering Evangelical Christians

Image via REUTERS / Mike Segar / RNS

Donald Trump is moving quickly to rally the evangelical base of the Republican Party as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee pivots toward a general election contest where the conservative Christian vote will be crucial to his chances for winning the White House.

The brash New York real estate developer has been reviled by many evangelical Christian leaders but he retains a significant appeal with grass-roots evangelicals and is increasingly winning over some leading conservative Christian activists.