David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.

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George Beverly Shea, RIP

The hallmark voice of the Billy Graham crusades has passed at 104, after an amazingly full life. His rendition of "How Great Thou Art" is a madeleine of my evangelical youth. My first visit to Madison Square Garden (after the circus) was to a Billy Graham rally, featuring Bev Shea, Cliff Barrows, Ethel Waters and the rest.

Pope Francis: 'Don't turn back clock on Vatican II'

Pope Francis had some inspiring words about our fear of the stirrings of the Holy Spirit, to me the most neglected aspect of the Trinity among Catholics -- even as it moves millions of other Christians to holiness in other parts of the Christian world. As Vatican Radio reports on today's homily, his words were in the context of embracing the changes pushed by the Second Vatican Council:

Why didn't anyone predict Bergoglio?

In his media briefing after the conclave that elected Pope Francis, Australian Cardinal George Pell couldnt help tweaking his regular sparring partners in the press by confessing that in my weakness I've taken considerable pleasure in the fact that he (Cardinal Bergoglio) was scarcely on any of the lists of papal contenders.Bergoglio was in fact not much on the medias radar, and some might wonder why it is that reporters never seem to predict the winner of the conclave.

Is Roger Ebert in heaven? Is Pope John Paul II?

Deacon Greg Kandra points to the funeral mass held today at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral for film critic and cultural omnivore Roger Ebert, and takes issue with celebrant Fr. Michael Pfleger for suggesting to the mourners that Ebert could be in heaven.

Remembering David Kuo

You may see a lot of well-deserved tributes to David Kuo, the former Bush faith-based programs champion (along with John DiIulio), who died yesterday at 44 after a long struggle with cancer. But this early one from his friend Joe Klein at Time is beautiful for recalling Kuo as a person and a believer, and situating him in his political context:

Is Francis a Balthasarian?

Theologians quoted in this Globe & Mail story try to make the argument for Papa Bergoglio as a disciple of von Balthasar:

Should we still call Ratzinger "pope" after February?

Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., is known as a Catholic culture warrior to many but he is also a Rome-trained canon lawyer.

Benedict XVI, not conservative enough...

Conservative disappointment with Pope Benedict's record has been an undercurrent in commentary in the last few years, and it has broken into the open since his resignation (or abdication, for the neo-Victorians). My latest at RNS rounds up some of the disappointment and posits some reasons:

In praise of the Post Office

The announcement that Saturday mail delivery may end in a cost-cutting move by the U.S. Postal Service has lots of people going, well, postal -- just one of many pejorations associated with the the Post Office.Give it a rest, I say. I have a quixotic affection for old-fashioned institutions -- churches, newspapers, legislatures, universities that are not only online -- that are vital to building and maintaining a culture, but which are endangered species these days.The Post Office is one of those easy targets, and not always a fair one.


Patty Andrews, last of the Andrews Sisters trio, died last week at 94. Amazing how a tune can be the gateway to an era, perhaps one not your own. My dad played drums in a big band during the late 1940s, for fun, and kept a small set after he was married that he would haul up and play along to old Glenn Miller 78s and Sinatra LPs and other great songs of the 30s and 40s and 50s.