Saint Stephen of Comedy Central takes on Garry Wills, a terrific and maddening writer and historian — and confessed Catholic — who may be veering perilously close to caricature these days. He has a new book out, “Why Priests? A Failed Tradition,” and an Op-Ed in the New York Times arguing that Catholics who look with hope for change from a new pope are like Charlie Brown kicking the football — Lucy will always yank it away.

But when he went on “The Colbert Report” to promote his new book he got some pretty good pushback from his host, a real-life catechist who came the closest I can ever recall to coming out of character while on the set. Watch:

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David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.


  1. Richard schrader

    Actually Wills, an American treasure for his historical works alone, more than holds his own against the always feisty Colbert. Stephen gave Gary a much harder time during the interview for Bomb Power in 2010, stubbornly attacking the book’s premise that war powers ought to transition back to Congress, per the intention of our Founders. I did appreciate Colbert’s easy facility with New Testament sound bites.

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