Morley Safer on the late Rev. Peter Gomes

"60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer remembers the official preacher of Harvard University, Rev. Peter J. Gomes, who died Monday of complications from a stroke

1997: Rev. Peter Gomes

A special post from Morley Safer, who profiled Rev. Gomes in this memorable "60 Minutes" piece from 1997:

Peter Gomes collected people. Or perhaps more accurately people collected Peter. He had that kind of magnetism. Superficially we had very little in common. He, a devout Christian. I, neither devout nor Christian. He, African American, me, white Austro British Canadian. The list of differences is endless -- everything from education and background to belief in the hereafter to sexual orientation. He, the most socially adept and engaged man on Earth, me preferring a kind of invisibility, all the better to silently observe.

And yet we became fast friends. Because quite honestly Peter Gomes was irresistible. His command of that great gift, the English language was exquisite. Perfect sentences would bubble out of him spontaneously that had that sonorous resonance that is the preserve of only the most talented practitioners employed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Even his descriptions of the most mundane events would take on a mighty significance, merely in the telling.

Most of all, Peter loved people. He reveled in the diversity, eccentricity, sheer nuttiness of humanity. He loved furniture in the same way. His 'dirty little secret,' as he called it, was collecting antique furniture. He was in thrall of the talented hand that could tame a lifeless block of wood into something close to a timelessly true ode to the human spirit.

--Morley Safer

  • Morley Safer

    Morley Safer’s distinctive style and the broad range of his much-honored work have made him a giant in broadcast journalism and a mainstay of 60 Minutes since 1970.