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Video

Interview Date

6-14-2002

Abstract

Have American Catholics contributed anything to world Catholicism?

Rev. David Coffey discusses whom he considers to be the greatest American theologian. He explains that we must keep in mind how new countries like America and Australia are compared to other ancient countries. He adds that America is just starting to produce great religious thinkers, which he attributes to the great religious education in universities. He does not have one particular scholar that stands out for him.

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Playing Time: 1:53 minutes

About the Interviewee:

Rev. Dr. David Coffey is a priest in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia. He received the Doctor of Sacred Theology from the Catholic Institute of Sydney, and was appointed to the faculty in 1962. From 1964 to 1966 he pursued further theological studies with Michael Schmaus and Karl Rahner at the University of Munich, Germany. Father Coffey returned to the Catholic Institute of Sydney in 1967, where he served as Dean of the Faculty from 1970 to 1975, and President of the Faculty from 1976 to 1981. In 1975, he became a founder of the Australian Catholic Theological Association, and served as the Association’s President in that year and again in 1990.

In 1991, Rev. Dr. Coffey came to the United States to the University of St. Louis, where he served as Visiting Professor in the Aquinas Institute. In 1995, he accepted an appointment to the Presidential Chair at Marquette University, renamed in 1999 to the William J. Kelly, S.J. Chair in Catholic Theology. His theological interests go to the very heart of the Christian faith: Pneumatology, Christology, the doctrine of the Trinity. These interests are reflected quite accurately in the titles of his four books: Grace: The Gift of the Holy Spirit (Catholic Institute of Sydney, 1979); Believer, Christian, Catholic (Catholic Institute of Sydney, 1986); Deus Trinitas: The Doctrine of the Triune God (Oxford University Press, 1999); and The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Liturgical Press, 2001). He has written numerous articles reflecting these same interests. Fr. Coffey returned to Australia in 2005 where he lectures and serves the diocese of Sydney.

About the Interviewer:

Dr. Alfred Benney is a professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and teaches courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include "how people learn"; "the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning" and "myth as explanatory narrative". He has published work on teaching with technology.

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