The University of St. Thomas

College of Arts & Sciences | Department of Catholic Studies | Faculty

Dr. Don Briel

Dr. Don Briel

Dr. Don J. Briel

Director, Center for Catholic Studies
Koch Chair in Catholic Studies
Phone: (651) 962-5701

Office Location: 105 Sitzmann Hall

Courses taught in Spring 2014
CSMA 501-01
Cath Thought & Culture II 1800-2100 T 55S 207

3 Credit Hours

This interdisciplinary course continues the exploration of the relations between faith and culture begun in Catholic Thought and Culture I, beginning with the medieval period up until the present day. Students will engage areas of artistic expression (literature, music, visual art) in the light of philosophical and theological currents affecting Catholic life in a given era. Upon completion of both Catholic Thought and Culture I and II, students will have some grasp on the fascinating interaction of Gospel and culture marking Catholicism's development, demonstrated skills in the interpretation of literature, music, and visual art, and an appreciation for how the arts can embody Catholic truth and goodness in beauty. Students will also have a broad sense of the contexts of the Catholic tradition, parts of which will then be filled in by other, more specific, courses in the program. NOTE: It is not required (though it is recommended) that students take CSMA 500 prior to taking CSMA 501.

Courses taught in Summer 2014
CSMA 539-01
Dawson 1330-1630 T R 55S 207

3 Credit Hours

This course considers particular topics in the area of Catholic Studies and History. Although the topics will vary, the courses will have both historical foundation and an interdisciplinary focus. These topics courses will fulfill the area requirement of Catholic Studies and History.

Courses taught in Fall 2014
CATH 387-01
John Henry Newman 0800-0940 T R 55S B10

4 Credit Hours

John Henry Newman has been called, somewhat misleadingly, the father of the Second Vatican Council. According to Jarsoslav Pelikan, "(n)ot only to his latter day disciples, ...but to many of those who have drawn other conclusions from his insights, John Henry Newman has become the most important theological thinker of modern times." T.S. Eliot had insisted that he is one of the two most eloquent sermon writers in the English language. Pope Benedict XVI stressed his importance as the theologian of conscience when he presided at his beatification in England. In this course we will examine not only Cardinal Newman's most important theological works focusing on the development of doctrine and the role of conscience in relation to Church authority, but also his philosophical works addressing the relations of faith and reason, his work on university education and selected poetry, meditations and devotions, and sermons. Prerequisite: THEO 101

Academic History

A.B. history, University of Notre Dame, 1969
Licence en Théologie, University of Strasbourg, 1976
Doctorat en Théologie Catholique, University of Strasbourg, 1980
Dissertation: Isaac Williams and Newman: The Oxford Movement Controversy of 1838-1841


John Henry Newman
Christopher Dawson
Catholic Higher Education

Selected Publications

“The Catholic Studies/Angelicum Program in Rome,” in Cynthia Toms-Smedley and Ron Morgan, eds., Transformation at the Edge of the World: Forming Globally Engaged Christians through the Study Abroad Experience, forthcoming, May 2010, Abilene Christian University Press.
Catholic Studies,” in Thomas Rausch, S. J., ed., Education for Faith and Justice: Catholic Higher Education Today, forthcoming, Spring 2010, Liturgical Press.
“Catholic Studies at St. Thomas,” in The Journal of Catholic Education, Spring 2009.
“Gravissimum Educationis” in Matthew L. Lamb and Matthew Levering, eds., Vatican II: Renewal within Tradition, Oxford University Press, 2008
The Idea of a University,” in Michael Dauphinais and Matthew Levering, eds., in Wisdom and Holiness, Science and Scholarship: Essays in Honor of Matthew L. Lamb, Sapientia Press, 2007.
A Conversation with Patrick Pye,” in Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, Spring 2005
Editor, The Works of Christopher Dawson, Catholic University Press, 2001 - present.

Professional Memberships

Advisory Board, Lumen Christi Institute, University of Chicago
Advisory Council on Justice Education, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
Advisory Board, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture