‘The Patrick Coffin Show’ Readies for Its Debut

“The Patrick Coffin Show” is a new podcast-driven venture that aims to “deliver commentary and interviews with top social influencers that are hope-based and aimed at building a better culture through building a better you.”

(photo: Register Files)

Most know him as the witty, insightful and humorous host of “Catholic Answers Live” for the last seven years. But I’ve been blessed to know Patrick Coffin for more than 20 years, first meeting him in the late summer of 1994 when he arrived as a fellow grad student in theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. And now I’m very excited for Pat—and the mission of Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church in general—that he is now launching “The Patrick Coffin Show”, a podcast-driven New Evangelization venture that aims to “deliver commentary and interviews with top social influencers that are hope-based and aimed at building a better culture through building a better you.”

I first met Pat at a small dinner party and we hit it off quickly, as Pat’s razor-sharp wit, edgy and hilarious humor, and joy as a disciple of Christ were all on full display from the get-go. Patrick was very much himself—and comfortable in being so.

Given his God-given abilities and zealous commitment to cultivate them further, you knew that Pat was going to make a big impact on the Church. He was respectful of others, but not overawed, something essential for both a good journalist and follower of Jesus.

In that regard, I recall the Grand Opening gala for the new headquarters of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) in November 1994, when the lay apostolate moved from New Rochelle, New York, to Steubenville. Curtis Martin—now the founder and president of the Fellowship Catholic University Students (FOCUS)— was the new president of CUF, I was a CUF intern, and we had brought on Prof. Scott Hahn as a key board member.

A number of us had stepped outside on the front porch of the new CUF headquarters on North Fourth Street. Hahn, our friend and mentor, was regaling us with a story about some venerable theologian whom he had recently met, conveying that he told the scholar, “Oh, I’ve read all of your books!”

Without missing a beat, Coffin, the Steubenville newbie, deadpanned to Hahn, “Did he tell you that he had listened to all of your tapes?”

Dr. Hahn took the affectionate ribbing in good humor, although he might have been less amused than we were, as the young Franciscan University scholar was then more known for recording very successful audiotape series than writing books — although he has certainly distinguished himself in the written word since.

That same term, Pat wrote a brilliant satire on the historical-critical method for Prof. Andy Minto’s Biblical Foundations class. It was a completely voluntary, non-graded exercise in which Pat distinguished between the “Andy of history” and “Minto of faith,” and Minto read it aloud to the delight of the whole class.

Both experiences illustrated that Patrick Coffin had the moxie and wherewithal for prime-time service in the Church.

But you have to embrace the Cross before you can really want talk about it to others. And Pat experienced his crucible in moving to southern California, where his faithfulness eventually cost him his job with a production company whose leaders were not as fond of fidelity to the Magisterium.

Pat was out of full-time service to the Church for a while and also experienced some serious financial hardship as a result, from which he providentially extricated himself by excelling on a short-lived game show that aired on Fox. It was during this time “in the desert” that Pat also met his wonderful wife and worked for a headhunting company.

And then came his successful interview with “Catholic Answers.” Before he debuted in early 2009 on “Catholic Answers Live,” I reminded Pat that he was doing live radio, and therefore he had to be mindful about how he expressed his quick wit and humor.

Pat agreed and has since excelled, capturing the attention of many leaders in the Church as host of “Catholic Answers Live”.

And now “The Patrick Coffin Show.” In trying to do his part to fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (cf. Mt. 28:18-20), Pat will be reaching out to those who are not Catholic, and maybe even who are hostile to Christ and his Church.

Like St. Paul of yesteryear, Pat will not shrink from a debate. And like his contemporary Catholic media colleague Al Kresta, whose interview with wayward priest Alberto Cutie

Coffin has called the best segment he’s heard on Catholic radio, Pat knows how to conduct an adversarial interview in a refreshingly and evangelistically disarming way.

So I look forward to Pat’s interviewing a variety of guests, including perhaps even former Catholic and Church critic Bill Maher. As his new ebook further illustrates, Pat knows how to keep his cool in a debate, so as to draw a person out to examine his own views and prejudices in light of general logic, the natural moral law and God’s Revelation. In doing so, Coffin will give a good witness to his guests and also bless his listeners and himself by his fruitful discussions, exemplifying to all who tune in that Catholicism, intelligence and a good sense of humor are harmonious, not mutually exclusive.

I’ve seen some rather good interviewers in my lifetime, including Dick Cavett, PBS’ Tavis Smiley, ESPN’s Roy Firestone, NBC “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert and—my favorite—former ABC “Nightline” host Ted Koppel. Pat shares their journalistic qualities, but his Catholic orthodoxy gives him a better moral compass and thus a leg up in conducting his interviews.

Pat will start with podcasts and commentaries, but he envisions possibly syndication on radio and television networks. I hope and pray so. In our much troubled times, Patrick Coffin atypically combines penetrating analysis in a manner that the common man can both apprehend and appreciate. His voice is one much-needed in our time. May God bless your efforts abundantly, my friend (cf. Jn. 10:10).