Saturday, June 7

Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism (1993)

By Scott and Kimberly Hahn

I actually read this book back during Lent, so a couple of months ago at this point. I had been saying I would read it for several months before that, ever since my wife read it late last year. Not only did things she said about it intrigue me, but I've been familiar with Dr. Scott Hahn for many years as a great Catholic convert, theologian, and apologist. I'd only read a couple of books by him, however. Then, a couple of months ago, a friend approached me for help in dealing with a barrage of half-baked attacks from her sister, a convert from Catholicism to Baptist fundamentalism. Not really having delved into apologetics that much in recent years, her questions inspired me to deeper reading on a number of matters I'd gotten a bit rusty on – and I took up this book as well.

Here we have a deeply personal story, written in alternating chapters from the perspective of Scott Hahn and his wife, Kimberly, of what began as his but ultimately became their conversion from Presbyterianism to Catholicism. Making the journey much more rocky for them was the fact that they had met and married while in Presbyterian seminary – Scott was training to become a minister, Kimberly was herself the daughter of a minister and envisioned herself as the spouse, partner, and helpmate of an ordained Presbyterian minister. Which worked out well … for a short time. Scott was ordained and they began their career and a family. But then Scott's theological and Biblical studies increasingly convinced him that just about everything he had ever known about the Catholic Church and its teachings were not true, but rather that it is the most Biblical of all churches. Objection after objection fell before his willingness to put aside his preconceived notions and to follow the Biblical evidence where it leads, especially with regard to his own specialty of study, Covenant Theology. He was at last convicted of the Truth and must become Catholic. Which he did … on Holy Saturday, 29 March 1986. My jaw dropped at that point in my reading and I exclaimed, “Wow!” – because that was the very same evening, a thousand miles away, that I was accepted into the Catholic Church!

But at that point in their story, Kimberly was experiencing a sense of utter desolation verging on despair. Her dreams were shattered; their very livelihood was endangered as Scott could not simply become a Catholic priest (although it eventually became apparent that he did indeed have a promising future in Catholic academia and apologetics). At one point she told Scott that she wished she would just die so Scott would be free to marry a nice Catholic girl and be happy – because her misery was grinding them both down. Nonetheless, she had acquiesced to Scott's desire that their children be raised Catholic, and through their catechesis she ultimately was realized the Truth of Catholicism as well, and joined her children and husband in the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.

Their story is powerful and moving, and has been inspirational to untold numbers. (It also contains one funny bit of irony, in that it was Kimberly's father, a renowned Presbyterian minister, who actually introduced Scott to Pope John Paul II during a visit to Rome!  The Lord does work in mysterious ways.) One effect of my finally reading this book was that it inspired me to dig out and ultimately to post here as a page [APOLOGETICS, above) the story of my own conversion – from Baptist fundamentalism to Catholicism (by way of agnosticism). It is not nearly so powerful or moving, I dare say, or so inspirational, but it does show that there are many different roads that lead to Rome, and if even one reader is moved by my account toward the True Faith, then Praise be to God.

Cheers!, and Thanks for reading.
+ + +

Note:  This post was originally written as the first part of a catch-all "Quick Hits" post which I intended to give a paragraph or so to several things I read over the past couple of months but never sat down to blog.  Well, by the time I was finished – Friday evening and most of Saturday later! – it ran to seven and a half single-spaced pages for five items.  So I decided to break it down and post the items individually, in the order I finished reading them (I think), staggering their release via Blogger's wonderful Scheduling function that I only rarely avail myself of.  – kgh

No comments:

Post a Comment