Sunday, 15 February 2015

Rome Sweet Home, by Scott and Kimberly Hahn

Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism, 1993 Ignatius Press

Scott Hahn was a former Protestant pastor and theologian, who in his youth loved trying to convert Catholics to Protestantism. Later in life, he converted to the Catholic Church and his wife, Kimberly followed him into the Church several years later.

I read the shorter account of Scott Hahn's testimony on the internet at the time I was first considering conversion to Catholicism. I found the story very powerful, particularly, as like him, I was very anti-Catholic in the past. The book version gives us the additional benefit of Kimberly Hahn's account of her own journey. I think I actually find her sections of the book more interesting and enjoyable because of her prolonged resistance to conversion.

This book is really moving. You really feel for the couple during their dark years, when Scott was a Catholic and Kimberly was still a Protestant. Even if you disagree with her conversion, you have to admire the fact that she held fast to her convictions on the indissolubility of marriage and the husband's headship, even when she opposed her husband's faith.

I particularly liked the story about how Kimberly could not bring herself to say the Hail Mary until the day of her first confession, on which she finally manages to say the prayer while helping a little girl to remember how to say it. I personally had no struggle with Mariology. I used to come up with all that rubbish about ancient gooddess worship, but deep down I envied Catholics. I remember in the past looking at a statue of Mary and wishing I could venerate the Blessed Virgin. When I started going to mass regularly I just said the Hail Mary without any inner struggle.

One criticism I can see Protestant readers making is the fact that Scott does not spend long talking about his changing views on justification while still a Protestant, a shift which Kimberly follows him on. For most conservative Protestants, the doctrine of justification is central to the Gospel and any compromise or revision like the New Perspective tends to get fiercely opposed. I can see Protestants accusing the Hahns of being on shaky ground from the start.

This book had a powerful impact on me and is a great story of a couple moving deeper into the truths of Christ and His Church.

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