In The Lamb's Supper and Hail, Holy Queen, Catholic theologian Scott Hahn offered reflections on the Mass and the Virgin Mary. In Lord, Have Mercy, he discusses Church teachings on the sacrament of confession. Drawing on church writings and the lives of the saints, he explains the significance of confession in the life of the faith.
Fifty years ago on Saturday afternoons and evenings, long lines of faithful Catholics would snake through the aisles of their churches to the confessional booths. Today most American parishes schedule confessions for perhaps 30 minutes a week, and only a handful of people show up. Hahn would like to revive the ailing practice, which to him is essential to Christian growth. "Each act of penance we offer, each sacramental confession, every little sacrifice conforms us ever more to God's image, makes our lives more resemble the divine life." Hahn's newest book is a defense of the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation (which he always calls by its older names of confession or penance) as well as a source of practical instructions for those unaccustomed to confessing. It is not surprising that his books sell briskly. His writing is clear and lively, laced with anecdotes, analogies and excruciating puns ("a new, whirled order") as he painlessly presents heavy theological topics: sin-mortal, venial and original; the divine-human covenant; self-denial and sacrifice; examination of conscience. Piling up scriptures like the evangelical he once was, he speaks with a conviction bordering on triumphalism. His love for the idealized church of the past, however, will exasperate some readers. Sexist terminology is abundant and his theology is unnuanced ("it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on a Sunday"). His adoration of the institutional church ("the Church teaching, as always, strikes the perfect balance") will amaze many of the theologians, historians and other people who read newspapers. (Mar. 18) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
President of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Hahn investigates the concept of forgiveness. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Scott Hahn’s Lord, Have Mercy is a thoughtful exposition of the sacrament of confession. With a lively blend of personal insights and theological acumen, this gifted author gets to the heart of the matter of confession: how it is anticipated in the Old Testament, how it is presented in the New Testament, and how necessary it is for the spiritual life today. I recommend this book to all who desire a clear and elegant presentation of the Church’s understanding of confession.”
-Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York
“Scott Hahn has done it again! With a style that is engaging and a content that is challenging, he lays out the scriptural foundation for repentance and confession, the history of the development of the sacrament, a lucid theology, and a practical guide for those who find confession difficult: ‘The more we need it,” he so rightly says, ‘the less we seem to want it.’ This book will be an eye-opener for those who think all they need is to tell God they’re sorry. For all it is a convincing testimony why, like bathing, we need confession often.”
-Reverend George T. Montague, S.M.