By the late 1980’s, Evangelicals and Fundamentalists in this country had cornered the market on the Bible—it was simply assumed by most people that Catholics didn’t really use the Bible. Being a “Bible Christian” meant being a Protestant of some sort. Catholic leaders of the time didn’t help. They were embarrassed to engage in apologetics, and addressing Catholics’ biblical illiteracy was not a priority.
Enter a young dynamic preacher named Scott Hahn, arguing that not only is the Bible consistent with Catholicism, the proper understanding of the Bible leads to Catholicism! It was a providential moment that engendered a wave of conversions and reversions.
I myself was one of those converts. A Catholic friend handed me a tape of The Scott Hahn Conversion Story in 1991 and two years later I was received into the Catholic Church. Yet what is remarkable about my own story is how unremarkable it is. Thousands of former Protestants cite Hahn’s conversion story and subsequent work as instrumental in their conversions, and he has impacted countless cradle Catholics who have reverted to or deepened their faith. It’s likely that no one living has had a greater positive impact on the Catholic Church in America than Scott Hahn.
Why? Clearly Hahn’s talent for explaining and defending the Catholic Faith is part of the answer. His ability to relate complex subjects in a way anyone can understand is legendary (I imagine more Catholics today understand what “covenant” means than at any time in Church history). But he also came to public attention at the right time, at a moment when there was a desperate need for Catholics to rediscover the riches of the Sacred Scriptures.
And after 30 years, Hahn is still going strong. He’s written more than 40 books, many journal articles, and gives presentations across the country and around the world. He founded the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology to further his mission (some would say obsession) of making the Bible accessible to Catholics.
Hahn has avoided scandal and controversy. He’s a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He keeps good relations with the hierarchy, and refrains from public criticism of Church leaders. His focus is singular.
Even with just this quick summary of Hahn’s work it becomes clear that only someone very small-minded would see Scott Hahn as a problem. Unfortunately, such a small-minded person exists: Sean Swain Martin, assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and author of the recently released American Pope: Scott Hahn and the Rise of Catholic Fundamentalism.
The basic thesis of American Pope is this: Scott Hahn claims the message of the Bible is simple and clear, and that the Bible itself is inerrant; American Fundamentalists make similar claims; therefore, Scott Hahn is an American Fundamentalist disguised as a Catholic. To make the Bible accessible to the masses, as Hahn does, is akin to fundamentalism, according to Martin….
The above comes from a Nov. 11 story in Crisis magazine.
Calling Scott Hahn a “fundamentalist” seems to be ridiculous name-calling. I’ve heard him speak numerous times and have read some of what he has written. He wouldn’t have the endorsement of so many priests, bishops, lay leaders and other Catholic scholars if he were. My graduate studies at Franciscan University were before Dr. Hahn got there, but knowing Fr. Francis Martin, Dr. Andy Minto and others who’ve taught Scripture there, Franciscan University does not hire fundamentalist theology professors. That said, they don’t all necessarily agree on everything. But, they all believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and don’t try to “get around it,” so to speak. The example cited in the article doesn’t seem to be evidence of fundamentalism. And, the New American Bible translation does have some “issues.” According to many Catholic Scripture scholars, it is not always the most faithful translation of the original languages. And, other parts of the English-speaking world use better English translations in their lectionaries (for public proclamation at Mass). And, Sean Martin is a doctoral student in theology, not a Scripture scholar. It seems the article is a hit piece on Dr. Hahn and, frankly, many, if not most, faithful Catholics. Remember, it’s the Catholic Church that gave us the Bible.
I am not sure what you meant but this article is a defense of Scott Hahn against a book.
The only Scott Hahn book I have read is Rome Sweet Home and I have seen him once.
I like the book and his talk that I heard.
I am not sure what would be wrong with being a fundamentalist. I think it is just one of those words that people use to derogate.
I call myself a Catholic fundamentalist and I mean I believe in Scripture and Tradition.
I am a Bible believer and I have been since I read the Bible, long before I ever heard of Scott Hahn.
I believe that the Bible says what it means and means what it says. I don’t need proof. God’s Word is the proof.
(I don’t believe in dumb Bible interpretations, such as the miracle of sharing or Bible criticism like the nativity story was made up from pieces of folklore.)
There is nothing stupid about believing God’s Word.
me, Yes, I am referring back to Sean Martin’s critique, the basis for the article, not the article itself. Maybe Mr. Martin should (re-)read Dei Verbum (God’s Word) from the Second Vatican Council. As we chant frequently, “God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us.” Psalm 117:27
We believe in God and His Divine Revelation, our Faith is not a mere philosophy.
On the contrary, the article by Eric Sammons defends Hahn. Sean Martin’s book is the hit piece. Like you, Sammons goes on to cite NAB as problematic for several reasons – “dated, pitiful” are his words – while defending Hahn’s RSV choice.
I think you took the latter portion of the italicized Martin passage as Sammons’s thoughts (I did too for a split second) then supposed it the end of the article perhaps?
Haven’t met with anti-converts attitudes from some in the Church, it wouldn’t surprise me if that were the basis of the attack.(BTW, such attitudes don’t make me feel “marginalized’ or unwelcomed. I merely conclude that I am in the presence of an idiot.)
“Scott Hahn is an American Fundamentalist disguised as a Catholic.” As a convert from Fundamentalism (1978 Easter Vigil) to Catholicism I dare say fellow converts like Hahn bring a unique perspective and expression to the Catholic faith, and this is a great gift to the Church. Upon conversion one does not thereby relinquish one’s high regard for scripture, especially as many converts come to the Catholic faith due to scriptural studies. But if so, then one has truly passed from Protestantism to Catholicism through intellectual struggle and final insight. Therefore Sean Martin’s characterization quoted above might more accurately be rendered “Scott Hahn is a Catholic disguised as Fundamentalist,” though I should like to think that one through.
The Bible is simple and clear, on one level, and it is also deep and mysterious, on another level. The Bible is also inerrant concerning everything that the divinely inspired authors intended to communicate. Scott Hahn is correct. What’s the problem?
Dr Hahn’s work has invigorated the interest of Catholic laypeople in the Sacred Scriptures. That is to be applauded loudly. However, the Church’s teaching on biblical inerrancy differs considerably from the position held by many of our Protestant friends. Some Protestant denominations teach that every word of the Bible is literally true and without error. The problem with such an assertion is that there are some errors in the Bible. The Church teaches the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures. Note that the Scriptures are inerrant when addressing matter related to our salvation and not with regards to modern science, medicine, anthropology, technology, etc.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 107 The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.”
108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living”. If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”
Dr. Scott Hahn is not a “fundamentalist.” Religious fundamentalism, typically of some Protestant groups, is a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible, rejecting scholarly study, research, interpretation and understanding, and rejecting those who do not agree with their views, as “condemned.” By contrast, Catholics have an ancient tradition of Biblical scholarship, research, study, and careful interpretation. The clergy is trained to lead laymen in reading and understanding the Bible, and preaching about Scripture readings for the day, at Mass. Many Protestants during the Reformation simply wanted to read the Bible for themselves, not have the “elite,” educated clergy read and interpret the Bible for them. These groups became “fundamentalists,” rejecting “elitest,” “educated” clerical leadership. Other Protestant groups had educated, ordained clergy, to lead their congregations.
Are you aware that Catholics were not permitted to read the Bible until the 1950s? The Catholic Church resisted the study, research, interpretation of the Scriptures. Pope Benedict XVI is a Scripture scholar and he was considered progressive in the 1960s. Many Scripture scholars had to be rebuked by the Vatican.
It was clergy who told me that the miracle of the loaves and fishes was really just people pulling their own food out of their pockets and sharing. It was clergy who told me that nothing in the Bible before Abraham happened. If you are not aware of some of the bunk that passes as Scripture study in the Church…good. it does not need to spread any more.
You should see how some Bible passages are interpreted by gay priests.
The fundamentalists are leading in evangelization, in fighting for the unborn and in trying to keep America’s right of freedom of religion.
“Are you aware that Catholics were not permitted to read the Bible until the 1950s?”
Citation please. Something from Rome? CDF, Catechism your choice, bub.
And, btw, you sound like a Jack Chick tract. Are you sure you are a Catholic?
Umm, what??? I guess that the translators of the Douay-Rheims translated the Vulgate into English in 1582 in vain if Catholics were not allowed to read the Bible. And yes, that’s a few decades before the KJV that fundamentalist esteem. In fact, the KJV translators borrowed readings from the Douay-Rheims without admitting it. Just compare Mark 1:45. Pretty sure that “blaze abroad” is not a the first translation choice that comes to mind.
Catholics were allowed to read the Bible and encouraged to buy them since the printing press was discovered and Bibles became affordable, but only Catholic Bibles. They were also told to be careful of unapproved sources. There was a list of forbidden books, plays, movies, etc. Now there is not.
I have bought some “Catholic” Bibles and other books that have used such misinterpretations as Joseph and Mary were “engaged” instead of the correct interpretation “betrothed”. There is a big difference between the two interpretation, and the Bible clearly states that St. Joseph was thinking of divorcing Mary. One cannot divorce one to whom one is not married. Now I look for such flaws (heretical interpretations) before I buy whenever possible. One did not have to worry about that so much before Vatican II.
what? No, that is not true. There have been many abuses of Catholics throughout the ages by the clergy, however! Most Catholic families used to have a nice Catholic family Bible in their homes. Ours had beautiful pictures, with the words of Jesus in red ink. Also, it had Catholic Biblical scholarly information and prayers. I am a much older Catholic from an educated background. Our priests and nuns were not ignorant and abusive. If you remember Ven. Abp. Fulton J. Sheen, a favorite– he was educated, intelligent, and cared deeply about people. He was never ignorantly abusive nor superstitious.
Catholic homes did HAVE Bibles and Catholics could read the New Testament and the Psalms. That is my understanding as told by my mother who is older than you (though now deceased.) She was taught in Catholic schools that it was a sin to read the Bible.
I know other older people who were just told that they did not need to read the Bible-that the priests and nuns would tell them what they needed to know.
From the USCCB website:
Once the printing press was invented, the most commonly printed book was the Bible, but this still did not make Bible-reading a Catholic’s common practice. Up until the mid-twentieth Century, the custom of reading the Bible and interpreting it for oneself was a hallmark of the Protestant churches springing up in Europe after the Reformation. Protestants rejected the authority of the Pope and of the Church and showed it by saying people could read and interpret the Bible for themselves. Catholics meanwhile were discouraged from reading Scripture.
Identifying the reading and interpreting of the Bible as “Protestant” even affected the study of Scripture. Until the twentieth Century, it was only Protestants who actively embraced Scripture study. That changed after 1943 when Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu. This not only allowed Catholics to study Scripture, it encouraged them to do so. And with Catholics studying Scripture and teaching other Catholics about what they were studying, familiarity with Scripture grew.
“….That is my understanding as told by my mother who is older than you (though now deceased.) She was taught in Catholic schools that it was a sin to read the Bible.
I know other older people who were just told…”
Stop. Just stop. I’m 61 YO and I never heard such error in my life from a very large Irish and Italian families.
You are spreading falsities when you should have known better….
You do the Faith and our Lord little good with these foolish statements.
Are your parents still alive? Ask them.
If not, ask the oldest people at your church.
I never saw Archbishop Sheen on TV. His show went off in 1968-53 years ago. I have seen a few of his talks as an adult,
People who had the Baltimore Catechism are are their late 60s or early 70s.
We had a deacon who tried to get people to say the answer to a question from the Baltimore Catechism in his sermon- I think it was “Why did God make me?” the answer was supposed to be “To know, love and serve Him in this world and to be happy with him in the next.” Once he got them started, a few people could hesitatingly say it but most people had no clue what he was even talking about.
what??? Can you reference any Church teaching that backs your (erroneous) assertion in your first sentence?
A long time ago, many people were illiterate, and couldn’t read or write. The educated clergy taught laymen about the Catholic Faith. Sacred Scripture has always been only one part of Catholic life, along with the Mass, Sacraments, prayer, etc. Catholic emphasis has been more on seeking purification, sanctification, preparing for Heaven. Catholics have always loved to read spiritual books about the Saints, or works written by the Saints and holy men and women. A favorite book of St.Therese of Lisieux was “The Imitation of Christ.” Such works are very inspirational, and help people in their spiritual lives. Protestants seek Heaven too, but their emphasis is much less on the supernatural, and more on the average person and his everyday life, and just being a good person, obedient to God. They have no Mass, with a miraculous Eucharist imparting supernatural graces from Heaven, nor any other Sacraments, imparting supernatural graces. Most Protestants rejected that dimension of Christianity, during the Reformation. They just emphasized the Bible.
Even from the very beginning of his ministry, Ven. Abp. Fulton J. Sheen had countless numbers of Catholic converts, from all walks of life. He conducted classes in the Catholic faith everywhere he went, and taught people in individual sessions, in their homes. He was a very great teacher of our Faith.
American Pope is just one more manifestation of the irrelevant remains of what will be meant by progressive ‘Catholicism’. The renovation of the Church in the United States has been ushered in by former Protestants like Hahn (there are tens and tens of thousands of them).
Dr. Hahn is just a representative target. It really isn’t just about him.
It’s about the loathing that folks like Martin feel about the renewal of the Church, begun by JPII and continued by faithful Catholics like Hahn. It’s no coincidence that media like EWTN and conversions of folks like Scott Hahn occurred around the same time.
One must remember that much of what Dr. Scott Hahn has learned has been from cradle Catholic priests and past Catholic saints. He, too, has had to learn and sort out the truth from falsehood, just as we all do. It took a long time for the “lightbulb” to go on in my head about the Catholic teaching of the perpetual virginity of Mary. Good Catholic books on scripture and the litanies of the saints did it for me. I came to understand the connection between the Ark of the Old Testament and the Ark of the New Testament — the Virgin Mary.
If one does not believe and understand the Old, it is hard to believe the New.
The Lord sent a revival and He is sending another.
That is true, but while we at it, we should not go dancing around the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle in the Holy of Holies, the place of the Sacrifice, as even King David was not allowed to do that in the Temple. Doing the tango or any other secular type dance in the sanctuary is a no, no. It is not about us and our performances but about Him
i don’t see it. where?
It is very unfortunate, but there have also, historically, been some abusive fundamentalist Protestant sects who have publicly proclaimed that “Catholics are going to Hell,” and even that “the Catholic Pope is the Anti-Christ!” And they have also wrongfully stated that we “worship Mary,” Christ’s mother, and “believe in ignorant superstitions,” especially the Mass, the Real Presence of Christ in Holy Communion, and the Sacraments.
I have several different Church- approved versions of our Catholic Holy Bible– including the Haydock Douay-Rheims Bible in larger print (easier to read), and the USCCB-approved New American Bible, Revised Edition– used for Mass, in our Lectionary. A few years ago, I read that two of Dr. Scott Hahn’s sons were seminarians, soon to be ordained as priests. He must be very proud of them.
Their son Jeremiah was ordained a priest in May of this year. Their son Joseph is still in seminary at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Michigan. Both serve the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio.
Hahn is dangerous hack. He has advanced novel, theologically erroneous / heretical opinions (eg, the “feminine” Holy Ghost) in the past and promotes “theistic evolution” in rejection of the Church’s Traditional Doctrine of Creation revealed in Genesis Chapters 1 – 11.
I have read some Scott Hahn books and heard him speak. I do not remember him implying that the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) is feminine. Please give a reference.
There is a feminine term for “wisdom”, which is from Proverbs Chapter 9, that starts out: “Wisdom hath built herself a house; she hath hewn out her seven pillars.” — Douay-Rheims. This feminine term for wisdom is applied to the Virgin Mary in Catholic litanies. She is called “The Seat of Wisdom” from having birthed the Christ Child from whom she got her wisdom. Holy pictures have the baby Jesus sitting on Mary’s lap, the Seat of Wisdom.
Church teaching refers to the Holy Spirit as masculine as the Holy Trinity is referred to as such.
On the link you posted, Mark Shepherd accused Dr. Hahn of referring to the Holy Spirit as feminine in his book “First Comes Love”, but there are two links to a defense of Hahn’s book by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz that do not work. The article does mention that the first edition of the book was revised because of errors corrected in later editions. I have not read nor have that book, so I cannot comment on Mark Shepherd’s accuracy.
If some of my posts seem somewhat simplified and lacking detail, I am only allowed five and a half lines on my computer to post anything on here before it is cut off by CCD. Some other people seem to be allowed many more words in one post than I am. Not complaining, just a fact.
me– I don’t think the Holy Spirit has a gender. Mary conceived Jesus Christ miraculously, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Other Biblical wisdom passages used to refer to Mary as the Seat of Wisdom that Scott Hahn has probably mentioned are Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) Chapter 24 that includes: “And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted exalted, and shall be admired in the Holy Assembly.” When read in context it could refer to the Magnificat of Luke 1:46-54.
Todd A. –Oh, I had no idea! Actually, I never read any of his books, just saw him on many EWTN shows, over the years. Wonder what EWTN and the Franciscan Univ. of Steubenville has to say about the problems you mentioned??
I am not real comfortable with any theologian.
I just prefer what is known to be Truth.
“I am not real comfortable with any theologian.”
Really? So…. you’re “not comfortable”with say….
St Thomas Aquinas
St Francis de Sales
St Augustine of Hippo
St Anthony of Padua
These are all declared Doctors of the Church. Try googling that title. You may get more…. comfortable?
Todd, can you reference any heretical teachings of his? (I know of none.)
That’s different than simply asserting Dr. Hahn is a heretic. Your name calling is similar to that of his liberal critics, only from the opposite direction.
And, the Catholic Church does not teach science about how God created, only that He created, including men and women in His image. We don’t all have to believe the same thing about how He created.
Todd A.– not sure of the concept you mentioned, of “theistic evolution”– but is that perhaps an argument used by modern Christian apologists, to defend the idea of God as our Creator, to atheist modern scientists who preach “atheistic evolution?”
California Catholic Daily-and it’s predecessors like News Notes-have been advertising the journal THE NEW OXFORD REVIEW for many years. Go to their website and do a search for Scott Hahn. Several articles will come up that outline some of the very problematic nature of some of his ideas and research methods. One is titled CONVERTS OR HAHN-VERTS? One common criticism about him is that he never sends his books out for peer review by other scripture scholars in academia before they get printed for the general public.
That’s a fair question. That said, did Sean Martin, who is a graduate student (and not in Scripture, but rather, like Dr. Hahn, in theology) submit his book for peer review before having it published?
Also, what does peer review mean when many in Catholic education have de facto departed from the Faith once delivered to the Apostles?
Well this convert is not a HAHN-VERT. I do not consider him an “American Pope”, but I did go through a similar intellectual path to becoming a Catholic as he. Cradle Catholic Archbishop Sheen, and other cradle Catholic writers and saints have had just as much influence on me as has Dr. Hahn.
Even older American country music, such as “The Statue of St. Anne” affected me. For those who never heard it: “The statue of St. Anne from the window was knocked, to the driveway below it fell on a rock. In the eyes of St. Anne tears did appear.” That was first time I ever heard of St. Anne.
So let’s see…. Aglialoro was degrading Dorothy Day a couple of weeks ago because of her alleged sympathies to communism and now he’s calling Scott Hahn a hack. Methinks it’s time to take some screenshots and send them to his boss Christopher Check. Along with copies of my donation receipts to Catholic Answers, of course.