Both were born in 1957, Scott on October 28th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Fred and Molly Lou Hahn and Kimberly three months later as a Christmas present to Jerry and Patty Kirk on December 24th in Cincinnati, Ohio. Though both were born into other faiths, the fact they were both born in highly Catholic cities was a portent of their eventual destiny. Scott's grandmother was Catholic and very devout. When she died he was given her religious belongings by his parents, including her much-used rosary beads. He looked at them as a chain that bound her to a Catholicism that was false and surmised that she had finally broken that chain with her death. He silently prayed that she would be delivered from her false ways on earth and received into Heaven. He thought then, with the influence of "Young Life," a high school ministry he had been exposed to, that Catholics needed Bible Christians to help them out of the lies and rut that was Rome. This was the misguided feeling of so many non-Catholics. In retrospect Scott puts it in perspective, "Fulton Sheen once said, and I paraphrase, that there are not 100 people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, although there might be millions of people who hate what they mistakenly believe the Catholic Church to be and to teach. And thankfully I discovered I fell into the second category. Because for years I opposed the Catholic Church, and I worked hard to get Catholics to leave the Church. But I came to see through a lot of study and considerable prayer that the Roman Catholic Church is based in Scripture."
Scott and Kimberly's paths would first cross in 1975 at Grove City College, a coed four year institution in Grove City, Pennsylvania north of Pittsburgh and east of Youngstown, Ohio. During their junior year Scott asked Kimberly to assist him in "Young Life", a ministry to high school students. It was dear to him for this is where he became a born-again Christian during his prep years. After graduation in May 1979, Scott, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree through a triple-major in Theology, Philosophy and Economics, and Kimberly, her B.A. in Communications, were married on August 18, 1979. After the honeymoon the couple, intent on being Presbyterian ministers, entered Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts. They both graduated magna cum laude in 1982 with a Masters of Divinity for Scott and a Masters of Arts in Theology for Kimberly.
During her studies, the more she researched birth control for a Christian Ethics class in the seminary, she could see, primarily from a Scriptural perspective, that birth control was immoral. The fact the Roman Catholic Church was the only faith who upheld this teaching peaked their interest, but many prejudices against the Church that they had been ingrained with prevented them from seeking out more truths further at the time. But it did amaze them that this Papist faith could persevere correctly in this moral teaching which, to them was so otherwise non-biblical and erroneous. The path home to Rome had begun.
They would be short steps, many painful ones at first as slowly but surely Scott realized, through extensive study of Sacred Scripture - especially of the covenant - that the Protestant theological presuppositions he was taught in the seminary provided more questions than answers. Despite these variances, he continued his ministry at various Protestant congregations he was assigned to in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kansas and Virginia where he taught Theology at Chesapeake Theological Seminary. The more Scott studied, the more he prayed, slowly realizing the path he was following had only one direction - Rome. This in itself was a shocking revelation for he had been programmed to despise the "whore of Babylon" whom he had mistakenly considered an instrument of the devil, when in fact, the more he probed, dissected, analyzed and prayed, he realized his grave error. This all evolved from his passion to study Catholicism in order to sway Catholics away from their Faith. Little did he realize it would work the other way! He recalls one of his friends, a brilliant professor Dr. John Gerstner telling him that "if we're wrong on sola fide, I'd be on my knees outside the Vatican in Rome tomorrow doing penance." Scott continued that "he got the point across; this is the article from which all of the other doctrines flow. And if we're wrong there, we're going to have some homework to get done to figure out where else we might have gone wrong." It prompted him to delve deeper, especially because of the contraception issue Kimberly had raised.
Scott had always been under the impression that the Catholic Church did not put much weight in the Bible, but as he studied further he realized the Word was at the core of the teachings of the Church. Dogma and Doctrine were solid. When he put syllogism into action only the Roman Church passed the test. The more he tried to discover flaws in his findings, trying desperately to rationalize he had mistaken various points, the more he realized he had stumbled on truth. This prompted him to make a decision that would strain his marriage to Kimberly for a time and alienate forever many of his former colleagues. It was a fulfillment of Christ's words in Matthew 10: 35, "Do not think that I have come to send peace upon the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace. For I have come to set a man at variance with his father, and a daughter with her mother, and a daughter-in-law with her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake, will find it."
It was a heavy cross for both Scott and Kimberly but one they both embraced. The more he preached Presbyterianism the more it reflected Catholic thought, so much so that his students remarked more than once, "You're going to become a Roman Catholic." While on the outside Scott denied it vehemently just as Peter denied Christ three times, inside his soul was churning and he was coming to the inevitable truth that he was going to become a Catholic. Once he resolved this conflict, which occurred one afternoon when he jokingly told Kimberly and she responded "Well, are you?" it hit home...as in Rome. Even so he still tried to talk himself out of it, claiming that he was "a Calvinist of Calvinists, a Presbyterian, an anti-Catholic. I was weaned on Martin Luther." Kimberly's reply struck a chord that could be felt all the way to the halls of the Vatican: "Yeah, but sometimes I wonder if you're not Luther in reverse." As the years passed more and more those things he had taken for granted in his Protestant studies met with a dead end. The only answers came from Catholic teaching. When he was offered a pastorship at a very influential church he did something he never expected. This was what he had strived to accomplish and here he was turning it down. Why? Because of his questions on the Eucharist and the Sola Scriptura issue. After turning down this ambitious and prestigious position he went job-searching, landing a job as administrative assistant to a college president, affording him ample time in the evenings to continue his research.
When he discovered Catholicism was the only course, and no matter the current he had to "swim the Tiber," Kimberly tried to stave off the inevitable. She had been born into a solid Presbyterian family, her father and uncle were both ministers and she had married one, even had aspirations herself as well as her brother. To stop this she called on Scott's friends who contacted him. One who Scott conversed frequently with was one of his best friends and fellow students at Gordon-Conwell, Gerry Matatics who chided him about who would "jump to Rome" first. Rather than converting Scott back to his Calvinistic tendencies, Gerry was converted to embracing the Faith along with Scott. Though Kimberly was chagrinned, her love for her husband overcame her sadness and she gave him her blessings, trying desperately to understand her husband's conversion. He enrolled at Marquette University in order to further study Catholicism full time. Reluctantly Kimberly accompanied Scott to the Holy Saturday Vigil Mass in Milwaukee in 1986 where Scott, along with his notorious anti-Catholic friend Gerry and his wife Leslie all were received into the Roman Catholic Church by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, the 25th selection of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY, who was then a monsignor and pastor in Milwaukee.
Kimberly's conversion would take five long, stormy, agonizing years for there were obstacles preventing her from following her heart as Scott had done. Three of these obstacles were, as Scott puts it, "Mary! Mary! Mary!" for Kimberly struggled with the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary which, from all her training was merely the Mother of Christ who had other children and should be emulated as a loving mother but not elevated to the lofty position the Church has placed her. Kimberly was taught that the Blessed Mother had other children, that she was not ever-virgin, that the Immaculate Conception was impossible as was the Assumption and any attention on her took away from Jesus. She clung to the passage in John 14: 6, "No one comes to the Father but through Me" without realizing the true meaning as she struggled through her own "dark night of the soul."
It coincided with the delivery of their third child Hannah. While accompanying Scott to Sunday Mass one morning in Joliet, Illinois where Scott had taken a teaching job, Kimberly began to hemorrhage badly. Scott raced to a pay phone to call her doctor and was told the operator would page him. Kimberly's life and the life of the child hung in the balance. He prayed and immediately the phone rang. It was the doctor. But how soon would he be able to get there since minutes counted? Would you believe seconds? For he was in the basement of the church and because he was there, Divine Providence preserved Kimberly and little Hannah's life. The experience had a profound effect on Kimberly. Just before Hannah was born Kimberly told Scott, "I'm not sure exactly why, but the Lord has impressed upon me that Hannah is to be a child of reconciliation." It was the beginning of healing on her path to Rome. It continued when she told Scott that Hannah should be baptized in the Church. She was baptized by Monsignor Bruskewitz who Scott personally asked to perform the sacrament.
More than anything Scott longed for Kimberly to join him in the Faith. Msgr. Bruskewitz cautioned him that it would happen but in God's time, not ours and to continue to pray and be a loving, supportive husband. They prayed together for direction. With Scott's patience and prayers, the more she prayed and studied, she realized all the accolades accorded to Our Lady were deserving and that rather than taking away from Jesus, Mary was focusing on her Divine Son reflecting all her virtues back to the Blessed Trinity. It was a revelation that sparked a joy in her heart as well as Scott's for the long, torturous road to Rome was finally complete. The only path left was the path to Heaven and that path led through Rome. Thus, five years from when Scott was received into the Church, Kimberly followed suit on Holy Saturday in 1990 in Joliet, Illinois.
They had truly come home to Rome Sweet Home. This brief profile barely scratches the surface of their conversion journey which is chronicled in their best selling book "Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism" which has been printed in seven other languages, including Chinese, Czech, French, German, Italian, Polish, and Spanish. It is a love story that began as a horror story told with simplicity, grace, wit and charity to all and has deepened the faith of countless readers. In the short time it has been out it has become a classic and is available in every Catholic book store or at the Ignatius Press website at www.ignatius.com. Of their book, Bishop John Myers of Peoria, the 53rd selection of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY, wrote, "Dynamic, fresh, and devoted are terms which describe the approach that Scott and Kimberly Hahn take to assist in the renewal of the Church in the United States. Now, with their conversion, they are admirably suited to assist Catholics in re-discovering the treasure that has been entrusted to them. My hope is that many people will benefit from contact with Scott and Kimberly Hahn through their stories of conversion."
In 1995 Scott received his Doctorate in Biblical Theology from Marquette University in Milwaukee. In addition to his professorial duties, numerous articles and talks around the country, Scott is also editor of Scripture Matters as it appears in Envoy Magazine. He is also author of the books "A Father Who Keeps His Promises and his latest book released this month entitled "The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth" which is a must reading for all who appreciate the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Along with co-author Leon Suprenant, Jr., Scott wrote "Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God" which is a compilation of twelve top Catholic authors explaining the teachings of the Church. He is an exceptionally popular speaker and teacher who has delivered hundreds of talks the world over with over 500 of these talks recorded on audio and video tapes available from St. Joseph's Communications at www.saintjoe.com which have been tremendously effective in bringing thousands of Protestants and fallen away Catholics back home to Rome. Kimberly has also a series of talks on the "Mysteries of the Rosary; Proverbs 31; Knowing the Will of God" and "Dating and Courtship" which are all related to family life and the Catholic Faith.
Kimberly has chosen to be a full-time, stay-at-home Mom ever since her first child was born. Today the Hahns have six children Michael who is 16; Gabriel, 15; Hannah, 12; Jeremiah, 8; little Joseph now 5 years-old and the latest edition, newborn David. For twelve years she has homeschooled the kids, as well as co-authoring a book on Catholic home education with Mary Hasson entitled "Catholic Education - Homeward Bound: A Guide to Home Schooling." Though the ministry is vital and she enjoys speaking with Scott at conferences and talks, her family comes first. Besides home teaching, she also conducts a weekly women's Bible study group in her home. Along with Marcus Grodi, David Palm and Father Joseph M. Esper she co-wrote a book on Y2K preparedness long before it became the latest rage. It is called: "Millennium Insurance: A Christian's Guide to Y2K and How to Prepare Wisely For It."
The Hahns' greatest desire is that more non-Catholics will see through the anti-Catholic smokescreens and facades that uneducated and misinformed sects mistakenly foist on others which furthers the prejudice and old-wives tales against the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Generations have been tainted by these fallacies, and Scott and Kimberly are determined to stop the flow by dedicating their lives to spreading the truth. What started out as a vendetta against the Catholic Church, because of Scott's initial intense hatred for all that Rome stood for, has turned into a tremendous parallel of another who persecuted the Church nearly two millenniums ago - Saul. While Scott was not knocked from a horse, he was knocked on his keester in realizing that all he had fought against really wasn't what he thought. Like Saint Paul he and Kimberly have realized the Church is really not the enemy they perceived, but a loving family that openly embrace Prodigal Sons and Daughters that all may be one. Because of this Scott and Kimberly Hahn have been on fire for the Faith in bringing countless more souls home to Rome Sweet Home.
Pope Saint Gregory II elevates Saint Boniface to Bishop, sending him to Germany.
Pope Innocent III closes the 4th Lateran Council - Twelfth Ecumenical Council in which a crusade had been planned, a decree had been made on annual communion, the heretic Albigenses was condemned, and numerous reforms enacted.
England tries to reconcile with Rome and Pope Julius III after the death of Henry VIII, but most of the damage had already been done and the Catholic Church would never hold prominence in Britain again with the exception of Ireland which would remain loyal to the Holy See through all adversity over the centuries.
Death of Pope Pius VIII, 253rd successor of Peter. This open-minded pontiff who had been born in Cingoli, Rome died at the age of 69 after dealing with the Sultan in favor of the Armenians, beginning the postal service of the Vatican State, and strengthening missionary activity throughout the world. It was during his pontificate that the political movement gained steam for reunification of Italy and would eventually lead to the end of the papal states and the establishment of Vatican City.
Pope John Paul II publishes his second encyclical Dives in misericordia on Divine Mercy.