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Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey to Rome Paperback – September 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 105 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586170287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586170288
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. Defreitas on January 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Thomas Howard, an academician of Fundamentalist background, details his religious journey through high-church Anglicanism and ultimately to the Roman Catholic Church at age fifty. It is, as he notes in a foreword, not an unfamiliar story: the venerable Cardinal Newman, and the late Msgr Ronald Knox among others have written nobly in this vein. But please do read Thomas Howard who is, I would venture to say, the ablest writer of English prose alive in the world today. We say this not merely for the Audenesque capacity of his vocabulary, the Scarlatti-like elegance of each paragraph, or the luminously well-reasoned arguments he advances in favour of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church . . . but also (and most especially) for his good humour and his charity toward those in the Protestant world with whom he has parted company.
On the seventy-second page, Dr Howard describes his reception into the Ecclesia in an amusing, smile-inducing fashion; he is in the process of realizing that ethnic homogeneity (thank God!) is not one of the marks of the Catholic Church. "This is what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like." No preferential option for the lettered, for the laurelled, for the European, for the successful.
It is the beauty of the Church Fathers, the "next generation" after the Apostles, that leads him more than anything into Catholicity. Their writings -- those of Ignatius, Polycarp, Origen, et al. -- are described as "titanic" and "luminous." If they were in error, as the fundamentalists would claim, then their error was infinitely wiser than the truths that Howard had known.
But again, the story is familiar; please do read this book (in conjunction, perhaps with Howard's "Evangelical is Not Enough") for the scintillant, effervescent, joyful, good-humoured prose -- the very endearing style in which the tale is told.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Phillips on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
If I were able to write with anything like the eloquence of Thomas Howard I might very well have written a book very much like this one. Like Howard I was raised in a fundamentalist church. Like Howard I felt that I was missing something very important in that setting and I moved to a liturgical church where I too spent almost twenty-five years. Like Howard I still felt that something was missing and the more I studied, the more I prayed and the more I reflected, the more I felt the call to come home to Christ's Church. And finally, like Howard I finally answered that call and am now more at peace and closer to God than I have ever been.

There is very little in the way of doctrinal discussion to be found in this book but where such issues are discussed they are handled in a very forthright and clear manner. The author makes it very clear that part of what led him to the Catholic Church is that this is the Church founded by the Apostles of Christ and that they or those who were taught by them set up the structure of both the Church itself and the Mass based on the first person teachings of Jesus. Basically he says that the Catholic Church is the only Church with a true Apostolic succession and an actual commission from Christ himself to act as a guardian of orthodoxy. I couldn't possibly agree more.

The basic argument about the authority of the Church is not the major theme of this book however for this book is the very personal story of the author's spiritual journey that led him home to the Catholic Church. This is the story of a man's search for spiritual fulfillment that includes a detailed but not at all dull explanation of the factors that led him to his ultimate destination.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on April 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm so happy that Ignatius brought this wonderful book back into print. I can't add anything to the excellent review here, except my brief reflections. Wherever you are on your journey, don't fail to discover this wise and witty writer. This brief autobiographical book takes up where Christ the Tiger left off, except for the passing of time in between. Tiger is Howard's Seven Storey Mountain; it takes you to the point of decision and then drops off.

The action picks up some years later, as it were, in this book. In between, Howard spun out a half dozen musings. One of the most popular was Evangelical is Not Enough; but that book was an argument. This one is a journey. The result of that argument and somewhat of the journey was arguably his best book, On Being Catholic. It would be unfortunate if non-Catholics stayed away from that book, since long-time readers will recognize and rejoice in his luminous style, deft turns of phrase, and graceful blend of reflection and rumination.

The Secret of New York Revealed is another wonderful bit of autobiography which pieces together bits of the past in a style reminiscent of his best apologetics book, Chance or the Dance. If you're a long-time Thomas Howard reader, don't miss his mature writing. The secret of his likeable style? Thomas Howard writes not to convert the reader, but to convert himself. But don't be surprised if you want to go along on the journey.
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Format: Paperback

Thomas Howard's literary roots as professor of English show in this little (105 pages) 'conversion' book. A side-effect of reading from the 'conversion' genre is that my vocabulary has widened. I do not remember the last time I had to use the dictionary so much as I did when reading "Lead, Kindly Light."

Jut like the backcover states, "with grace, charm, and wit" Dr. Howard uses this book (compared to his earlier and better known "Evangelical is not enough :worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament") to tell his life story of his journey from Evangelical to Anglican, and then to Roman-Catholicism. This is also a book of "apologetics without polemics."

Here is a dichotomy of the testimony of Howard's faith and convictions. In "a step toward Rome" the author presents his reasons for converting to Anglicanism (Roman Anglican, or Church of England, in the US present as Episcopal church) and things that formed a bridge towards Rome. These reasons are:
1) the ancient church worship was a "Eucharistic liturgy,"
2) church year present ("free churches have no liturgy or church year"),
3) and the sacamentalist aspect of Anglicanism
("the preaching of the Word occurs most characteristically in union with the sacramental Word - the Word made flesh, "made present" - this is what 'anamnesis' the word the Lord used for 'rememberance' means - in the Eucharist").

On this third point he fails to mention the Lutheran Church as also a sacramental church (besides the mentioned Orthodox, Anglican, and Roman-Catholic ones).

"The Church's Roots" is where I connected the most with the author.
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