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Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession Hardcover – March 18, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

President of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Hahn investigates the concept of forgiveness.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Image; 1 edition (March 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385501706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385501705
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Scott Hahn is the author (or editor) of over forty books, including several recent titles (Joy to the World, Evangelizing Catholics, Angels and Saints, and Consuming the Word), along with best-selling titles like Rome Sweet Home, The Lamb's Supper, Hail Holy Queen, A Father Who Keeps His Promises, Lord Have Mercy, First Comes Love, Swear to God, Understanding Our Father, Scripture Matters, Spirit and Life, Understanding the Scriptures, Catholic Bible Dictionary, Many Are Called, Signs of Life, Reasons to Believe, Answering the New Atheism, Ordinary Work Extraordinary Grace, and Living the Mysteries. His academic publications include Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises (Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library), The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire: A Theological Commentary on 1-2 Chronicles, Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI, Letter and Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy, and Politicizing the Bible: The Roots of Historical Criticism and the Secularization of Scripture (1300-1700). He is the editor of the academic periodical, Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology, and co-editor of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible.

An exceptionally popular speaker and teacher, Dr. Scott Hahn has delivered thousands of popular talks and academic lectures, nationally and internationally, on a wide range of topics related to Scripture, Theology and the Catholic faith. Hundreds of these presentations have been recorded and distributed by Lighthouse Catholic Media. He has appeared on hundreds of television programs on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), where he has also been the regular host and presenter on several popular 13-week series (including Our Fathers Plan, The Lamb's Super, Genesis to Jesus, Consuming the Word).

Founder and President of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (www.stpaulcenter.com / www.salvationhistory.com ), Dr. Hahn holds the Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he's taught since 1990. He also holds the William and Lois McEssy Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. In 2005, he was awarded the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary (Latrobe PA), which he held through 2011. He also held the Cardinal Laghi Chair of Catholic Theology from 2002-2004 at the Pontifical Seminary Josephinum (Columbus OH).

Scott graduated from Grove City College in 1979 with his BA in Theology, Philosophy and Economics (magna cum laude). He graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1982 with his M.Div (summa cum laude). Scott received his Ph.D. in Theology from Marquette University in 1995 (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). He was ordained in 1982 at Trinity Presbyterian Church (Fairfax VA). He entered the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, 1986.

Dr. Scott Hahn was born in 1957, and has been married to Kimberly since 1979. They live in Steubenville Ohio and have six children and twelve grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Catholic and finding it difficult to avail yourself of the Sacrament of Confession? Using the old excuse of "I don't need a priest to confess"? Really wanting to go to confession but don't know how or where to start the process? Wondering why the Sacrament even exists? Well, look no further -- this book answers all of these questions. Scott Hahn does a fine job of asking these questions, answering them, and (what is so very useful to Catholics who are not Bible-literate) shows the Biblical basis for the Sacrament of Confession. Hahn's style of writing lends to quick, easy reading. Yet, it is so very powerful. I now use various chapters of the book in preparation for Confession.
Catholic and going to Confession regularly? Still get this book. I think it will only deepen your love for the Sacrament and for the Faith.
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Format: Hardcover
This is another thoroughly enjoyable and insightful book by Dr. Hahn. I highly recommend this book for Catholic and non-Catholic alike. This is a timely and much needed book covering a topic and sacrament apparently and sadly underutilized by many Christians. Dr. Hahn with a characteristic positive approach shows how confession as a wonderful gift not only heals and reconciles but also grooms and maintains the Christian on the right path. One could hardly discuss the sacrament of Confession without looking into what drives the need for reconciliation and that is of course sin. Using scriptural examples like the prodigal son, and St. Augustine's "Confessions", the author effectively illustrates our basic weakness toward sin in ways I hadn't considered before (for example I hadn't considered much the role of the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son). I also liked the discussion of how sin affects the whole mystical body of Christ and how its strength is found in the sacrament of penance. There's lots of good stuff in this book. I picked up a copy of this book before catching a flight for Pittsburgh and then on to Steubenville for my niece's graduation. I drove my niece to Steubenville from Washington State 4 years ago and loved the faithful Catholic university environment. This time for the graduation, I had the good fortune of meeting Dr. Hahn after Sunday mass.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll be the first to admit it. Although I have been a practicing Catholic all of my life I have failed to take full advantage of the sacrament of Penance. I have rattled off all of the usual excuses but after reading "Lord, Have Mercy" I realize that the fault for this blatant oversight is all my own. Scott Hahn makes a thorough and powerful case why we need confession. He presents us with a history of the sacrament from its earliest origins in the Jewish tradition. He argues that the average Catholic must come to a more mature understanding of this sacrament and needs to make frequent confession an important part of his/her spiritual life. Otherwise, we are sure to fall into the trap of blaming everyone else--our victims, our parents, our boss or perhaps even the government--for our own shortcomings and failures. I especially appreciated the "Examination of Conscience" presented in the appendix of this book. It is an extremely helpful tool for anyone preparing for the sacrament of Penance. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is by far the BEST book by Dr. Hahn that I have had the privilege to read! Rome Sweet Home was very good, The Lamb's Supper was an eye opener, and Hail, Holy Queen touched my heart, but Lord, Have Mercy is a beautiful examination and explanation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation /Confession / Penance. He refers to Sacred Scripture as well as the Early Church Fathers, with a profound sense of humor and reverence at the same time. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to know the Catholic faith better as well as someone who just wants to understand the Sacrament of Reconciliation in all it's beauty.
Thanks Scott and God Bless you!
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Format: Hardcover
In reading this book I was regularly surprised by unexpected depths. Hahn is wiser than he seems because he strives to write at a simple and popular level. This book is also well-organized and documented, and will serve as an excellent guide to anyone seeking to understand the classic Roman Catholic theology of sacramental confession.
I found this to be a book of firm and orderly persuasion, calling Catholics (like me) back to a sacrament that has become astonishingly neglected. Hahn finds a biblical foreshadowing of confession in the Old Testament sacrifices: the sinner was required to personally offer God something costly and difficult in satisfaction for his sins. This is not the only way Hahn presents confession; he also speaks of it as healing and reconciliation, and devotes a chapter to the parable of the Prodigal Son. Hahn also knits together four aspects of the Atonement: economic, military, liturgical and legal -- all under one heading, that of Covenant. Only from the over-arching perspective of God's Covenant with us in Christ, he says, can we understand the full mystery of reconciliation.
Hahn also makes the valuable point that when we tell ourselves self-excusing stories, we cut ourselves dangerously loose from reality. We all do this, to a greater or lesser degree, and it takes great effort to resist it and practice honest, but we must realize that we are in God's all-seeing presence all the time anyway. We must grow to tolerate that light, because it is the only light there is; all else is confusion and darkness. This is just one of Hahn's many thought-provoking discussions.
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