How do you define Home when you talk about coming Home to Rome?

It seems like a very unconventional definition of the word home, whatever it is. Does anyone know when Catholics started using it that way, and why? And are there similar catchphrases in other languages, or is it just the rhyming opportunities that English provides?

The same way you would if you had a long lost brother or sister, who left the house years ago and you didn’t know where they were; and then they came back home. You’d hug them, throw your arms around them and say “Welcome Home.”

So when a brother or sister finds their way back to Rome, their way back to the Catholic church we respond with a simple “Welcome Home”.

Its roots are in the parable of the prodigal son, who returns home to a welcoming father. Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are the three sacraments of initiation that a convert receives. By which we are made adopted children of the Father, through Jesus Christ.

I’ve seen a similar phrase used in Spanish, though it doesn’t rhyme, and “Rome” isn’t always in the phrase. More often just “return home” or “come home”.

Back in my Protestant days, to “come home” was a common saying. I assume it is universally used the same way - to denote someone who has joined whichever faith one is talking about.

Home to Rome just happens to rhyme :slight_smile: Rome is the “seat” if you will of our church and we consider the Church our Mother and our Home, its where we belong, where we feel as though we are back with our family. It just like when we say in the South that someone “came home to Jesus” meaning that they recognized that their proper place is in the arms of Our Lord. :thumbsup:

I think it may have become popular based on Scott Hahn’s book “Rome Sweet Home” which is about his journey from evangelical Protestantism to the Catholic Church. For many of us who have been on this journey, becoming Catholic is coming home to the Church set up by Christ, and it is definately home! Home is safe and secure, where we feel loved and belong. When you have been wandering in the wasteland, it is wonderful to be home!


I suspect it is based on the Prodigal son…coming home…once lost…now found…celebrated on arrival…:slight_smile:

The fact that home and Rome rhyme in English is purely serendipitous. The Church is our Mother. Christian and Catholic were synonomous for the first thousand years of Christianity. To be Catholic is our birthright. It is natural to view returning to the Church as a homecoming, back to the embrace of our Mother – the Mother Church of all Christendom.

Jesus didn’t leave us the Book; He left us the Catholic Church, and the Church produced the Book (Bible)

Jim Dandy
Ex-Southern Baptist, ex-agnostic, ex-atheist, ecstatic to be Catholic!

Most of what I’m seeing here equates Home with Catholicism. But the saying in question equates Home with Rome. What definition of Home can be legitimately equated with a city on the Italian peninsula, particularly when it’s a saying that’s used by people who may be half a world away? Even if it is the seat of your supreme leader, that would make the city his home- not yours. You live in your home from which you are led, and he lives at his home from which he rules and leads in the capacity of monarch. I get that you see him as your father, and that the prodigal son aligned his obedience and loyalty to his father and the rest of his family, but his home was a place that he went out from and returned to. So there’s still a bit of a disconnect, because it seems that Rome is no more a home to you than it was for the prodigal son.
Perhaps there’s some kind of parallel in Islam where Mecca has a similar significance to Muslims all around the world. Maybe I should ask a Muslim if they have any comparable sayings that equate Mecca with home.


Every Catholic Christian that is Roman Catholic sees their local Church as Rome. Rome is where the heart is. Try that one on for size.:slight_smile:

So if you’re a Catholic of, let’s say the Ruthenian Rite…home is Ruthenia? What is this connection between the rite you practice and the place and time in which the rite originated? Do you tend to look at Catholic parishes as if they’re embassies of a certain rite which represents something like a country or empire, even if that country or empire no longer exists?
While I’m trying things on for size, does Rome refer to the empire or to the city and does it really matter? Other examples- what if you’re dealing with two Catholic rites from the same country as with the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites? Do they have a common home that is generally in India, or do they tend to pick out specific cities on the sub-continent which they call home, even when they’re Indians living in America?
Alternatively, do you expect all Catholics to adopt Rome as their home even if they’re not Latin rite? Or is it necessary to break it down further and talk about different homes for different rites? Does it make a difference if the Eastern or Byzantine or Syriac Catholic rite is self-governing? Do you think of home as the place where your governors live as if their home is your home, or is there no such connection to your way of thinking?

The seat of authority is Rome – for every Rite. That where our Pope (English for the Greek and Latin: Father) resides, the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome. He is the ultimate authority, appointed by Christ. Matthew 16:18-19. But his authority was established long before Matthew was written. So reading Mt was not the source of the papacy, but is the confirmation.


But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successors of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all Churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic tradition. END QUOTE Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus, inter A.D. 180 / A.D. 199. (bold added)

I don’t think home means Rome, but home is the Catholic Church.
That is the most broad meaning of the phrase.

For people from reformation tradition (protestants), it can be narrowed that historically they are part of the Latin Church. In this sense, home has a better rhyme with Rome…

For someone Catholic but not Roman, say Eastern Catholics, they will nod that the Catholic Church is their home, but they will never say they are Roman. Their mother Church is not Rome, although in communion with Rome. For them, the more specific home is their sui iuris church, either it Ruthernian, Coptic, Russian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Etiopian, Romanian, Syrian, Indian, any of the sui iuris Church within the Catholic Church where they belong.

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