Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

My Photo
Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Happy Advent!

Today we celebrate the New Year in the Catholic faith. We prayerfully await the coming of the Lord in a two-fold way-not only celebrating His incarnation, but also anticipating His final return .
Let's ask for His grace to open our hearts once again to "prepare him room."  Traditionally, Advent is a period of prayer and fasting not unlike , Lent. Once again the Church encourages the faithful to draw closer to God, especially at a time of year when the world looks anywhere but to heaven,

Oh, as an aside, here's a little tune for you to enjoy:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Only Pet Peeve With Being Catholic: Confession Eavesdroppers

This is an unusual moment on this blog. I am actually going to write something negative regarding the Church. For the past nine years I have blogged about the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as seen from the eyes of an evangelical Protestant ("Born Again" non-denominational Christian) who returned to the Catholic faith.
   Today I'm going to right about a pet-peeve that I have had for years. It's actually not about the Church or the faith, but about Catholics. So here goes....
    I love  the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is also know as Confession. It is a beautiful sacrament (as they all are) in which we encounter Jesus and experience the cleansing action of his blood poured out for our sins. Yes he was crucified and died only once, but that forgiveness provided on the cross extends throughout eternity and we avail ourselves of it through the priest who has received the authority to forgive sins from Jesus himself!  We walk into the confessional burdened and sin-sick, and walk out freed and healed. Not only do we experience a restoration of our relationship with the Lord, but are given grace through the sacrament to go out and sin no more!  How great is that?
    My pet-peeve is the circumstances that often surround receiving this wonderful sacrament of grace.
In my diocese, I have the advantage of multiple parishes within a short driving distance and I like going to different churches each time. I am ashamed of my sinfulness and stupid thoughts and actions and I feel more comfortable confessing anonymously to priests who don't know me. Since I go about every two or three weeks, I visit a lot of different Catholic churches in my diocese.  Several times I have noted that a person parks themselves directly in front of the confessional. In a completely empty church, the person literally sits in the pew in front of the confessional throughout confession! They themselves usually aren't going to confession so I wonder why they choose to use that spot to pray especially since the evening mass could be some forty- five minutes later?
   I am anxious enough going to confession, but to think that someone is eavesdropping on the confessional is truly disturbing to me.  What else would be the reason to sit in front of the confessional when the entire sanctuary is completely empty? I suspect these are disturbed folks and I need to have more grace for them, but it sure makes confession more anxiety provoking then it needs to be. Some parishes will have a sign that asks people to respect the privacy of the penitient and stand away from the confessional but most do not. When I have been standing in line for confession at times I have unintentionally overheard a loud penitent or demonstrative priest giving advice and I literally plug my ears, or move further to the back of the line. Therefore, I know that people directly in front of the confessional can clearly hear what's being confessed!
   So, pray for me that I will have more grace and patience for my unusual fellow Christians who need to be frustratingly close to the confessional during the Sacrament and pray for those who feel the need to do it. All of that rant now being said, I will continue to avail myself of the Sacrament of Forgiveness as often as I can in the hopes of growing closer to God here on earth and someday seeing him face to face healed of my sin-sickened soul and body.

"Ask Jesus to make you a Saint. After all, only He can do that. Go to confession regularly and to Communion as often as you can." 

- St. Dominic Savio

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Synod and the Sky is Falling

I am becoming fatigued by the number of Catholics who are fearing that the Church will collapse over the recent synod on the family. Conspiracy theories abound regarding "agendas" and "take-overs." The Church has been through a lot worse times than this. Chicken Little had nothing over these arm-chair blogger/theologians.
    I wonder if there were observers at the time of the Council of Nicea (where the entire Church almost split on a not so small matter of whether Jesus was truly God) proclaiming doom and predicting the death knell for the Church? Were folks second-guessing the pope, the bishops and the work of the Holy Spirit? Were they ready to pack it in and join the Montanists who felt they knew what God was saying by manner of prophecy and personal interpretation of scripture?
     During WWII, Heinrich Himmler, the chief of Adolph Hitler's security services threatened the Archbishop of Berlin, Cardinal Konrad Graf, with plans to crush the Catholic Church. Cardinal Graf listened politely and then responded:  "Well, good luck. We've been trying to do that for 2,000 years, and [the Church is] still here."
    My conclusion is we should stop the nay-saying and back-seat driving, divisive gossip, criticism of the pope and the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and allow the Holy Spirit to do what he does best. Like we used to say when I was a protestant " Just trust and obey for there is no other way..."

Sunday, October 04, 2015

"So Disappointed With This Pope"

A calvinist pastor/blogger recently made the above statement because he believes Pope Francis wasted an opportunity to preach the gospel at the U.N. and  US Congress during his mission trip here.
     First one would have to discern which gospel the blogger is talking about? The full gospel as taught by Holy Scripture and the Magisterium of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic faith or the truncated version of the gospel that developed in the past 500 years based on a tortured personal interpretation of scripture.
    Secondly, if one couldn't see the gospel preached in every moment, every word, every gesture, every prayer, and every blessing given by this successor of Saint Peter, I believe that individual refuses to see or hear.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Pope's Prayer

I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. 

No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.

The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. 

Now is the time to say to Jesus: Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace. Amen 

Pope Francis

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Today The Church Celebrates The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Here's a song I wrote to honor ( not worship) the Mother of our Lord ( after nearly a lifetime of ignoring her, and not calling her blessed)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Camping and Catholicism

Almost a year ago, I decided to build a teardrop camper. It took five months from October to March but,
alas, it was finally finished. My wife and I and our little dog have had many adventures exploring Pennsylvania's myriad beautiful campgrounds in the countryside.
   As evangelical Christians before my conversion, it we would have been extremely difficult to obey the Lord's command to honor the Sabbath if we were away from our home church on the weekends. We  would choose not go to church since the likelihood of finding a congregation with similar beliefs and worship styles was near impossible. Since becoming Catholic, we have never missed the opportunity to worship on Sunday because you can pretty much find a Catholic Church wherever you go.
    What a reminder that Christ really intended for One Church, One Faith One Baptism! It seems silly that camping would reinforce my belief in the the universality of this Church, but it just makes sense that God would desire us to worship in his house wherever we travel. In two thousand years, since Jesus came and established the Church, there is  a Catholic Church somewhere in every part of the world, even in the hinterlands of rural Pennsylvania!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mocking the Pope

There is a deep grief I experience when Catholics ridicule the Holy Father on social media. I spent 31 years against the Catholic faith mocking popes, bishops, priests etc and I myself was my own pope. I have taken off my "pope hat" and handed it to the successor of Peter, whoever it may be. I will trust and honor him because he walks in the shoes of Peter. To have Catholics openly disrespecting him publicly with comments and innuendo, does nothing for the mission of the Church, which is primarily to save souls. When Catholics take to the internet to criticize the pope, they don't realize other Christians are watching. The problem is that these hyper-critical Catholics are over-represented on social media and they give a distorted view of the Catholic faith based on their dissent and constant suspicion of the Holy Father. In the 16th century, a German Augustinian monk disagreed with the pope about several issues. Eventually this led to mocking the successor of Peter calling him vulgar names and commissioning pictures of the pope being excreted from the rear of a devil. You all know how that worked out.

Monday, July 06, 2015

My Recent Interview on Catholic Vitamins Podcast

Several years ago Deacon Tom Fox  from Arizona contacted me about sharing my testimony on their Catholic podcast and it ended up taking two episodes. Recently Deacon Fox asked me to revisit my conversion story again on his show. I did an abbreviated version and added a few thoughts about pope Francis.  Here it is: 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Catholic Bishops and The Supreme Court Ruling on Same Sex Marriage

"Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home. 

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions. 

Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.  " 


Locations of visitors to this page