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.

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.  " 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kyrie Litany of Pope Gelasius

The Catholic faithful always pray at each mass for the world, public leaders and for the needs of Church and for the pope especially. This has been part of the Liturgy since the early centuries of the Church. Here's a litany written for the mass by Pope Gelasius, a pope from the late 5th century. He is most known for his Decree which authoritatively listed all the books of the bible to be used as Scripture. This is also known as canonization.  (Martin Luther later removed several of these books that were in this canon, proving that Catholics never added books to the bible, but I digress)

Here's the prayer from the 5th century mass, still appropriate for todays turbulent times:

We beseech thee for an abundance of divine goodness upon the spotless Church of the living
God set up throughout the world. Kyrie eleison.

We entreat thee, Christ our Lord, for the holy priests of God the all-powerful, for the ministers
of the sacred altar and for all people who worship before thee the true God. Kyrie eleison.

Especially do we beg the manifold wisdom of Him Who is the Word of God for all who are
right bearers of the word of truth. Kyrie eleison.

We beseech the giver of spiritual gifts for all those who mortify themselves in mind and body
for the Kingdom of heaven and busy themselves with the work of spiritual things. Kyrie eleison.

We call the down the might of the Lord upon holy rulers who hold in high esteem justice and
right judgment and also upon the armies in their service. Kyrie eleison.

We entreat the Lord and Governor of the world for the comfort of good weather and suitable
rains, for the careful tending of the vital winds and the favorable course of the several seasons.
Kyrie eleison.

We beg the mercy of almighty God for those who, by virtue of their initial acknowledgement of
the Christian faith are now numbered among us and in whose hearts has been enkindled the
burning desire for heavenly grace. Kyrie eleison.

We implore the mercy of our redeemer for those caught in the weakness of human infirmity,
who rejoice in spiritual sloth or in any other worldly error. Kyrie eleison.

We pray the Lord our Savior for those undertaking long journeys or whom wicked powers have
oppressed or the hardship of hostilities have afflicted. Kyrie eleison.

We beseech the Lord of truth for those deceived by error...or heretical perversity or steeped in
pagan superstition. Kyrie eleison.

We entreat the Lord of mercies for the doers of pious works who out of fraternal charity care
for the needs of the sick. Kyrie eleison.

We invoke the Lord of glory for all who enter this holy house of the Lord and who gather here
with religious fervor and suppliant devotion. Kyrie eleison.

We beg the most merciful Lord for the strength of our souls and bodies and for the forgiveness
of all our sins. Kyrie eleison.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Nothing Disproves Solo Scriptura More Than THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY

We recently celebrated the Feast of the Holy Trinity. On this grand solemnity, the Church once again, reminds its faithful of the truth that God is in three persons, the Blessed Trinity. The Council of Nicea in 325AD was convened predominately because the doctrine of the Trinity was not being understood among the Church. Despite the gospels and letters of the apostles being circulated among the Churches, almost half of Christendom was believing that Jesus was not truly God.
   It took a council of the Catholic Church, not just personal interpretation of Scripture, to authoritatively state that God was indeed three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Scripture alone without the authoritative voice of the Church, was not enough.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Post -Evangelical Blogger Says We Need Sacraments

Rachel Evans, a "post-evangelical" believes that millenials are leaving the church because they crave authenticity, not entertainment. (See her  piece here. ) This, I believe, has been drawing more people to the ancient Church. The Ancient-Future church movement a few years ago was evidence of this.
     Coffee in the foyer, jumbo-trons and high-volume stage productions are hip, but ultimately are not what people need .   They need sacraments.  Though I can't agree with Rachel that the Episcopal church is where one should end up, I hope others are attracted to authenticity and the Church that Jesus started, containing all the grace to live abundant lives pleasing to Him and ultimately attain Heaven.

"You can get a cup of coffee with your friends anywhere, but church is the only place you can get ashes smudged on your forehead as a reminder of your mortality. "

"What finally brought me back, after years of running away, wasn't lattes or skinny jeans; it was the sacraments. Baptism, confession, Communion, preaching the Word, anointing the sick — you know, those strange rituals and traditions Christians have been practicing for the past 2,000 years. The sacraments are what make the church relevant, no matter the culture or era. They don’t need to be repackaged or rebranded; they just need to be practiced, offered and explained in the context of a loving, authentic and inclusive community."

After 31 years as an evangelical Protestant, when I attended my first Catholic mass, I knew I was home. I whispered to my wife, "not one wasted word," meaning I received what I needed, no fancy light shows, worship bands, theatrical preaching, just a 2000 year old liturgy designed to be universal for all times and all ages and all peoples.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Why Catholics Veil the Crucifix and Statues During Passiontide

                                                           Apse of Saint Joseph the Worker, Orefield, PA

The two weeks before Easter Sunday are known as the Passiontide, beginning after mass on the fifth Sunday of Lent. There is a tradition in the Church dating back to the 9th century where the crucifixes and statues are veiled in somber purple cloth. In some parishes, this practice fell away after the 2nd Vatican Council, but still continues  in many parishes throughout the world.

Why does the Church veil statues and the crucifix?
Because the Church is always trying to direct the faithful into deeper participation and understanding of the sacred mysteries of faith. In this case, the passion and death and resurrection of our Lord.  During these two weeks before the celebration of the resurrection, we experience the humiliation of our Lord and are reminded of it by the veiled crucifixes.  "When the Jews picked up stones to throw at Jesus, he hid from them." (John 8:59) But why the statues also?  "The statues of the saints, too, are covered; for it is but just that, if the glory of the Master be eclipsed, the servant should not appear." (Abbot Gueranger)

So once again, the Church invites us during Lent to deeply experience the suffering, humiliation and ultimate passion of our Lord.  But why all this suffering and humiliation? Didn't Jesus suffer and die so I don't have to?  Yes and no. Yes he died so we may have eternal life being freed from our sins by His cross and resurrection.  But no, we must also suffer because he asks us to also take up our crosses and follow him.  "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death."  (Phil 3:10)  

Finally, after the passiontide is over, the Resurrection of our Lord is experienced with even greater joy during the Easter  Triduum when the veils are removed. "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.(Matt 27:51)

So you can see these Lenten practices of the Catholic faith are not "man-made inventions and meaningless rituals." They are based on Scripture and promoted by the Church to nourish and enhance our love for the savior who suffered and died for us.  Once again, the Church uses the "stuff of earth" to bring us grace from Heaven!
 (Reprinted from my 2012 post)

Holy Saturday

If you listen very carefully, in the most quiet stillness of this day, you will hear the echoes of the clanking shackles falling off  and the ancient prison cell doors creaking open followed by the glad shouts of captives, now set free.  He continues to set prisoners free. We wait for His resurrection.....

"“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.”  (Author Unknown, Pontifical University, St. Thomas Aquinas)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Happy Feast of Saint Joseph

For over 1900 years, the Church has venerated (not worshiped) the Foster father of Jesus and has asked his intercession. My baptismal name is Joseph. Since I have become Catholic I have regained a sense of appreciation for this obedient saint who was given  the task of raising up the Son of God.

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.  (This prayer is 1900 years old)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

March For Life 2015

Heading to DC today with our church to pray to end the holocaust that has imperiled the  soul of this nation for the past 40 years.  Pray with us. Pics to follow.


Locations of visitors to this page