Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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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.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day and Protesting


Thank God for the freedom we have in the United States. We have no state or authority over us telling us where and how to worship God. One of the reasons that the papacy is so distasteful to many American christians resides in this same "spirit of independence." The tyranny experienced by our founding fathers left a very bad taste in their mouths for anything "royal" or papal for that matter. The first thing they did was draft a Constitution and create a system, the Supreme Court, where by its interpretation could be living and "timeless." This is analogous in some ways to us having the Bible and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church being present for all time to help interpret it. The Constitution, if left to individual interpretation, without the authority of the US Supreme Court to guide the proper interpretation would have led to complete chaos and a country completely divided into many disputing factions.
Now, getting back to the topic of Independence, there used to be a distinct sense in the US that Catholics would be more loyal to the Pope than to their own president. The election of JFK fueled these fears, but that fear was certainly unfounded! A Catholic's "loyalty" to the Pope is more a spiritual than political one. We are loyal in the sense that we believe that the Bishop of Rome has been given authority by Christ to speak in areas of faith and morals . Therefore, as a practicing Catholic, I should live in accordance with the teachings of the Church, not picking and choosing which teachings I like or think are easy to adhere to.
When I, as a Catholic, choose to not accept the teachings of the Church, I am basically asserting my independence from this Church, protesting so to speak. Sadly, the spirit of independence has greatly influenced American Catholics in a negative sense where many no longer feel compelled to following the teachings of the Church.
Imagine if the early Christians took the apostles teachings and separated out which ones they wanted to follow! Imagine if each congregation in Galatia, Phillipi, Colossae, Corinth, Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome were able to choose which teachings they were comfortable with and which ones they could reject or ignore. The result would have been chaos and there is a very good possibility that the church would have fizzled out within one or two generations. The writings of the early church fathers are replete with the notion that there needed to be absolute loyalty to the apostles teachings. It was also clear to the early church fathers that the bishop of Rome had the primacy over all other bishops and that is where the "theological buck" stopped.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Prodigal Daughter said...

While reading your blog today I am thinking about the current debate over how to interpret the US Constitution. There are those who say the Constitution should be interpreted the way the “Framers” intended. Others proclaim that the Constitution is a “Living Document.” Who is right? Some say the courts should decide, hence the fight over judicial appointments. The confusion over Constitutional Interpretation (www.usconstitution.net/consttop_intr.html) is causing divisions among our citizens that without some final authoritative decision could lead to chaos and even civil unrest. This debate points to the reason why no government system is perfect and especially one based on a document left to “individual interpretation.”

Some say that the Bible alone can be used as a document that unites Christians to one another based on their “individual interpretation.” Although I understand that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, on some level it is still a book, a document that people base the formation of doctrine on apart from any final authority. Could it be that the reason there is so much confusion about its meaning is that no matter how inspired, a single document was never meant to be the sole source for creating a system of belief/government? Without some final authority who is to say that your understanding is right and mine is wrong?

July 04, 2006 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God that Ratzinger, I ,nor you prodigal daughter, are not the final authority!

The final authority is Jesus Christ. The flip flop is: yes, we believe in Jesus Christ who is the final authority and yes we believe in the pope as the final authority. No thank you for the confusing double talk. Jesus is the final authority over all and that is it.

July 06, 2006 1:51 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Anonymous said:

"No thank you for the confusing double talk. Jesus is the final authority over all and that is it."

Thank you for the comment!
It's not "double talk" if you look at Matthew chapter 16 vs 18-19. But before you read Matthew 16, I kindly suggest putting on "1st century Jewish" glasses. We need to read the Scripture in the cultural context in which it was written. Jesus's passed on his authority to Peter by giving him the keys of the Kingdom using the same words as Isaiah when the King gave the authority over all his kingdom to his prime minister Shebna. The disciples understood the import of what their Master was giving to Peter with the OT Scriptures fresh in their minds. Jesus can't be here physically to be the "final authority" so He entrusted his authority to the men who started His church. Jesus, didn't say, "I am giving you the Bible," he said, "Simon, I am changing your name to Peter , and in this process I am building my church on you and giving you the ability to even forgive sins!" Clearly, if he gave them all that authority to bind, loose, forgive sins,etc, it was not meant to end just with Peter in the early church.
If you say Jesus is the final authority, my question to you is this? How does he wield this authority today? What did Jesus tell them to do if there was a disagreement among the brethren? Did he say "come to me and I will be your the final authority" No, he said take it to the Church! The pillar of all truth is found in the Church (Not your or my personal interpretation of the Bible), as Paul said to Timothy.
The recent unfortunate debacle
among the Episcopalians is very direct evidence of what happens when there is no "final authority"
as Christ intended when he built His Church. After the Reformation, Calvin, Zwingli and Luther sent horrific verbal attacks to each other over doctrine, each theologian thinking he was the final authority. "I Dr. Luther said it, and it must be so" is a quote that established his "final authority." The Catholic Church has had one undivided, unchanging universal voice when it comes to faith and morals throughout the 2000 years, and that is because Christ Jesus established his "final authority" upon sinful men. Starting with Peter and continuing all the way up to Pope Benedict this succession will never end until He comes again.
If we didn't have the "final authority" of the Pope Damasus in the fourth century, we wouldn't accept that the all the current books in the Bible (before ML took out7) are the inspired Words of God. All Protestants and Catholics must trust the final authority of the Catholic Church each and every time they crack open the printed Word of God.

July 06, 2006 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Prodigal Daughter said...

Anonymous said:
“The final authority is Jesus Christ.”

Dear Jesus,

Please help me to know which Church is true, which books belong in the Bible, what baptism really is, how to make sense out of suffering, if it is ok to use contraception, why euthanasia, stem cell research, and invitro fertilization are morally wrong, what part (if any) good works play in my eternal salvation, and what you meant when you said “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life within you.”

Love,
Your Prodigal Daughter

These are some of the spiritual and moral issues I wondered and prayed about as a Protestant, issues needing some authoritative response. Of course I trusted Jesus as my final authority, still do. Yet I had to listen to someone else’s understanding of these things in order to lead an authentic Christian life. So I trusted Jesus through my pastor who said “My church preaches the truth, the Protestant Bible is the Word of God, if you have enough faith, you won’t suffer, it’s ok to use contraception, you’re saved by faith alone, and baptism and communion are merely symbolic expressions of our faith.” Honestly, Protestantism just wasn’t working for me, I got hungry and started to search in the Catholic direction.

Now I trust Jesus through the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which is the only one that can trace her routes back to Jesus. Who by his final authority said “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” To me, the Church is Christ’s gift. I don’t have to wonder or wander, I can trust in Jesus through His Church.

July 06, 2006 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roman Catholics in order to defend their deceptions and nonsense about Peter being the first Pope will site the fact that Peter is now known a Cephas for the first time. Cephas = a stone or a pebble, but Cephas is Aramaic for Peter and Peter was known as Peter or Cephas right at the beginning; see Matt 4:18; when he began to follow Jesus he was already known as Peter or Cephas. There is therefore no significance in Jesus mentioning his name in Matt 16 other than to emphasise that he was the first man to identify his Saviour. It is utter nonsense to suggest that Peter was specially chosen above his peers, especially when it was John whom The Lord loved more; John 21:7.

Here is another question. At what point did the Church begin to amass vast sums of money and its leaders wear all their fancy refinery when the original disciples went out without a penny and Our Lord had nowhere to lay his head?

July 07, 2006 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, if you are or were the least bit unsure of whom The Rock is (for there can only be one Rock) read it here from 1 Cor 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

July 07, 2006 11:32 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for the comment.Anon says:
"Roman Catholics in order to defend their deceptions and nonsense about Peter being the first Pope will site the fact that Peter is now known a Cephas for the first time... It is utter nonsense to suggest that Peter was specially chosen above his peers, especially when it was John whom The Lord loved more;"

The interesting thing is that many theologians, scholars and historians from the very beginning of the early church recognized the Primacy of Peter and wrote extensively about it. Without using inflammatory polemics, history seems to be quite clear about Peter's role in the Church.
Note the dates when these statements were written.

Clement of Alexandria

"[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’ [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]" (Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved? 21:3–5 [A.D. 200]).


Tertullian

"For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith]" (Antidote Against the Scorpion 10 [A.D. 211]).

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).


The Letter of Clement to James

"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter, the first fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).


Origen

"[I]f we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens" (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).


Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).


Cyril of Jerusalem

"The Lord is loving toward men, swift to pardon but slow to punish. Let no man despair of his own salvation. Peter, the first and foremost of the apostles, denied the Lord three times before a little servant girl, but he repented and wept bitterly" (Catechetical Lectures 2:19 [A.D. 350]).

"[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him. . . . While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . [T]hey launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there—he that carries about the keys of heaven [Matt. 16:19]" (ibid., 6:14).

"In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis [Acts 9:32–34]" (ibid., 17:27).


Ephraim the Syrian

"[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the firstborn in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).


Ambrose of Milan

"[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . .’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).


Pope Damasus I

"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).


Jerome

"‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

"Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord" (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).


Pope Innocent I

"In seeking the things of God . . . you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us [the pope], and have shown that you know that is owed to the Apostolic See [Rome], if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged" (Letters 29:1 [A.D. 408]).


Augustine

"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’" (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).

"Some things are said which seem to relate especially to the apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning unless referred to the Church, which he is acknowledged to have represented in a figure on account of the primacy which he bore among the disciples. Such is ‘I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ and other similar passages. In the same way, Judas represents those Jews who were Christ’s enemies" (Commentary on Psalm 108 1 [A.D. 415]).

"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).


Council of Ephesus

"Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: ‘We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you . . . you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessednesses is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the apostles, is blessed Peter the apostle’" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]).

"Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome] said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’" (ibid., session 3).


Pope Leo I

"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles, and from him as from the head wishes his gifts to flow to all the body, so that anyone who dares to secede from Peter’s solid rock may understand that he has no part or lot in the divine mystery. He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter’s solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445).

"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . established the worship belonging to the divine [Christian] religion. . . . But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery" (ibid., 10:2–3).

"Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. . . . [So today through the bishops] the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head" (ibid., 14:11).


"If you don't accept the Pope that Christ established to be His vicar for the Church, you essentially become your own Pope, or you implicitly find one to your own liking. Pope ------(add your name or the name of your favorite pastor, leader etc)"
Tiber Jumper of Pennsylvania 7/8/06

July 08, 2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

ANON asks:
"At what point did the Church begin to amass vast sums of money and its leaders wear all their fancy refinery when the original disciples went out without a penny and Our Lord had nowhere to lay his head? "



The Great Pope John Paul's Last Will and Testament left ZERO!

"I leave no property behind me of which it is necessary to dispose. As for the everyday objects that were of use to me, I ask they be distributed as seems appropriate. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that this be attended to by Father Stanislaw (Eds: his personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz), whom I thank for his collaboration and help, so prolonged over the years and so understanding. As for all other thanks, I leave them in my heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them."

To Anon; Does your pastor have a car? Does your pastor own his own home? Cell Phone? personal computer, IPOD etc? Does he have a retirement plan, 401 K? Life insurance? If the answer is yes, he is clearly much more wealthy than the Pope!
And do you have a place to lay your head? Did you take all your personal wealth and belongings and property and share them in common with the rest of your church as the early christians did? If you answer no, then why do you hold the leader of the Catholic Church to a standard that you yourself and your popes (pastors) don't follow?

July 08, 2006 2:46 PM  

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