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.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Romish Receptive Aphasia - A New Syndrome




There is a recent medical phenomenon that I believe I might be the first to have noticed. It is a neurologic condition that involves the senses, in particular, the auditory pathway of reception. It is rather complex and my research is at this point empiric and preliminary but I post in the hopes that other bloggers have noted it. Perhaps with enough data collected, I may be able to formulate a plan of therapy and perhaps, a safe and effective treatment.

I have tentatively called it Romish Receptive Aphasia. In medical parlance, a receptive aphasia is a neurologic condition caused by a cerebrovascular accident leaving the victim incapable of understanding speech via the auditory pathways. Interestingly enough, a person with receptive aphasia can sometimes perceive written language via the visual tracts without difficulty but has marked difficulty in receiving the correct auditory message through the aural pathway(ears).

What makes Romish Receptive Aphasia , (which I shall heretofore refer to as RRA) so interesting and frustrating is that it is an intermittent disorder which presents when the sufferer is confronted with auditory stimuli with Catholic content or terminology. (It may be a more physiologic disturbance rather than anatomic abnormality as the diagram suggests.) Symptoms also have been known to manifest to a lesser degree in the presence of icons, prayer books, rosary beads and other Catholic paraphernalia.

On Easter's eve, I was having a light after-dinner conversation with a non-Catholic relative when he asked me about "salvation." I fingered my scapular under my shirt as I drew a deep breath. As I calmly attempted to answer his questions, I realized he was experiencing an acute attack of what I now believe is RRA Syndrome. It went like this:

Victim said:
Catholics worship idols!
I said: Catholics worship God alone.
This is what the victim heard me say (RRA kicked in): Catholics don't worship God alone. We worship idols!
Victim said: But don't you Catholics believe that you need idols like Peter and Mary to get into Heaven?
I said: Catholics don't worship idols and we believe in Christ's sacrifice on the cross as the only way to heaven. We honor Mary, Jesus' Mum and respect the Popes, but don't believe they get us to heaven.
This is what the victim heard me say(with RRA) : We worship Mary and the Popes and don't believe Christ's sacrifice is enough to get us to heaven.
Victim said: You pray to dead people so you believe there is more than one mediator between God and man .
I said:
Regarding Salvation, Catholics believe there is only one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus. The saints we pray to make intercession for us before the throne of God. They are not dead, but are alive and interceding for us as the early Church believed and declared in the Creed of Nicea and as Revelations speaks of.
This is what the victim heard: Regarding salvation, we have a whole host of other dead people we believe and trust in before we would even start to pray to Jesus! Besides we believe in non-scriptural sources such as The Creed which isn't in the Bible to make up our own doctrines!
Victim Said: Besides, I don't agree with any of these doctrines and your interpretation of those scriptures from Revelation. Because after all, Catholics worship idols .....

So there you have it. An actual case study documented, a neuro-religious phenomenon known as Romish Receptive Aphasia. If any of my readers have experienced what they feel may be a similar case, please share it with me.

In retrospect, I too had the RRA Syndrome 5 years ago when my wife first started to share Romish thoughts with me.
(I am making a self-diagnosis here)
When she said "I have been thinking about returning to the Catholic Church,"
I heard: I want to join that church of infidels and man-made religion.

But alas, Jesus cured me of the RRA syndrome.


And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In retrospect, I too had the RRA Syndrome 5 years ago when my wife first started to share Romish thoughts with me. (I am making a self-diagnosis here)
When she said "I have been thinking about returning to the Catholic Church,"
I heard: I want to join that church of infidels and man-made religion.

But alas, Jesus cured me of the RRA syndrome."

You give me hope for my own husband.

April 21, 2007 11:54 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for your post. I will say a prayer for your husband tonite. I was very closed to the Church and it truly was divine intervention that "opened the eyes and ears of my heart" to His Church.

April 22, 2007 12:27 AM  
Blogger Kacy said...

I have a case study to add to your research:

When I was visiting my family for Christmas, my non-Catholic sister asked me about pergatory.

Sis: Isn't pergatory where Catholics go to finish working their way into heaven?
Me: First, Catholics do not not believe they "work their way into heaven." We are saved by grace, which unites to Christ, and purifies us of our sins. Pergatory is an extension of the purification process, is often likened to a refining fire. If God is perfectly holy, we must be made perfectly holy to enter His presence. C.S. Lewis actually believed in a form of pergatory.
Sis: Hmmm, that makes a lot of sense.
Mom: (Shouting over my explanation) There's no such thing as pergatory! There's no such thing as pergatory, [sister's nam]! There's no such thing as pergatory!

What she heard: Catholics believe we are saved by works, and we go to pergatory to do earn our own salvation by being extra extra good. Notable heretics have believed in pergatory, and we believe pergatory is one way to make us good enough for God.

My sister is actually somewhat open to Catholicism. It's sad that this coversation couldn't go very far.

April 22, 2007 2:28 AM  
Blogger St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

A contributing factor to RRA is a neurochemical that is transmitted by Jack Chick tracts, and acts as a Selective Scriptural Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). SSRI chemicals fixate patients on certain areas of scripture, usually no longer than a sentance or two, and render other areas of scripture as incomprehensible.
The patients act as if the small snippets of scripture are the entirety of scripture, and refuses to acknowledge the parts of scripture they cannot process. Those that suffer from this disorder tend to congregate, in order to validate their incomplete rendition of scripture.

April 22, 2007 8:44 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

St. JimBob! Or should I say Dr. St. JimBoB?
You have clearly been doing some research on your own as well!
With your permission, of course, I would like to submit your work along with mine to the Journal Of Irreproducible Results!
Now I realize I also suffered terribly for years with SSRI and never realized what it was. Living for so long with RRA and SSRI made me SAD. (Scriptural Affective Disorder)

April 22, 2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Kacy:
Perhaps this syndrome is more widespread than originally thought.
Thanks for your contribution to the epidemiologic aspect of my research.
On a serious note, I share that sadness with you as most of my family believes I am a heretic and too far gone for hope. Most of my family who remained Catholic are no longer living. (me mum and dad)
The other half (in-laws) are Lutheran but out of love and repect ,do still remain civil since my reversion.

April 22, 2007 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a serious question (not a hostile one): a case where I get more than a touch of RRA (which, by the way, I thought was very clever of you)!

Coming across posts like this:
http://triablogue.blogspot.com/search?q=mary+Jesus

Particularly sentences like this: "The foundation of all our confidence, as you know well, Venerable Brethren, is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary."

It certainly sounds to my ears to be in tension with CCC 150--that it's "right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God...[and] futile and false to place such faith in a creature."

Does that make sense? I don't know how to interpret what the encyclical says about Mary in a way consonant with the catechism. I'm not saying it of necessity is in conflict; just that it seems to me to easily lend itself to a conflicting interpretation.

Charitably,
David

April 22, 2007 7:48 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear David:
The Church has always made it clear that we are to worship God alone. I trust what the Church teaches and have found in three years of reading the Catechism, interacting with Catholics, reading apologetics etc, I have never seen or heard of Mary worship. (and after 30 years of being anti-Catholic and reading anti-catholic materials I was suspicious!)
I have found a link that I would appreciate you taking a look at. It might help to clear things up a bit. Particularly the writings of the early church fathers. Contemplating the Incarnation really helped me understand Mary’s role in the economy of salvation. If you sincerely want to understand the tension between the catechism and the quotes from Pius, you may want to do the same.
God bless

http://home.nyc.rr.com/mysticalrose/marian12.html

April 22, 2007 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mean any ill will, but time and time again I hear "we don't worship idols" and continually run across Roman Catholic writings/pictures such as this one:

http://www.sspxasia.com/Newsletters/2002/Apr-Sep/photo_album_page_22.htm

Notice that this "doll" of some sort has the very disturbing statement below it:"The more you honor Me, the More I will bless you"

A saint? Not Christ? What is this doll?

I have come to the conclusion through the years that there are some Catholics that believe idol worship doesn't exist and don't do it and then you have others that do.

I am not trying to bash anyone, it is an honest question one I attribute to the differences between a "Statement of Belief" and the actions of men. There are many examples of sites like this one and sites like yours stating the contrary.

Blessings,
Albert

April 23, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Albert:
You found us out! I secretly do worship idols and am trying to cover it up by my blog promotions!
:)
Catholics worship God alone. That's the company policy, and it goes back for 2000 years. I don't mean any ill-will but searching the internet for sites that support a mis-understanding of Catholicism can lead down many trails. Not all good ones, I might add. The site you linked to is a schismatic group that is not in communion with the Catholic Church. Are there card carrying Catholics whose devotion to Mary and the saints is beyond honor? I am sure there are. You can't judge a religion by the people who don't practice it!
If you really desire to learn what Catholics believe about "idol worship", please go to the online catechism of the Catholic Church, the compendium is a good source and read for yourself.
I worry that perhaps non-Catholics may err on the other side by not calling Mary blessed as Scripture states.
Please check my post here:
http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2006/10/do-catholics-worship-statues-one-more.html

April 23, 2007 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Tiber said (as he's said before)...
"You can't judge a religion by the people who don't practice it!"

I reply...

Indeed! In addition, let's remember that *real* judging is Jesus’ domain--and that His judgment is ultimately of individuals, according to what they have and have not done, not of any "religion" en masse, thank God.

I am grieved whenever I am directed to any report of Catholics giving to anyone other than God, the honor and worship due Him alone. Yet in truth, knowing many thousands of Catholics, I've never encountered one who once learning the very concept of "worship" did not know that worship is for God alone. I've never encountered a single one who actually worshiped anything or anyone but God, alone.

Frankly, I'd be utterly amazed to encounter one and would truly like to speak with him or her. If we are burdened for the unity of all the Church, we are best served by looking to the state of our own house. He who says that he loves the Lord, but fails to provide for his own family is more culpable than any infidel.

Tiber, I suggest you might lovingly and openly invite any and all practicing Catholics who worship anything or anyone other than the one and only holy trinity: God the Father, God, The Son and God, The Holy Spirit to post here and explain who or what it is that they worship, and from where they got the notion to do so. I suspect you will not get a reply from genuine Catholics; however, if you do, then I can imagine nothing better than asking by God's grace wisdom enough to address so vile a misconception.

Humbly,
--Thos

April 23, 2007 1:38 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"Tiber, I suggest you might lovingly and openly invite any and all practicing Catholics who worship anything or anyone other than the one and only holy trinity: God the Father, God, The Son and God, The Holy Spirit to post here and explain who or what it is that they worship, and from where they got the notion to do so."

Good idea! We will flush out these idol worshiping Catholics!
Thanks Theo!

Also, Dear Albert:
I did a little more research and it turns out that "idol" you posted about is the child Jesus and these people worship Jesus! Did the New Testament specifically say we should worship the adult Jesus? Or the adolescent Jesus? Or only Jesus after his baptism? The three wise men who came to worship the child Jesus in the manger set a scriptural precedent of worshipping the Child Jesus, and many countries have statues of the infant Jesus which they have a devotion to, but not worship. When Catholics venerate an image of object, they are honoring the person the object represents, not the inanimate object.
So my apologies about trying to discount your post because of the schismatic group. It turns out their devotion to the Infant Jesus is completely in keeping with Catholic Theology and (despite their other schismatic issues).
Why aren't you folks protesting all those heathen who go to Washington and post notes, and flowers to the Vietnam War Memorial?
They clearly are bowing and offering gifts to a granite obelisk (at least one could make that assumption from photos I have seen on the internet)

April 23, 2007 1:51 PM  
Blogger japhy said...

On the topic of veneration of statues and icons, I really only have three comments to make:

1. If you can be furious when an image of Jesus is desecrated (like the "Piss Christ"), why can't you pay proper respect to such images?

2. Because we can't really go and place a crown upon the head of Jesus, or give Mary our Mother a bouquet of roses, why can't we place these things on statues of them, the act of which signifies our love for the person represented by the statue?

3. If it is something you don't think you can do properly (that is, if you think praying in the presence of a statue will cause you to pray to the statue), don't do it; find some other devotion.

April 23, 2007 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Tiber,

Oops! I think you've confused the image of the Vietnam Memorial (a wall) with the Washington monument (an obelisk). :-)

Regardless, your point is well taken. How easily one can misconstrue others' actions when one begins with an assumption of guilt.

I have seen the words, "Enter to worship" inscribed upon the walkway leading to a local church sanctuary that houses a beautiful painting of Christ in the Garden. I've never interpreted that inscription as a call to worship the painting.

Still, those who already imagine the congregation worships idols could easily observe people praying to the lord God while in the presence of the painting and conclude they are witnessing idolatry.

By the way, the building I described above is a Lutheran church.

--Theo

April 23, 2007 4:18 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Japhy!
So true.
Very good points!

The brightest bulbs are from NJ, (eh Pilgrim?)

April 23, 2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Ah Theo, us idol worshipers are so caught up in our idols, it's hard to keep them straight :) Thanks for excellent points!

April 23, 2007 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that I have angered you and that was not the point. Allow me to state what I am talking about here:

Idol worship is a vast sweeping category of badness that human beings must not engage in.

Idol worship is sometimes referred to as “star worshiping,” because the original concept of idol worship began thousands of years ago when people began worshiping stars in the sky instead of G-d Himself. They figured, “Well, if G-d created them to demonstrate His power, they must be quite powerful themselves!” And they would stand outdoors at night and worship the stars as mighty knights of G-d. From outdoor ceremonies it went to indoor ceremonies, and from indoor ceremonies it went to indoor ceremonies using stone or wooden symbols of the stars and their “powers,” which were worshiped as “representatives” of the stars. Over the years, the stars were gradually forgotten, and the symbols themselves began to be viewed as self-contained powers in their own right, creating the concept of idols and idol worship. Ceremonies ever increasing in complexity were built up around the idols and their indoor housings, and they soon spawned whole cultures, which regularly worshiped these man-made physical objects as gods.


Everything is created by G-d, and to designate any piece of physical matter as “G-d” or a “Higher Power” is idol worship

What does idol worship mean today? Idol worship begins in the mind—it starts with an incorrect perception of G-d. It says you can turn an abstract (G-d) into a concrete (or wood or plastic), which of course, is impossible. Idol worship doesn’t just mean singing and dancing and bowing in front of funny-looking little statues—it means believing in any force, object or item outside of the infinite G-d Himself: an angel, a constellation, a force of nature, a living creature—or a funny-looking little statue. Everything is created by G-d, and to designate any piece of physical matter as “G-d” or a “Higher Power” is idol worship.

The site I pointed to earlier is unclear that this is a statue of the Baby Jesus. In light of my comments, am I wrong? Why does your church make these dolls?

-Albert

April 23, 2007 5:25 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Thanks for the site, Tiber Jumper. Yes, it was helpful.

By the way, is there a way to contact you via private e-mail? I didn't see a link on your blog.
Thanks!

April 23, 2007 5:42 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Your welcome David.
Go to my links and click on My musical web page and there will be a contact link there.

April 23, 2007 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Dear brother Albert,

I am not angered--truly.

I pray that our responses, whether those that are straightforward, such as this or those that are offered as a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor with a point (such as Tiber's "Catholic Idol" post / poll) are never born of anger, but of charity. I'm sorry if I conveyed otherwise--it was not and is not my intent.

You wrote in part...
"Idol worship doesn’t just mean singing and dancing and bowing in front of funny-looking little statues—it means believing in any force, object or item outside of the infinite G-d Himself: an angel, a constellation, a force of nature, a living creature—or a funny-looking little statue. Everything is created by G-d, and to designate any piece of physical matter as “G-d” or a “Higher Power” is idol worship."

I reply:
AMEN and AMEN! I couldn't have said it better. You have encapsulated Catholic doctrine on idolatry very well.

With humble respect,
--Theo

April 23, 2007 6:07 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

My Dear Albert:
I am not angered, maybe a little frustrated though, to be honest. I don't think you carefully read my response to your comment.
Santo Nino is a Catholic devotion to the Child Jesus. It is not a doll, but a statue portraying the infant Jesus, our Lord and Savior.(It's not alive, it is not God, it has no spirit, it's made of ceramic) Catholics don't worship inanimate objects, pictures, statues, etc. But a physical object can draw our minds to God. Scripture tells us not to worship these things. God used a serpent on a pole to heal the Israelites of snake bite poisoning. Jesus used clay and spittle and the hem of his garment to heal!
God created the material world and I don't agree with you that God is "an abstract" as you suggest. We live in a material world and contrary to the gnostics, Catholics believe as Tertullian said in the 3rd century, "The flesh is the hinge of salvation." Christ Jesus came into the world via human flesh to redeem us, material physical beings with an eternal spirit. We are both spirit and flesh.
Albert, I suspect you may have inadvertently adopted the gnostic heresy of the early 2nd century that says "Spirit good, Body bad." Please stay tuned to my podcast coming up on sacramentals and it may help you see this more clearly.
My Church doesn't make "dolls."
That is your wrong perception Albert. Please hear me out. My Church through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit uses the stuff of earth to draw us to the things of God. We are physical creatures and God knows it so he approves of the use of 2 and 3 D images to point to Him.
Do you have pictures of loved ones in your wallet? If you do, you gaze at them from time to time to remind you of your love for them. When I see the statue of the Child Jesus, My heart worships God who loved us so much He came to earth as a Child. But do I worship the statue? Not on your life!
If your paradigm was correct Albert, God would never have redeemed the world by His human flesh, He would have instead just gave us an abstract feeling or impression in our minds regarding Himself. We wouldn't need the death and resurrection! But He knows we are made of flesh, and uses the things of earth to draw us to Him. But Catholics don't worship these material items.
I suggest you read my earlier posts on idols. You are not alone in your misunderstanding. God bless you and I pray that my words can help you understand this a bit.

April 23, 2007 6:27 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

Our brother Albert noted...
"The site I pointed to earlier is unclear that this is a statue of the Baby Jesus. In light of my comments, am I wrong?"

I humbly reply...

Albert! That is an excellent point! As I wrote elsewhere,
"If we are burdened for the unity of all the Church, we are best served by looking to the state of our own house. He who says that he loves the Lord, but fails to provide for his own family is more culpable than any infidel."

As a Catholic parent, I make sure that my children know that no image is to be worshiped. Hopefully, the owners of the site in question also make sure that none of their charges in life should ever worship anything or anyone but God alone. Unfortunately, they did not make this clear to unfamiliar readers; however, I believe we can understand how this would be.


I suspect that the reason that the site in question does not identify the image and its purpose is that the writers geared their site content toward those who would already recognize it and know it for what it is: a symbol. I can't speak for them, yet I expect that the site owners would be shocked if they believed anyone would worship the image. That being said, and returning to your point, all Christians (we Catholics among them) should try to remember that the web is an open medium--that we should present information that would not mislead.

humbly,
--Theo

April 23, 2007 6:28 PM  
Blogger japhy said...

To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, "God likes matter: He created it."

April 23, 2007 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Great paraphrase, Japhy!

Of course, Lewis was paraphrasing Thomas Aquinas who in turn was paraphrasing Scripture:

"God saw all that He had made, and it was very good."

--Gen 1:31

April 24, 2007 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Runningmom said...

My hubby will love this diagnosis!! RRA! That's great! Unfortunately, we have some severe cases in Virginia too! Too bad there's not a pill for it....oh yeah, there's something even better, the Eucharist!!

April 26, 2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Amen!!
The medicine of Immortality as one of the Church fathers stated~!

April 28, 2007 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2-2- funnee. I needed a good belly laugh!
Cyndi B.

May 03, 2007 10:43 PM  

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