Crossed The Tiber
An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism
- Name: Russ Rentler, M.D.
- 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.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A Visit To Heaven: Deborah's Reflections On Our Haiti Mission
With His Spirit and His love
Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul
O let Him have those things that hold You
And His Spirit like a dove
Will descend upon your life
And make you whole
Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your Lambs
Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your Lambs
O come and sing this song with gladness
As your hearts are filled with joy
Lift your hands in sweet surrender
To His name
O give Him all your tears and sadness
Give Him all your years of pain
And you'll enter into life
In Jesus' name
As tears of thanksgiving flowed from my eyes I had a profound sense that every moment in my life, all the joys and sorrows, all the skills and education, and my whole spiritual journey, prepared me for this time, this trip to Cap Haitien.
Ethicists Argue For the Killing Of Newborns
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Back from Haiti
I saw over 200 patients in 3 days and my wife and others on the team performed dressing changes on multiple patients, changed foley catheters and helped bathe the elderly, demented and infirm. On the third day we were there, the brothers opened the doors of the Asile Community to allow the people of the town of St. Philomene to come in and receive medical care. That day, I saw 139 patients and I was just praying I wouldn't hurt anyone!
The brothers of the Missionaries of the Poor live out this verse every single day:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Their daily work is punctuated by prayer, the celebration of the Eucharist, adoration and praying the rosary. The brothers say they could not do what they do without spending time with the Lord in prayer and receiving Christ in the Eucharist.
I had the opportunity to glimpse for a week what the Church has been doing for 2000 years in caring for "the least of these." In the past 17 trips to Haiti I always thought I had worked with the "least of these" but the Haitian people of Asile Community are the "Least of the Least of these." The brothers truly recognized that each of these persons is created in the image of God and treat them with such amazing dignity and respect. Many of them were abandoned by their parents on the Church steps and the brothers took them in and clothed them, fed them and loved them with a love that could only come from God.
People say that Haiti is hell on earth, but like one of the team members said "I feel like I have just been in heaven."
Please continue to pray for Haiti and for the Missionaries of the Poor as they daily do the work of God. Thank you all for your prayers, we had a safe and productive mission. All Glory to God!
The Lies Behind Contraception
Sunday, February 19, 2012
The Role of Church History in Conversion by Fr. McCloskey
Father John McCloskey has been involved in many "high-profile" and "low-file" conversions as well. As a result he has researched and written extensively on the topic of conversion to Catholicism. He has an excellent piece here regarding the role of Church History in conversion. In my own life, the realization that the early Christians believed what the modern Catholic Christians still believe and practice was chilling for me. The reading of Church history for the first time from an unbiased source was revelatory. For most of my life, I had been seeking a closer walk with Jesus, but He had been here all the time, physically, substantially present in the Eucharist for 2000 years in the Catholic Church down the street in every town I had ever lived in. Here's Fr. McCloskey:
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Haiti Bound Again
A bonus is that Lent begins this upcoming week and we are thankful to the Lord to be able to spend the first week in Haiti. As always, I ask my faithful readers to keep us and the people of Haiti in your prayers, and perhaps offer up your fast on Ash Wednesday for us. Thanks so much!
Friday, February 17, 2012
Abortion, Contraception and the Church Fathers-Fr. Pacwa
One of the positive outcomes of the recent HHS Contraception/sterilization/abortion mandate is that it brings the Church teachings front and center. This will ultimate educate Catholics and non-Catholics into rethinking their "contraception mentality." Even as a young 23 year old husband-to-be, I was shocked that the first question for my fiance and I at our pre-marital counseling session was "what kind of contraception are you going to use?" As surprised as I was that my pastor and his wife would start off the session with that, I still had no understanding why contraception was morally wrong and probably thought it was just another restriction the Church of Rome was placing on its members to enslave them. After coming back to the Catholic faith, I learned that contraception has always been forbidden by the Church. Non-Catholic Christians agreed and followed the ancient teaching as well, until 1930 when the Anglicans took a vote and decided contraception would be permissible in certain circumstances. Fr. Mitch Pacwa presents an excellent historic review of the teachings of the Church through the ages starting at the very beginning.
"Despite what some commentators and politicians think, Church teaching on abortion and contraception has remained unchanged."
Some commentators have mistakenly asserted that the Catholic ban on these practices only goes back to Humanae Vitae (On the Regulation of Birth), by Pope Paul VI in 1968, or as far back as Casti Connubii (Of Chaste Wedlock), by Pope Pius XI in 1931.
The latter encyclical was written in response to the change of moral doctrine by the Anglican Church, which undermined centuries of Protestant condemnation of contraception by permitting it at the Aug. 15, 1930 Lambeth Conference.
Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae in response to the then newly invented birth control pill, rejecting it as a legitimate means of contraception for Catholics. However, these encyclicals, along with the 20th century’s nearly 100 other Vatican statements condemning artificial birth control, were simply restating the continuous history of moral theology on this topic.
Catholics do well to know this history of moral teaching on contraception and abortion to back up our position against the mandate, as well as to know better how to live the Catholic faith. Therefore, we will present some of the texts from the patristic (early Christian) sources to demonstrate how early was the Christian rejection of these practices, known widely in the Greco-Roman world.
The earliest reference to contraception and abortion is in the Didache, a document from the second half of the first century or early second century. Didache reads: “You shall not practice birth control, you shall not murder a child by abortion, nor kill what is begotten” (2).
Many translations read “practice sorcery” because the Greek word sometimes has that meaning (see Wisdom 12:4, Galatians 5:20, Revelation 18:23). However, it also means practice medicine or use poison, and the term may refer to contraceptive measures, as is the case in a number of the following texts.
Another early text is the Epistle of Barnabas: “You shall not slay the child by procuring abortion, nor shall you destroy it after it is born” (19). This also shows that the earliest Christians forbade abortion.
In the second century, St. Clement of Alexandria wrote in the Paedagogus (2.10.96): “Women who resort to some sort of deadly abortion drug kill not only the embryo, but along with it, all human kindness.” This passage supports our translation of the Didache by mentioning the use of drugs to induce abortion.
In 177, Athenagoras of Athens wrote in the Supplication for the Christians: “And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder?”
This is the first of many patristic texts identifying abortion with murder, thereby indicating a high value to the personhood of the fetus. Tertullian’s Apology in 197, while he was still in union with the Church, says, “In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth.”
Tertullian was himself a married man and understood the dignity of the fetus in the womb.
In the third century, Minucius Felix (226) wrote in Octavius: “There are some women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels, and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth” (30).
Around 228, St. Hippolytus wrote about unmarried women, including some reputed to be Christians, who became pregnant from illicit relationships. In his Refutation of All Heresies, he says, “Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church” (9.7).
He considers their behavior an effectual refutation of their status as Christians. A document known as the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles reads “You shall not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten; for ‘everything that is shaped and has received a soul from God, if it be slain, shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed’” (7.1).
This states the belief that the fetus has a soul and its life must be protected from conception forward.
In the fourth century, the Latin and Greek authors addressed these issues. St. Augustine wrote On Marriage and Concupiscence (419). Though he was already the bishop of Hippo when he wrote it, he is equally famous for having lived with a concubine for 14 years and had a son with her. Therefore, he had an experience of living in a sort of family and he learned from his mistakes. He wrote: “I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame” (1.15.17).
St. Basil the Great wrote in his First Canonical Letter, Canon 2: “The woman who purposely destroys her unborn child is guilty of murder. With us there is no nice enquiry as to its being formed or unformed. In this case it is not only the being about to be born who is vindicated, but the woman in her attack upon herself; because in most cases women who make such attempts die. The destruction of the embryo is an additional crime, a second murder, at all events, if we regard it as done with intent” (374).
The reason he mentioned the “nice enquiry as to its being formed or unformed” is that some theologians thought that the rational soul did not develop in the fetus until the third month or even later. St. Basil simply notes that this is not an issue because at any stage the destruction of the embryo is a “crime” and a “murder.” Pace Nancy Pelosi, who had claimed that since St. Augustine had thought that the rational soul began late in the pregnancy, therefore abortion would be acceptable in the early stages. St. Basil shows that such false reasoning was unfounded.
St. Jerome, Letter 22 to Eustochium (396), said: “Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world, laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ, but also of suicide and child murder. Yet it is these who say: ‘Unto the pure all things are pure; my conscience is sufficient guide for me.’ A pure heart is what God looks for” (13).
Here St. Jerome denies that the conscience of the abortion is a sufficient guide. As will be clarified in later centuries, the conscience must be correctly formed so that the Lord can truly find a pure heart in the individual.
Not only did many of the great theologians address abortion and contraception, but so did some councils. The Council of Elvira in Spain (305) decreed two canons forbidding the sacraments to women who committed abortion: “If a woman becomes pregnant by committing adultery, while her husband is absent, and after the act she destroys (the child), it is proper to keep her from Communion until death, because she has doubled her crime” (63). Canon 68 reads: “If a catechumen should conceive by an adulterer, and should procure the death of the child, she can be baptized only at the end of her life.”
A similar decision was reached at the Council of Ancyra (314): “Concerning women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have conceived, or who are employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree excluded them [from Communion] until the hour of death” (29)
None of the Fathers or councils offer contradictory opinions on contraception or abortion. Popes Pius XI, Paul VI and Blessed John Paul II were simply presenting the teaching of the Church in the same line of thought that began in the earliest generations, continued through the Middle Ages, and was taught by the Protestant reformers. (Martin Luther called people who use contraception “logs,” “stock” and “swine.” John Calvin said contraception was “condemned and “doubly monstrous,” while abortion was “a crime incapable of expiation.”)
The popes have called the Church to a moral and holy approach to marriage and the conception of children. We form our conscience in the light of this constant tradition, and we teach and live it by the graces God gives us.
On this basis we insist that the government allow us complete freedom to practice our religion and its precepts.
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/abortion-contraception-and-the-church-fathers/#ixzz1me56jk4V
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Jedi Knight School of Biblical Exegesis
Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
Obi-Wan: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification.
Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.
Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
Obi-Wan: Move along.
Stormtrooper: Move along... move along.
Regarding the 2nd chapter of James in the New Testament, there is a verse that basically puts the nail in the coffin for Luther's new theology of salvation by faith alone. "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." ESV Unfortunately, this was a bit of a problem for the reformers. They had three choices:
1) Accept the Scripture at face value and repent realizing "faith alone" was a false doctrine not found in Holy Scripture.
2) Label the epistle of James as "an epistle of Straw" to be thrown into the fire and not worthy to be included in the canon (Martin Luther)
3) Use the Jedi Mind Trick to exegete the verse in such a way that the reader comes away believing the verses mean the opposite of what the Church believed for 1500 years.
14What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?
15And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food:
16And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit?
17So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.
18But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith.
19Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble.
20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar?
22Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect?
23And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God.
24Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?
25And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way?
26For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.
But many of our Protestant brothers read these verses differently and actually conclude this:
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Canon of the Old Testament
While the New Testament does not provide a list of canonical books, it does make clear that Our Lord authorized the Apostles to make authoritative judgments about religious law. The most pointed example is to be found in Matthew 16:
"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Leaving aside for the moment the significance of the "keys of the kingdom of heaven," let us focus on the concept of "binding" and "loosing." In first-century Palestinian Judaism, the terms "bind" and "loose" referred to authoritative decisions about religious law. Religious law was (and is) called halakhah, from the verb halakh, "to walk." Halakhah is then, the way one "walks," that is, how one behaves. To "bind" meant to prohibit a behavior, to "loose" meant to permit it. In practice, the Pharisaic scribes generally bound and loosed for the common people of Israel: Jesus refers to their exercise of religious authority (and even partially endorses it!) in Matthew 23:
"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger."
The point of Matthew 16:18-19 is, then, that Jesus is investing Peter—and later, the apostles with him (Matt 18:18)—with the authority to make binding decisions concerning religious law for the people of God. One such question of religious law was the correct list of inspired books, i.e. the canon.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius
It is once again instructive to realize that they first didn't first translate the bible into the new language. They translated the liturgy, meaning the Mass. Why didn't they just start with Scripture? The likely answer is that the best way in the 9th century as in every century is to present the gospel in the context of the Church. In all likelihood, the literacy rate in the 9th century Slavic nations was very low, and the best way to preach the gospel was in the liturgy which is literally filled with scripture. In the end of his life, one of the brothers indeed did translate the entire bible as well as many writings of the Church Fathers.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Another OPC Pastor Converts
Sunday, February 12, 2012
New Song "Vertigo"
Instruments used are open tuned guitar, banjo, fretless bass, vocals and harmony. Heard best I think with headphones to appreciate the stereo separation of all the instruments.
Vertigo by Russ Rentler
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
USCCB Responds to the HHS "Compromise" Yeah Bishops!!!
"But stepping away from the particulars, we note that today's proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services."
President Obama's Contraceptive Compromise - A Shell Game
First They Came For the Catholics...
Aside from the obvious infringement of people of faith's constitutional rights, it is my hope and prayer this also will create dialog between Catholics and Protestants regarding the issue of contraception and why Catholics believe that the marital act is both unative and procreative and can't be separated. Also I hope that the Protestant community will be more open to the scientific reality that oral contraception can and does cause abortion as well as breast cancer.
I hope also that all of this media attention to the HHS Mandate will cause contracepting Catholics to re-visit this issue in their own lives. This is a "teachable moment" for the Catholic Church for those both inside and outside the Church.
What Obama meant for evil, God will use for good, ultimately.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
CATHOLICS COME HOME ADS REACHED MILLIONS MORE TV VIEWERS THAN SUPER BOWL
The most popular networks of CBS, NBC, Univision, TBS, USA, TNT, CNN and many other top cable networks broadcast the Catholics’ welcoming invitation on their most popular programs. The NBC Nightly News, 60 Minutes, Law and Order, The Today Show, Letterman, The O’Reilly Factor, Kennedy Center Honors, NCIS, all major college football bowl games on Dish Network, and other top shows carried the 30 and 60 second Catholic messages. “TV is still king of the media world,” said Mark Gray of CARA.
Filled with the history, beauty, spirituality and accomplishments of the Catholic Church, this initiative of the New Evangelization evokes common responses from three main groups of viewers:
- Current Catholics say: “When I saw the ads, I felt proud to be Catholic!“
- Inactive Catholics say: “I feel like God was personally inviting me back
- Non-Catholics say: “I didn’t know that about the Catholic faith. I want to know more.”
“The national Catholics Come Home campaign is a great example of using modern media to serve the New Evangelization; both to reach out to those inactive in their faith, and to animate active Catholics to share their faith. The beauty of the images and the compelling narrative of the commercials remind fallen away Catholics of God’s immense love for them and of their home in the Catholic Church,” said Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Diocese of Phoenix.
When parishes ask returnees, “why did you come home?,” the overwhelming answer has consistently been, “because you invited me”. With the support of many individual donors, Catholics Come Home is taking the initiative to invite these “missing” family members back home. “When we invite them home, the Holy Spirit opens the door,” said Catholics Come Home® president and founder, Tom Peterson.
“These beautifully done invitations to return to the practice of the Catholic faith are outstanding examples of the New Evangelization. Thanks for helping us bishops and priests to reach out to so many of our brothers and sisters in the faith,” commented Bishop Michael Sheridan, Diocese of Colorado Springs.
Catholics Come Home® has launched successful evangelization initiatives in 33 US dioceses and archdioceses helping to increase Mass attendance, often significantly. Catholics Come Home® continues to work in partnership with dioceses airing local TV evangelization media campaigns during the seasons of Advent/Christmas and Lent. Future plans for the apostolate include developing and airing new commercials.
A Question for the Enemies of Rome
"You at least have to admire the courage of the Roman Catholic bishops in saying they are willing to go to jail rather than to comply with this. How many evangelical presidents and pastors and leaders would be willing to do the same?"
Why would the followers of the @#$% of Babylon be so adamant about a moral issue? If Catholicism is the church of Satan and is a deceived cult, why are they so willing to risk so much? Why is the Catholic Church leading this battle against the egregious assault on our constitutional rights especially since satan loves bondage and oppression?
I pray that the Lord will open the eyes of the enemies of Rome and at the very least cause themselves to ask similar questions.
The New Anti-Catholicism
Hawaii Compromise Is No Compromise
This apparently is a statewide compromise in Hawaii. Dr. Richard Doerflinger of the USCCB explains it here.
This would be akin to the government forcing the NAACP, (which protects the rights of African Americans) to direct their employees to the services of the KKK (which seeks to remove the rights of African Americans)
Richard Doerflinger said:
"Like the federal rule, he said, the Hawaii bill “covers all FDA-approved ‘contraceptives’ (including drugs that can cause an abortion); and the religious exemption is very narrow (though it does not include the requirement that the religious organization serve only people of its own faith to be eligible).
“It adds an extra feature — the requirement that any religious organization that is exempt must still tell all enrollees how they may directly access contraceptive services and supplies in an expeditious manner.”
In other words, the Catholic Church must directly send women to drugs and devices that are morally wrong and can do harm to them.
Doerflinger also raised an additional concern about the federal rule that has received little attention: Catholic institutions will be required to make referrals for services the Church deems morally illicit."
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
I Love Flying But I Hate Aviation
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Some Positive Aspects of the Egregious HHS Mandate
1) The issue of Catholics who use birth control has come to the fore. All the news media are breathlessly quoting: "98 % of Catholics use artificial contraception." Whether this is true or not, it certainly brings up the issue. The positive thing is that it may remind Catholics that "Yes Virginia, it is still a mortal sin to contracept." There have been some Catholics under the mistaken notion that the ban on artificial contraception was revoked with Vatican 2. I actually heard someone say this at RCIA once! It is unclear to me why the beautiful teachings on life, procreation and the marital relationship aren't taught more often but perhaps this will start a new phase in the life of the Church. There is nothing like persecution to purify the faithful and I believe God will use this HHS mandate to help Catholics decide if they are going to stand with the Church or side with secular mores.
Perhaps we are at a turning point for the Catholic Church in America. As Pope Benedict predicted, the Catholic Church may indeed get smaller, but it wouldn't be the first time and the end result will be a positive one. My hope is that many Catholics will start to question their use of artificial contraception. The issue can't be hidden and Catholics cannot claim ignorance since most parishes have read the USCCB's statement to their congregations this past Sunday. If the Church is stating that it cannot and will not capitulate to this mandate, Lord willing, the congregants will look into their hearts and reconsider why the Church is so adamant against contraception.
2) The second positive aspect is that everyone is talking about the Catholic Church and its teachings. not a bad thing! All the talk radio guys are talking about the Church, mostly as an axe to grind against Obama, but many of their listeners will want to know why the Church is so adamant about contraception, sterilization and abortifacient morning after pills. Lord willing they will look into it. There are many conversion stories based on people who became Catholic because of the Church's moral teachings.
3) This may cause a restoration of unity of sorts between Catholics and Protestants as they realize they have more that unites than divides them, and in the face of this egregious attack on religion, there is certainly strength in numbers.
To learn more about the Catholic Church teach that the marital embrace must remain open to life as God's design, check this link .
Additional information here as well.
Pope Paul VI Predicted the HHS Mandates in 1968!
"Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife."
Pope Paul, God rest his soul, knew what he was talking about. Methinks he had quite a bit of help from the third person of the Trinity when he wrote Humane Vitae in 1968. I would encourage everyone to read HV just to get a sense of the mind of the Church on contraception. Keep in mind that as he wrote this, some American Catholics were wrongly predicting the Pope would soon change his mind about the prohibition of contraception. Because of the wide availability of hormonal contraception in the 1960's many thought the Church would have to cave to the culture. Thankfully, for the charism of infallibility, the Popes cannot and will not reverse an issue of faith or morals.
Another Orthodox Presyterian Pastor Crosses the Tiber. The Fathers Strike Again!
He was an ordained pastor in the OPC . Once again it was the testimony of the Early Church Fathers as well as his own readings of the Catechism and interactions with Catholics that brought him home.
The full story is here but in the meantime, here's a few quotes:
"I knew the reformers had explicitly rejected much of what I was finding in the Church Fathers.
Page after page revealed a common faith during that early period in which bishops succeeded Apostles, baptismal waters regenerated, bread and wine transformed, penance was necessary and salutary, purgatorial fire cleansed, the Blessed Virgin was an active Mother to the faithful, departed saints prayed, Peter held the Keys, and the Eucharist was a sacrifice for the living and the dead. There appeared in their minds no awareness of or concern for the cardinal doctrines of the Reformation so painstakingly spelled out as essential to the gospel. Actually…the Fathers sounded Catholic.
This was unexpectedly unsettling for me because no external argument(s) in favor of a Catholic reading of the Fathers had been made in conjunction with my reading of them. The writings themselves served to give voice to the arguments. The words on the page became the witness or opponent (depending on one’s perspective). I began to ponder whether a person would naturally pick up the trail of the Catholic Church if one started with the writings of the early Church? The answer increasingly seemed to be yes."
Sometimes You Just Gotta' Wonder.....
Monday, February 06, 2012
Sunday, February 05, 2012
The Why Of Suffering
Health and Human Services Mandate IS NOT A Catholic-Only Issue
This is not just a "Catholic contraception" issue. This HHS mandate will also effect employers of any faith who would violate their conscience by paying for their employees to obtain and take RU-486, the abortion pill used to prevent "morning after" conceptions. For you fans of Dr. Dobson's ministry in the evangelical world, this means that Focus on the Family, which has often relied on Catholicism for the source of its moral teachings, will now be forced to pay for the morning-after pill for it's employees, contraception and sterilizations. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, (a source of magisterial teaching for many conservative protestants) will now be forced to pay for RU-486 for employees. Once again, this is an institution that often allies itself with the Catholic Church when it comes to morals and ethics. (See the president of that university's blog here)
Protestant colleges, employers and charities will all be forced to comply with this. The Catholic bishops have already begun to orchestrate a legal challenge to this and hopefully will be joined by our protestant brothers and sisters. Christians of all faiths need to contact their legislators to make their outrage known.
"We cannot-we will not- comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America's cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture only to have their posterity stripped of their God-given rights."
The Catholic Bishops of the United States.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Thursday, February 02, 2012
"How should we interpret the Word of God? Many of our evangelical brothers believe that the Bible does not require an interpretative framework, that is, the Bible is self-interpreting and does not need anyone to explain its meaning. As Catholics we believe that Scripture cannot be wrenched from the Church who gave it to us. In order to read the Bible for all its worth, then we must read it in light of the Church’s teachings.
Dr. Scott Hahn, as a former Protestant, knows what it is like to try to read the Bible in the way God never intended—alone! The principle of sola Scriptura (“the Bible alone”) has caused a host of problems within Christianity, and has moved us further away from Our Lord Jesus’ prayer in St. John’s Gospel: “That they may be one” (John 17:21).
This is the definitive audio set on the interpretation of Scripture (also known as “hermeneutics”) which every Catholic must have and every Protestant should have. Make sure to grab two copies, one for you and the other for your evangelical neighbor.
The following titles in this set are:
- How to Interpret The Bible In Light of Catholic Teaching”
-Principles of Biblical Interpretation
- Scripture and the Canon or Sola Scriptura
- The Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments
- Literary Forms and Genres"
The Power of Organized Religion
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
The Importance of Relics
"This is because every relic is connected to Christ, the divine made physical. Every relic lifts the fog of unbelief because every relic offers its own concrete testimony to Christ’s redemptive work in this world."
Just reading the description of the design of their orders new crest symbol was a lesson in humility and love for Jesus and His Church. As one who has spent most of his adult life away from the Catholic Church and "in schism" as a protestant, this story really resonated with me. See the description below:
"Our crest represents the Marian and Petrine aspects of the Catholic Church. We honor the Virgin Mother of the Church and the successor of Peter upon whom the Church is built.
At the center of the crest is the heart which beats at the center of the Church: the Immaculate Heart of Mary, aflame with love for God and for us, the children bequeathed to her from the cross. As virgin and mother, Mary is the image, model and mother of the Church. We claim her as our model, in our efforts to live "in the heart of the Church."
The keys of Peter symbolize the Church's apostolic authority received from Christ, the authority to which we pledge our lives. "Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia." (“Where Peter is, there is the Church.”)
The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove overshadows the heart and the keys, just as the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary at the Annunciation, and again when she was gathered with the apostles in the cenacle at Pentecost
Seven rays emanate from the Holy Spirit, symbolizing His seven gifts as well as the seven Sacraments, channels of sanctifying grace for the whole Church. The combined rays symbolize the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity. The twelve rays also signify the twelve Apostles.
The top banner with the words, "Sentire cum Ecclesia" ("to think with the Church," an expression used by St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises) is the motto of our Community.
The lower banner is the title of Our Lady, patroness of our community: "Mater Ecclesiae" (Mother of the Church).
The crest is enclosed in the shape of the colonnade at St. Peter's in Rome, the center of Catholic teaching, worship and unity in the world. The four pillars represent the foundational pillars of our religious life:
The cross atop the dome draws our gaze heavenward, filling us with HOPE in Christ crucified and risen, in Whom we seek eternal fulfillment.
The colonnade resembles the open arms of a mother welcoming all into her embrace, reminding us of the CHARITY that emanates from the heart of the Church and inflames the hearts of her children, filling us with supernatural love for God and neighbor."