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.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Doctor Tells Story of Taking Care of Mother Theresa
Sunday, February 23, 2014
The Pope on The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)
Friday, February 14, 2014
Happy Valentine's Day From Pope Emeritus Benedict the 16th
"Nowadays Christianity of the past is often criticized as having been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that tendencies of this sort have always existed. Yet the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure “sex”, has become a commodity, a mere “thing” to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity. This is hardly man's great “yes” to the body. On the contrary, he now considers his body and his sexuality as the purely material part of himself, to be used and exploited at will. Nor does he see it as an arena for the exercise of his freedom, but as a mere object that he attempts, as he pleases, to make both enjoyable and harmless. Here we are actually dealing with a debasement of the human body: no longer is it integrated into our overall existential freedom; no longer is it a vital expression of our whole being, but it is more or less relegated to the purely biological sphere. The apparent exaltation of the body can quickly turn into a hatred of bodiliness. Christian faith, on the other hand, has always considered man a unity in duality, a reality in which spirit and matter compenetrate, and in which each is brought to a new nobility. True, eros tends to rise “in ecstasy” towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing."
Sunday, February 09, 2014
What Was Luther Right About?
On one of my last posts on Lutherism (Not Lutheranism) I quoted Dr. Luther in his response to Pope Leo upon discovering he was being officially excommunicated. One of his responses was this:
“If this bull* ( Papal Bull of excommunication) has come out in your name, then I will use the power which has been given me in baptism whereby I became a son of God and co-heir with Christ, established upon the rock against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. I call upon you to renounce your diabolical blasphemy and audacious impiety, and, if you will not, we shall all hold your seat as possessed and oppressed by Satan, the damned seat of Antichrist; in the name of Jesus Christ, whom you persecute."
Dr. Luther reveals in this statement that he indeed believed that baptism made him a son of God and co-heir with Christ! He believed that his infant baptism was regenerational as the Catholic Church has taught and believed since the early church came into being.
Therefore, if Luther believed that baptism made him a son of God and co-heir with Christ, why do many modern Christians reject baptismal regeneration and believe it is symbolic or something "covenantal?"
The argument that is put forward is that Luther wasn't right about everything. "We don't follw Luther, we follow the Word of God." But the reality is that Luther's new paradigm of sola scriptura was what every non-Catholic Christian follows and is a hallmark of their faith.
How do we know Martin Luther was right when he came up with the other novel doctrines of faith alone, and scripture alone? (Of course Catholics believed we are saved by grace alone but we believe scripture when it teaches that our ultimate destiny is dependent on "what we did and didn't do" and we can't be saved by just faith alone) Could one of these other solas doctrines be wrong too?
Was he wrong about his belief that the Eucharist was indeed the actual body and blood of Christ ? There were several key doctrines that the founder of Protestantism held to that were distinctly Catholic. Yet soon after the reformation, one by one, Protestants picked and chose which doctrines they would hold to, which sacraments they could nullify, all based on their particular interpretation of scripture using Luther's principle of Sola Scriptura. Luther himself attempted to defend his belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist going back and using Sacred Tradition and the Church Fathers because his sola scriptura principle did not help resolve the debate with Zwingli and other reformers.
So at the end of the day, one must reflect, what was Martin Luther right about and how do we decide?
To my Protestant friends, how do you decide which of Luther's doctrines were correct?
Hint: The answer is not "The doctrines that align with my interpretation or my pastor's interpretation of the Word of God."
* Bull didn't have the connotation that is now associated with it as in the excrement of a Bos Taurus ( male cattle). It meant a solemn letter of proclamation from the pope and was sealed with a piece of lead with the image of Peter and Paul on it. This piece of embossed lead was called a bulla, which my medical latin tells me is a raised fluid filled lesion. The papal bull was a raised slug of lead so the letters sealed with the bulla came to be known as Bulls.
Saturday, February 08, 2014
Call No Man Your Father.....Really?
As a young born-again Christian, I sneered at the "dumb Catholic Church" for calling priests "father". Didn't they read the bible? Of course not! Didn't they want to obey Scripture? No! As a rebellious fourteen year old kid with an axe to grind against his parent's religion, it was "easy" for me to understand scripture (in the light of Chick tracts and such teaching) and turn it against the Church of my upbringing.
Little did I know at that time that the Catholic Church existed a full 350 years before the New Testament was compiled and that this Church discerned which books and letters would ultimately end up in this book we now call the Bible. Well, now that I got that off my chest, I wanted to bring attention to some great apologetics being done by Church of Christ- to- Catholic convert, Pat Vandapool. Pat's blog posts are mostly aimed at Church of Christ folks but they apply very readily to all non-Catholic Christians, particularly the more fundamentalist sects. His writing style is like a cold splash of water in the face meant to wake up the reader to the reality of the logic presented to them. For those who argue that his style is not syrupy sweet, I suggest taking a look at Saint Francis DeSales' Catholic Controversy.
Check Patrick out here.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
The Great Pope, Self the First
I am going to describe an unfortunate phenomenon that I see, all too often, in the Catholic faith. I call this Lutherism, and no, I don't mean Lutheranism. Hence this post is not directed at our separated brethren the Lutherans or other Protestants. Lutherism occurs when individuals in the Catholic faith, (assuming they have agreed to the tenets of the faith) believe that they know more than the pope and understand better than the magisterium the direction the Church should be going. Martin Luther began with the desire to correct the abuses of the Church but ultimately found himself outside of the Church Jesus started. It was his sincere belief that he alone knew better than the current pope and the magisterium of the Catholic Church.
"The wrath of God is coming upon the papists, the enemies of the cross of Christ, that all men should resist them. You then, Leo X, you cardinals and the rest of you at Rome, I tell you to your faces: “If this bull ( Papal Bull of excommunication) has come out in your name, then I will use the power which has been given me in baptism whereby I became a son of God and co-heir with Christ, established upon the rock against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. I call upon you to renounce your diabolical blasphemy and audacious impiety, and, if you will not, we shall all hold your seat as possessed and oppressed by Satan, the damned seat of Antichrist; in the name of Jesus Christ, whom you persecute."
But ultimately the man who said these things at a more saner moment said this:
Dear God, free us all from the "pope" inside us and let us happily submit our mind, will and emotions to the working of the Holy Spirit in this Church you started. Let this be our heart and mind, especially when we feel like we know better than our current pope.