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 08, 2023


Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
  He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
  I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
  See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
  I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
  Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Faith, Reason and Pandemics

 As a scientist (retired MD,  in Geriatrics and Internal Medicine) and person who has been given the gift of faith, it has been difficult to watch how the pandemic has torn our country apart, killing 240,000 souls. There has been a worrisome alignment of religion,  junk science and politics. I am surprised that good doctors with respected careers in medicine have spoken out against basic infectious disease principles.  On my Facebook page, a former medical colleague has schooled me in the futility of mask wearing! These are the facts:

The science has told us this virus is novel, and there are no natural defenses yet.

The majority of folks who contract it will resolve without complications.

People with hypertension, diabetes, obesity and age >65 are at risk for severe infections resulting in prolonged intubations, and possible death.

The county nursing home where I served as the medical director lost 81 patients which is far more than I have ever seen in the worst flu seasons.

Countries, states and counties that have enforced strict mask wearing and social distancing have far less cases and death.

The latest science tells us that the only way to combat a pandemic is to minimize exposure to aerosol particles that could contain virus and maintain common sense social distancing principles. 

Forty percent of individuals who are Covid positive have no symptoms and can be spreaders if they ignore mask wearing in public. 

Our faith tells us that we are all created in the image of God and every life is precious, regardless of age or disability so we should always err on the side of life and follow the latest recommendations to limit the spread of this pandemic until the vaccine is widely distributed.

As Catholics, our politics should not cause us to ignore science or promote conspiracy theories that have not been validated.  John Paul 2 reminded us that good faith never contradicts good science and good science will not contradict faith.

 ​"Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth."
​--Pope St. John Paul II, in Fides et Ratio [Faith and Reason]

Monday, July 27, 2020

Would Jesus Wear a Mask?

As a medical doctor with over thirty years experience battling infectious diseases among the frail elderly, the recent "No Maskers" has me truly puzzled and disturbed. Yesterday , an individual on facebook posted quotes taken out of context from the New England Journal of Medicine to prove masks don't help prevent infection.  When I went to the original article and discovered it was a "Perspective" piece and not peer-reviewed research, I was truly saddened. The No Masker was so intent on pushing their agenda, they clipped  certain quotes out of context that supported their point of view and ignored many other points that supported the opposite view. Not to mention the piece was written for physicians back in May when information about  Covid 19 was still being discovered. They were writing in the context that universal mask wearing would endanger the supply of masks for health care workers directly exposed to known symptomatic patients with Covid in a hospital setting. This was the very reason that Dr. Fauci initially recommended that the public not wear masks!
   We now now from many recent experiential studies that masks, along with hand washing and social distancing indeed lower the transmission of Covid 19 and flatten the curve and ultimately prevent death. Countries that have mandated mask wearing having significantly less cases and death than the countries such as Sweden and the US and UK that have had a mixed message on masking for those venturing out in public.
   So if our dear Lord knew there was plague in Jerusalem and there was a chance he could spread the deadly pathogen and perhaps kill others, would he take precautions? He regularly ministered to the frail elderly, ill and clearly immuno-compromised folks. Yes this is a silly thought experiment, but think about the savior who gave all of himself to save all of us. Would he take the risk of endangering the mortal life of eternal souls? In his three year ministry, he healed untold numbers of people of their physical, mental and spiritual ailments. Would he then not wear a mask to possibly prevent more illness and disease?
   Let us love one another. (Jesus)
 Let us treat others the way we would want to be treated.(Jesus)
 Let us defer to the weaker among us (St Paul) 
   If there is only a remote possibility that my wearing of a mask could prevent the spread of a potentially fatal virus, my reading of the gospels tells me that I should wear a mask when in the public space, until this plague abates.

WWJD?      He would wear a mask.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Covid 19 and Going to Mass

In the recent months we have been deluged with information and opinions about the Covid 19 virus and how as a Church we should respond. Sadly there is a divison in the body of Christ regarding how one should respond to this crisis/plague.  Our Church is a pro-life Church and will always err on the side of preserving and protecting the the least of these. Therefore, if there is any chance that the sacrifice of the Mass will spread Covid 19 and death to parishioners, our bishop has wisely followed reason and has canceled public celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass. Thank God for his wisdom and prudence to the faithful in the diocese of Allentown Pennsylania where I reside.
   As pro- life Catholics, we often will make sacrifices for the unborn, praying at abortion clinics, going to DC for the annual March for Life, fasting etc.  Should we also not be willing to sacrifice by not going to mass to receive Christ in the Eucharist if we know it can save people form death?
   Let us not be swayed by politics but follow the wisdom of the Church, which has always beeen to preserve and support the sanctity of life. If our desire to congregate and receive the Eucharist puts others at risk for death, surely we can trust Jesus to come to us and dwell in us through Spiritual Communion and not go to Mass .
   Let us trust the Lord and his love and grace knowing that Jesus can work outside the sacraments.
The Japanese Catholic Church flourished for over 200 years without a priest and sacraments. Let us therefore trust that our loving and merciful Lord will be present to us in real and life-changing ways despite the inability to physically receive His body and blood during this rare and unusual quarantine.
God is faithful! Rejoice and unite your sufferings to Christ for the mystical body of Christ.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Accompanying Those With Same Sex Attraction and Simon the Cyrene

      Father James Martin SJ.  recently spoke in our diocese on the subject of supporting and accompanying those in our parish and family who have same-sex-attraction. This event was problematic because his approach to accompanying those with homosexual inclinations does not encourage chastity. Father Martin does not support the teachings of the Catholic Church on SSA and has been on record as saying that he hopes that homosexual partners will someday be able to kiss one another in Mass. He teaches that chastity for homosexuals is not official Church teaching because the teaching has not been "received by the faithful," and therefore, they are not bound in their conscience to obey.
    I circulated a petition in my diocese asking our bishop to rescind Father Martin's permission to speak in the diocese. In all fairness to our bishop, the invitation was made by a Jesuit retreat center and was not initiated by our diocese. However, our bishop ultimately gave his permission, which was unfortunate, to say the least. He had the authority to prevent Father Martin from speaking but declined to use it.
    Upon hearing of the petition, the bishop invited me to meet with him to discuss my and the many signatories objections to Fr. Martin's visit. I respectfully explained to our bishop that Simon the Cyrene accompanied Jesus and assisted him as he carried his cross to Calvary. (Admittedly he was constrained by the Roman guards and didn't volunteer.) Now as Simon and our Lord painfully trudged towards the crucifixion, Simon could have pointed out a back alley or secret path that they could have escaped to. In the crush of the crowds and confusion, perhaps, Simon could have held the cross and told the Lord to run for it, avoiding the ignominious death on that cross. But, he did not do that and continued to assist Jesus to bear that cross which ultimately led to his death and our salvation. I suggested to our bishop that Father Martin's approach is akin to being a "bad" Simon the Cyrene and encourage the cross-bearer to look for an easy way out.  The "easy way" in this instance is to subtly give permission for those with SSA to continue in unchastity.
     True accompaniment is not helping the person to take the easy way out to avoid the weight and pain of the cross on their backs. To truly help someone is to recognize their burden and with God's grace support them and help them to get to heaven. I imagine Simon the Cyrene may have encouraged Jesus, "Just a little further Lord, hang in there, we'll get there soon, you can do this etc."  In contrast, Father Martin's idea of accompaniment is to tell the individual with same-sex-attraction that they are not bound to chastity and can continue to live in a fashion contrary to Truth.
   May God give us the sensitivity to understand the burden of living with same-sex-attraction and to not judge those who struggle with it . They did not choose this cross for themselves. May we do all we can to support, pray, encourage and love them. Let us be a good Simon the Cyrene for all of our brothers and sisters who have SSA.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Rally Against Bullying in Philadelphia

Deborah and I and a neurosurgeon friend went down to Philadelphia yesterday to join in the protest against a bullying politician.  Apparently his stand against bullying doesn't apply to elderly religious white women who quietly pray the rosary.

    State representative, Brian Sims, posted a video of himself bullying an elderly women  using racist, ageist, and misogynist terms. Her reason for his rant? She was quietly praying outside of a Locust Street Planned Parenthood Abortuary in Center City , Philadelphia. She did not raise her voice, threaten or carry a sign showing violent images. The more she was silent, the more he yelled and became enraged.
   His video went viral, as well as another recent video of him threatening to "dox" a group of young underage women who were also praying outside the abortuary.  He claimed he would pay $100 to anyone who revealed the identity and addresses of the woman so they could receive personal harrasment and threats.
   Thankfully, the pro-life community responded with love and prayers and a rally of over 1000 individuals gathered outside the abortion mill on Friday. Lila Rose of Live Action and Matt Walsh and many others gave short speeches that were greeted with incredible enthusiasm from the crowd standing on Locust Street in a light intermittent rain.
    Our right to freedom of speech is truly being challenged by those who want to continue to support the abortion industry. Thankfully, the faithful pro-life folks won't back down and this rapid gathering of a peaceful protest against bullying was a success. Let's hope that some women with an unwanted pregnancy on Friday, chose to not have an abortion  upon seeing the crowd and hearing the speeches.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

"Post Evangelical "Rachel Evans RIP

I read today that best selling Christian author Rachel Held Evans left this earthly veil this morning after prolonged and serious complications from influenza. She leaves her husband and two small children. Keep her in your prayers as well as her family.

I encountered Rachel's blog in 2015 when she wrote of the need for sacraments instead of coffee to make church relevant to millenials. Here's my post.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter

May the power of His death and resurrection bring you joy, peace and grace!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy Feast Of Saint Patrick

Here's a little tune to honor Saint Patrick. It was written in the 6th century.  Let us pray that he will drive the snakes out of the Church! (As legend says he did in Ireland)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Vatican Symposium on Sex Abuse

Even before the sex abuse summit began this week, Cardinal Cupich at a press conference said that the topic of homosexuality in the priesthood will not be discussed and that homosexuality has no part in the abuse crisis.
Beautifully ironic it is that the summit kicks off on the Feast day of Saint Damien who wrote the book of Gomorrah . This treatise called out the clergy and episcopacy for the rampant sodomy and simony occurring in the early 11th century.

  I doubt that they purposely chose this Saint’s Feast day to start the conference, but it’s definitely a sign to me that God has not forsaken his broken Church.

Lord have mercy on us and your mystical body, the Church here on earth.