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.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Here is an interesting article summarizing the recent growth in the Catholic Church by author of The Tide is Turning, David Hartline. (H/t to Whitestone Name Seeker) There is always the danger of launching into triumphalism when one posts these articles. If the truth be told, I think they function more as validation and encouragement for me and other revert/converts. Shoving the roll of new converts from the intelligentsia in people's faces doesn't necessarily win converts (though it may make them think we are not all grey-matter challenged), but reading about them does help the convert/reverts to know they are not alone. It is also comforting to know that brighter much more learned converts than myself with advanced degrees in theology and philosophy have tried Catholicism and found it worth pursuing.

This occurs in other faiths as well. When I joined a community of believers in 1991, we first had to attend an orientation class for several months. The pastor remarked in the church service welcoming new members how impressed he was with the "quality" of new members they were taking in. He was referring to the fact that at the time, two PhD's and one MD were joining the church. It was a validation that the church was "legit" in that folks with advanced degrees in medicine and psychology were willing to throw their lot with them.

Finally, I have seen that non-Catholics have noted this recent "tide" and one blogger referred to it as an "epidemic." I wouldn't say converting to Catholicism is a disease. Though, I suppose if it were I'd be the first to name it: Tibernucleosis.
A partial list of the symptoms include:

  • A daily sense of wonder and the almost uncontrollable desire to regularly slap oneself on his/her forehead and say "Why didn't I see this before?" (Anti-seizure medications do not suppress this urge.)

  • A sudden desire and interest in Church history (before 1517).

  • A propensity for hanging around Catholic Churches and shrines.

  • An irrepressible urge to begin collecting rosary beads (I mean, how many do I really need?) holy cards, blessed objects, third class relics, holy water, lawn and garden statues.

  • Setting up a new "one click" buying feature on Amazon used books.

  • An insatiable desire to spread the disease to others.

  • The desire to kiss the hands of every priest you meet.

  • The new found physical ability to kneel for prolonged periods of time despite arthritis.

  • The inability to pass up buying candles and decorating the home with them.

  • A new and unusual interest in *dead* people (Saints)

  • A renewed interest in burning incense (left over from the 60's?)
  • A sudden new fondness for the Pontificus Maximus.

  • Add your own here________________________________


Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

Bro TJ,

Thanks for publishing my comments. That was a good article by David Hartline. Thanks for the link. It's interesting what he said at one point:

Often, it is an attempt to better understand Catholicism in order to disprove it that leads to conversion, when they simply could not come up with anything to dispute the key tenets of Catholicism: Scripture and Tradition, the Sacraments, Apostolic Tradition and the role of Mary. They found themselves falling into the trap that the eminent Pharisee Gamaliel warned about in Acts 5:33-39. They might be fighting against God.

I have no doubt that some Protestants have done this and are doing it. I wonder, though, how many actually buy Catholic books and read them. My goal, actually, is merely to understand my Catholic friends and have a relationship based upon a courteous exchange of information. As to my reversion to Rome - you're going to have to pray a heavenuvalot harder! :)



July 08, 2007 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Father R. said...

Dear Doctor-
Can cradle-Catholic contract this Tibernucleosis? I would hope that a vaccine is not around the corner.

July 08, 2007 8:16 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Father:
They are even more susceptible to the illness judging from the lives of the saints I have been reading about! Boy, Therese of Lisiuex! St. Faustina! Weren't they contagious!

I have gotten to know a few priests recently who had an extremely elevated "tibercount" in their bloodstream.
If they haven't come up with a vaccine or treatment in 2000 years, I daresay we can rest assured there won't be one around the corner anytime soon :)

July 08, 2007 8:27 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"My goal, actually, is merely to understand my Catholic friends and have a relationship based upon a courteous exchange of information."
You are a rarity, that's for sure.

July 08, 2007 9:48 PM  
Blogger White Stone Name Seeker said...

I remember Rosalind Moss saying she went to her protestant pastor saying she was going to read the early Fathers. He warned her not to in case it made her Catholic.
She read them and she came Home.
Interestingly her journey from protestantism began because of Holy Communion. She is Jewish and she was looking for the Lamb.

July 09, 2007 6:26 AM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

Our symptoms include:

The ability to worship WITHOUT ANY MUSIC at all!

On a first name basis with the clerks in the CATHOLIC bookstore, which never was the case anywhere else.

Becoming a "pilgrim" and no longer a 'tourist.'

Preferring altars to stages; pews to theater seats.

Calling pastors "FATHER," and loving it!

Learning what it means to suffer and to "offer it up". . . a most foreign concept to our former evangelical theology.

Rich & Susie

July 09, 2007 9:50 AM  
Anonymous theo said...

Father R:

I'm not sure whether cradle Catholics contract Tibernucleosis as a disease, but the same virus is known to inoculate against cradle-Catholic crib death.

I'm always humbled by my 17 year-old son's steady faith. Yes, like any teen reared in the Church, he wonders why the Mass can't be more entertaining (He doesn't put it that way.), but he's convinced that this is the Church Jesus founded and still leads today.

I'm often blessed to see my son avoiding many of the pitfalls I often stumbled into--in some cases, threw myself into--when I was a teen. When he encounters the Gospel as our evangelical brothers and sisters present it, he readily recognizes that the Church teaches it fully.

I'm blessed by the testimony of those who have come home to the Church. I'm also blessed by the testimony of those who were baptized in as infants and remained.

The non-prodigal son has no need to feast, but he also has no cause to be jealous, having never suffered homeless famine and exile. This might be the less dramatic experience, but it is what I pray for my children.

By grace I remain both your spiritual child and humble brother in the Lord,

July 09, 2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

I love this list! And all of the comments.

I've noticed two other symptoms:

* The urge to really know Jesus.

* The urge to participate in and offer the sacrifice that goes back to Abel and was renewed in Christ.

July 09, 2007 2:55 PM  
Blogger tara said...

An overwhelming desire to "show" every new bit of "treasure" to everyone you meet--you just have to show them, overly thrilled, your new "gems" of knowledge.

July 09, 2007 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

I don't think there's any known cure, but I find that a daily dosage of Gregorian chant provides great therapeutic benefit for the symptoms.

Here's more symptoms:

The urge to go to Mass as often as possible.

Automatic hand/arm reflexes in the sign of a cross.

In a 500-channel universe, the only one you watch is EWTN.

Hmmm ... I haven't kissed my priest's hands yet, maybe I have to try that one. ;)

July 09, 2007 5:38 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

and another thing... to KNOW OUR BLESSED MOTHER is OUR MOTHER. To have a relationship with her, is to come to KNOW Jesus in a more intimate way!

and one more now understand the "Divine Mercy" billboards seen on some of our Nebraska highways. I never knew what the 'rays' coming out of Jesus' chest signified, until now!


July 11, 2007 6:56 AM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

More symptoms:

An overwhelming urge to read from adn defend Scripture, 'cause all of a sudden it makes sense.

A sudden interest in what really happened in history, post 1517.

A whole new (better) sense of humour.

An interest in Latin.

A sudden resurgence in interest in going to church, even when it's not for Mass.

An addiction to Catholic quotes.

July 12, 2007 9:22 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks HO!

July 12, 2007 8:44 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Susie!!

July 12, 2007 8:45 PM  

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