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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trail of Blood to Card-Carrying Catholic

I received this comment regarding my encounter with the "trail of blood" baptist brother I met outside Yankee Stadium before the Papal Mass. Sometimes, I get discouraged and think "how can this person ever see the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church?" This comment by Truthfinder encourages us to press on in prayer and faithful witness to the Truth. Once again the reality of the Eucharist is the draw to the Church. Thanks TF.

truthfinder said...

Don't give up praying for him, please. As a teenager, I was quoting from that same "Trail of Blood" pamphlet. Now, some forty- plus-years later, I am a rosary-praying, card-carrying Catholic. It was the Eucharist that drew me in, along with the loving example of a Little Sister of the Poor, Sister Immanuel, at Archbishop Leibold Home in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm positive she asked the Blessed Mother to pray for me.

April 28, 2008 10:45 PM

Friday, April 25, 2008

"The Net of Peter has Been Broadly Cast"

It's been 5 days since Pope Benedict left NYC to head back to Rome. The papal fever has subsided and we are left with the thoughts from his sermons, the warmth and humility he displayed and a renewed sense of the unity of the faithful who came together to welcome him and learn from him.
The USCCB blog has a nice post regarding the legacy of Pope Benedict's apostolic journey:

"The net of Peter has been broadly cast. Whether in person, through cable, or on web-stream, Benedict’s interlocked words compelled a Church to unite and a nation to listen. From lawns, stadiums, cathedrals, chapels, and halls of learning and of diplomacy, the turf felt firm beneath the feet. We have to run the replay in slow motion to catch all his moves. From victims to survivors, from the culture of death to the Culture of Life, from medical care to immigration, not once did he punt. Nor can we. He handed off – or rather, handed on, the faith.

Just as in the days of old, when the disciples were sent(apostolos) to preach and exhort the faithful, we now hope to see an increase in fruit in the spiritual life of the Church in America. There has already been experienced a phenomenon known as the "papal bump" in vocations after JP 2's apostolic visits. I suspect we will see the same now with PB16.
I recorded most of his appearances on the VCR last week and have yet had time to watch them but I look forward to hearing again his exhortations to the Church. The Vatican website has all of his speeches arranged here.
For those outside the Catholic Church, I pray that his emphasis on Christ as the hope of our salvation is something all can say "Amen" to.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Street Preaching at Yankee Stadium

When Prodigal Daughter and I were starting to enter the stadium on Sunday to see the pope, we saw a few folks who were preaching ( yelling through bull horns at the Catholics.)
Initially, we watched from afar, but then PD thought we should chat with them a bit. So I had a rather lengthy interaction with one fellow who flew from Utah to preach to the "unsaved Catholics."
He had apparently read and memorized a little book called the Trail of Blood that was published in the late 19th century giving a twisted view of church history to prove that Baptists were always present since the days of John the Baptist and persecuted by the "false religion of Catholicism."
I prayed for him during Mass. I hoped he could hear the beautiful worship over the walls of Yankee Stadium as 55,000 Christians gathered to participate in the sacred meal celebrated since the time the Church was established on Peter and his successors.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Added Apostolic Blessing

At the end of the Mass at Yankee Stadium, we were told that we could take out any sacramental objects we had brought and the pope would bless them. I had brought a pair of rosary beads that were given to me from a friend upon my return to the Church. They were purchased in Rome but had never been blessed. So I held up the rosary and my wedding ring and they were blessed by Peter's successor. How cool is that?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pope Benedict at Yankee Stadium


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Homily From Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium

Today, Prodigal Daughter and I had the privilege of hearing this homily from Pope Benedict in person at Yankee Stadium! What a joy to worship Jesus and receive Him in the Eucharist consecrated by the Vicar of Christ with over 50,000 other Catholic believers. The anointing of the Holy Spirit was so thick you could cut it with a knife! Once I settle down, I will be posting more pics, video and vignettes about our pilgrimage to New York City. Here's an excerpt:

"In today's Gospel, the Lord promises his disciples that they will perform works even greater than his (cf. Jn 14:12). Dear friends, only God in his providence knows what works his grace has yet to bring forth in your lives and in the life of the Church in the United States. Yet Christ's promise fills us with sure hope. Let us now join our prayers to his, as living stones in that spiritual temple which is his One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Let us lift our eyes to him, for even now he is preparing for us a place in his Father's house. And empowered by his Holy Spirit, let us work with renewed zeal for the spread of his Kingdom.

"Happy are you who believe!" (cf. 1 Pet 2:7). Let us turn to Jesus! He alone is the way that leads to eternal happiness, the truth who satisfies the deepest longings of every heart, and the life who brings ever new joy and hope, to us and to our world. Amen."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pope Benedict 's Address to the Youth at St Joseph's Seminary

"Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ's very being for others (cf. Spe Salvi, 28)."
For the full text of his message go here.

Pope Benedict 4/19/08 St. Joseph Seminary, NY.

Getting Ready to See Papa!

Prodigal and I are getting pretty excited. Tomorrow's the big day. We will take a bus to NYC, then a subway up to Yankee Stadium to join more than 50,000 faithful to participate in Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict. The archdiocese has an instructional video on how to receive Communion at the stadium. The entire process of distributing the Eucharist has been estimated to take only 14 minutes!

I still can't believe that just 5 years ago, the pope and Catholicism wasn't even on my radar, and now I am getting the opportunity to see the Holy Father. Within a short time after my conversion I was strangely moved watching and listening to John Paul II and wept the day he died. In no time at all I have found a similar affection for the newly elected Pope Benedict. I was inspired to write Room of Tears after watching the election of Benedict the 16th. I can only surmise that it is a supernatural grace that has caused this fondness in our hearts towards the vicar of Christ.

Thank you God for giving us such great men of God to lead the Church and for giving all of us the chance to be a part of it!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pope Benedict's Homily in Washington, DC

Here's the text of Pope Benedict's homily at the National's Stadium in DC . Emphases and commentary added by Father John Zuhlsdorf.

Here's an excerpt:

"In the exercise of my ministry as the Successor of Peter, I have come to America to confirm you, my brothers and sisters, in the faith of the Apostles (cf. Lk 22:32). I have come to proclaim anew, as Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, that Jesus Christ is Lord and Messiah, risen from the dead, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, and established as judge of the living and the dead (cf. Acts 2:14ff.). I have come to repeat the Apostle’s urgent call to conversion and the forgiveness of sins, and to implore from the Lord a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in this country. As we have heard throughout this Easter season, the Church was born of the Spirit’s gift of repentance and faith in the risen Lord. In every age she is impelled by the same Spirit to bring to men and women of every race, language and people (cf. Rev 5:9) the good news of our reconciliation with God in Christ."

That's some might fine gospel preaching! Can I hear an Amen, brotha?

Pope Benedict's Speech on Christian Unity and Ecumenism

Pope Benedict XVI's speech at the St. Joseph Church
April 18, 2008 - By Benedict XVI

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

My heart abounds with gratitude to Almighty God - "the Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Eph 4:6) - for this blessed opportunity to gather with you this evening in prayer. I thank Bishop Dennis Sullivan for his cordial welcome, and I warmly greet all those in attendance representing Christian communities throughout the United States. May the peace of our Lord and Savior be with you all!

Through you, I express my sincere appreciation for the invaluable work of all those engaged in ecumenism: the National Council of Churches, Christian Churches Together, the Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and many others. The contribution of Christians in the United States to the ecumenical movement is felt throughout the world. I encourage all of you to persevere, always relying on the grace of the risen Christ whom we strive to serve by bringing about "the obedience of faith for the sake of his name" (Rom 1:5).

We have just listened to the scriptural passage in which Paul - a "prisoner for the Lord" - delivers his ardent appeal to the members of the Christian community at Ephesus. "I beg you," he writes, "to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called … eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:1-3). Then, after his impassioned litany of unity, Paul reminds his hearers that Jesus, having ascended into heaven, has bestowed upon men and women all the gifts necessary for building up the Body of Christ (cf. Eph 4:11-13).

Paul's exhortation resounds with no less vigor today. His words instill in us the confidence that the Lord will never abandon us in our quest for unity. They also call us to live in a way that bears witness to the "one heart and mind" (Acts 4:32), which has always been the distinguishing trait of Christian koinonia (cf. Acts 2:42), and the force drawing others to join the community of believers so that they too might come to share in the "unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph 3:8; cf. Acts 2:47; 5:14).

Globalization has humanity poised between two poles. On the one hand, there is a growing sense of interconnectedness and interdependency between peoples even when - geographically and culturally speaking - they are far apart. This new situation offers the potential for enhancing a sense of global solidarity and shared responsibility for the well-being of mankind. On the other hand, we cannot deny that the rapid changes occurring in our world also present some disturbing signs of fragmentation and a retreat into individualism. The expanding use of electronic communications has in some cases paradoxically resulted in greater isolation. Many people - including the young - are seeking therefore more authentic forms of community. Also of grave concern is the spread of a secularist ideology that undermines or even rejects transcendent truth. The very possibility of divine revelation, and therefore of Christian faith, is often placed into question by cultural trends widely present in academia, the mass media and public debate. For these reasons, a faithful witness to the Gospel is as urgent as ever. Christians are challenged to give a clear account of the hope that they hold (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

Too often those who are not Christians, as they observe the splintering of Christian communities, are understandably confused about the Gospel message itself. Fundamental Christian beliefs and practices are sometimes changed within communities by so-called "prophetic actions" that are based on a hermeneutic not always consonant with the datum of Scripture and Tradition. Communities consequently give up the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of "local options". Somewhere in this process the need for diachronic koinonia - communion with the Church in every age - is lost, just at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:18-23).

Faced with these difficulties, we must first recall that the unity of the Church flows from the perfect oneness of the Trinitarian God. In John's Gospel, we are told that Jesus prayed to his Father that his disciples might be one, "just as you are in me and I am in you" (Jn 17:21). This passage reflects the unwavering conviction of the early Christian community that its unity was both caused by, and is reflective of, the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This, in turn, suggests that the internal cohesion of believers was based on the sound integrity of their doctrinal confession (cf. 1 Tim 1:3-11). Throughout the New Testament, we find that the Apostles were repeatedly called to give an account for their faith to both Gentiles (cf. Acts 17:16-34) and Jews (cf. Acts 4:5-22; 5:27-42). The core of their argument was always the historical fact of Jesus's bodily resurrection from the tomb (Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30). The ultimate effectiveness of their preaching did not depend on "lofty words" or "human wisdom" (1 Cor 2:13), but rather on the work of the Spirit (Eph 3:5) who confirmed the authoritative witness of the Apostles (cf. 1 Cor 15:1-11). The nucleus of Paul's preaching and that of the early Church was none other than Jesus Christ, and "him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). But this proclamation had to be guaranteed by the purity of normative doctrine expressed in creedal formulae - symbola - which articulated the essence of the Christian faith and constituted the foundation for the unity of the baptized (cf. 1 Cor 15:3-5; Gal 1:6-9; Unitatis Redintegratio, 2).

My dear friends, the power of the kerygma has lost none of its internal dynamism. Yet we must ask ourselves whether its full force has not been attenuated by a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies, which, in alleging that science alone is "objective", relegate religion entirely to the subjective sphere of individual feeling. Scientific discoveries, and their application through human ingenuity, undoubtedly offer new possibilities for the betterment of humankind. This does not mean, however, that the "knowable" is limited to the empirically verifiable, nor religion restricted to the shifting realm of "personal experience".

For Christians to accept this faulty line of reasoning would lead to the notion that there is little need to emphasize objective truth in the presentation of the Christian faith, for one need but follow his or her own conscience and choose a community that best suits his or her individual tastes. The result is seen in the continual proliferation of communities which often eschew institutional structures and minimize the importance of doctrinal content for Christian living.

Even within the ecumenical movement, Christians may be reluctant to assert the role of doctrine for fear that it would only exacerbate rather than heal the wounds of division. Yet a clear, convincing testimony to the salvation wrought for us in Christ Jesus has to be based upon the notion of normative apostolic teaching: a teaching which indeed underlies the inspired word of God and sustains the sacramental life of Christians today.

Only by "holding fast" to sound teaching (2 Thess 2:15; cf. Rev 2:12-29) will we be able to respond to the challenges that confront us in an evolving world. Only in this way will we give unambiguous testimony to the truth of the Gospel and its moral teaching. This is the message which the world is waiting to hear from us. Like the early Christians, we have a responsibility to give transparent witness to the "reasons for our hope", so that the eyes of all men and women of goodwill may be opened to see that God has shown us his face (cf. 2 Cor 3:12-18) and granted us access to his divine life through Jesus Christ. He alone is our hope! God has revealed his love for all peoples through the mystery of his Son's passion and death, and has called us to proclaim that he is indeed risen, has taken his place at the right hand of the Father, and "will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead" (Nicene Creed).

May the word of God we have heard this evening inflame our hearts with hope on the path to unity (cf. Lk 24:32). May this prayer service exemplify the centrality of prayer in the ecumenical movement (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 8); for without it, ecumenical structures, institutions and programs would be deprived of their heart and soul. Let us give thanks to Almighty God for the progress that has been made through the work of his Spirit, as we acknowledge with gratitude the personal sacrifices made by so many present and by those who have gone before us.

By following in their footsteps, and by placing our trust in God alone, I am confident that - to borrow the words of Father Paul Wattson - we will achieve the "oneness of hope, oneness of faith, and oneness of love" that alone will convince the world that Jesus Christ is the one sent by the Father for the salvation of all.

I thank you all.

President Bush on Pope Benedict

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pope Benedict Today at The Whitehouse

Mr. President,
Thank you for your gracious words of welcome on behalf of the people of the United States of America. I deeply appreciate your invitation to visit this great country. My visit coincides with an important moment in the life of the Catholic community in America: the celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the elevation of the country’s first Diocese – Baltimore – to a metropolitan Archdiocese, and the establishment of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville. Yet I am happy to be here as a guest of all Americans. I come as a friend, a preacher of the Gospel and one with great respect for this vast pluralistic society. America’s Catholics have made, and continue to make, an excellent contribution to the life of their country. As I begin my visit, I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens.

From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the “self-evident truth” that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations.

In the next few days, I look forward to meeting not only with America’s Catholic community, but with other Christian communities and representatives of the many religious traditions present in this country. Historically, not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual and group can make its voice heard. As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more humane and free society.

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good (cf. Spe Salvi, 24). Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism in his native Poland and in eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows, time and again, that “in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation”, and a democracy without values can lose its very soul (cf. Centesimus Annus, 46). Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality represent “indispensable supports” of political prosperity.

The Church, for her part, wishes to contribute to building a world ever more worthy of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26-27). She is convinced that faith sheds new light on all things, and that the Gospel reveals the noble vocation and sublime destiny of every man and woman (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). Faith also gives us the strength to respond to our high calling, and the hope that inspires us to work for an ever more just and fraternal society. Democracy can only flourish, as your founding fathers realized, when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.

For well over a century, the United States of America has played an important role in the international community. On Friday, God willing, I will have the honor of addressing the United Nations Organization, where I hope to encourage the efforts under way to make that institution an ever more effective voice for the legitimate aspirations of all the world’s peoples. On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity – as brothers and sisters dwelling in the same house and around that table which God’s bounty has set for all his children. America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress. In this way, coming generations will be able to live in a world where truth, freedom and justice can flourish – a world where the God-given dignity and rights of every man, woman and child are cherished, protected and effectively advanced.

Mr. President, dear friends: as I begin my visit to the United States, I express once more my gratitude for your invitation, my joy to be in your midst, and my fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace. God bless America!

Father Longenecker (Bob Jones University grad and former Anglican priest) has a great post on the issue of authority and why it convinced him to convert to Catholicism:

"Why am I a Catholic? It's all about authority. The Pope. The Chair of Peter.

If you are looking for an authority to help decide the crucial questions what criteria would you set for that authority? There are fourteen things you would look for, which come in seven pairs.

  1. The authority would be historical - rooted in history and looking to history to advise on present day decisions. We're talking 2,000 year old history, then back some through the Jews.
  2. The authority would also be current - it is not ossified. It is able to be flexible and responsive to current needs. Here comes Papa on his own airplane talking about in vitro fertilization
  3. Universal - the authority transcends fashions in time and place. Catholic Truth is well...Catholic.
  4. Local - while it is universal, it can be found in real time applied at the local level. The Church is not just the Vatican--it's St Hilda's around the corner with Fr. Magee.
  5. Objective - it is rooted in history, facts and discoverable truth, not opinion or subjective sentiment. Bye bye rubbery relativism.
  6. Applicable -While objective it can be applied to subjective, personal needs. We can be flexible. There are some loopholes.
  7. Intellectually Fit - It has to sit at the top table with all the best minds in all the intellectual disciplines. Thomas Aquinas to the witness stand.
  8. Humble - It has to be understood by peasants and children. Joseph of Cupertino to the stand.
  9. Culturally Fit - It has to exhibit (or at least try to) the highest of all the art forms for expression: Michaelangelo, Murillo, Chartres, Tolkien, Mozart etc etc etc.
  10. Common - Though high brow, it can't alienate peasants and common folk: Infant of Prague, tacky statues, holy water bottles of the Blessed Mother with the crown that unscrews...
  11. Visible - It can't be just a theory. You have to be able to identify this authority
  12. Invisible - the authority has to be totally theoretical and transcendent in it's essence
  13. Human - It has to be believably human and ordinary. No golden tablets from angels please
  14. Divine - While human, this authority's origins and essence must be from the Lord above."


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He's Here!

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to Your shepherd, the Pope, a spirit of courage and right judgement, a spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care may he, as successor to the apostle Peter and vicar of Christ, build Your church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

President Bush on EWTN

Raymond Arroyo interviewed President Bush on Friday for EWTN's World Over.

When Raymond asked the President what he saw when he looked into Pope Benedict's eyes,
he said without hesitation; "God."

For the full interview click here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Willy Wonka and the Pope

When I first heard that Pope Benedict was going to be making a visit to the US, I went on-line and applied for tickets to see him at Yankee stadium. I had to apply through the Archdiocese of NY's website and then they said would contact my diocese here in PA. One month ago, there was an article in our local paper stating that there were no more tickets for the pope's visit and the Allentown Diocese had distributed all 100 of its allotted tickets. I was disappointed because I had hoped that my early application would have put me on the list. Oh well, I just had to offer it up.
Today the mailman came by and asked me to sign for a certified letter. Usually, when a doctor gets a certified letter, the first thought that comes to mind is "Oh no, not another lawsuit!"
When I saw the return address was from the Diocese of Allentown-Office of Vicar General, I breathed a sigh of relief. After all, how could I be in trouble with the bishop? (I don't think they read my blog :))
So as I ripped open the envelope and saw the two tickets (as seen above), I started to get teary eyed and ran to tell Prodigal Daughter of this great unexpected news. She said getting these golden tickets was like receiving the golden ticket in the chocolate bar from Willy Wonka, only better!
Why do us Catholics get so jazzed about seeing the pope? I think there are several reasons.
He represents the visible unity of the body of Christ. For where the bishop is, there is the Catholic Church.(St Ignatius, 107 AD) The bishop of Rome is the pre-eminent bishop of the Church and Christ's vicar. (See Isaiah 21 for the scripture Jesus was referring to in Matthew 18)

Why do I want to see the pope? For me personally, I think of the unbroken chain spanning almost 2000 years started when Jesus first gave the keys to Peter. When I participate in the Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict I will be seeing, in the flesh, the fulfillment of Christ's promise regarding this Church. Also, given Pope Benedict's age, this may be his first and last trip to the US and I don't see myself going to Rome anytime soon.

And where Peter is, there of a truth the gates of hell rage against the fellowship of the faith. There Marcion comes, and Arius, and the renaissance and rationalism, and the gospel of worldly culture. But still we abide in the Upper Room, gathered round our Lord and Master. Where Peter is, there is Christ.

For us Catholics, faith in the Son of God, loyalty to the Church, communion with Peter: these things stand in an intimate and necessary connection. And therefore since we desire not to abandon Christ, we do not abandon Peter. And therefore is it our quiet but confident hope, a hope set in our souls by our Lord at Caesarea Philippi, that it cannot be otherwise, that it must be so again, that all who seek Christ shall likewise again find Peter.
(Karl Adams, Spirit of Catholicism)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Taming the Tongue

Nick Hardesty,(PhatCatholic) had a post on his blog about taming the tongue. I have been thinking about blogging on this myself lately, so here goes.
I picked up this little book in the EWTN book store when we were in Alabama in December but didn't get the time to read it until I was in Haiti in February. It turns out it was written by a priest from Reading PA, not that far from where we live. The title intrigued me as I wondered how one could obtain holiness by way of our speech. Basing his "Master Plan" on James 3 v 1-12, Monsignor Losito has put together a short book that aims to help us grow closer to holiness through "taming the tongue." As the Scripture says, "anyone who does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also."

For most of my life, I have struggled with taming my tongue and as a Catholic have been particularly convicted of the sin of detraction which I have blogged about before. This area of speech also applies to the things we write on the internet in our blogs (Yes, I'm in trouble I know)
This book has been a godsend and I highly recommend it. Prodigal Daughter and I have both been convicted and blessed by reading this and it gets a 5 star Tiber Jumper Recommendation.

For little more than the price of a large Starbuck's carmel macchiato you can be on your way to greater holiness and likeness to Christ, with a lot less caffeine and sugar!

This book can be obtained here for $5.00


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Oral Contraception and Dementia : Oooops I Forgot to Take My Pill Today

It has been shown that the use of oral contraception increases the risk for breast cancer, premature heart disease, pulmonary embolism, and cervical cancer. Now, a new study quantifies the increased risk of plaque formation in arteries in users of OC.

BELGIUM, April 8, 2008 ( - Researchers at the University of Ghent, conducting a long-term study on 1,300 healthy women aged 35 to 55 living in a small town in Belgium, have observed that those women who take oral contraceptives may have more plaque (a hard, fatty deposit) buildup in their arteries.

Atherosclerotic plaque is comprised of cholesterol, bacteria and calcium which adheres to the inner lining of arteries.

Approximately 81 percent of participants had taken birth control pills for at least a year at some point in their lives, and 27 percent were currently taking the contraceptives.

The researchers conducted ultrasound examinations of the participants' leg and neck arteries to measure levels of plaque buildup. Every 10 years of oral contraceptive use was correlated with a 20 to 30 percent increase in plaque buildup.

According to lead researcher Ernst Rietzschel, this amount of plaque buildup is cause for concern because of increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and the study indicates a need to conduct new investigation into the safety of oral contraceptives.

"It's incredible that a drug which has been taken by 80 percent of women ... is almost bereft of any long-term outcome safety data," Rietzschel said in a NaturalNews report.

Cerebrovascular disease (blocked arteries in the neck and brain) is also a significant cause of dementia in the aging population.(see this study) We have also know that combination therapy with estrogen/progesterone for post-menopausal women increased the risk for dementia since 2003. Why would we assume that this same combination estrogen/progesterone therapy ("The Pill") doesn't eventually increase the risk for the younger women who may take these drugs for up to 25 years in some cases? Based on studies such as this, I predict an epidemic of dementia in women in the next decades to come, some of which we may already be seeing. With this information available, why is no one else is "connecting the dots" here?

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Monday, April 07, 2008

The Road to Emmaus

This Sunday, the Gospel reading was from Luke 24. Two disciples encounter a traveler on the road just three days after the crucifixion of their Lord. Downcast and dejected, they recount the events that transpired in Jerusalem that past week. The "stranger" then explains the Scriptures to them showing them how this very same Christ was foretold throughout.

As evening approached, they coax the stranger to stay with them. As they sat at table, he broke the bread, and their eyes were opened. It was only in the breaking of the bread* that they recognized Jesus.

Pope Benedict preached on this yesterday. Here are some excerpts:

“The road to Emmaus becomes the way of a purification and maturation of our belief in God: the encounter with the risen Christ gives us a deeper faith, one that is authentic, tempered, so to speak, through the fire of Easter, a faith robust because it is from the word of God and the Eucharist, not human ideas.”

"This beautiful evangelical text already contains the structure of the Mass: in the first part listening to the Word through the Scriptures; second in the Eucharistic liturgy and communion with Christ present in the sacrament of his Body and his Blood. Nourishing ourselves in this twofold meal, the Church builds itself up and is renewed every day in faith, hope and charity.”

The way to Emmaus gospel story has become a favorite of mine, as I've mentioned before, because it was in the town of Emmaus, Pennsylvania that my eyes were opened and I too recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread .

*The breaking of the bread is part of the liturgy that had come to be known as the Mass.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Personal God Governs The Stars

"It is not the elemental spirits of the universe, the laws of matter, which ultimately govern the world and mankind, but that is, a personal God governs the stars, the universe; it is not the laws of matter and of evolution that have the final say, but reason, will, love—a Person. And if we know this Person and he knows us, then truly the inexorable power of material elements no longer has the last word; we are not slaves of the universe and of its laws, we are free. In ancient times, honest enquiring minds were aware of this. Heaven is not empty. Life is not a simple product of laws and the randomness of matter, but within everything and at the same time above everything, there is a personal will, there is a Spirit who in Jesus has revealed himself as Love."
Pope Benedict XVI in Spe Salvi


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Memorable Week

What a week so far! March 31st was the 3rd anniversary of the legalized murder of Terry Schiavo and today is the3rd anniversary of the passing of the Late Great John Paul 2.

John Paul 2 was a strong advocate for the cause of life from conception to natural death and made a statement regarding nutrition and hydration in an effort to address the unfolding situation in Florida one year before Terry's murder by starvation meted out by the court system in Pinellas County, Florida. For more information on this, please check out this site and consider supporting their ministry.

I had come into the Catholic Church one year before Pope John Paul died. In that one year I had grown extremely fond of him and his writings. The day he died, I wept. I felt somehow connected to him as did millions across the planet.

This week, please remember to continue to pray for the forces in our country that seek to end the life of the disabled (cognitively and physically) in the name of "mercy."

I suspect John Paul 2's intercession before the throne in this regard will be especially efficacious as he certainly is a righteous man. (His canonization process is proceeding rapidly and miracles attributed to his intercession have already been documented.)

Pope John Paul 2, as we remember you on this day, we ask you to pray for this country and the lives of those who are viewed as valueless and disposable. You modeled redemptive suffering in your own life. Pray that we will understand this gift in our own lives and those who suffer around us. Pray for those who are no longer valued by society because of cognitive or physical disabilities , especially the frail elderly and those who can't speak for themselves. We ask this of you through the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

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