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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Take The St Thomas Aquinas Pledge!

 Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles has recently encouraged all US Catholics to take "The St. Francis Pledge" which basically asks us to learn about and be pro-active to combat the effects of global climate change on the less fortunate and unprotected peoples of the world. This is laudable that we as Christians do what we can to preserve and protect God's creation. BUT, in light of a recent survey showing that only 55% of American Catholics understand that the Church teaches that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Jesus and not a symbol, I think that the American Catholics would be better served by taking a pledge with a different priority. A pledge that we as Catholics learn what the Church teaches regarding the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.  I call this the St. Thomas Aquinas Pledge after the saint who helped the Church to better understand the Eucharist and its importance in the lives of the faithful. Please feel free to copy, paste and post this.

  • I as a Catholic who has agreed to accept and obey all the teachings of the Catholic Church will commit to learning all God wishes to teach me regarding the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist. As an integral aspect of this pledge, I will seek to grow in my understanding of what the Eucharist is and what place it has in my spiritual life.

  • I hereby pledge to make Christ in the Eucharist the source and summit of my faith and to meditate on the mystery of his Body and Blood offered to me in the appearances of bread and wine.

  • I hereby pledge to study the history of the early Christians and the writings of the Church Fathers to gain an appreciation for the role of the Eucharist in the life and growth of Christendom.

  • I hereby pledge to study the lives of the saints who have made the Eucharist the center of their lives and to ask their intercession that I too will grow in Eucharistic amazement and wonder.

  • I hereby pledge to never receive Christ's body and blood unless I am in a state of grace meaning; I harbor no mortal sin as I approach the altar to receive Him. As a part of this pledge, I resolve to  confess my sins to a priest at least once a month in order to be fully receptive to all the grace Jesus has for me.

  • I hereby pledge to make extra visits to my parish when possible to worship Him in adoration/exposition and/or to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament reposed in the Tabernacle.

  • I hereby pledge to share my understanding and love of the Eucharist with other Catholics and non-Catholics who may be interested in hearing why we wish to live Eucharistically centered lives.

  • I hereby pledge to live a life pleasing to God in profound gratitude for this most ineffable gift He has left His Church.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deep In Scripture

Next Wednesday at 2 PM EST, I will be on Marcus Grodi's radio program Deep in Scripture.   In keeping with this year's theme of  "The Scriptures I Never Saw" we will be discussing the theology of redemptive suffering starting out with St Paul's words in Colossians 1 : 24. It was this verse told to me by a Catholic priest 3 days after my wife died in 1994 that planted a seed that led to my return to the Catholic Church 10 years later.

If you can't catch it live on EWTN Radio, you can watch the archive of the show later or see it live on the website.

Another Pew Poll That Stinks

Here's a link to a poll that an evangelical friend sent me. I can be pretty sure that whenever there is a negative story in the press about the Church, I get an e mail and a link sent to me from someone.

Jimmy Akin had another take on this Pew poll. He analyzed it  hereThe real good news is that 55% of Catholics do know that the Eucharist is the body of Christ and not just a symbol!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Something About Mary

Mark Shea has written one of the best articles I have ever read explaining Marian devotion.
Check it out here.  See what you think.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Sunday Morning?"

I saw this clip posted on facebook the other day. It was parody of "contemporary" and "relevant" seeker-friendly protestant assemblies that are popping up in malls, gyms, corporate offices, even luxury hotels on Sunday morning. The person who produced the video obviously came from the background of one of those churches as I too had. I once was a bass player for a worship band that was known as the "best live band on Sunday morning" in our particular area. As much as I laughed watching the video, there was a sadness to see that worship services for some of our protestant brethren have devolved into a multi-media experience seeking to entertain.
In medical school we learned that "nature abhors a vacuum." Whenever an organ was removed from the body, such as a lung, the space would be filled with tissue fluid and an empty space would not remain. In much the same way, when the sacraments are removed from the church, a vacuum is formed that must be filled with something.
The further we move away from historical liturgical worship centered on the sacrament of the Eucharist, the more we will see worship services like these. Increasing the cultural "attractiveness" has become the method of church growth and success in these times.

Apologies to my protestant friends who don't attend these type of services; I don't wish imply that all non-Catholic churches are going in this direction.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Catholic Church Is Not Attractive

As Pope Benedict was heading to the British Isles he was asked if he thinks the Catholic Church needs to change to be more attractive to an increasingly secular British culture.
This is what he said:

“A Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path.”

I appreciate these words of the holy father as he states very clearly what Jesus had told the disciples. You will be hated for my name sake and persecuted. The church that seeks to become more attractive to present itself in a "new and different" light to be more acceptable to the changing society is not what Jesus had in mind. The early church was cursed and persecuted and thought to be cannabalistic because of its strange and counter-culture beliefs. The early church fathers didn't change their theology or practices to fit into the secular culture of the Roman world. The modern Catholic Church continues to be maligned because of its counter-culture beliefs and practices such as anti-abortion, anti-contraception and hetero-sexual marriage.
I think of the seeker-friendly churches and the mega-churches in our country that have done everything they can to emulate the high-octane, American entertainment industry in an effort to make their churches more "attractive."
I'm sorry but I don't want to go to an "attractive" church.

As GK Chesterton has said: "I don't want to go to a church that changes with the culture. I want a Church that changes the culture."

He also said :
The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man
from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Return From Haiti

People gather outside the Church waiting for the clinic to start

We returned from Port-Au-Prince on Saturday night after a 7 day trip to the parish of Sts. Simon and Jude pastored by Father Andrew. We were able to bring 1/2 of a ton of medication worth over $100,000 retail through customs with only a 60 dollar "fee" from the customs agent. In the past we have had to pay almost 200 dollars to get our baggage through customs.
Four clinicians saw 1010 patients in just 4 very busy days. The temperature was near 100 degrees for most of the week and it didn't cool off at night. (Note to self: Haiti in the summer is really hot!) The team of 12 of us from St. Joseph's parish in Orefield remained healthy the entire week and we were truly united in spirit and in purpose. Back at St. Joe's the congregation was supporting us in prayer 24/7 with perpetual adoration set up for the week while we were away. We surely could sense their prayers.
Sadly, Port-Au-Prince has not changed and much of the destruction is still evident and looks unchanged from my last trip in March, 2 months after the earthquake. There has been little to no progress in removing the rubble on the streets and collapsed homes and buildings are still evident throughout the city. The tent cities which were to be temporary have become permanent and the people are reluctant to return to their homes even if they are still standing. 98% of the poor in PAP have to rent their homes and they are currently living for free in the tent cities. You can't blame them when they need to decide between food or rent. payments.
Despite the grinding poverty, their faith is alive and well and there were even more people in Mass then I have ever seen. Fr. Andrew says that every Mass has been packed since the earthquake! The joy that was evident in the Haitian Catholic Community is truly a wonder to see and challenged all of us to examine our walks with the Lord. How come I am irritable and melancholic at times when I have absolutely everything, including my health, and they have absolutely nothing, but their faith in God ? Listen to Jewel of the Caribbean here.

"You still are that jewel and that shining you can't lose.
You got somethin' they can't take away..

I don't think that I deserve to tie your shoes

Till I've walked a mile in your shadows"