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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Father John Harvey Rest In Peace

Yesterday I learned that Fr. John Harvey passed away. He was the founder of Courage, a group devoted to helping Catholics with Same Sex Attraction live chaste lives through the grace of the sacraments. What I appreciated so much about the Catholic view of homosexuality was the compassion felt for the person experiencing SSA. The Church does not condemn the homosexual person but recognizes they have even a greater burden than others in living a chaste life.

The Catechism states:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. 

What sets Fr. Harvey's ministry apart from many others is that it does not seek to convert the person to heterosexuality.  Rather, it provides the tools for chaste living using the grace of God through the sacraments of the Church, in particular, the Eucharist and confession. To me, this makes much more sense and in practice is more effective in keeping a person chaste.  Many of the protestant  programs attempted to "cure" or heal  the homosexual but they have since been shown to be  ineffective in this regard. To lay hands on someone in a healing service and pronounce "they are healed" of their same sex inclination then forces that person to deny their feelings. The person then has to live in a state of denial and live in a paradigm that  flys in the face of reality- Not unlike my wife and I believing that she "had been healed by his stripes"  as her tumors continued to grow as evidenced by the chest x rays. (I still believe God can heal anyone of anything, anytime, but it is according to His will and plan, not ours. "Not my will but yours Lord")

So rest in Peace, Father Harvey. I now have  the prayers of a righteous man in heaven who can intercede for   those close to me who struggle with SSA.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

For My Non-Catholic Readers

This is a re-post of a previous blog but it warrants repeating. From time to time I get non-Catholics who read the blog and invite me to read their blogs in the hopes I will decide to convert. They believe they are being obedient  to "preach the gospel in season and out."  The presupposition with some of  these individuals is that Catholicism is a false religion or a "false gospel" .  The fact that a person would believe Catholicism is false clearly indicates that they have never studied what Catholicism is all about from a Catholic perspective. It is easy to draw a caricature of what Catholicism is based on myths, lies, distortions. After all, this has been going on for the past 500 years and the purveyors of falsehood have had an abundant amount of time to perfect their attacks.

What I can tell you is that when a person  begins to read what the Church actually says about itself and its doctrines, the scales often fall from their eyes and the Holy Spirit brings them Home. I was one of those.

So, once again, for my readers who believe Catholicism is false:

Did you ever ask yourself why you hate Catholicism so much?
 Who taught me what I think I know about the Catholic Church? Is what I was taught true? Have I looked at what the Catholic Church has to say about itself, using official resources such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal encyclicals? Could my opinion of the Catholic Church possibly be based on bias, bigotry, bad history, propaganda from the secular media, or the bad priests who get publicity (i.e., the sick, and sickening, pedophile priests or those certain heretical modernist priests the secular media love to give press to)? Is it fair to judge doctrine by such things? Is any group with human beings in it free from sin and scandal? If I am wrong about the Catholic Church, what does that mean?

Here are some common myths about the Catholic Church:

  • Because Catholics reject the tradition of "sola fide" ("faith alone"), they think they can work their way into Heaven and believe they are saved by works . WRONG
  • Catholics think the pope does not sin . WRONG
  • Catholics re-crucify Christ at their Masses (or at least think they do) WRONG
  • Catholics think Mary is part of the Godhead and is to be worshipped WRONG
  • Catholics worship statues WRONG (for the 150th time on this blog) WRONG
  • Catholics think they can't pray to God directly but have to go through saints WRONG
  • Catholics conjure the dead WRONG
  • Catholics believe people can be saved after they die  WRONG
  • The Catholic Church teaches that one who isn't formally a Catholic is damned to Hell WRONG
  • The Crusades are an example of Catholic aggression WRONG
  • The Inquisition(s) killed hundreds of thousands of people and targeted Jews WRONG
  • Pope Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope" and didn't do a thing to help Jews during WWII WRONG
  • The Catholic Church wasn't around until the time of Constantine, a pagan who controlled the Church. WRONG
  • The Catholic Church did more than baptize pagan calendar days for the good of Christ, it is pagan in its very roots. WRONG

If you believe any of the above myths, I implore you to research. For doctrinal questions, ask the Church what it teaches; it's the only fair thing to do. For historical questions, look at balanced and objective scholarly research from a variety of sources (including Catholic ones). And as you research, keep in mind the common logical fallacies that are often used in attacks against Catholicism:

Generalization: "I knew a Catholic/ex-Catholic (or I was a Catholic) who was (mean, a drunk, not holy, didn't like the Church, was superstitious, didn't know the Bible, didn't have a deep relationship with Jesus, etc.), so therefore, the teachings of the Catholic Church are wrong." (Ignores the fact that bad catechesis, misunderstandings, or other shortcomings of a few Catholics do not reflect on what the Catholic Church teaches)

Bifurcation:"If the Catholic Church doesn't teach that it's faith alone that saves, then it must teach that men are saved by their own works." (Ignores that we teach that we are saved by Grace alone -- a Grace with which we must cooperate through "faith that works in love")

Cum hoc ergo propter hoc (with this, therefore because of this): "Winter Solstice is on 21 December; Christmas is 25 December. Therefore, Christmas is a pagan holiday. (Ignores that fact that there are only 365 days to choose from in a year and that the early Church Fathers had good reasons to choose the date they did. It also ignores that Protestants' "Reformation Day" is celebrated on 31 October, the pagan festival of Samhain.)

Post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this): "Constantine must have been the real source of the Catholic Church's teachings because after his reign the Church grew tremendously, and before his reign it wasn't as well-known" (Ignores the simple fact that Constantine merely stopped the persecution of Christians with the Edict of Milan and allowed Christianity to spread. It also ignores the writings of the Church Fathers who lived before Constantine -- and who were Catholic.)

Straw man: "You guys worship statues, and that's evil. Therefore, your religion is Satanic." (Ignores that fact that we don't worship statues)


Sunday, December 26, 2010

He Makes the Earth Glow

"Finally, the solemn liturgy is the centre of everything, because there takes place in it what we are unable to accomplish and of which, however, we are always in
expectation. He is present. He enters into our midst. Heaven is rent, and this
makes the earth glow."  Pope Benedict 16th

Friday, December 24, 2010

Autoharps We Have Heard On High

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Silent Night on Autoharp

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An Advent Prayer

Tonight my wife and I and my college-age son and his girlfriend lit the candles on our Advent wreath once again reading a selection from our devotional and then prayed before we ate. Fortunately, we still had time to go over to St Joseph's for the closing 1/2 hour of Eucharistic adoration. It helped us to brush off the day and re-align our priorities and thoughts. It's sad knowing that advent is drawing to a close so quickly. Did I meet all the goals I had set? Did I use the time to allow God to prepare Him room in my heart?
Yes, some goals were met others not at all. Alas,  two more days then we celebrate Christmas!
So much to ponder so little time to do it in. God bless you all in the closing moments of Advent as we get ready to celebrate His birth in our world and in our hearts once again!

Lord Jesus, during this precious season of Advent,
I ask that you help me prepare the way for your coming.
Make my crooked ways straight, fill the empty areas of my soul with your goodness.
Make the mountains of my pride and arrogance low,
Make my winding and manipulative ways straight.
Take my exceedingly rough edges and make them smooth,
Let people see You in me so that I can help to show forth your salvation
by the life I live in you.
I give you all the glory and trust in your grace and mercy to answer my prayers
In your precious name, Jesus, I pray.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

In The Bleak Mid Winter

Catholic singer/songwriter Corinne May

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Mary, Untier of Knots

To honor the Blessed Mother on the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception.
"Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us."

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Owen Swain's Advent Prayer Card

How appropriate that Catholic convert, artist and writer offers this on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
"I fly unto you O virgin of virgins."
Nope not worship, just asking her intercession for our needs. As early as 250 AD, there are recorded prayers asking the Blessed mother for her intercessions.
Mary merited the grace of Christ to escape the stain of original sin at the time of her conception.
But how could she merit the merits of Christ before he died on the Cross? Don't you believe that God can do anything He wants to? Even apply the merits of Christ's passion to Mary before she was conceived. In an age when space/time warp themes are coming out of Hollywood everyday and writers continuously challenge our imaginations regarding time and eternity, why do folks have such a hard time with this when the Church presents it as dogma?

Monday, December 06, 2010

What Is This World Coming To?

Two patient's families today at the skilled nursing asked me to discontinue feedings on their loved ones. One patient's son was willing to re-consider and allowed me to restart basic sustenance, food and water through the gastric feeding tube. The other family really has no right to make the decision since the patient still has the capacity to decide.
Did I ever think I would see the day when a step daughter is arguing with me in front of her step-father trying to convince him that the quality of his life is so poor that he should agree to be starved to death? In front of her father she discussed how much the nursing home was going to cost them per day once he was no longer covered by insurance! I told the gentleman that he would be dead in two weeks if I discontinued his feedings. His step-daughter told him I would basically anesthetize him so he wouldn't feel anything. I explained that I would not participate in terminal sedation since this is not the standard of care nor is it legal.

The Catholic Church teaches us that the withdrawal of food and water from a patient who is not imminently terminal is grave sin and violates the dignity of the person and deprives them of their life. The Church teaches that life is sacred because we are created in the image of God and we are not to end another's life, irregardless of the quality of that person's life.

God have mercy on this generation that has found it so easy to end the life of the pre-born and now wishes to end the life of the frail elderly when they have become inconvenient or expensive.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Why Do Catholics Call Mary The Mother Of God?