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, July 29, 2011

Euthanasia Vacation?

Yesterday , I was speaking to a patient's power of attorney, the person they designated to make health care decisions for them. I was explaining how his aunt was starting to decline due to kidney failure, dementia and several other conditions. She has no pain or discomfort, but is losing weight and not eating well. I just wanted to clarify how aggressive he wished we be with her medical treatments and diagnostics. He then expressed a desire to take her to Oregon where "euthanasia is legal." I carefully explained that it actually is not legal there or in any other state and how he could be assured I would provide as much pain medication to his aunt, IF, and WHEN, she needed it, but would not do so now with no clear indication. Nor would I give her enough medication to "hurry it up."

When I got off the phone, I scratched my head and wondered, how as a society we could possibly have gotten so unhinged? This is not the first time I have had patient's family express these thoughts. I can appreciate their desire to not see their loved one suffer but our society has lost the concept that there is indeed value in suffering and it can't be completely eliminated. It is not, nor ever will be morally acceptable to kill the patient to cure their suffering.

"Life is a gift of God, and on the other hand death is unavoidable; it is necessary, therefore, that we, without in any way hastening the hour of death, should be able to accept it with full responsibility and dignity. It is true that death marks the end of our earthly existence, but at the same time it opens the door to immortal life. Therefore, all must prepare themselves for this event in the light of human values, and Christians even more so in the light of faith. As for those who work in the medical profession, they ought to neglect no means of making all their skill available to the sick and dying; but they should also remember how much more necessary it is to provide them with the comfort of boundless kindness and heartfelt charity. Such service to people is also service to Christ the Lord, who said: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt. 25:40).(Vatican Statement, 1980)

Here's a link to the entire Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith's statement regarding Euthanasia approved by Blessed JP2

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Feast of Sts. Ann and Joachim

                                                                Shrine of St. Ann DeBeaupre

Today the Universal Church celebrates the mother and father of Mary, Saint Ann and her husband St. Joachim. With devout hearts they raised the Blessed Mother to love God above all things. I have a special devotion to St. Ann as I believe my parents prayers to her were answered in my returning to the Catholic faith.  See this post about St. Ann and our recent pilgrimage to her shrine in Quebec that has been welcoming
pilgrims for over 300 years!

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Augustine Was A Devout Catholic"

I love when a new convert discovers the Early Church Fathers. You can almost hear the light go on in their head (yeah I know it's a mixed metaphor). Check out this newly minted Wheaton graduate's blog post on St. Augustine. Keep up the good work(s) Brantly!

When I read the ECF regarding the Eucharist, I had mixed feelings. First was a warm, winsome sense of finding what (who) I had long been seeking (Jesus' Real Presence) Second, I became angry, feeling as if I was kept from all these writings for all the years I was a Protestant. With one hour sermons every Sunday for 30 years, you would think I would hear one sermon about what the early Christians really believed, based on the writings of ECF's like Augustine. A few of my pastors over the years did actually have seminary degrees and must have studied patristics.
I have referred to the Early Church Fathers as "Inconvenient Truths"

Why Do We Need Creed? or We Might Be Arians.

"The word "creed"—derived from the Latin "credo, I believe"—is, in its ecclesiastical sense, used to denote a summary or concise statement of doctrines formulated and accepted by a church. Although usually connected with religious belief, it has a wider meaning, and designates the principles which an individual or an associated body so holds that they become the springs and guides of conduct. Some sects of Christians reject formal creeds and profess to find the Scriptures sufficient for all purposes that creeds are meant to serve. The Christian religion rests on Christ, and the final appeal on any question of doctrine must be to the Scriptures which testify of Him: but it is found that very different conclusions are often reached by those who profess to ground their beliefs upon the same passages of the Word of God. Almost every heresy that has disturbed the unity of the Church has been advocated by men who appealed to Scripture in confirmation of the doctrines they taught. The true teaching of the Word of God is gathered from careful and continuous searching of the Scriptures, and there is danger of fatal error when conclusions are drawn from isolated passages interpreted in accordance with preconceived opinions. It has been found not only expedient but needful that the Christian Churches should set forth in creeds and confessions the doctrines which they believe the Scriptures affirm. They are bound not only to accept Scripture as the rule of faith, but to make known the sense in which they understand it. As unlearned and unstable men wrest and subvert the Sacred Writings, it is fitting that those who are learned and not unstable should publish sound expositions of their contents. In the light of creeds, converts are enabled to test their own position, and to put to proof the claims of those who profess to be teachers of Christian doctrine."

   Based on this explanation of creeds above, we summarize that:
  1. Some Christians reject creeds believing that the Scriptures alone are capable of handling the duties that creeds were meant to perform. 
  2. Very different conclusions are often reached by those who profess to ground their beliefs upon the same passages of the Word of God.
  3. There is danger of fatal error when conclusions are drawn from isolated passages interpreted in accordance with preconceived opinions.
  4. It is needful that the Christian Churches should set forth in creeds and confessions the doctrines which they believe the Scriptures affirm.
  5. As unlearned and unstable men wrest and subvert the Sacred Writings, it is fitting that those who are learned and not unstable should publish sound expositions of their contents.
  6. In the light of creeds, converts are enabled to test their own position, and to put to proof the claims of those who profess to be teachers of Christian doctrine.
  7. Almost every heresy that has disturbed the unity of the Church has been advocated by men who appealed to Scripture in confirmation of the doctrines they taught.
  Why Do We Need Creeds then? Because using the bible alone as the definitive source book for Christian doctrine may lead to fatal error by those who wrest and subvert scripture passages to interpret them to support their own pre-conceived opinions.  The author of the above treatise sounds like a Catholic apologist. But it is actually a 19th century Protestant theologian named Rev. James Dodds. In his exposition on the creeds he unknowingly has given us an elegant explanation of why the paradigm of sola-scriptura fails to adequately enunciate the truths of Christian doctrine. Something outside of the bible (in this case a creed written by the Church Jesus started) is needed to rightly interpret what the Holy Spirit is attempting to share with us. Without the Nicean Creed, and a Church that put it together, we might  be Arians.

There is a long history throughout Christendom of individuals who have approached scripture with a pre-conceived opinion and then pulled out(wrested) isolated passages to align with their new doctrines.
Thank you Dr. Dodd in helping us see why creeds (and the Church led by the Holy Spirit) are so important.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Bumper Sticker

Get Yours Here Free!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"If Protestantism Is True" Book Review

If Protestantism Is True  
The Reformation Meets Rome

by Devin Rose
2011, Unitatis Books

Devin Rose, a convert from evangelical Protestantism (Baptist) to Catholicism has a new book called   "If Protestantism is True.”   The purpose of the book is to explain Catholic belief comparing and contrasting it to Protestantism. Coming from a Protestant background, he understands the viewpoints from both sides of the Tiber River and articulates his points without rancor towards his former co-religionists. 
 He uses simple logic to help the reader see why Protestant doctrines are lacking and how and why Catholic belief and practice have stood the test of time.  His chapter on Protestant Objections to the Catholic Church is alone, a very helpful apologetic to disarm the common accusations leveled at the Church.

He makes ample use of both Protestant and Catholic resources in his arguments and often relies on the writings of the Church Fathers to bolster his points regarding the antiquity and consistency of Catholic doctrine.

Mr. Rose concludes the book by stating that every difference between Protestantism and Catholicism ultimately comes down to the issue of authority . He shows the reader, through many examples, the consequences of following the Protestant  vs.  Catholic model  of authority. Using his simple but powerful statements beginning with:  “If Protestantism is true, then….,”  the reader is able to “connect the dots” with basic logic to understand why the reformation was not the answer, but rather the source of further division in the body of Christ.

If you are a new Catholic or convert who wants to learn more about the Catholic faith and how to defend it to non-Catholics this is an excellent resource.

If you are a Protestant  who desires to understand the basis of Catholic belief and/or are personally considering the claims of Catholicism for yourself, this book is also for you.

You can get your copy here

Thank God for this "second wave"  of new young intellectual converts who are going to effectively carry out  Blessed John Paul 2's call for The New Evangelization with passion.

"Dancing Through Hoops"-FB Apologetics.

 I recently posted a video of a testimony on facebook of a convert to the Catholic faith from Protestant fundamentalism . I have posted all the responses below. It will give you a firsthand glimpse at some on-line apologetic work by several Catholics. Unfortunately, even after multiple explanations of what Catholics believe regarding our faith and Jesus and His Church, our Protestant friend Marjorie pulls out the straw man that we all just spent the better part of a day attempting to dispel.(see her comment in red below) You never know if a seed was planted however.
  • Alice S. Morrow Rowan Encouraging. Thanks!

    • July 16 at 3:18pm ·

    • Russ Rentler Yeah, she really had a great story.
      July 16 at 3:19pm · · 1 person
    • Alice S. Morrow Rowan As the only Catholic in my family, I am always filled with hope by stories like this.
      July 16 at 3:26pm · · 1 person

    • Russ Rentler keep praying Alice!
      July 16 at 6:08pm · · 1 person
    • Johnette Burress Wonderful!!!!! Thank you, Russ!
      July 16 at 7:25pm · · 1 person
    • Grace B. Matubis Great story! Thanks Russ!
      July 16 at 8:19pm · · 1 person
    • Pat Milot Thanks for this Russ! Very insightful lady!
      July 16 at 10:03pm · · 2 people
    • Marjorie Green Pedersen what's the point? It's not the church,  IT"S JESUS and a relationship with HIM.... sorry don't get it...
      July 16 at 11:00pm ·
    • Pat Milot Catholics do have a relationship with Jesus, we LOVE Jesus and have a relationship with Him through the Catholic Church which Jesus himself started. That is pretty easy to understand.
      July 16 at 11:05pm · · 5 people
    • Alice S. Morrow Rowan The point is that the Church is the body of Jesus Christ. There are many verses in the New Testament that speak of this. For example, Ephesians 1:22-23 tells us that God gave Jesus Christ as "head over all things to the church, which is his body." It isn't just me and Jesus, the head. It's me and everyone else who is part of His body. The Roman Catholic Church is the only church that provides me with the Eucharist, which 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 tells me is "a participation in the blood of Christ" and "a participation in the body of Christ.... Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf." Of course these verses can be interpreted metaphorically, and that would not be wrong, but it would be only part of the story, part of the reality. By taking Jesus at His literal word, the Catholic Church provides me with spiritual food that I can get nowhere else, and having lived both without it and with it for long periods, I can testify that only by partaking of this food do I truly experience the fullness of the relationship that Jesus Christ offers to me. For this I am deeply and profoundly grateful to Christ the Head and to Christ the Body (the Church). ♥
      Sunday at 9:28am · · 6 people

    • Russ Rentler ‎@Marjorie-The point is that you can't separate the Church from Jesus and until the past 400 years, Christians experienced their relationship with Jesus through his Church. Christ is the head of the body, His church. to remove the Church from Jesus is "decapatating" the body of Christ. Christians were never intended to have a "personal relationship with Jesus" outside his living, breathing body, the Church- which he established. There is no historical record of Christians who did thrive outside of His Church. The word "ecclesia" meaning church or assembly is used over 111 times in the New Testament. The words "Personal relationship with Jesus" although true and good and necessary, are not found anywhere in the New Testament. Christians since the beginning have received the graces of God poured out through the sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is always about Jesus, He is first. But Catholics maintain that the Church is what Christ instituted on earth to be the source of discovering that relationship with Jesus. If Jesus had intended it to be otherwise, he would have never told Peter that he was a rock, changing his name, then giving him he keys to the kingdom. He instead, would have given us the plans to the printing press and told us what books to put in the bible . But He did tell us he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. So if Jesus was telling us to a part of this Church and the early Christians historically were all part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, far be it from me to do otherwise..
      Sunday at 11:03am · · 6 people
    • Tara Evans Welcome home!
      Sunday at 11:03am · · 3 people
    • Tara Evans Jesus gave us His Church, so that we had an instrument to receive His Grace--through the Sacraments! Why would anyone want to go to a church founded by a man, like Luther or Wesley or Smith, when Jesus gave us His own!???
      Sunday at 11:13am · · 5 people
    • Marjorie Green Pedersen Russ I agree with everything you said accept..... I do not find anywhere in the Bible where it pegs one faith the Catholic Church, It says Church. (possibly interpreted as such in your Douay Version but not in the literal Greek).Granted not all churches teach & preach the gospel, but my church does and emphasizes a relationship with Jesus along with a breathing living body of believers that the gates of hell are not going to prevail against. Christ is the head of our body, we worship Him and him alone we commune with him with the Lords supper and we are NOT a catholic church... the Apostles set the example and planted churches around the known globe then. They were called "Christians" Christ followers.... NOT Catholics.... this term was first used to describe the Christian Church in the early 2nd century to emphasize its universal scope. In the 2nd century all the apostles were dead so they did not call the church Catholic it was called "Christian". You can be any denomination you want but the church MUST follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be Biblical. The Apostles presented and God preserved the Gospel which has been passed from generation to generation. If this lady you met felt she needed to leave her church and become Catholic that is between her and God. I felt I needed to leave my former church and find another because of a "man" centered theme that was becoming more evident... I didn't become Catholic. It took me a while to find another church to join fellowship with, one that shows the love & worship of the Lord as preeminence & the love of the brethren a priority. I had to move out of the area but there was hope after many years in a stagnant environment. The emphasis needs to be on Christ who changes lives not the church which for many becomes like a country club or some other affiliation. The emphasis on the church body is secondary to what the focus should be on, Christ. Just because a church happens to be Catholic does not mean every Catholic church preaches and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ , just as any other church denomination..... some preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and others preach a social gospel where you say & do social things to acquire a greater favor with God which is error.... these things are fruits of the Spirit when enacted IF you know & have a relationship with Jesus. The church is NOT the answer Jesus IS..... So the point is you met a lady who left the evangelical church and became catholic which means nothing.... many have left the catholic church and have become evangelical.... NONE OF THIS MATTERS..... the question is WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JESUS CHRIST. HAVE YOU REPENTED OF YOUR SINS AND ACCEPTED THE FREE GIFT OF SALVATION. IF NOT WHY NOT.... WHY NOT EMPHASIZE JESUS AND EXALT HIM.... instead of the church.... JESUS IS LORD.... TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
      Sunday at 5:07pm ·
    • Janet Schmick Mrazek Jesus is Lord and we should exalt him as all Catholics, who know and understand their faith do. But where would we be without His Church, the Church he gave to the Apostles, when He handed the keys to the Kingdom to Peter. When I watched my husband go back to the Catholic Church after many years absence, it had a great effect on me. I was not Catholic at the time and just went along in support of my husband. To watch a grown man go back to a Church building(not his home parish) where he knew no one and have tears in his eyes before we even parked the car, had a big effect on me. I knew then that my attachment to my church was not my faith, it was the people/community, family & the history of the building that I had me stay. He tried to tell me that he did not need to know anyone and that even if the preaching that day wasn't the best, it did not matter because Jesus was there. Not being Catholic I did not understand and to be honest was a little offended at that comment. But yet, I was very moved by his strong belief and I knew that even though I professed to be a Christian and did know Jesus Christ and his Gospel message, I knew that I would never have tears in my eyes entering the parking lot of a non-Catholic church parking lot. After 3 long years of reading, watching EWTN, alternating between attending Mass and my home church, I finally understood that it was the Eucharist that my husband missed, not the preaching or the people and I made the decision to become Catholic and finally be able to receive the true Body & Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I became a Catholic in 1998 and I know that the Church has given me the biggest gift I could have ever received through the Eucharist. You can pray to Jesus, ask for forgiveness of sins, hear good preaching, read good books, have good fellowship, have bible studies; and all of this is good and will bring you closer to Christ. It is only through Jesus Christ that we are saved. But it is only in the Catholic Church that we have the fullness of the faith. We have so much more than any other Christian Church. We have all the Sacraments which give us many graces and lead closer to our Saviour. We have the rich prayers (but still can pray to Jesus directly with personal prayers), we have the Saints as our friends and role models, we have the beautiful Churches that bring Glory to our Lord, we have Mary who always reminds us to follow the way of her Son. Most of these things have been dropped by the other churches. Can Jesus save other Christians? Absolutely, He is God and can choose to save who he wants. But I choose to be in the Church where I can receive Him in the Eucharist and I can receive the all these graces,not just some of them. Most people who study Early Church History agree. I will pray that this message will not offend, but will reflect the love that I found in the Catholic Church. If you want to know more, I suggest that you contact the Catholic Church in your area and attend RCIA classes to find out what the Catholic Church really is about. Most Churches start their classes in September. There are so many misconceptions out there, don't believe everything you hear. Go to the source for your information. May God Bless you, Marjorie and I will pray for your understanding.
      Sunday at 6:13pm · · 2 people

    • Russ Rentler ‎@Janet, wow, that was beautiful and well said! Jesus is Lord! To Him be glory honor and praise forever!
      Sunday at 6:48pm · · 2 people
    • Tara Evans Marjorie, I totally challenge you to find out what Catholics (the name means universal) believe! It couldn't hurt, and I think you would be pleasantly surprised to find it is indeed Jesus's Church--the ONE he said would lead you to all truth!!!
      Sunday at 7:32pm ·
    • Marjorie Green Pedersen I understand the Gospel Janet... and I am extremely blessed to have been forgive by my Savior Jesus Christ.... I am also extremely blessed to be able to worship my God within the fellowship of other believers in my church..... I am not deprived in the least I absolutely Love Love Love my church which happens to be a branch of the churches the Catholics are Bashing here... I know the turn tables happen from other churches with Catholic Bashing.... it isn't right either way.... it is NOT the "church" affiliation that saves it is Jesus Christ period.... if the Eucharist is what thrills you soul so be it ... but in my case what thrills my soul is the fact that Jesus loved me enough before I was even born to willingly submit to the cross and pay MY sins penalty. This is what thrills my soul... The Universal Church is those blood bought believers whom have trusted Christ's and HIM only for their eternity in Heaven. I understand fully and thank Him for opening my eye of understanding many years ago when I placed my faith and trust in Him ... Praise His Name... to God be the Glory ...... the Grace I have received is through Faith and is not of myself it is a gift of God.... SO I DO NOT BOAST.... it is nothing of me it is ALL of Him. Thanks for the info, I am not confused, I place my emphasis on my Savior and not my church. My church cannot save anyone any more then any other church. The church never died for me or paid my penalty but Jesus did. I know heaven is going to be filled with blood bought believers of every denomination & every faith will be in their own corner of heaven wondering how those other people in other faiths got there.... the answer.... Jesus Christ "The Way" By the way that IS the first century name of Jesus Followers.... Followers of "The Way". Thanks for sharing... I hope you don't mind me sharing my heart.
      Sunday at 10:01pm ·

    • Russ Rentler No one is bashing non Catholic churches here. I would ask you to show me that. We Catholic Christians love the Lord and He alone is the center of our life. Most of us converts and reverts to Catholicism are more in love with Jesus now than when we were evangelical or fundamentalist Christians. Because Jesus has set our hearts on fire for Him, it is our desire to share Him with others. Having been on both sides now, we converts believe that the church Jesus started the Catholic Church is the most effective means of reaching people with the fullness of the Truth. We have found the pearl of great price which has only enhanced our walk with Jesus. We want to not keep it to ourselves but share it so many others can walk more intimatly with Christ the way we believe He intended.
      Sunday at 10:20pm · · 2 people
    • Susan J Melkus Marjorie, I understand your animosity to some degree. I had it, too, years ago. However, since my husband and I (he was Cathoilc I am a convert) returned to the CC going on 7 years ago, we've been blessed to know and accept 'true history' and I've had to repent of all the years I "bashed" Catholicism and believed falsehood and lies about it. You might pause, and see why it is you're still angry or have an such an 'anti-Catholic' bias/bigotry in your heart. No one was or is bashing any other faith community or church here at all. Truth is Truth however. While I had a very real 'born again' experience, life changing at 19, it was only a 'epiphany' of my original baptismal vows stirring in my heart, and causing me to want to know Jesus deeper. Well, to know Jesus deeper is to finally see that He DID build A Church, and it still stands today and has NOT changed and is where the 'fullness' of Truth resides in a most special way. That's all. I'm not bashing you or your faith, but as Russ said, Christ and His Church, His Bride cannot be divided or separated. The Eucharist does indeed 'thrill' us! Why wouldn't JESUS thrill us!?!? HE is the one who feeds us HIMSELF!! For it is NOT a wafer only, but His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! John 6. Pretty awesome!!! Of course you can share your heart, but that's all we're doing, too. Remember: "To go deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." John Henry Newman former anti-Catholic Protestant (Anglican) minister who discovered the TRUTH about the Catholic Church and became a Catholic. To believe wrongly about Catholicism and then to write about what you THINK it is, according to what you've been taught by others who are ignorant, is actually 'bashing' the Church, because it is spreading untruths. Had their not been ONE Church to 'leave and protest against' there'd not be whatever branch of faith it is you go to on a Sunday. That's all I'm saying, just study history, read John 6 and ask Jesus to show you what is TRUE about that chapter...there's only ONE Church who still "DOES" what He said to "DO" "in memory of me." He truly died on the cross as our Paschal Lamb. Now we must EAT that Lamb, or we have not life in us! He said it, I didn't. Have a blessed day and thanks for letting me share my heart, too. JESUS IS LORD AND HE IS LOVE! +++
      Monday at 6:36am · · 1 person
    • Susan J Melkus Other churches do have communion, of course, and it is reverently shared in most places (as it was in the Methodist church I grew up in) but not as the Catholic Church does.

      The Eucharist is not a mere symbol, to be received 3 or 4 times a year, (more or less) as other faiths claim and do. It is either Christ HIMSELF or it is a most hideous cult we're in for sure! If it is NOT JESUS then, as Flannery O'Connor (Catholic author) said, "then to hell with it!" That might seem brash and harsh, but I see what she means by that statment ... now.

      Either Catholicims IS the ONE TRUE FAITH/CHURCH immutable and ONE WITH JESUS inseparable, and that bread IS TRULY CHANGED into HIS BODY/BLOOD by HIM [Jesus] OR others had best not dance around and placate us Catholics, but really, desperately and with and in HIS LOVE try to save us. There's no middle ground here. None. (Btw, I caught my typo above, where I used "their" incorrectly. That's a pet peeve of mine, so I am acknowledging my error, and know it should be "there.") :)

      In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us, everyone!

      Monday at 6:52am · · 1 person
    • Debbie Lawless Hi Marjorie, I'm Russ Rentler's wife. Would you be willing to read a book written by a fundamentalist who converted to Catholicism? It is the first conversion story I ever read and quite compelling. I know you may feel bombarded by all of us converts and enthusiastic Catholics, but like you we are excited about our faith in Christ. We have found that our love for Jesus has grown exponentially since becoming Catholic and desire that others would discover the truths we have found in the Catholic Church.

      Anyway, I would be happy to send you this book by Davis Curry to read more by this learned man (raised as a Fundamentalist Christian) who discovered that there were a lot of things about the Catholic church he did not understand and how he eventually was drawn by the Holy Spirit to become Catholic.

      If you would like the book, PM Russ with your address and we will send it to you. God bless.

      Monday at 7:32am · · 4 people
    • Marjorie Green Pedersen OH MY..... what a twisted mess you all are making of this..... to bad you can't understand that there are happy SAVED by God's grace Evangelical Christian's & happy Fundamental Christians. If your experience has been bad I'm sorry for you.... FYI, my denomination does NOT matter no mention of denomination exists in the Bible.... ... it is what I do with Jesus Christ!!!!..... the fact that I am not being co-ersed to become Catholic somehow is now being twisted to make me have animosity toward Catholics & this is ludicrous ....... this is all nonsense... I've made my point "salvation is through Jesus Christ ALONE" ....NO church saves Christ does ..... I guess now since I have made this statement it makes me hate all churches now, too right?..... I'm so glad I'm not hooked up with a works oriented faith that has me dance through hoops to try to gain greater favor with God....when his work has been finished on Calvary...... Sorry I ever made a commented .... your minds are hell bent on your religion... mine is focused on my relationship with Jesus....thank U for your time but please don't waste any more effort on trying to convince me I need to be Catholic.... the Holy Spirit is the one who will guide my steps and he has done a great job thus far I know I can trust Him to the end... well you have happy day....
      Monday at 9:44am ·
    • Rachel Baer Loved this woman's sweet and humble conversion story! Wish it was more indepth, but it was beautiful. Praise God that she found the fullness of Truth and has been able to open her eyes and her heart, to recognize Christ and His Church! Praise be to God, now and forever.
      Monday at 10:43am ·
    • Rachel Baer Marjorie, who IS the Church? The Church is Christ. We don't belong to one of any social clubs....we are to belong to "THE" Body of Christ. That Body, that Church....has four marks, to identify it: One (in faith, teachings, morals); Holy (not that it's members are holy, but that Christ--its Head--is HOLY); catholic (as in Universal); and Apostolic (as being traced to Apostolic times). So the answer to 'which Church is that founded by other words, which Church is the Divine Presence of our Lord, in His fullness on a very important one. When we identify the one Church, we identify the one and only Christ, our Lord and Savior. "The most striking words with regards to the doctrine of the Mystical body can be found in the book of Acts as we read (Acts 9:1-5) "But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting..."

      We note that Christ said to Saul, that he (Saul) was actually guilty of persecuting Christ Himself, since to persecute the Church is to persecute Christ as the Church is indeed his mystical body. If one-steps on your foot does not your mouth cry out? In like manner is it with Christ and his Church. We are his members, who with the angels and saints of heaven make us the mystical body of Christ. As St. Paul put " "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ." - 1 Cor 12:12-14"

      Monday at 10:52am ·
    • Rachel Baer Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.... For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

      1 Timothy 3:15 "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (Cf. Also 1 Peter 2:5, Eph 2:19-20, Matt 16:18, Gal 6:10). This term is most apt on account of the fact that the Church is indeed a family a "house" and hence the household of God in which case God Himself shelters His flock and units it. For this reason those who leave the Church do not divide the Church but rather separate themselves from it while the house remains in complete unity and order without them since it is founded on God and not on men!

      Although it is true that Christ does not need us nor the Church, nevertheless it is clear from Scripture that Christ has chosen and founded the Church for the application of his redemption & for the Glory of the Church which He likewise uses as a means to Glorify Himself.

      Just as the body is made up of un-equal unified heterogeneous parts that are substantially one, while all having their importance in procuring the health and well being of the body, so to do all members of the Church (although unequal) have their role in laboring for the salvation of souls, which is the purpose of the Church.

      The Church like any society is also a moral body, namely by the fact that although it is not substantially one like a physical body, it nevertheless like any society has a unity of purpose and function and works for the common good of its members. However it must be kept in mind that the Church is Supernatural Society, (what we term "Totus Christus - the whole Christ) as it has a divine origin and continues to receive the graces of its founder (Jesus Christ, the Son of God) - Cf. Mystici Corporis paragraph 1060 - 1062.

      Christ is the Head of the Church on account of His pre-eminence as it is He who rules the Church. St. Paul expressly states; " he hath subjected all things under his feet and hath made him head over all the church, - Eph 1:22

      Christ bestows grace upon the Church both as God and Man. In His divinity He bestows grace on the Church authoritatively and instrumentally as Man (as His humanity was the instrument of His divinity).

      Between Christ and His members there ought to be a resemblance as there is resemblance between the Head and the Body in the physical order so to in the supernatural order. In this instance the Saints of the Catholic Church are the best examples as their lives and works are living testimonies of Christ in the world. ".......

      Monday at 10:55am · · 1 person
    • Rachel Baer The first RECORDED use of the word, "Catholic", to designate the true Church of Christ from those heretics that would also claim to be Christ's Church, would be found in the very early writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his letterr to the Smyrneans, paragraph 8,
      OF 107 A.D., "Where the Bishop appears, there let the people be, just as
      where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."
      Undoubtedly the word was in use before the time of this writing (in 107 A.D.).....and indicated a Church which had Christ's authority and visible to the world. Matthew 16:18. The Church that Christ established did not get 'lost'. It did not splinter into denominational groupings. It has been here, all along, just as Christ promised. And He always keeps His promises!

      Monday at 11:04am ·
    • Rachel Baer​atholic/relationship_vs_re​ligion.htm -- "Some Evangelicals say that Jesus is about relationship not religion. Some groups even talk about the "Spirit of Religion" as an evil spirit which occupies a "religious" person from which they have to receive deliverance.

      Catholics fully agree that Jesus is about relationship. Catholics don't think that this personal relationship negates the need for religion. In James 1:26-27 we read the following:

      "If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this . . ."

      The Bible says religion is not only good, but necessary. Catholics don't feel that religion and relationship are mutually exclusive.

      Catholics don't think God is against the use of ritual as part of the way he ministers to his people. He is only against emptyrituals that are performed with no heart behind them. By the way, I think Evangelicals have rituals too, like lifting their hands when they sing praise music. This is totally cool with me - I do it too, so does my priest! And I love it when Evangelicals turn their chairs around, and facing the chair, kneel on the floor, resting their elbows on the chair. The first time I saw that at a conference of Evangelical pastors, I though to myself, "it would be a lot easy for them to just get kneelers." Of course, I got down on my knees and prayed with everyone using these makeshift kneelers. I felt very much at home in this traditional Catholic prayer position.

      Isn't a religious system man made?

      The dictionary says religion is a "belief or a particular system of religious belief and worship." I think the offending term to some Evangelicals is the word "system." They feel that any system of belief is man made. Catholics think God is a God of order and therefore is capable of giving us a system of belief. Catholics believe God created the solar "system." God created the "eco-system." He created the human immune "system." Catholics don't think that God is afraid of organization and systemization. Catholics think this is how God is unfolding his plan that is laid out in his Holy Word, the Bible. Catholics think this "system" is how he guards against thousands of conflicting interpretations of Scripture."

      Monday at 11:11am ·
    • Rachel Baer ‎."Let us note that the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian." St. Athanasius ("Four Letters to Serapion of Thmuisc," c. 360 A.D.)
      Monday at 11:13am ·
    • Rachel Baer We pray to you, our Lord Jesus Christ, for the healing of Your Body, the Church. And that our Protestant and Orthodox brethren will be re-united with us in the Holy Catholic Church. We hope and pray for the fulfillment of Your own prayer: "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that you gave Me, that they may be one as We are one." (John 17:20-22).
      Monday at 11:14am · · 1 person
    • Debbie Lawless OK Marjorie, but if you do change your mind and would like to learn more we would be happy to send you some great reading material. As you have read in all these comments, we truly believe that Jesus is still presnt here on earth in the tabernacles of every Catholic chruch in the world. He waited for us and He will always wait for you too. God bless you on your journey to draw closer to Him.
      Monday at 5:50pm · · 3 people
    • Rachel Baer EXCELLENT point made above, Russ. I would like to add here, in reference to the misconception above...some information taken from David B. Currie's apologetic work (for Marjorie's sake): "It is quite clear in Jesus' teaching that justification, and thus salvation, is accomplished in a unity of these two: faith and works. The whole process is made possible SOLELY by grace. This is just what Catholic theology asserts. Actually, there are a number of Evangelicals who have recognized this unity of faith and works and have incorporated the concept into their theology because they see it as scriptural. In the process, they have developed a very Catholic view of salvation. They don't seem to understand that their soteriology is Catholic! Many of them labor under the false assumption that Catholics believe in justification by works as "OPPOSED" to faith. IF they would just read Catholic theology (*my note here: by actual Catholics, and not by anti-Catholics about Catholicism) for themselves, that misunderstanding could be remedied. The writings of some of the councils of the Church are a great place to start...." [from his Chapter, "Salvation"--in his book, Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic", David B. Currie. (one of a list of books that I would highly recommend for Marjorie).
      Monday at 8:40pm · · 2 people
    • Janet Schmick Mrazek My friends, you have said it all so well. We will pray that Marjorie and other non-Catholic Christians will some day understand and reach out for "all" of the Truth that is found in the Catholic Church.
      Yesterday at 12:50am · · 1 person
    • Rachel Baer​m/focus/f-religion/2645606​/posts WHY I AM A CATHOLIC, by G.K. Chesterton
      Yesterday at 12:02pm · · 1 person
    • Janet Schmick Mrazek Thanks for sharing Rachel. Chesterton is great!
      18 hours ago ·

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The 60 Minute Challenge

"Personally, I have never known a Protestant who hates the Catholic Church, but I’ve known a lot of Protestants who hate a make-believe Catholic Church that they have in their minds.  I’ve known non-Catholic Christians to believe lies that anti-Catholics have spread, and I’ve know Protestants who simply prefer not to learn about the Catholic Church because they are happy with their settled tradition."

I recently came upon this convert's blog. Patrick Vandapool is very funny, entertaining and at the same time passionate about the Catholic faith. Share his 60 Minute Challenge with your Protestant friends here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Mystery of the Eucharist

Catholic Convert From Fundamentalism

Conversation with a Fundamentalist to Catholic

I was protesting the horrendous treatment of women outside an Allentown abortuary yesterday with others and had the opportunity to meet this neat lady above. When she started telling me her story, I said "wait let me get this on tape." She was more than happy to share her testimony of conversion to the Catholic faith.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Father Scott Ardinger: How To Pray 7/16/2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Young Catholic Mom of 2 With Stage 4 Colon Cancer

Please pray about contributing to this fund to support treatment for Angela Faddis who is battling for her life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Presbyterian Church Votes to Approve of Gay Ordinations

Presbyterian Church joins 3 other mainline Protestant denominations in ordination of practicing homosexuals.  See the New York Times article here. 

“Some people are going to celebrate this day because they’ve worked for it for a long time, and some people will mourn this day because they think it’s a totally different understanding of Scripture than they have.”   “I hope that going forward we can stay together and be faithful witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”    Rev. Gradye Parsons, the highest elected official of the Presbyterian church

If Scripture is truly perspicuous, how can this happen? One believing christian claims to have the Holy Spirit
and concludes that scripture supports homosexuality while another believing Christian guided by the self-same Spirit uses his interpretation of Scripture to speak against it.

Check out Rocking Romans

For the past few years, Paul Mazurek of Rocking Romans has been putting together the best of contemporary Catholic Music in a compilation CD. This year he included "Nicean Blues" which is from my 2009 CD Way to Emmaus.  All proceeds from sales or downloads that I receive will go to our Haiti Medical Mission at St. Simon and Jude Parish in Port-Au-Prince Haiti.

Eclectic Catholic Convert - Amanda Rose

Check out her story on Why I'm Catholic.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

"Catholic Guilt" From a Catholic Perspective

I have recently been interacting with Pastor Chris Castaldo on his blog site. He most recently commented to the effect that Catholic precepts can cause unhealthy guilt in those who most seriously apply them to their life.  This idea is based on his personal experience as a nominal/cultural Catholic and the opinions of a focus group he gathered together comprised of ex-Catholics.

Mr. Castaldo says:
 “My experience is that to the extent that one takes the precepts of the Catholic church seriously, he or she is unduly susceptible to experiencing unhealthy religious guilt.”  
This led me to disagree  from my own personal experience over my past 7 years in the Catholic Church taking it very seriously.  In order to make sure that my experience was not unique  I assembled my own focus group of respondents on the facebook group, Catholics Are Christians!  Admittedly this group is composed of over 2000  Catholics who take the precepts of the Catholic Church quite seriously, as I do. I shared with them Chris Castaldo's quote above and asked for them to comment if they had felt more guilt since becoming Catholic.
The following are  the responses so far:

  " I also have found that, since my conversion, I have been much more laid back about many things about which I used to be extremely uptight. Not because my morals have lapsed, or because I've given over to a "whatever floats your boat" kind of outlook on life, but I have become much more forgiving and MUCH less judgmental than I used to be; not at all what I expected. I believe these ideas/concepts are two sides of the same coin, just one more thing for which I am unbelievably thankful!" 

"Although able to tell a good joke here and there about Catholic guilt I have found that I really don't have all that much of it. I have found that the Sacrament of Reconciliation does heal all when I do mess up and (not saying it is a preemptive cure-all that Protestants sometimes make it out to be) if I do truly believe in this Sacrament it removes much of the lingering guilt."

"I grew up once-saved-always-saved, which said that I didn't need to worry about my sins because Jesus took them all away when I accepted Him as my Savior. Talk about guilt and not knowing what to do about your sins! Telling yourself that you shouldn't feel guilty because God doesn't see you that way. It's a vicious cycle. I made my first Reconciliation two years ago, and I can not even begin to describe the joy I felt in finally being able to confess my sins in a meaningful way and actually hearing the words of forgiveness. The guilt was gone."

" As a life long Catholic , Catholic guilt, always puzzled me. Shouldn't one feel guilty if a wrong has been committed? To me guilt is a gift from God letting me know I needed to rethink what I have done. It was a nudge to go down another path. Once I have taken advantage of the great gift of the Sacrament of reconciliation with true remorse and a conviction to do better I still know that I committed a wrong but that it was forgiven by God. If guilt is never felt then isn't it easier to keep on sinning because you never truly feel you can do wrong? I feel sorry for those who feel no guilt either they are lying to themselves or they are someone I don't really want to know for they will do what they want because they have no worries of having to stand before anyone and justify what they have done. No,  give me guilt any day so that I may know how to live the next day better than the one before."

"I no longer am plagued by my adolescent guilt of being a bad Catholic, as I have accepted the Magisterium's teachings fully & w/o question. I am no fool when it comes to my Faith. I have all the tools at my disposal, and of course fall often during the day, as I curse still when I think nobody is listening. It's getting better! That's the good hope! I am no fool when it comes to discerning spirits who creep & crawl around the proud. I fall into this category at times o simpleton that I am! God is so good, and with a good education in religion I can be saved in hope, faith & love. It's not a sure thing for anyone, but a sure hope. Peace be with you, gentle readers! "

"Why should I feel guilty for being a Catholic? Everyone has feelings of guilt at one time or another. I just don't understand. Is there a difference between Catholic guilt and protestant guilt? Besides I wouldn't feel guilty unless I did something wrong and didn't right that wrong.Guilt is guilt."

"I've been a Catholic since my birth. I have never felt this so called "Catholic guilt" I live my life as Jesus would want me to and if I should stumble I have the Sacrament of Reconciliation and I pay my penance. To know I am forgiven is so liberating. My son, unfortunately has rejected the Church and has on occasion brought up the guilt thing. Please pray for my son, that he comes Home to the Lord ~ Peace be with you "

 "Did he explain what sort of experience he was talking about because I have never experienced any sort of religious guilt whatsoever? I know I'm far from perfect but the Church had always taught that God is first and foremost a loving and forgiving God..."

After reading this responses, I will let you draw your own conclusion about Mr. Castaldo's comment that those who take the Catholic faith seriously are "unduly susceptible to experiencing unhealthy religious guilt."

Saturday, July 02, 2011

My Annual 4th of July Blog Post

Here's a re-post I have been putting up every year now:

So how is TJ going to forcibly drag Catholicism into a blog post today? Can't he give it a rest for one day? I mean this is America, a country founded with the express purpose of religious freedom for all and he's gonna make a stink about Catholicism on the Fourth of Juuuuuuly. Give me a break!
Yeah, I am! No rest for the weary. It turns out all religions were free to be practiced in the New World except for Catholics and Quakers. Of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence, only one was Catholic, Charles Carroll of Maryland. It was amazing that he ended up getting his name on it at all. Though Maryland was originally founded to be a Catholic haven in the colonies in 1634, by 1689, the British anti-Catholic repression had been imported to the colonies and freedom for Catholics to worship was very short-lived.

Until the Revolutionary War, Catholics in Maryland were considered dissenters in their own country, and were forced to live at times under a state of siege. At the time of the signing of the Declaration, it was illegal for a Catholic in the colonies to hold office or vote or educate their children in the Catholic faith. The Declaration of Independence fortunately ended that. It would have been a little awkward to have the wealthiest member/contributor of the Continental Congress and aide and friend to George Washington excluded from the democratic process because of his religious affiliation. So politically incorrect! How, I wonder, did it get resolved? I concocted a little Independence Day Play to suggest how it may have gone down.

I can just see them there now in the humid sweaty chambers down in Philadelphia on a hot weekend in the end of June with Thomas Jefferson at the helm. (I have lived in Philly for four hot summers and can assure you it gets very hot!)


"What Are We Going to Do About Charles?

Flash back/dream sequence of the signers of the Declaration in Philadelphia at Independence Hall. (Before the barricades went up after 911) The curtain rises on three middle-aged men seated together at a desk flushed with the heat, perspiring heavily.

John Adams {pointing to Carrol}:
Psst. Thomas! Thomas! Did'ya know that chap across the room is a Papist? He's from MARY-land {Hissing through his teeth saying Mary in a sing-song voice}
Thomas Jefferson {holding his forefinger across his lips}: Shush old man! Don't you know who he is?
James Madison {swatting a fly from his arm}: Some say he's the wealthiest guy in here. Owns 10,000 acres down in Maryland. The area is even named after him! Carrolburg or Carrolville they call it, for crying out loud! {Looks out the window with disgust then empties his mouth loudly into the spittoon}
George Taylor: I heard he is friends with George himself as well as Ben.
John Adams: {with a stage whisper} I don't care if he has more money than the pope and is St. Peter's long lost relative! How are we gonna' let him sign the darn Declaration if we don't allow him to vote ? (He hikes up his britches and cautiously looks around the room) And besides, Do you realize he worships idols?
Thomas Jefferson: C'mon boys! {he lights his clay pipe and takes a long puff} You know I'm not big on that religion stuff myself, but, the way I see it every one, even papists, are created equal and given, by whoever they believe their creator is, certain.... privileges. Or, should I say rights... Yes! Now, let me think for a minute. {He takes his spectacles off and wipes the sweat from his brow} Alien rights? No that's not right! Inalienable rights? No, that's doesn't sound right to me either. Damn! {He loosens the tie on his long red pony-tail}
{He motions with his quill pen for Charles Carrol to join them}
Charles Carrol carefully places his rosary beads back in his vest pocket and slowly walks across the floor towards Jefferson.
Charles Carrol: Hey TJ! what's up? I was just chatting with my Lady asking her to intercede for our proceedings here today. Sorry, I got a bit distracted. What can I do for you boys?
Thomas Jefferson: {looking sheepishly at the ground} We know you have the ear of General George and have been very supportive of the efforts for freedom. What are we going to do about this little problem we have with you and the voting issue?
Charles Carrol: {Draws closer to the table speaking nervously } "Well, the way I see it, we are all created in the image of God and therefore need to respect the rights and dignity of all men which includes voting. {He gets a little quieter} Yeah, I know what you are all thinking: 'Who am I to lecture you on religious rights?' I know we got a little out of hand during the Inquisition but you know as well as I it wasn't as bad as the history books made it out to be! Just let me vote and sign this thing and we'll all get home to our families before the summer's over. I have a nice little spread on the Chesapeake and you're all invited for the weekend if we can just get this signed. Besides, I'm really having a hard time offering up all this sufferin' with the heat! St. Blases it is hot! {He makes the sign of the cross and wipes his forehead simultaneously}
{Looks down at Jefferson's notes} Oh, by the way Thom, I was the spelling bee champion at Saint Ann's School and the word inalienable is spelled U-N-A-L-I-E-N-A-B-L-E."
Thomas Jefferson:
Why thank you Charles!
{rolling his eyes} I'll take that under advisement.....

A Church bell tolls off-stage as the curtain closes.

The End

To read the real story of the Only Catholic Signer of the Declaration Click Here