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 30, 2013

Our Ninth Anniversary in the Catholic Church

Anniversaries are important to us because they help us to commemorate life-changing events. When an anniversary comes up, our minds and hearts go back to that day and we once again re-live the events of that occasion. Today marks the ninth anniversary of our return to the Catholic Church. On April 30th, 2004, Deborah and I  returned to the church of our youth and "Crossed the Tiber."
      We now tend to describe the times of our life as BC (before Catholic) and AR (After Reversion to the Catholic Church) since it has been such a momentous change. As I have said before, our life is a series of conversions, or at least it should be. Saint Paul tells us - "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." My first conversion experience was my infant baptism when the Holy Spirit came upon me and washed me clean of original sin.  "Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated." (From the Catechism 1272) Unfortunately, I messed up pretty badly as a cradle Catholic at some point in my early adolescence giving into the temptations presented to me by the Age of Aquarius. Actually, up until 6th-7th grade, I prayed the rosary on occasion, went to mass weekly and confession every 6 months and would have considered myself loving God and my faith. That changed pretty quickly between 12 and 14 years of age. At 14 years of age, I experienced yet another conversion when I surrendered to Jesus, inviting him to be personal Lord and Savior and repenting of my sins. I then spent the next 31 years reading the bible almost daily, attending services 1-2 times per week and would have described myself as a fairly devout evangelical Christian. Then I saw The Passion of the Christ movie in 2004 and had yet another conversion which led to my reconciliation with the Church and convalidation (sacramentalization) of my marriage. This was probably the most life-changing conversion yet!
   Returning to the Catholic Church as an adult has been a sea change, as they say, and after 9 years still find myself in awe of the God who created the world yet humbles himself to come to us in the appearances of bread and wine. I can walk down my street to Saint Joseph the Worker parish (about 4/10ths of a mile)  any day of the week and allow this God to come into me and experience his life-changing grace.  I hope and pray for however much time left that He grants me, I will continue to be open to an on-going conversion of my mind, heart and soul.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. 
St. Augustine 5th Century.

If there is anyone out there in cyber land reading this and would like to learn more about the Catholic faith please feel free to comment or you can write me confidentially at: dobrodoc1 (at) Gee mail (dot) Com.
God bless you!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Crossed the Tiber is 7 Years Old!

This weekend marked the 7th year since this blog was started. I never intended to blog about the faith and never had a blog before.  As a matter of fact, I did very little writing other than lyrics for songs or occasional lectures for medical residents. After being back in the Catholic Church for 2 years, I realized there was a tremendous amount of misinformation out there about the faith. The blog was originally started as a way to dispel some of the myths that denigrates the faith and highlight the beauty of Catholicism. I have written, as of today,  2208 posts seen on over a quarter of a million visits. I had no idea I'd still be doing this. See the very first post here. Kinda, dusty but still rings true.
     I, like many people at one time, thought you couldn't be a Catholic and Christian. What I have discovered, by the grace of God, is that the Church  is the normative way in which God intended for us to experience his grace and blessings won for us on the cross. To live the Catholic life fully is to experience more of God than I had ever encountered before. This grace is most profoundly available by rightly participating in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith. Being a Christian is all about becoming closer to Jesus , becoming one with him, conforming ourselves to him and ultimately seeing our savior face to face. Our goal in this life is to get to heaven to spend eternity with God. The Church, as I have personally experienced, is the best vehicle to attain that goal. I hope that this blog has helped others, particularly non-Catholic Christians, to become aware of this often missed opportunity. If a friend won the million dollar lottery but didn't tell you about it or share anything with you, you would be understandably upset. That's how I felt when I discovered "this treasure that's always been at my feet given to me as a child."* (through baptism) I decided to not let others miss the treasure that is waiting for them and blogging has been a wonderful way to do that.

*From 'Late Have I Loved You", title track of  TheWay to Emmaus CD.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vatican Hosted Adult Stem Cell Conference

Well this news is about 2 weeks old but worth sharing, since it wasn't widely reported in the main stream media.  The Vatican recently hosted a conference to discuss the latest research in adult stems focusing on the new field of medicine called regenerative medicine. The key note speaker was a 2012 Nobel Prize winner, Dr. John Gurdon.
  The purpose of the conference was to highlight the successful treatments found in adult stem cell research and dispel the antagonism and prejudice that is frequently aimed at ASC research. It also successfully showed once again that the Catholic faith is not anti-science but is actually on cutting edge of the latest research that furthers the cause of life without going against the dignity of man.

"To address global suffering, one does not have to choose between faith and science. … These two ideas fit together symbiotically,” said Dr. Robin Smith, chairman and CEO of the for-profit NeoStem biopharmaceutical company and president of its nonprofit Stem for Life Foundation.

Read more here.and here

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mother Angelica's Role in My Reversion to Catholicism

In 2002, I noticed my wife was starting to watch a cable TV program called EWTN. She was starting to get interested in Catholicism, but I wanted nothing to do with it. I left the Church as a 14 year old after having a conversion experience in a very anti-Catholic sect. However, from time to time, I would be in the next room listening to the programs, pretending that I wasn't.  I remember one day "eavesdropping" and there was a dynamic priest preaching and I remember thinking to myself "I think this guy may actually know Jesus." He was teaching the Catechism of the Catholic Church but I didn't even know it!
   Then I saw a few of the Marcus Grodi Journey Home shows and could not believe my eyes and ears to hear the Protestant ministers who "knew the Lord" share their journeys into the Catholic Church. It didn't make me convert then and there but definitely put a "chink in my armor" that softened my heart to the point when I finally surrendered my will to His, while watching the Passion of the Christ in 2004. (See my story here.)
   Mother Angelica, a feisty cloistered Franciscan nun had a vision to spread the gospel throughout the world using television. Her vision has led to the largest religious broadcast program in the world
available to over 150 million viewers in 140 countries. She truly has embodied the New Evangelization and shown us how to do it.  Ironically, she suffered a stroke in 2001 leaving her unable to speak a word but her mission, The Eternal Word Television Network, continues to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ 24/7. Could I ever have imagined that my heart would be softened to the Catholic faith, in part, by the missionary work of this cloistered old nun?  Even further, in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine that my wife and I would be flying down to Birmingham to tell our conversion story on the Journey Home 3 years later?
   Happy Birthday Mother Angelica! Thank you for obeying Christ's call to "go out to all the world and preach the gospel" and lead this ex-Catholic back home.

(With Marcus Grodi after telling our story on The Journey Home)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Canon of Scripture: Martin "Scissorhands" Luther Exposed!

Renee is bringing her series on the canon of scripture to a close and I wanted to make sure that her research gets all the visibility possible. For the two or three non-Catholic readers who still come here, I ask you to prayerfully read her posts and consider the evidence against Luther's canon. As she says in the post below, the burden of proof is on you to show the Protestant canon is the true one. She has elegantly shown that it is indeed not, using Protestant sources and un-biased historical research. The following post is from her next to last post on the canon.

This is Part 38 in my series on the canon of Scripture. I would like to thank everyone who has hiked with me through the Protestant Mountains of Disinformation to expose the 46-book Old Testament canon for what it is – the personal opinion of the people who rejected the authority of the Church Jesus established. The burden of proof lies with those who rejected the deuterocanonicals, and proof that their canon is correct is the one thing they lack….
You run over in your mind one last time the two possible explanations for the canon. First, there is the story that runs along these lines:

- The writers of the New Testament based whole chapters of their writings on allusions to deuterocanonical books (this can be verified with a copy of the New Testament, a copy of the deuterocanonicals, and a list of references to those allusions found in the original KJV and Metzger’s Canon of the New Testament).

– The 1st- and 2nd-century Christians wholeheartedly embraced the deuterocanonicals as Holy Scripture (this is verifiable with a copy of the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, a copy of the deuterocanonicals, and a list of references to the quotations they made from the deuteros).

– For the first four centuries of Christendom, there was no consensus as to which books constituted Holy Scripture, either the Old Testament or the New, with books like Esther, Hebrews, 2 Peter and Revelation being rejected by individual Church Fathers (this is historically verifiable by referencing the various canons put forward by individuals in the early church). The canonicity of various deuterocanonical books, however, was not called into question until after the second century A.D.

– At Hippo in 393 A.D. the bishops meeting in council used the principle set forth by several Church Fathers, that of trusting the Holy Spirit to guide the leadership of the Church in guarding the deposit of faith (as promised in 2 Timothy 1:14). They discerned a canon of Scripture containing 27 New Testament books and 46 Old Testament books, including the deuterocanonical books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and the additional portions of Esther and Daniel. The Council of Carthage four years later approved the same list of canonical books and sent it to Rome for ratification, as did another Council of Carthage in the year 419 A.D. (all of this is historically verifiable in Protestant reference material).

– From this date on you can find individuals who question whether the deuterocanonical books should be viewed as equal to other books of Scripture, but no extant Bible manuscript from the fourth century on down excludes the deuterocanonical books (this is historically verifiable). The Reformers saw fit to “rank” the books of the Bible, questioning the canonicity of seven New Testament books just as they questioned the deuterocanonicals. They ended up shunting the deuterocanonicals to an appendix (where they had never been before - this is historically verifiable)and their descendants very eventually removed them from the Bible altogether.

- The Council of Trent in 1546 declared the canon that had been accepted and ratified by councils down through eleven centuries to be the canon of Holy Scripture. It did not add any books to this canon, which was the same one discerned at the councils of Hippo and Carthage,
as well as being the same one promulgated by the Council of Florence years before Martin Luther’s birth (this is historically verifiable).

     Then there is that other possible explanation for the canon, which runs along the lines of:

- The Jews utterly rejected the deuterocanonicals and never considered them to be Holy Scripture (“Many other books that did not later become a part of the Hebrew Bible… were also acknowledged as authoritative literature both among Jews of the first century and among Christians, e.g., the Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach” according to McDonald and Porter, and many Protestant Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias give instances of Jewish use of the deuterocanonicals, including three citations from the book of Sirach in the Talmud which address that book as “Scripture.” And who can forget the reference to the book of Wisdom used by the chief priests at the Crucifixion?!).

- The Jewish canon was closed before the time of Christ and included only the books in the Protestant Old Testament (the popular authors write as if this were an established historical fact. The credibility of their whole hypothesis relies on the notion of a pre-Christian closed Hebrew canon. And yet Protestant scholars admit, as one author puts it, that the ‘how,’ ‘when,’ ‘where,’ ‘who’ or ‘why’ of this hypothetical canon cannot be historically established. You can find a great deal of evidence that the Jewish canon was not closed until after the time of Christ, by the rabbis whose right to “bind and loose” had been handed over by God to the Christian church).

- Jesus and His apostles never had anything to do with material from the deuterocanonical books (and yet Jesus stationed Himself at the Temple during the Festival of Lights to proclaim Himself “the one whom the Father set apart” in an apparent reference to the “setting apart” of the Temple in the books of Maccabees. As for the apostles, Paul and James both base several sizeable passages of their work on material taken from deuterocanonical sources, and the author of Hebrews lists the martyrs of the book of 2 Maccabees in his ‘roll call of faith.’

- A few in the early church were fooled by deuterocanonical writings, but most were not, because the inspired books of Holy Scripture were self-evidencing, and real Christians recognized them immediately
(this is in stark contrast to the historical evidence – many books of the New Testament as well as the Old were hotly disputed for nearly 400 years – while the majority, not the minority, of the Church Fathers considered the deuterocanonical books to be Holy Scripture).

– The Bible of the first Christians contained 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books (you can find no record of any such canon promoted by anyone until Jerome at the end of the 4th century). Over the centuries the Catholic Church junked up the canon with unbiblical additions
(this cannot be verified – it, in fact, stands in direct contrast to the historical record). The Reformers, with their knowledge of what the original canon looked like, weeded the deuterocanonicals out while leaving the real books safely ensconced in their proper place in Scripture (You have read pages and pages dedicated to the Reformers’ incredible confusion as to what constituted Holy Scripture and what did not. What you cannot find is any definite date when the actual Protestant canon was definitively determined, and by whom, and by what authority!In fact, the Lutheran church to this day has not definitively declared a canon of Holy Scripture….)
How did the Protestant canon really take shape? Luther consulted with Jewish scholars as he worked on his Old Testament translation. From them he learned that the Hebrew canon lacked the deuterocanonical books. This made sense to him, since he was familiar with Jerome’s Prologues in Latin. It was easy for him and for the other Reformers to assume that the Hebrew canon had been decided long before the time of Christ, and that it was the canon of Jesus. They felt justified in claiming the Hebrew canon as their own. Conveniently, they were thereby able to do away with the deuterocanonical witness to the practice of praying for the dead, as well as the necessity of faith and works – both of which conflicted with the emerging Protestant doctrinal stances. Luther wanted to go further – he tried to discredit the book of James because he could not reconcile its message that “A man is justified by his works, and NOT by faith alone” with his “faith alone” theology. He removed James, Hebrews, Jude and Revelation to the back of his Bible translation. Other Reformers followed suit and went even further – some felt that 2 Peter as well as 2 and 3 John should go. The Reformation confusion concerning the New Testament eventually subsided when Protestants accepted the decision of the councils of Hippo and Carthage, but Protestants drew the line at the Deuterocanon. When the Catholic Church objected that she knew, in accordance with Holy Tradition and the authority vested in her by her Divine Spouse, that the Old Testament consisted of 46 books, the Reformers smirked and smugly insisted that history was on their side….
Nowadays Protestant scholars just don’t have the bliss of that ignorance.
And because of the utter lack of proof that the Protestant canon is correct, the distinguished Dr. R.C. Sproul has admitted that the canon of your Protestant Bible is a “fallible collection of infallible books.”)

Since the Protestants deviated from the canon that was accepted for over a millennium, doesn’t the burden of proof lie with them? And historical proof is what they don’t seem to have on their side….
So… where does that leave you?
    Well, right now you’re going to take a nice, long, hot shower. Then about 8:30 you’re going to return those books that your pastor kindly loaned you, and then you’re going to worship God for an hour or so. And after church is over, you’re going to ask your pastor if he has time to answer a few questions about the canon….
And after you’ve listened to his answers, you’re going to ask him if he has double-checked those answers of his with the evidence of the historical record! And when he asks you why that’s so important to you – why you don’t just take the accounts of the popular Protestant authors on faith – you’ll point him to a Bible verse that has taken on a whole new meaning for you in the past 24 hours:
“… the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth”
(1 Timothy 3:15)

 Of course, you have to accept the Catholic Church's word for it that this book was indeed inspired scripture, but I digress......

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Doesn't the Eucharist Change Everyone's Life?

About 6 years ago, I was sharing with an evangelical friend about the life-changing properties I had discovered in the Eucharist. I had just come into the Catholic Church and was so excited to experience the grace God has for us in this Blessed Sacrament. He then asked me, "If the Eucharist is so life-changing as you say, why then are there many Catholics who go up for Communion every week not changed?"
       I didn't really know how to answer him at the time but have thought about that question many times over the past few years. Particularly in my own life. How could I have been a young long-haired Catholic kid playing guitar in the folk Mass on Sunday receiving the Eucharist, but smoking pot and breaking the law the night before? Why didn't the grace in the Eucharist I was receiving change me or wake me up to see the hypocrisy in my life? This scripture from the gospel of Mark recently gave me an inkling of an answer to this question.

"A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
31 "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' "
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

Many were crowding around Jesus and even touching Him, yet he perceived that it was one particular woman's faith that lead to the release of His grace and her healing. The many other people crowding around him that day may have been just "going through the motions" following the crowd that day. Perhaps the grace received in the Eucharist is similar. When an individual receives Christ's body and blood but is indifferent, perhaps not even believing, they are not cooperating with God's grace, and hence will not receive the grace.
As St Paul said, it is so vitally important to properly discern the body of Christ at the Lord's Table. Christ works through His sacraments to the degree that we are open and docile to His work. The saints through the ages have written volumes on how to prepare one's heart to receive the Eucharist. So it comes down to our willingness to cooperate with grace of God. Many receive the Eucharist with no intention of cooperating with God. They may even be in mortal sin, God forbid, as I once was as a rebellious young adolescent. Perhaps they are just going through the motions, like some of the folks in the crowd that day. They were just carried along by the momentum of the crowd, but weren't sure who it was they were getting near nor understood what He was offering to them. And so it is with the Eucharist.
  (this is an edited version of a  post I wrote in 2008)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Martin Luther, the "Edward Scissor-Hands" of the Canon

More ink has been spilled and digital writing on LCD screens over the determination of the canon than most other issues dividing Protestants and Catholics.  Renee has a post here which truly explains the determination of the canon using history, logic and many Protestant sources.
   My first take home lesson is this:  Saint Jerome is often quoted by our Protestant friends intending to prove that deuterocanonicals were not scripture, yet his opinion was refuted by popes, and several  Church councils multiple times, centuries before Luther decided to rip 7 books from the Holy Bible.
    One more time folks: Catholics didn't add books to the Bible, Luther took them out!
 Don't believe it yet?
Ok, go online then and see the digital copies of Gutenberg's first bible in 1454. Please note that the 7 books that our Protestant friends insist that Catholics added at the Council of Trent were already there half a century before Dr. Luther took it upon himself alone to determine the canon of scripture.
       If Dr. Luther had his way, there would be a lot less books in the Protestant bible than just the 7 deuterocanonicals.
  •  You would not have Revelation:  "It makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic…I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it."  "Snip"
  • You would be missing the letter to the Hebrews: "In the first place, the fact that Hebrews is not an epistle of St. Paul, or of any other apostle" (Luther, M. Prefaces to the Epistle of the Hebrews, 1546).  "It need not surprise one to find here bits of wood, hay, and straw" ( O Hare)  "Snip"
  • You would not have the Epistle of James which clearly states we are not saved by faith alone. "St. James' epistle is really an epistle of straw…for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it" (Luther, M. Preface to the New Testament, 1546).  "Snip"
  • You would be missing the Epistle of Jude: "... it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books which are supposed to lay the foundations of faith" (Luther, M. Preface to the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, 1546).  "Snip"
  • You would not have the books of Moses, the Penteteuch: "We have no wish either to see or hear Moses."  "Snip"
So I ask,  why do our Protestant brothers trust the canon that was determined by this one man (with an intense hatred for the Jews and their writings) who was so willing to delete much of the Old Testament and New Testament and yet refuse to accept the canon determined and discerned with much prayer and council by centuries of bishops, popes and theologians?  If Luther's discernment could be so profoundly off concerning his determination of which scriptures are canonical , why trust his theology when he created his sola system?   But I digress.... Just read Renee's post.

Pope Francis Responds to Boston Bombing

Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State

Friday, April 12, 2013

God Have Mercy

If the spine of an infant born alive is snapped with a scissor in an abortion clinic in Philly and the media WON'T report it, does it still make a sound ?

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Response to a Health and Wealth Gospel Christian

On the facebook group Catholics Are Christians! a person will occasionally post an invitation to listen to a preacher from their particular sect. Today an individual posted a sermon from a "prosperity gospel preacher."  Not only is this a heresy, but it robs Christians of the ability to face their tribulations in truth and benefit redemptively from the suffering they are experiencing.   It is not unlike Christian Science and has its roots in the gnostic teachings of the second century.  Here is my response:
  " I read the testimony of this pastor with his near-death experience. This pastor is from the "health and wealth" school of theology which is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nowhere in the true gospel of Jesus Christ does it say that we will always be wealthy. Nor will we always be healed and have a guarantee of vibrant health. The Scriptures tell us that we must conform ourselves to the fellowship of His sufferings. It also says we must take up our cross and follow Christ. Christ suffered so, we too, must also suffer at times. The health and wealth gospel that is taught by pastors such as the one you posted is a heresy. Christ modeled for us in the garden of Gethsemane how we should request things of God: "Not my will but yours."
       Many Christians are led astray by these false teachings and often times their disappointment will cause them to turn from God. This teaching gives the Christian the false notion that he is entitled to live a life full of material wealth and physical wholeness. Human experience tells us this is not so. The holiest and greatest saints struggled with physical problems including the beloved Saint Paul. My suggestion  is that you obtain a Catechism of the Catholic Church to find out what the Gospel is truly about and what God truly desires for those He loved and died for. I realize this sounds harsh but I cannot tell you in stronger terms that you are at risk for being deceived if you continue to follow and adhere to the teachings of false teachers like this individual you posted.
      As Catholics we believe that Christ Jesus indeed still heals his flock and we have 2000 years of carefully documented miracles to prove this. Catholics are not against supernatural healing. Just "google" Our Lady of Lourdes if you wish to see the testimony of many who were miraculously restored to health. As Catholics we trust the Lord for what he may bring into our lives and if he chooses to heal us we will accept that with joy. However if we are not healed we are given the opportunity to unite our suffering with His, for the sake of the body of Christ, as St. Paul talked about in Colossians (Chapter 1).
     I go to Haiti on a regular basis to participate in a medical mission for the Haitian Christians there. They have more faith than I could ever muster and I believe that God's grace is fully with them.  They have an immense joy that is overflowing to those around them! Yet they are poorer than the poorest in the world and they suffer many illnesses and almost constant misfortunes. It's not because of a lack of faith. The faith and prosperity teachings would never be preached or take hold in countries such as Haiti or anywhere where there is as much suffering and poverty. The true gospel of Jesus Christ is universal and should pertain to all people of all economies throughout the world, forever. The faith and prosperity gospel of Pastor McCauley is a false teaching and brings nothing but sadness and false hope. This teaching springs not from Christ, but a spirit of greediness and entitlement. I would appreciate in the future that you do not share his teachings on our Facebook page. Thank you very much for coming to CAC and I pray our dialogue can inspire you to seek the Truth always. God bless you. "

Friday, April 05, 2013

Protestants Have a Magisterium and Pope Too. They Just Won't Admit It.

I was recently listening to an interview of former Catholic-now evangelical- Chris Castaldo. The host of the program Chris Fabry was discussing the recent papal conclave and they were attempting to point out the major difference between Catholicism and Protestantism: authority.  In giving his explanation, Chris Fabry states what I have been saying about Protestants all along: they do indeed submit to a higher authority over them through their pastors or their denominational confessions, and not just Jesus and the bible.
   They claim their only authority is from God's word, but in reality, the authority in their lives is from the interpretation of God's word by way of their denomination or pastor. Their denomination is their magisterium and if they submit to their individual pastor and his interpretation of scripture, he becomes their pope, so to speak. If they deny they submit to anyone, and that God alone is their own authority, then by default they are electing themselves as pope.  Listen to the host Chris Fabry:

"Where I get the authority, for me, it comes straight from God's Word and I put myself under the authority of Jesus and those who are in authority over me, you know, people....but there is no, um....I don't have to have anybody between me and God. Right?"



Ten Great Things About Catholicism

H.W. Crocker, a convert to the Catholic faith, has a great little piece over at the Catholic Exchange called Ten Great Things About Catholicism. I enjoyed his book, Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church very much and appreciate the way in which  presents the unadulterated historical truth about the faith which is so often misrepresented by anti-Catholic historians and writers.
  If you haven't already read Triumph, you can get a nice  slightly used copy here. It was one of the first books I read after returning to the faith and it gave me a panoramic view of the history of the faith which I had previously seen only from anti-Catholic sources.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A Haitian Woman and Saint Thomas Aquinas

As many converts and reverts to the Church often say, there was nothing more powerful in drawing us home to the Catholic faith than the discovery that Christ indeed is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist.  Many of us had been seeking Christ most of our lives trying to get close to him, experience him, worship him and become one with him. Realizing that Christ meant what he said to the apostles ("This is my body") the early Christians and entire Christendom accepted this truth pretty much unchallenged for nearly 1500 years. Sadly, this profound truth and "source and summit" of our faith has become lost among many and there are statistics that reveal that large numbers of Catholics either don't understand or necessarily believe that Jesus is indeed truly present in the Mass. That's why we do all that genuflecting upon entering and leaving the sanctuary-someone much greater than royalty is present!
    On my recent medical mission to Cap Haitien, we went to 6 AM Mass in a Church in the city. Before the Mass began,  I noticed an elderly woman walk right up to the tabernacle (where the Eucharistic Christ resides ).  She began to worship silently holding her hands up to the tabernacle, much the same way we did as charismatic evangelical Christians did during our praise and worship services.  It became clear to me by this woman's actions that she truly understood who was residing in the tabernacle. Perhaps she wouldn't be able to explain all the "nitty gritties" of transubstantiation but clearly her actions showed that she understood the Eucharist as Saint Thomas Aquinas, a saint and doctor of the Church did.

                    Lord God, give us the faith of this Haitian sister and Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

 "May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen"

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Emphasizing Holy Week

After almost 10 years of being Catholic and 9 Lents as a revert to the faith, it dawned on me on Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) why the Church really emphasizes the importance of holy week. (Yes, I know, I am a slow learner!)  The priest reminded us in his homily that this week we have the opportunity to reflect on Christ's passion, death and resurrection FOR OUR SINS, and pray that God uses the liturgies and devotions of this week to bring us closer to Him.  The Church has been encouraging the faithful for 2000 years to pay extra-special attention to the story of our salvation this week. It gives me chills to think that I am given the opportunity to participate in all the events of Holy Week and walk together again with Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the apostles. Why do we do this? For only one reason- to bring us closer to Christ and bring others with us to heaven. That's what the gospel is all about:  "Salvátor mundi, salva nos, qui per crucem et resurrectiónem tuam liberásti nos." 
       "Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.”    
                                                 (Memorial Acclamation, concluding the Eucharistic prayer)

Monday, April 01, 2013

We Need to Tweet the Catholic Faith's Teachings

Newsmax, a widely-read internet news source breathlessly announced an urgent new poll:

                                                  "Should Pope Francis Change the Church?"  

Should women be ordained? Should the Church change its stance on contraception? etc. Every papal election these same old questions are posed again and again, despite the fact that solid orthodox Catholics are interviewed and carefully explain that the Church can't change it's teachings on these issues, regardless of who gets elected as pope. Unfortunately,  at the next papal election, there will be these same questions.
    Do journalists ever open a catechism or consider reading some orthodox Catholic teachings? Three clicks on the net will get you the answers to these questions and will nip these polls in the bud, but that would take some research, perhaps three clicks and five minutes of undistracted reading.  Perhaps we should start tweeting the Catechism and with 140 characters per tweet, it may only take 2.3 million tweets and ten years of 24/7 copy/paste and tweeting of the catechism. Since our modern attention span can only last the time it takes to read one tweet, perhaps it might work.

Ok, for the Newsmax folks and others who seem to obtain their source material from Twitter:

There, I said it.  And 14 characters left!

Papa Java! My New Pope Cup!

My wife recently surprised me with a gift that she picked up at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC while I was at a medical conference.  I can add this to my Papal coffee mug collection! So I can quaff some freshly roasted South American coffee and offer a quick prayer for our new pope at the same time. What's not to love about being Catholic?