Skip to comments.The Conversion Story of Patty Patrick Bonds [Protestant TULIPers Converts to Catholicism]
Posted on 08/26/2006 7:06:49 AM PDT by Teófilo
I was born and raised a Baptist. As a Baptist I enjoyed a close, intimate walk with God. I read His Word and I obeyed Him and He was everything to me. I was willing to follow Him anywhere and serve Him in any capacity. I never dreamed He would lead me far from my upbringing and to a place I would have never chosen to go.
I believed that any Catholic who had genuine faith in Christ and respected the Bible as the Word of God would follow Christ out of the Catholic Church. I honestly believed there were only a few misled Christians in the Catholic Church.
One day I came across the writings of St. Patrick of Ireland. I was looking for historical evidence of his existence, but never dreamed I would discover Gods will for my life. What I found in the writings of St. Patrick was evidence of deep devotion to Christ and a spiritual intimacy with Christ that I knew right away was true Christianity. He was my brother. Yet he was also a Catholic Bishop. This birthed in me a desire to understand Church history and when and where the Catholic Church had gone wrong (since my assumption from childhood was that the Catholic Church was apostate).
(See the Catholic Encyclopedia article on St. Patrick of Ireland )
For the next several months I read the writings of those men who had learned the Christian faith from the very mouth of Christ and the Apostles. I began to familiarize myself with the culture and time of the Apostles and realized that Christianity in its earliest days was not Bible centered (indeed most of the NT was not written yet and later was not available for the masses) but Tradition centered. I learned that when the early Christians went to Church their services were not sermon centered but centered around the Eucharist, the Lords Supper, which was not seen as a symbol but as the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It was guarded and protected as such. Not a crumb was to be lost nor a drop spilt. I was shocked to find that the early Church did not even resemble my own Baptist church.
This led to many more months of earnest study of the Catholic faith. What I discovered is that everything I had been taught about the Catholic Church as a Baptist had been erroneous. Every objection that I had been engrained with since childhood was a falsehood about the Catholic Church and was easily refuted by an honest look at Church history.
By coming to an understanding of the time and culture and beliefs of the Early Church, my Bible began to read very differently. I realized that no document, even the inspired Word of God, can interpret itself. No one comes to Scripture without a grid through which they interpret it. My grid had always been very Protestant and very anti-sacramental. But after investigating the Early Church, I could clearly see that the Bible was a Catholic book; written by Catholics, for Catholics, canonized by the Bishops of the Catholic Church and preserved for Catholics for millennia to come.
I also discovered that I was one of many Christians devoted to Christ and willing to follow Him anywhere even at great personal loss that were reversing the mistakes of the Reformation and flocking back home to the One Church Christ established on this earth. I discovered through a series of books called, Surprised by Truth, that I was one of many that were headed home to Rome. (My story has been included in the third edition if you would like to learn more).
May God grant you the openness to see Him in His Holy Roman Catholic Church.
The last couple of days I've noticed a profussion of stories about Catholics leaving the Church in favor of TULIPer belief systems here in FR. Some of it might be a reaction against my posts earlier in the week analyzing the claims and consequences of the foundational Protestant belief in sola scriptura.
I want to make it known that reverse also takes place and is, in fact quite spectacular, and also increasingly common.
Surely, personal testimonies may be persuasive to some, since most of us are unwilling to question one's personal motives that move one from one side to the other. We are reduced to behold these "testimonies" and consider them at face-value, validating them according to the background and sincerity of the person who "converted."
Well, TULIPers may have their converts from Catholicism, but we have our own TULIPers too, of which Ms. Patrick-Bonds is an outstanding example. There are others like Dr. Scott Hahn, but Patty's case is particularly persuasive because of her particular familial relations.
Be not afraid! I pray with Patty: "May God grant you the openness to see Him in His Holy Roman Catholic Church."
One erratum: I wasn't the author of the original conversion story, Patty Bonds was. I forgot to remove my name from the author's field and replace it with hers. Sorry!
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I had to even out the playing field a bit...;-)
* Solus Christus
* Sola Gratia
* Sola Fide
* Soli Deo Gloria
A good slogan can stop analysis for 50 years.
In the case of the Protestant Reformation, for over 500 years.
Let's not pretend that the Catholic Counter-Reformation didn't play a role in exacerbating the situation.
Ping to watch the flames
Eventually, she had to respond, in a fashion reminiscent of John Henry Newman, to the incredulous:
It happens every so often. I get those "poison pen" letters in my email box. Sometimes I get word that I am being roasted on another blog site or web site. People just feel they need to download their two cents worth of venom into my world. While I attempt to always answer my enemies in quiet, meek tones, there are days when I just pop a cork and tell it like it is. Guess which this is? (duck!)
First of all, Ive about had it with this "celebrity convert" garbage. Im a middle aged housewife/secretary who went through a painful year of discovery that led to the unavoidable necessity of converting to the Catholic Church in order to continue following Christ. I never went looking for a complete change in theology or faith community. I was quite happy where I was. But in order to be honest with what I discovered and in order to answer the call of God in my life, I had no choice but to enter the Church my ancestors abandoned. When I stood before the congregation at St. Helens on Easter Vigil two years ago and confessed my belief in the Catholic faith, I was not looking to be everybodys favorite convert. I was just so incredibly grateful that God in His mercy had allowed me to come to His table and receive Him. What else could possibly matter?
Secondly, I have been given a unique platform. The second most frightening thing about considering the Catholic faith (after the fear of condemning my soul to hell) was that I was going to have to face the opposition of my brother. (Anybody want to trade places??? Didnt think so.) But it didnt take long before I realized that the hearing of my conversion had a positive impact on those whose faith he had rocked with his teaching. My story encouraged Catholics to dig deep into their faith and discover all the powerful reasons to be Catholic. I heard of people not only becoming sure of their own faith, but beginning to share it with others as well. I knew I could not keep silent if wonderful things like this could come from hearing about my journey. Before long, I could not find a housetop tall enough to shout my story from.
Thirdly, I grow weary of those who insist that I am being used. Good grief. (Pause to stomp and snort.) Ask my husband. I tend to be rather opinionated and self directed. Independent as the day is long. Let the record show . . . I have never been given a fraction of the opportunities to share my story that I would like to have. My love for the Catholic faith burns in my heart and I literally live to testify to its truth. It is I who use any opportunity given to me, not others who manipulate and coerce me.
Lastly, I get tired of those who think I would become Catholic over some family feud. The lunacy of thinking I would jeopardize my own soul and those of my children (for whom I would die) in order to aggravate anyone on this planet is beyond imagination. I have taken a lot of heat over the posting of my letter to my brother on my web site. (www.soverygrateful.com) People ask why I would make such personal matters public? After being the Cornish hen at a number of my brothers Saturday afternoon barbeques, I decided that the public needed to see some tenderness, some love. I talk to almost every apologist who debates my brother before the debate. Ask any of them. My first priority for them is that they pray for my brother until they genuinely love his soul and would sacrifice for his conversion. Ive never wished him any harm, but with all my heart I wish him Jesus . . . truly present in the Holy Eucharist.
OK, I feel better.
It's amazing what grief so many converts to the Catholic Church have had to endure.
I've only attended several dozen catholic churches and only one tht meets your description was an inner city cathedral at a 4:30 pm Saturday service. Aside from that - there is never a lack of coffee, tea or donuts at any church catholic or otherwise that I have ever seen.
**It's nice to see people doing independent research and coming to this conclusion.**
Indeed; it's happening a lot!
**there is never a lack of coffee, tea or donuts at any church catholic or otherwise that I have ever seen.**
Always something to eat at our church. In fact, one person exclaimed to me, "This is the eating-est Catholic Church I have ever seen!"
(Hey, people, food brings out more people! Get it?????)