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?????)
**Are we surprised that many divorced Catholics go to other churches where they feel welcome and are invited to fully participate?**
There is no reason that a divorced person cannot attend his or her Catholic Church and receive the sacraments -- UNLESS -- they have remarried. And they can fix that too, by talking with the priest and going through the annulment process.
This comment clearly show the difference between protestant worship and Catholic worship. For the Protestant the summit of worship is prayer. For the Catholic the summit of worship is the Eucharist.
I reprint the following from Askfather.net.
The Most Blessed Eucharist must always be treated with all the adoration and creature-like submission which is rendered to God. If non-Catholics do not believe that the Eucharist is God Himself, let them sneer, or deride, or cast smug aspersions upon us for our "foolish beliefs." But let them do so sitting down, in the pew, at Communion time.
There are not found wanting many a foolish Catholic who for the sake of "niceness" might wish to water down the rule of closed Communion. "But what if they feel pain?" "My neighbor loves Communion time in her church and she felt we shunned her." "What's the big deal, as long as someone loves Jesus?" "I think we have so many rules, and rules exclude and divide."
The response is: "and your point is?"
To be quite frank and blunt about it, separation from the one, Catholic Church of Jesus Christ is a sinful condition (not saying the people are bad, but such separation is completely opposed to the mind of Christ). When people come face to face with a sinful condition, they are supposed to feel pain and hurt. But the pain and hurt are not inflicted by the big, bad, mean Church (facetiously meant). They are inflicted by the conscience, which knows that the division of Christianity is a sinful state of affairs.
This is the "tough love part" of Christianity we are dealing with. As Catholics and Christians of all denominations face the Communion issue, there has to be a realization that understanding and trust are based upon the truth. The truth is that the Catholic doctrine and understanding of the Most Holy Eucharist are irreconcilably different than most non-Catholic beliefs. For us, Communion is not just union with Jesus. Communion also makes a powerful, public testimonial about our relationship to the Catholic Church. Communion is the outward sign that one has joined the Church, firmly confesses the Catholic Faith, and is prepared to act in accord with this Faith and submit their behavior before the judgement of the Church for moral formation (confession, penance, etc.).
All the hugging, kissing, and sweet comments that we make to each other at ecumenical gatherings cannot suppress this truth or make it go away. To do so is to live in fantasy and dysfunction. The practical, concrete result of this truth for a non-Catholic is, "oh, since I can't presently accept those conditions, I need to be honest about my non-compliance and remain seated while Communion is going on at the Catholic Mass."...
Laudetur Iesus Christus.... In aeturnum. Amen
**This comment clearly show the difference between protestant worship and Catholic worship. For the Protestant the summit of worship is prayer. For the Catholic the summit of worship is the Eucharist. **
And so many former Catholics who attend Protestant Churches leave and wonder why they feel to empty and unfilled. The Eucharist is the reason!!
May they always know they may return to the Catholic Church. We welcome them back with arms open wide!
These are all thought-provoking and astute observations deserving of further, charitable exploration. I am not going to tackle them right now, but progressively, in future posts. Thanks for sharing!
Flames are an occupational hazard. ;-)
I don't want so soud picky but, what was the Counter-Reformation? What does it mean "to play" and "exacerbate" and what "situation"?
These are serious context questions that I would like to clarify before agreeing in whole or in part, or disagreeing.
My point in replying to the post you're replying to was that Protestant sloganeering proves nothing; it just make the slogan-sayers feel happier and more secure.
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The Counter-Reformation was the Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation, including but not limited to the Council of Trent, the Inquisition, and the Index.
Make a bad situation worse.
The conflict between Protestant and Catholic. The vitriol, the hatred, and the violence.
that Protestant sloganeering proves nothing; it just make the slogan-sayers feel happier and more secure.
The Protestants had no corner on sloganeering.
Ok, got it. I agree with you. Next?
So, conversion is a two-way street. Some go one way and some go the other. That's freedom in religion, and I'm glad we have it. .
You got off to a shaky start but have now settled into the rhythmn of the forum. There are two Catholic Ping Lists on FR. I sponsor the list of newsworthy and other articles and Salvation hosts the Daily Mass Readings. Please freepmail us if you would like to be added to either or both of our lists. That said,
Contrast with most Catholic parishes where there is no coffee (if any, sparsely attended), people rush away after Mass and the few activities are attended by a small percentage of the parish and are usually cancelled for the summer. What kind of a faith community is this?
Following VCII, the Latin Church expanded its 2 Sunday masses to at least one on Saturday and 2 or 3 on Sunday. You make a good point! It would be nice if refreshments were served after these Masses but that requires committed volunteers and donations. It also entails sign up sheets and someone to keep track of who is bringing what to feed how many at any given Mass. It's a worthy pursuit and I would strongly encourage you to approach your Parish Council with this proposal. They will no doubt ask you to volunteer to take on this task.
ALL of the Eastern Catholic Churches offer refreshments after their liturgies and these are well attended by the parishioners. In my parish, sign up sheets are kept on a table at the entrance to the church where everyone entering must pass. The community itself assumes the task of volunteering the refreshments, setting them up inside the church before liturgy and cleaning up afterwards. Then again, we only have 2 liturgies - one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Whenever visitors drop in, Father welcomes and invites them to share these refreshments and conversation with us, after liturgy. First we pray as a community, then we gather for conversation. The community is like an extended family.
Are we surprised that many divorced Catholics go to other churches where they feel welcome and are invited to fully participate?
I know a family where the wife is divorced and remarried without an annulment. They have a son. She continues to attend Mass at her RC parish but does not receive communion. She admits that she should apply for an annulment but has not. Where's the problem?
Catholics practice birth control, they do not believe it is a sin, their consciences are clear, they know and understand moral theology.
Do you believe it is a sin? Most catholics are poorly catechized. They would prefer to watch CSI than read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. My guess is that they do know it is a sin and intentionally avoid affirming that knowledge through reading church documents.
These catholics are dissenters, no different from the women in PA who went to great lengths to be 'ordained priests'. They disagree with church teachings, on their own principles.
... some of the self righteous, take it or leave it, Canon law misquoting people you have to live with can certainly drive you to the exit door, and not unexpectedly, they would be quick to say good riddance.
Sure ... there are those who probably consider themselves 'self righteous' but have you ever actually heard anyone make such a statement? On the contrary, even the most devout catholic, commits themself to prayer for the lost sheep. I believe they would be the first ones to say "welcome home" to those who have erred and recognized where they went wrong.
On the other hand, there are many converts coming into the Catholic Church because of its stance on birth control and marriage. Dr. Scott Hahn and his wife Beverly have written extensively on NFP and its awesome beauty. The door swings both ways. Those who seek a life in full communion with the message of Christ are always welcome into the Catholic Church. Those who dissent are always free to leave.
BTW, Patti Bonds has since joined a religious order as a third order member. Pehaps someone can find a link and post the picture, along with this new chapter in her life.
1) that's a legitamate problem that many parishes had. Perhaps if they were offered more sustance during homiles, then there would be more to discuss after Mass.
2) this too is a problem, but not so much with the younger generations of priests. They say what needs to be said. I belong to a Dominican Parish, so we have always had good preaching.
3) There is nothing wrong with Catholics practicing birth control. It is morally wrong for Catholics to practice artificial forms of birth control, most properly called contraception. So let's be accurate with our speech. There is a huge problem with lack of education when it comes to the Church's teachings concerning marriage. However, once again, the younger generation is much more open to the truth and is seeking it.
I've got a few corrolaries of my own, to wit: hype =1/value (this is universal); the better looking the outside, the less valueable the inside (this is only a guideline). I'll think of more...
Was that Christ The King In Jacksonville?
That's very sad about her brother. I have one of those as well.
No, Tampa. And I have since moved. But that's the first place I took communion in my adult life.
I'd like to comment on some of your observations. For instance...
Wander if you will, to some of the faster growing alternative religious groups, Unity, for example, where after the services the people gather for coffee, discussion and community, and where many activities, including Bible study, etc. take place during the week, even during the summer months.
This is indeed the case. And, in my limited experience in Protestant denominations, it is borne of giving people what they want. In some cases, it appears that they've done some market surveys on the subject. I'm not knocking it. People is what is a lot of what religion is all about
Contrast with most Catholic parishes where there is no coffee (if any, sparsely attended), people rush away after Mass and the few activities are attended by a small percentage of the parish and are usually canceled for the summer. What kind of a faith community is this?
There are areas where we can improve. And, you've had the perception to see it. All I can do is to encourage you to make a difference personally.
If there is no coffee after mass, tell your pastor that you want to host a coffee and donuts some Sunday.
If the singing participation is poor, join the choir, etc.
All we can do is our own part. If you've made the observations you've made, perhaps it's because you are being called to make a difference.
Though I enjoy thinkers. It's the doers who make things happen.
I have no problem with what she said except that the Bible was written by Catholics. While I suppose I get her meaning, I disagree with that. They were Jews, pure and simple.
I am very sorry to read that Patty gets such vicious responses. I am not a Catholic, but I sure don't think it shows any Christian love to treat people that way. There are saved in all Churches, and someday we will have to answer for how we treated each other.
I apologize. My brother may be an anti-Catholic who has no use for is Catholic family (there are many of us, as he is the one who became Baptist) but he isn't nearly as hateful as her brother. Prayers for healing for him.
What is a "TULIPer"?
At least they don't throw us to the lions anymore.... I mean, at least not at the moment anyway.
But, tomorrow is another day.
Ok, the New Testament was written by Catholics, but the entire Bible was preserved by them.
I had to. Less people forget.
Nice succinct conversion story. I like succinct.
This must be another Catholic only thread.