Friday, April 10, 2009

Blessed are You When Men Hate You: The Attack on Patty Bonds and Stephen Ray

Patty Bonds converted to the Catholic faith in 2000. She was one of many thousands who did so that year in the United States. There was no great fanfare about it. Many of us who had come to know her were pleased to receive her as our sister in Christ. There was one person though who was not pleased and who has been very vociferous in his condemnation of her over the years for her conversion. This was her brother, James White who is a Reformed Baptist minister with a terrible animosity towards the Catholic Church.

Patty had published her spiritual autobiography -- Out of the Darkness -- on the web and it was a thoughtful reflection on her conversion and her joy on discovering the Catholic Church. Very recently, she revised this autobiography to include the claim that she was sexually molested by her and James' father who himself was a Reformed Baptist pastor.

I have been privy to this information for several years but have kept it confidential. She had told this to me so that I might understand the kind of family life in which she and James had grown up. Indeed such a morally dysfunctional family and the hypocrisy of a minister who condemns Catholics for allegedly being immoral while he continued to sexually violate his own daughter could help explain many features of Mr. White's personality. Patty hoped this information would help me to understand and forgive her brother for some of the things he had said about me.

I have avoided mentioning Patty's connection with her brother, James White. She is a private person and I had no desire to embarrass her or her family. Now that she is making her allegations public, I feel the need to support her. She is doing a very brave thing by talking about this.

Incestuous sexual abuse is a problem that no one wants to talk about and its prevalence is greater than most people can imagine. The victims feel helpless and often times they have no one to whom they can turn. And the abusers themselves are in need of serious help as well. It is only when we face up to the reality of this problem that we can deal with it effectively.

Patty Bond's revised autobiography was featured at Stephen Ray's website and on his blog. here are those addresses:

Patty Bonds has her own website and an apostolate directed at Catholic apologetics and spirituality. Patty has appeared on EWTN's program The Journey Home twice, the audios of which can be found HERE and HERE. You can judge for yourself how articulate she is.

Steve Ray has been a friend of mine for over 15 years. He, his wife Janet and their children are converts to Catholicism from the Baptists and he has been a terrific apologist for our faith. Steve has written several books including Upon This Rock, Crossing the Tiber, Papacy Learning Guide, St. John's Gospel: Commentary and Study Guide, We Have a Pope, and his latest book Faith for Beginners: Understanding the Creeds. He is also the producer and star of the Footprints of God Video Series which was filmed on location in Israel, Turkey, and Rome.

Steve used to teach a weekly bible class that I attended at Domino's Farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan when we lived in Toledo, Ohio. On St. Valentine's Day in 1995, his apostolate held a dinner for married couples at which my wife and I re-took our marriage vows. Steve and Janet are wonderful Christian people and they have done tremendous good in and for the Catholic Church.

Steve had previously written about Patty Bonds HERE and HERE.

After Steve featured Patty Bond's revised conversion story on his website, it provoked a reaction from Mr. James White who was understandably upset. There is currently a viral video on You Tube in which Mr. White not only denies his sister's allegations but personally attacks her intelligence and integrity along with that of Steve Ray. In fact White DEMANDS that the Catholic Apologist community "silence" Steve and rebuke him not only for his support of Patty but for other disagreements that Ray and White have had over the years.

Steve has responded to him here:

Patty Bonds has posted a response to her brother's attack HERE.

While I can understand that Mr. White is upset about these revelations, I think that he has crossed a line. It is one thing to deny allegations made about your family. It is another to vilify your sister and to make ridiculous demands concerning the right of free speech. Mr. White has constantly charged Catholics with being ignorant and under the thrall of the Pope which is rabid nonsense. White glories in the fact that as a Protestant no one call tell him what to say. Now he demands that somebody shut up his sister and Steve Ray and violate the very rights to free speech that he demands for himself. To say this is hypocritical is understating the case.

Furthermore, White's own behavior over the years has often struck those of us unfortunate enough to have to deal with him as showing signs of moral disorder and mental aberration. If Patty's allegations are true, it explains a lot about James and it makes it imperative that he get some counseling.

Several times in the past I have recommended to the sad and dysfunctional Mr. White that he needed to seek professional help for his aberrant state of mind. He has dismissed this out of hand. But his current disgraceful shenanigans lead me once again to beg him to get some help. As always I keep James in my prayers in the hope that someday God will show him the error of his ways and convert him to Christ.

In the meantime, I give my full personal support to Patty Bonds and Steve Ray and their respective apostolates. They are both fine Catholic apologists and personal friends of mine. I will keep them in my prayers. Here are their respective web sites:

Catholic Apologist and budding theologian William Albrecht has composed his own You Tube video in response to White's attack on Patty and Steve:

My friend and long time Catholic Apologist Pat Madrid wrote an article about his experiences with Mr. White in 1993 which is still relevant today:

Please keep Patty, Steve, and James in your prayers.

Arthur C. Sippo MD, MPH


Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Dr. Sippo, What troubles me about all of this is the manner in which Professor White has responded to his sister's claims. It is typical of those of a liberal mindset; it is not the response I would have imagined coming from a man who claims to be a born-again Christan. Faith without love is merely the faith of demons. (James 2:19) I am surprised that a man who calls himself an expert at exegeting Scripture would not be familiar with that.

I think it well as a medical doctor that you recognize that Professor White is a victim too as a result of his father's conduct towards his sister and recommend counseling. As an attorney who practices family law, I see how people forget that the whole family suffers when something like incest occurs and all are scarred from it even if they were not the ones phyically molested. There is a rape of the spirit and of the heart as well as physical degradation. I will continue to pray for all concerned.

God bless!

Art Sippo: said...

I agree, Paul. Many of us have been concerned about James' behavior for many years and this recent revelation can explain many things. I strongly urge him to seek some help in coming to terms with the real world.

I also really think he needs to start respecting the religious convictions of other people and stop inventing hate filled lies about Catholics and other people whose religions he does not like.

Arthur C. Sippo MD

Matthew Bellisario said...

Well, we have more unsubstantiated, anti-Catholic comments coming from White. He is now saying in one of his videos,“It has been rightly said that a large portion of the guards at Buchenwald and Auschewitz were practicing Catholics.” This has got to be one of the cheapest shots taken yet by this guy. He gave this fact to his Sunday School class without any reference to any source whatsoever. Yet those watching his video now think that practicing Catholics were murdering the Jews in concentration camps. It makes me sick. I have requested that he retract his statement, but I have only gotten rants from his co-blogger Turretin Fan. If you check out my blog there are links to his video and reference to the minute marker in which he makes his fallacious observation. You can get to it ( via my profile if you wish. This is yet another chapter to the anti-Catholic bigotry of White.

God bless your efforts in the apologetics field.

Alex said...

I believe that James White is arrogant, unscholarly, and quite simply ignorant without the slightest intent upon being intellectually honest about the Church and her teachings based upon what he has said and written.

I found myself becoming more and more intrigued at the revealing information you’ve presented about his family history. As well as the potential danger it has caused James in his Calvinist outlook on life and how he views the Church. Then I asked myself, should I have known this? Honestly, I feel like I was reading information which is better off kept in secret between a patient and their counselor, or between a troubled soul and their spiritual director. Patty Bonds must have and continue to suffer greatly. There is nothing worse than not only losing paternal protection against predators, but also having that predator be your parent. So I indeed feel sorry for Patty, if the allegations are true. I am not saying that they are not. I have neither right nor knowledge to deny her claims. I simply do not know, nor do I have the need to know, and it is this point which I would like to stress.

To put it simply, I find it rather outrageous that this type of revelation would be brought to public. That she discussed it with you as her friend would be understandable. For her (and you, as well as others) to have brought it out in public is in my view unnecessary because of the implications it has for James White and his family. Let me rephrase this because I have not read her statements concerning the allegations. The way you have brought this information to the public is unnecessary in my view. It seems that you are profiteering off this serious and personal information in order to publically psychoanalyze James White, and that is unfortunate.

Again, these allegations should not have been made public. If you and others are concerned for White then bring it up privately with him, and do not air this private matter for the entire world to see.

Likewise, if the allegations are true and James White you know them to be true, then do not continue the violence perpetrated against your sister by attempting to publically humiliate her.

Art Sippo: said...

I want to thank both Matthew and Alex for their comments. Mr. White continues to spiral into more and more mean spirited and slanderous lies in order to justify himself. He is to be pitied. Please pray for him.

I agree that this allegation of parenal sexual abuse is a very private matter and that it is something that in the best of all possible circumstances would not have been revealed. There was apparently a serious problems between Patty and her family which led her to speak openly about the problem.

Patty is a very sweet and intelligent woman who only divulged this matter because she thought she had to do so. I have been privy to this information for several years now and would never revealed it otherwise.

When Patty did make her story public, she was berated and insulted by her brother very openly. Because of that, I felt the necessity of supporting her publically against James' isrepresentations.

People who have been the victims of sexual abuse are often berated for telling their story as if they were the guilty party. While I understand the desire of decent not to make a public spectacle, there comes a time when the truth has to be told.

I have made no allegations that Mr. James White was guilty of sexual abuse. But I have felt that Patty has been treated abominably by her brother and that she needed her friends to come out and support her against his slanderous attacks.

I would prefer not to be in this position, but loyalty to a brave and gallant woman necessitates that I stand up for her honor.

I hope you understand where I am coming from.


Alex said...

I understand better now. I was simply uninformed. I

Lucien said...

Dr. Sippo,

You recommended Eschatology by Joseph Ratzinger on NOR not too long ago and I purchased it but have yet to read it.

I am, for the second time ,trying to get through Introduction to Christianity by the Pope. It is very challenging reading and I was hoping for your unofficial review of this book - some guidelines perhaps - or reference to someone else's critique.

The only criticism I get on the web is that the Pope is a heretic because of this book by those who have left the Church.

Any help would be appreciated.


Lucien Syme

Art Sippo: said...

HI Lucien!

Unfortunately, the then Card. Ratzinger wrote the original of "Introduction to Christianity" in German which is a notoriously dense and convoluted language. That translation we have is not as well done as it could be. What I have found to be helpful is to read a single chapter at a time followed by a review of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the topics covered. That may give you a better insight into what Card. Ratzinger was trying to say. It is the kind of project that rewards a careful leisurely study.

Make no mistake. The Cardinal was a progressive theologian and not someone who held to an unquestioning allegiance to the neo scholastic method. Some of his ideas may surprise you, but they are thoroughly orthodox.


Lucien said...

Thank you Dr. Sippo,

I have been doing just what you recommended with the CCC as well as Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma and found that approach to be helpful.

Additionally I was reading St. Thomas Aquanis' The Three Greatest Prayers with his brief commentary on the Apostles Creed.

Your assurance that he was orthodox in these lectures helps a lot.

Thank you,


Angelo DePalma said...

Dear Art,

I came across your blog while trolling the internet for inspiration. It's funny how one thing leads to another, if you're looking in the right places.

You may remember me: Angelo DePalma, via Holy Rosary (now a Muslim school!!?) and Xavier. I enjoyed reading your post about embryo rescue. You raise many valid theological points, but you ignore the most important one. Life is life. The embryo is life. Regardless of how it got there, it's there, it exists. Saying that the church fails to provide guidance is a poor excuse for inaction. The birth of a baby is a wonderful thing, a miracle. Theology -- how we presume that God wants us to act -- just like law, does not always equal morality. We are sometimes wrong. In fact I think it is supreme arrogance to assume we know what God wants, given the scant roadmap we were provided with. We sometimes have to be brave and do what we believe is the right thing.

All the best,


St. Seraphim said...

Is Patty OK? Her blog I'd down, and the reformed crowd is attacking her like shrieking demons.