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