My Debate With Ex-Catholic, Baptist Pastor



A few years back I was on my way to Chicago to deliver some talks with Catholic Answers. During the flight I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a man sitting beside me.

After the flight, at baggage claim, a man named Don Smarto approached me, he said that he was sitting behind me and had overheard my conversation.

Don went on to say that he used to be a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church with plans of starting his own religious order! He then informed me that he had since left the Church and was now a Baptist pastor living in Texas.

Don Smarto as a seminarian.
Don Smarto as a seminarian.

Well, several months after our first meeting I happened to be in Texas, and I contacted Don. He arranged for me to be interviewed on his ABC radio show. A program normally devoted to “parenting today’s youth,” but for me he made an exception.

The title of this post says it was a debate; it wasn’t really, (it wasn’t moderated, we didn’t have equal time to put forth our cases for and against a proposition), it was more of a lively discussion in which we talked about what unites us, and what divides us.

In our discussion we talk on a broad-range of topics:

– The Problem of evil

– What is the Church

– The Protestant reformation

– Why to Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

– The authority of the Catholic Church

– Pornography

– Abortion

. . . and much more. It’s about 70 minutes long, so go grab a coffee (or 5), and enjoy!

Download mp3

I hope you’ll share this talk with your friends (Catholic and non-Catholic alike), as an example of how we can disagree without being disagreeable, and argue without being argumentative.

* Thinking on my feet, I accidentally said that it was the first council of Constantinople which defined Mary as Theotokos, instead of Ephesus in 431. #Humility

108 thoughts on “My Debate With Ex-Catholic, Baptist Pastor

  1. I listened to this while working on my motorcycle. Great talk, I admire how you defended the faith with compassion and love. Hopefully Don Smarto comes back home! Haha Oh yeah, and I wanted to mention I was somewhat saddened by some of his misinterpretations of the faith, especially since he was a priest in the church.

  2. A copy of a prayer written in Greek on papyrus was dated at 250 A.D. (“Sub Tuum Praesidium – Wikipedia) In this prayer recited and sung by early Christians Mary was addressed as Theotokos (Mother of God)

  3. My pastor was brought up Baptist and his Dad was a Baptist minister….he converted to Catholic and is the most fabulous Pastor of our Roman Catholic Church….great sermons!!

  4. Great conversation. Nice both of you shared your passions with respect and love, a good role model for dialogue.

  5. I have a question, why in most interviews there is a continual reminder of how the poor Jews suffered by the Nazis and that Jesus was a Jew?
    This is very interesting how it is reinforced in many interviews and mainstream media continuously as if it has to be part of any and every news article or discussion.
    Is this some sort of mass conditioning we as readers and viewers have to continuously have drummed into us as a sad reminder of their suffering, have any of you scholars , historians, theologians, psychologists and people stopped for a brief moment and listened to how monotone this whole scene has become, has anyone stopped to think and thoroughly research with no bias agenda to who the Jews are? And why Jesus on many occasions warned that they are not the Hebrews of the Bible, however imposters, ruling with deception.
    Many of the world war stories of both wars are littered with half truths of events where people just take it for granted that the pleasant face or voice on TV or radio wouldn’t lie to me that he or she is a respected educated person.
    Have you stopped and asked questions like why did Jews speak Yiddish not Hebrew for centuries, and Hebrew was established in 1953 by a Knesset law, before that the Jews spoke a mix of German, Slav which is Yiddish language, have you stopped to investigate how many of the stories on the holocaust have been changed on a continuous basis and many of the stories of survivors have been debunked as not being true, that the person is an actor paid to create a lie to support the continuous lies which Jesus warned us about.
    Please take the time, investigate thoroughly and don’t take it for granted that a person appearing as wholesome is telling the truth.

    The most beautiful people can be dressed as wolves in sheep’s clothing, just like Satan appeared to Eve.

    Please look into how the Jews worship the Talmud, which again they wont admit because its written that they are not to expose any knowledge of this literature, which is an evil and dark teaching, a Jew will deny this and lie even though their commandments say not to lie, but it’s ok to lie to a sub human like us Goyims.
    I seriously believe people will be shocked like myself when I began stumbling and gasping with disgust at how they have had us fooled for many years and have the media in their hands to reinforce these lies and whoever questions these lies is a terrorist, fascists, anti Semite or racist, but please stop and use the mind and heart God and Jesus gave you and not be a sucker to the continuous bombardment of their horrible propaganda.
    I was fooled for many years and now see straight through the lies and notice that nearly all media sources pump this propaganda, even tourists travelling Europe are continuously reminded of the horrors of WW2, but no one asks the locals or researches the facts, they just assume. Ignorance is bliss for these wolves in sheep’s clothing so we must point out the the “emperor has no clothes on.” Wake up, many people are living an illusion.

    1. I accept that perhaps this is unnecessary and perhaps kind of obnoxious, but your run-on sentences were ANNOYING. If you want to be taken seriously, proofread what you type and do not let your emotions run away with your thoughts. You are better than that.

      1. Why attack the proofreading when the message is clear? I am human being and Gods gift to feel emotions is to be alive. Stick to the facts and do your research on the following I raised, but not from asking someone that may be biased. I have meet with people who have experienced ridicule, personal attacks and threats for speaking out about the lies on this topic, it is sad and makes me emotional when thinking of the horrors which are happening today and in the past.

    2. You said, “And why Jesus on many occasions warned that they are not the Hebrews of the Bible, however imposters, ruling with deception.” Can you name one such occasion? I’m quite certain that Jesus said the Pharisees, despite being sinners, sat on the seat of Moses.

    3. We have a *lot* of evidence, photographic and otherwise, that Jews were actively hated, and destroyed in the likes of Auschwitz and similar camps. In order for your words to mean something, you would need to assert that not only some, but ALL of the evidence that we have is fabricated by a conspiracy. A conspiracy big enough to manipulate *so many* people and things would have to be monstrously huge and complex. Given that you have not provided good evidence that such a conspiracy exists, and given that we know that people are not likely to form conspiracies large enough and long-lasting enough to manipulate *EVERY SINGLE* event that occurs in the aftermath of an event as chaotic as the collapse of the Nazi regime, we have good reason to think that there is no such conspiracy. Furthermore, if this conspiracy is *SO* powerful that it can control thousands of people, why is it so impotent as to be unable to stop *YOU*? In effect, you’ve made your conspiracy unfalsifiable – your posited conspirators are SO powerful that NO evidence could possibly disprove their existence – because after all, “they could have just covered it up”. But this makes the theory unfalsifiable, and since it is not a strict philosophical proof, unfalsifiability makes it pretty much irrelevant and not worth considering.

      -(Why do Jews speak Yiddish and not Hebrew?) – > Why do Americans speak American English and not British English? Because languages change over time, especially when they’re in a foreign environment and spend time absorbing influences from it.

      1. Auschwitz is a theatre or circus. Many of the buildings were reconstructed after WW2, Numbers have been changed several times, no cyanide discovered in walls of chambers, etc etc… Don’t be fooled..

  6. Great interview matt. Sharing this with us not only helps us grow stronger in our catholic faith. But it really helps me help my friends, family and acaitiences understand the TRUTH about Catholicism. Thank you thank you thank you. GOD bless.

  7. I’m so proud of you Sir Matt! I have read many books answering assorted questions and attacks on our Holly Church, and all of them are working well. But after lis’ning to your dialogue with Sir Don i feel it is far more pleasing and enlightening since i can hear the thought as well as i can feel the emotion.. You are really a Catholic Christian Sir Matt. You are very articulate and both of you have carried the debate in the humblest way. I’m glad I’ve heard it and i think I’m goin to listen to it again and again.
    Thank you Sir Don for inviting Sir Matt on your program. You too are very humble. Come home, our Father is waiting. He don’t want a flock divided. Let us listen to one Shepherd.

    I’m a Filipino man.. I’m proud to know you Sir Matt.. Proud to be Catholic Christian.

  8. Great job and charity Mr. Matt Fradd. The Seraphim angel is with you! Looking forward to the cruise with you, Tim Staples, Ray, Madrid, Check, and father Richards.. in November. Glad to be able to listen to this conversation and knowing you ahead of time.

    Proud and feeling blessed to be a Catholic.

  9. Matt … wow. What a great, charitable interview. I am so proud to have men of your intelligence and passion as a part of my Catholic family. God Bless!

  10. It states above that he was a Permanent Deacon but he said in the video that he was studying for the Priesthood, so he was a Transitional Deacon, not a Permanent Deacon.

  11. Lately I’ve been pondering islam, catholicism, baptists, hindu, buddists, and jews.
    Everybody is pretty sure that they have it right, especially the mormons.
    But really if everybody is right, then everybody is also wrong.
    Good luck with the whole catholic thing, I hope you are right.
    I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round.


  12. I first saw Sir Matt Fradd on Catholic Answer Radio Show. I was impressed and started to google and found this site. Tell you I am impressed. I just hope I can meet you personally. The talk with Don Smarto is kind and gentle. I just noticed that Don was not properly or even poorly catechized. I feel sad for him. I do hope that he realize that. You have answered ALL his concerns!! Thank you.

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