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From Mike Humphrey, AskACatholic.com Web Administrator

Let me start off by saying that over the past 15 years since this organization was originally founded under the Christifideles Pizza and Theology Society (CPATS) I have been honored to work with numerous lay volunteer Catholics who are smart, sensitive and compassionate. They get no salary, no pay, and often no recognition for the work they do; and some questions take a while to answer. This can be tough, especially when many have full-time jobs they have to attend to.

The founding of our organization was a response to Blessed John Paul II's call for a New Evangelization and motivated by the discovery of a term many Catholics had not heard prior to talks given by Scott Hahn: Catholic Apologetics — giving a defense for what we believe as Catholics. Catholic Apologetics is just the "Side B" of 33rpm record that plays on a record player, "Side A" being Evangelization. This is what Our Blessed Lord Jesus calls all Catholics of good will to do, even if you belong to a "maintenance only" parish, like I do.

Speaking for my current and previous colleagues, for many years we have been very impressed with the quality of the questions we had been receiving. Based on the mission and focus of our organization, they were truly focused in on Catholic Apologetics which can be surmised in our subtitle at the top of every page:

[.  .  .  .  .  . ] to clarify teachings and correct misperceptions about the True Church Our Blessed Lord Jesus established on St. Peter and his successors in 33 A.D.: the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2007, I was given the opportunity to buy the domain AskACatholic.com. I thought it was ideal for the work we had been doing and made more sense than a fun, but goofy, name like the Christifideles Pizza and Theology Society. Don't misunderstand me, though; the focus of CPATS meetings was meaningful — for practicing Catholics, faithful to the Church, to meet on a regular basis for friendship, fun, and to ask questions or clarify answers to any questions they had been stumped on by family and friends.

Because the religious art of Catholic Apologetics involves giving an answer, listening to a reply, giving another answer, and listening to another reply, I thought when a fellow Catholic "got stuck" on a reply it would be of great help to "Ask A(nother) Catholic (Apologist A) Question."

Although that was my intent, new visitors to the site took it to mean,

"Ask A Catholic (Any Question) about the Catholic faith."

Among the team of Catholic apologists who have answered your questions there have been various views as to whether or not we should be answering certain questions and not answering others.

These questions do not include the automatic list of questions we will never answer.
You you can read them here:

AskACatholic - Questions we won't answer.

I personally tend toward a liberal view of answering any and all questions with some limitations and believe anyone who is moved by the Holy Spirit to ask a question, at least deserves a reply to their question.

If you are hesitant whether your questions qualifies, ask it any way.

There are two reasons:

  • because of how uncatechized I've discovered Catholics are, and
  • To help support the Church in making up for the gaps in basic CCD at the parish level.

Nevertheless, some questions make false implications of what we can do:

  • we are not bishops and have no right to comment on political figures at odds with the Church.
  • we are not Catholic priests, though we occasionally have a priest-helper.
  • we are not licensed counselors or psychiatrists
  • we have no professional medical background
  • and surprise: We don't know everything!

The Sad Part of this Problem.

Since we have changed the domain name to AskACatholic.com, the quality of the questions have greatly gone down and because of that, over the past few years several of my colleagues have decided to retire from answering questions on the web site. Without divulging specific names, these are some of the reasons they gave:

  • We are receiving questions that have nothing to do with Catholic Apologetics like:
    those dealing with marriage issues
    — (one needs a pastor or canonist)
    those dealing with specific sins people are struggling with
    — (one needs a priest)
    those dealing with medical issues
    — (one needs a priest and/or a doctor)
    those from insincere challengers who really want to entrap
    — (one needs to find another site.)
    those that think we are Directory Assistance: "What are the Mass times at St. Patrick's?"
    — (one has to use their own God given talents, and find out on their own.)
    and in rare instances: vulgarity in replies to the answers we give, mainly from those unhappy with our answer
    — (one needs to develop a lot of basic civility.)
    If you can't be civil throughout our e-mail dialogues, don't ask any question.

One colleague said:

Instead of finding ways to encourage the kinds dialogues and questions we used to get, we spend time chasing down trivia questions for people.

One can argue that when anyone asks us a question, it is the Holy Spirit moving in their life.

My reply is, Yes, it may be a call of the Holy Spirit, but it may also be a laziness of a person to find out the information on their own, like buying a copy of:

  • the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • the Compendium to the Catechism, or
  • a You-Cat

My current fellow Catholic apologists are more then welcome to answer any question they receive, but because our main focus and interest is Catholic Apologetics — meaning defending arguments against the Catholic faith and giving good reasons to become a Catholic, if your question falls into one of the above categories, it probably won't get answered.

The only exception to this are questions from non-Catholics who are seriously thinking of joining the Church, and even then, the question has to be based on defending or understanding the faith better.

I use to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore.

If you are a non-Catholic who wants to know about the faith, or has thought about converting to the faith, I would encourage you to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as faithful Catholics.

  • What are the Mass times at St. SSSS?
  • Can we get an annulment based on this information?
  • Why am I having these dreams?
  • Am I committing a mortal sin when ...

are not Catholic apologetic questions.

These are examples of Catholic Apologetic question:

  • Patricia Protestant said her understanding of this Catholic teaching is [this]. How do I clarify her misperception so she can understand what we really believe?
  • Peter Protestant says this Bible verse proves we are not Catholic, how do I reply?
  • Muslim Mike says the Catholics believe this. How do I clarify this issue for him so he understands what we really believe about this teaching?
  • Adam Atheist says the Bible says this, so Catholic teaching must be wrong. How do I clarify this passage for him?
  • Sam Secularist says these Church teachings based on this Bible passage are wrong because of this, how do I reply.

In all the above examples, usually non-Catholics, [former] Catholics or Protestants have a misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church officially teaches and publicly proclaims.

I hope this gives you a better idea of the questions we welcome from you.

Nothing will be removed from the web site, so if accidentally, your questions falls into one of the examples I gave as non-apologetic, you should easily be able to find an answer or similar answer using one of two search engines on our AskACatholic.com Search page here: [Just keep typing in different key words to search on until you find what you are looking for.]

AskACatholic.com Knowledge base Search

I hope this clarifies the issue at hand.

if you have been helped by our site:

Prayerfully yours,

Mike Humphrey
Web Admin. of AskACatholic.com, and
HelpersOfTheHolySouls.com
plus we have a brand new site on the Early Church Fathers.

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.