Moderation of threads in which a Catholic is doubting the faith or considering leaving the Church


Our Forums exist for Catholics to dialogue with one another and become more knowledgeable in their faith. The focus of this forum is to provide a community for Eastern Catholics and to help Latin Catholics better appreciate the Church’s Eastern heritage. Additionally, we welcome non-Catholics to dialogue, discuss, debate, educate us about their faith, or be educated about ours. We do not require that posters subscribe to the doctrines or dogma of Catholicism; we do require of all posters, Catholic and non-Catholic, that they not disrespect Catholicism or any other faith.

Catholics who post here mirror those in the general population, displaying wide differences in the extent of their individual catechesis, how observant each is, his degree of faithfulness to the Magisterium, and the strength each has in his faith.

I have long said that I don’t care if a poster wants to argue that the flying spaghetti monster is God. I believe topics are self-selecting so that people not wanting to talk about them will ignore threads that aren’t of interest, that the truth will prevail when presented charitably, and that it isn’t my job to tell posters what they may and may not find interesting. I am only here to facilitate the conversation by equally applying the forum rules to all posters.

When Catholic posters who recognize weaknesses in their own faith are confronted with conflicting or challenging statements by non-Catholics, they generally perceive a need to question the good-faith basis of the statements and determine whether they are at odds with Church teaching, rather than blindly subscribe to them. However, presented with doubts by one who purports to be a Catholic questioning his faith, the risk is greater that the “weak” or under-catechized Catholic will “buy into” or sympathetically identify with the concerns expressed.

We have a responsibility to protect those who come here, whether to strengthen their faith or to learn about Catholicism, from persons who propound an erroneous view of Church teachings or seek to undermine them, not in above-board, straightforward discussion, dialogue, or debate, but by surreptitiously introducing doubt into the air, subtly proselytizing under the guise of personal discernment. This is its own form of disrespect for the Catholic faith and is disruptive to the forums.

It is certainly legitimate to seek spiritual help for dealing with faith identity problems. Effectively monitoring such threads in order to determine which are genuine and which are created in support of an agenda to undermine the faith of Catholics is neither practical nor realistic. While responses are well-intentioned, it is not possible for such support to be given over the Internet and could, potentially, be dangerous. It is also difficult to give advise without breaking forum rules either concerning the use of the words uniate, schismatic, and heretic or those banning proselytism.

Tolerating them could cause a poster, relying on proferred advice, to take steps that might be spiritually dangerous, rather than seek out a priest or appropriate spiritual guide. This creates a dilemma for me as the Eastern Catholicism forum moderator.

**As I prayerfully consider how to balance the conflicting values and responsibilities I hold, I welcome the feedback of forum members. **I will take all suggestions and concerns into consideration before deciding how threads of this type will be handled on the Eastern Catholicism forum.

Those Catholics who are having doubts or are having a crisis of faith should seek the counsel of a balanced and orthodox confessor or spiritual director. If you need pastoral support, Catholic answers to moral questions, or the prayers of our staff, please feel free to call Catholic Answers. We are open Monday thru Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time. The phone number is 619-387-7200.

May God Bless You Abundantly,
Catherine Grant


Catholic Answers Forums exist for Catholics to dialogue with one another and become more knowledgeable in their faith. The Eastern Catholicism forum exists to provide a community for Eastern Catholics and to help Latin Catholics better appreciate the Church's Eastern heritage.
After much thought, the moderation and administrative staff have decided ***on an Eastern Catholicism forum policy not to allow discussions aimed at a particular individual who is considering leaving the Catholic Church because this is not an appropriate venue for resolving such problems.* While well-intentioned, it does create potentially serious problems. Any advice could, potentially, be dangerous.

Additionally, there is a clear-cut risk involved in accepting, relying, or acting on the expressed opinions of those who either lack relevant professional qualifications and credentials, or whose claims to such cannot be validated. Similarly, the experience or response of others in what appears to be a similar or identical set of circumstances is not an accurate measure of its applicability to someone else's situation.

People experiencing theological or spiritual problems that are affecting the well-being of their physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health should seek the counsel of their priests, confessors and/or spiritual directors who are known to them and have been entrusted with the care of their souls.

Also, CAF simply does not have sufficient moderation and administrative resources at this time to closely monitor all such threads. Catholic Answers does provide an avenue for pastoral support, Catholic answers to moral questions, and the prayers of our staff. [FONT=Arial]We are open Monday thru Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time. The phone number is 619-387-7200.[/FONT]

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