Upgrading TC Forum


I’d like to try to raise the level of discussion in TC forum so that it’s a little more academic and less personal. We’re getting too many threads about what people don’t like about their pastor, their RCIA program, what they like about veiling, why they want this kind of bishop or pope, what saint you pray to and things like that.

Those are interesting, but they are really chatty, not really discussions about Catholic traditions and Catholic customs.

Allow me to show you how you can use some of the above subjects in a thread on Catholic tradition and customs.

**The Pastor: **

What is the role of the pastor?
What are canonical rights of a pastor?
What the canonical duties of a pastor?
What can one do when the pastor fails to fulfill his canonical duties?


Where did RCIA come from or what’s its history?
What should be covered in RCIA?
Who should be teaching RCIA?
What is the custom for receiving converts in EF parishes such as FSSP?


Where did the practice begin?
Is it strictly a Catholic practice?
Is it a Middle Eastern practice that was Christianized?
Why was it taken out of Canon Law?
Does every Catholic culture practice veiling?


How has the Church elected the Bishop of Rome from the second pope forward?
When was the College of Cardinals created and why?
What exactly is the electoral college and how long have we been using it?
How do different popes respond to different situations and periods in world history?

You get the idea. I hope. Try it and see what happens.

Posters are still welcome to ask questions about Catholic traditions and customs. There are so many that I can’t name them all in one thread. Make sure that your title explicitly states the question. Titles such as “Confused” or “Help Me” don’t tell us what the thread is about. In your title, say what confuses you in a short phrase or with what you need help, in a short phrase.

Thomas Casey :slight_smile:

Thomas, tks for your post…I agree with your suggestions and admonitions…however, I would like to respectfully suggest that there are times when I personally have questions about Liturgical matters/abuses, or, the behavior of a particular Cardinal, Bishop, or Priest and I am reticent to post my question/comment. If there were another forum to address such matters, respectfully, I would definatelty avail myself of this venue. I realize that there are radical factions on both sides. I don’t want to be terminated from CA…I am not a radical…I, admittedly have a great love of the Traditional Latin Mass (1962)…and no one can deny the reverence…the emphasis on the Sacrafice,including the communal nature of what is taking place…I am quite sure that almost anyone could comment about things that they experience or witness that cause them some consternation, and we all could…I don’t live in some disgrundled sphere with a negative attitude about the Novus Ordo , BUT, should we let ourselves be lulled into a state of spritual bliss denying the abuses that occur. I am sorry but I believe that the Church is in crisis…the obvious ambiguites and the rather poor manner that things were carried out after the changes…I was an altar boy prior to V-2 and after…I’m quite certain that there are great historical responses and explanations for no altar rail, churches that resemble a gymnasium, talking out loud before, during and after Mass, no statues, Priests telling me that what I am sharing in Confession is not a sin…that it’s o.k. to eat meat on Friday,the rote memorization of traditional Catholic prayers…generally poor catechesis all around…my question sir,am I out of line…if so…we are keeping our head in the sand…I am NOT wanting to bash the clergy, or the Novus Ordo Mass…I realize things go a lot deeper than fasting/abstainance…my point is where is the line drawn when we wish to question, respectfully, when we witness things that concern us…if I believe that I am going to be banned from CA for posing a question,not meaning to ‘all out attack’ on mother Church…then whats it worth…I read threads on the site that espouse matters that are in abject oppostion to the teachings of the Church and it’s not addressed…make me feel better Tom…but please don’t ban me from the forum for posting questions questioning questionable matters…PAX

The rule for posting questions is as follows

  1. Don’t give identifiable information.

  2. Don’t generalize. The experience of some is not the experience of all.

  3. Don’t condemn what concerns you until you hear the reasons why it is done or not done.

  4. Post questions in the appropriate forum. Questions about the OF belong in the liturgy forum.

  5. Post questions that can be answered with facts. Questions about our feelings are not factual. Different people feel differently. You’ll never get an objective response.

  6. If it’s a problem with a particular person or parish in the Church, nothing can be fixed by posting it online. The people who have the power to fix it don’t usually read forums. It’s best to write a letter.

  7. When asking a question, leave room for an answer. Some people answer their own questions in the question. It doesn’t leave much for others to say.

  8. Word your questions so that they show respect for others, the Church and the clergy.

In order to raise the level of discussion, we need those who are able to do that. Most of us, including myself, are not capable of that. That is where Brother Jay, Filioque and the late Friar David (God rest his Carmelite soul!) came in - one is terminally ill, the other is missing in action at present, and the last is deceased.

I would love to discuss the papacy throughout the centuries and why certain popes did certain things, but how many here are scholars or are well read enough to do so?

Just my thoughts on your post.

Interesting that you should say this because many of the best posters here eventually left because they were tired of being challenged on every single thing they said. Brother Jay once said that the problem with CAF is that there are 15,000 “theologians” here who think they know best. I learned a tremendous amount about the faith and the Church my first 2 - 3 years here but now this place has become rather barren.

I agree with you, and I know that many, many have been driven away from the forum because of this. I know also that we would have more priests here helping but there is only so much arrogance they can take. No use trying to teach those who know best and better.

Like one priest on here wrote not too long ago, he sometimes wonders why he went through eight years of schooling to become a priest when all he had to do was google the answers. He wrote this in response to a member who was telling him that he was wrong and trying to prove him wrong with bits and pieces of info they had obtained doing a google search.

I’ve often imagined the reaction of a priest who has a parishioner come up to him after Mass with a stack of papers printed off of the internet to show the priest that the way he is conducting Mass is “wrong” and that "the pope said this…or that."

One thing that I have learned here is that if you are uncertain in regards to something in theology or the celebration of the sacraments, then you probably don’t properly understand the issue. Too often we see the (using the proper sense of the word) ignorant trying to teach the learned. It is worse now than any other time that I’ve been a member.

Too often we see the (using the proper sense of the word) ignorant trying to teach the learned. It is worse now than any other time that I’ve been a member.

I’ve noticed it too. Especially lately.

Which brings me back to my original post - how can we raise the level of discussions when we aren’t capable of it?

I appreciate the work that Thomas Casey puts into CAF.

I’m concerned that this new approach to the Traditional Forum is not consistent with the goals of Catholic Answers Forum. Perhaps I am misunderstanding either Mr. Casey’s posts or the CAF Statement of Purpose as stated by Therese Martin.

Here is a copy of the CAF Statement of Purpose:

The Catholic Answers Forums (CAF) exists to provide a community for Catholics and non-Catholics of all levels of interest in and/or commitment to the Catholic Church where they may gather on the Internet for discussion in a safe and charitable environment. We do not require that members agree with the Catholic Church in order to participate; only that they remain charitable in their postings.

We provide forums for discussion of various viewpoints within and outside of Christianity; some of the forums that reflect such wide points of view are Traditional Catholicism, Eastern Catholicism, and Non-Catholic Religions. While many who gather in these forums are faithful Catholics, CAF members (Catholic or otherwise) are free to discuss issues of interest to them, even though some of those issues are not entirely in line with the Church’s understanding of Christianity.

We feel that by allowing discussion of issues of concern for Catholics and non-Catholics, CAF is not endorsing those issues that are contrary to Church teachings but allowing members to discuss those issues amongst themselves. Any member confused on a point of Church doctrine is welcome to submit a question to the Ask an Apologist forum (AAA forum protocol information) or to contact Catholic Answers directly.


What I see in the Statement of Purpose is an emphasis upon community and discussion, including discussion of “viewpoints,” even if that discussion is between those who disagree with each other and who disagree with the Catholic Church.

What I see in Mr. Casey “goals” is a emphasis upon asking questions and receiving correct answers. He says in his OP that he would like to raise the level of discussion so that it is more academic and less personal. This seems to be in contradiction the “Statement of Purpose of CAF”, which clearly states that the purpose of CAF is to form a “community” of Catholics and non-Catholics who would like to be involved in "discussion of various viewpoints (implying that it’s OK to post opinions and feelings).

In other words, the Statement of Purpose of CAF seem to me to be VERY personal.

The problem that I see with Mr. Casey’s approach is that the “community” is not qualified to give answers (although all of us probably think we are!). The types of questions that Mr. Casey lists would be best answered by an expert, either a priest, an apologist, or a professor. Unless I know the credentials of the one answering my question, I’m not sure that I should trust just any poster. It seems to me that perhaps the Traditional Section of CAF should become a “Q and A Section” rather than a “community discussion” section.

That would indeed be very interesting, and I would enjoy reading these questions and answers. But it seems to me that this is no longer a discussion forum or “community” as much as it is a “class,” and that’s not what the Statement of Purpose says that CAF is supposed to be.

I hope that this post comes across as respectful and helpful. The most important part of the Statement of Purpose is that all posting should be done in a safe and charitable environment. I intend for this post to be charitable, and I hope that it doesn’t threaten anyone’s feeling of safety.

Thank you for your feedback. Before I go further, your post is definitely respectful and charitable . . . nothing to worry about.

I’m not looking for a forum that is an “online school of theology”. There are other sites that provide such an environment.

I am trying to create an environment where posters speak to each other and about their interests and concerns in a more sophisticated manner, because posters are adults. Throwing zingers are people in the Church or at other posters on the forum is childish.

I would also like to see diversity in our threads. Seeing a thread on veiling month after month is unnecessary. One can do a search on CAF and find hundreds of opinions on veiling. However, you won’t find anyone explaining why veiling was taken out of Canon Law. In other words, I would like to see members diversify their discussions.

Let’s take veiling. If you want to discuss veiling, try to open threads that do not repeat the same things that have been asked or said before. Do a search beforehand.

When I speak about personal feelings, I’m speaking about those who come on to the forums and proclaim how scandalized they are by this or that. This type of discussion was never part of the original intent of CAF. The original intent allows people to discuss how they feel about something as in agreeing or disagreeing and why they agree or disagree.

We must remember that not all of the sub-forums are the same. Some have more wiggle room for controversy than others. For example, in Apologetics, there is a lot more room for debate than in any other forum. That’s what apologetics does. It debates and even there, the debate is calm and polite.

In the Traditional Catholicism Forum the description says it loudly and clearly. This forum is for the discussion of Catholic traditions and Catholic customs. There is not much room for debate here. Something either is or is not a Catholic tradition or custom. Most of the discussions are going to be about the traditions and customs, where they came from, why we preserve them, which ones we’ve lost, which we would like to see recover and why, and which our our favorites or our least favorite. Some discussions are going to be about something that is part of our traditions and customs, such as devotion to the saints or certain prayers like the Holy Rosary.

One note, what we’re doing here right now is what Therese Martin is trying to describe in that post that you quoted. Notice the level of this discussion. We sound like intelligent adults who can admit our limitations and our strengths. No one seems hurt by this admission. It opens the door for others to help us by sharing without being afraid of being shot down.

I hope this helps. If not, please keep sharing. I’ll keep listening.

PS. If one speaks to deacons, priests, religious brothers and religious sisters as if one were their intellectual opponent, one is going to find that the person will simply leave. Unless you have the level of education that a cleric or a religious has, please avoid challenging their knowledge and competence. One can quote a document or point to a site in a question form, such as “Father, Brother, Sister (whatever applies), why does this say A, B, and C and I think you’re saying D, E, and F?” I have often found that putting it that way allows the other person to become familiar with something he may not have read OR it allows the person the opportunity to teach me what that particular document means and how the Church understands it. Either way, it’s a win win situation for me without scaring the priest away.

We all owe each other respect and charity. But let’s face it folks, if Catholics are the first to disrespect their hierarchy and their religious, how do Catholics expect non-Catholics to take the institutional Church seriously? Sometimes,the behavior that we display says that our clergy and religious are all going to that place in a handbasket. If that’s the case, why would anyone want to enter a Church that is led by such people?

We do have to show some respect even when critiquing something that is wrong. They will make mistakes. We can critique the mistake and acknowledged the good that they have done as well.

Don’t chase away our clergy and religious. If you have doubts as to the legitimacy of the individual, just observe for a while. Clergy and religious have a certain style of writing and certain things that interest them. These little details give them away. The imposters can’t imitate the style and interests of the real thing for very long. :smiley: Or simply shoot me a PM if there is a serious concern. We have a way of checking their credentials.

I think it would be good for those who are priests or religious, or ordained Protestant pastors, or published authors, or professors in a university, to be identified not only by their “styles of writing and certain things that interest them,” but also by a definitive qualifier from CAF. We shouldn’t have to do a detective act to figure it out, or guess.

Over and over again, we are told that we should never, ever trust someone on the internet unless we know them. My husband, who works for the big three-letter computer company, has told me many times that the “pastor” or “priest” may very well be a criminal having a laugh, or a teenager with an ax to grind against religion.

I tend to be rather dense when it comes to identifying clergy from their posts here on CAF. I’m guessing that others are the same way I am. You say that they have a certain style of writing–what does that mean? It seems rather vague.

And style can be imitated. The best writers can become a priest in their fiction.

Think of all the people, especially Protestants, who are/have been fooled by various televangelists who aren’t pastors at all, but merely motivational speakers or just plain con artists. In the past, these hucksters were able to use mailings to collect millions of dollars from intelligent, loving Christian (Protestant) people who wanted so badly to believe it was true.

I think the same thing happens in Catholic circles; think of all the Catholics who want so badly to see a return to the Latin Mass and various traditional practices, that they follow after sedevacantists. If these loving people can be fooled, so can we.

So help us out. Why make us PM you to get the facts? Why not just tell us the facts up front? Why not just make it obvious in the forum that certain posters have unique credentials that give them expertise that most of us don’t have?

I never PMed you about this, but perhaps I should have. A few years ago, I received a very disturbing PM from a member who insisted that JREducation was not who he seems to be, and is teaching things that are not orthodox. I ignored it, but ever since then, I have been leery of people on CAF who call themselves Father or Brother.

So again, I ask why CAF has to keep this under wraps. Just tell us when someone is a priest, religious, etc., and give them your stamp of legitimacy.

Thanks for reading and considering this post.

I will tell you off the bat that I have no credentials in theology! But if you’re looking for a figure skating expert, I’m your gal! :slight_smile: I’m also a pianist, and I’ve spent three years now trying to learn to play the organ (pipe organ).

I agree that a more definitive identification of clergy and religious would be helpful.

As for the moderator’s comments about thread redundancy, I think that one of the primary reasons for this, if not THE main reason, is the arrival of new posters–a healthy thing for any forum–who simply are unfamiliar with CAF, these threads, or the topics that are repeated frequently. Often they arrive here by googling the topic, and I think that we all have been newbies on some forum at some point, where we asked questions or raised points that we quickly found had been repeated before. We may have been embarrassed by this, or may have included the note “Sorry if this has been asked before,” but in any event, the reality is that most new members of any forum are not going to take the time to do a search of the forums. That is human nature, and we have all been that person, somewhere, sometime. The very act of googling something implies finding a reasonably quick answer–unlike true research–and that often leads them here. Often these are young people, who are just looking to begin or return to the practice of their faith, having been raised with little or no formation. They might be new to the Extraordinary Form, or more traditional practices, or even Catholic life in general. It’s easy to grow up without this now, so I think that we need to be very tolerant here.

I don’t think that we will ever avoid this, and I while I think that it is best to direct people to past threads through links and other suggestions, I think that we should welcome them and be patient with their familiar inquiries.

Thank you for your comments and your feedback. As for clergy and religious, when you register, you’re not asked for your occupation. However, a moderator can ask a person to provide us with verification, if the person seems problematic. If someone is not problematic, we can all just move along.

I do understand the point about new arrivals asking old questions. That’s a good point. I’m not sure if that can be avoided at all, other than to refer the person to do a search or respond to the question, but keep the thread calm and if possible, short. I’m fishing for ideas here.

I just want to make TC Forum a great place for everyone. :slight_smile:

Remember what I said at the beginning of this thread. This is not a command, just a suggestion. Call it a random thought that crossed my mind while I was thinking about how to make this a great subforum. :yup:

It is not my intent to inconvenience you or cause you distress. Please don’t worry about it. Let’s keep most of our conversations as pleasant as this one has been. If we can do that, it will be a great change.

I think your points are well-taken. I’ve observed at any one time the percentage of lurkers on/in any one forum is in the range of 85-98% and I suspect many of them arrive by way of a google (or similar) search. So they sign up and old threads become resurrected. When these become inevitably closed, new threads with the old subject matter are thus started. Yes, we need to be very tolerant on this.

Chatter, you brought up something that has bothered me, the search feature on CAF is not very good. It brings up too many random threads that have nothing to do with topic I am searching, instead it looks up words in the thread that are disconnected. But you are right, that googling or yahooing brings up the specific topic, and it is how I arrived here.

I’m going to close this thread now. Before I do, I want to thank all of you who took the time to read this, especially those who gave some feedback. All of your feedback was very constructive. I feel very good serving such pleasant and reasonable people.

As I said, this was just a thought that popped up in my mind. If you come up with any ideas that you think will make TC Forum better, please share them with me via PM.

Thank you one and all. Enjoy your last week of summer before the kids go back to school, if they haven’t done so already.

God bless all of you! :slight_smile:

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