Verification of religious / clergy


At times on here we have replies . posts from people claiming to be religious or clergy. I don’t think it is fair for people to be able to claim that position with out being verified from the admin on this site and having some kind of badge that sets them aside so that others visiting this site or just in general can easily establish that the person claiming to be a religious or clergy is indeed who they say they are.

I was glancing over one thread an noticed a poster replying to someone who was using slang in their reply, using something like " hey man " and the reply back was, " THAT’s FATHER TO YOU ". and oh man, how foolish is that. no priest in the right mind would have said that. an more over the person was talking to someone else not the person claiming to be a priest.

An also when applying warnings or bans to people on here, it would give validation that it was warranted if the idea is to protect religious and clergy from personal attacks, and also then not anyone can just post hi i am father so n so or i am deacon or sister or brother, etc… an then someone says something they didnt like, that poster gets the ole flag button out, and is offended, when in reality they arent a religious or clergy at all.

posting at the end of a thread, Fr. xyz of such an such an order in abreviations or diocese isnt a verified signature same for religious signatures .

also once these religious and clergy are verified, they could be given moderator privelages, so that if they are being harrassed or targeted, they dont have to go and hunt down someone to handle the situation they can personally handle it. they wouldnt have to be a forum moderator but just have the right to moderate their own threads and those replies that are interacted with them.


I will say that personally I’m skeptical of any claims of being clergy. This is the Internet where anyone can claim anything. So I don’t automatically believe anyone who claims to be clergy is. There have been and are a few who I do believe are truly clergy. Some have offered sufficient evidence, in my opinion. But there have also been some that I had serious questions about.

I think we should treat everyone here with the same Christian dignity. And I don’t think it is right or fair for people to act as if a poster is clergy since ultimately it is, absent verification, not known if he is.


hence a simple verification process, it can be via personal one on one verification via skype or facebook, or verified via ones diocese / email/ phone number verification. it isn’t that complicated to do, just takes the admin of the site to actually do the work, slap up a badge next to the screen name that says they have been verified, give the person the ability to moderate their own threads and done. It might give religious and clergy the ability to be more available to the public on here with out having the fear of being personally attacked and no way to defend themselves, and it would end people demanding to be shown " proof " that someone is who they say they are. OR at the very least, make it an option for religious and clergy, and have a rule that states one can not post that they are religious or clergy with out being verified.


Under the old CAF, clergy were verified. I’m not sure if that’s the case anymore.

In any case, there are only a handful of posters I have seen who claimed to be clergy, and I’ve no reason to doubt any of them. I can tell the difference between a poster who knows what they are talking about versus a poster who only thinks they know what they are talking about. All those I have seen claim to be clergy fall into the former category.

Which is not to say that I haven’t seen some of the clergy posters occasionally get short-tempered or say something I disagree with. But, overall, they bring clarity and a wealth of knowledge and experience.

I didn’t see the post you referenced in the OP, though. so it’s certainly possible I’ve missed someone who is not on the level. If I saw a post like that, I would just flag it so that the moderators could deal with it.


I will also say that I tend to doubt CAF will start handing out badges for clergy posters. If they do that, they are kind of on the hook for what those members do and say as it will come across that those posters have more authority and possibly even speak for Catholic Answers. My guess is that—for the very small amount of posters we have here that are actually clergy—they don’t want to deal with that potential headache.


This is the official CAF response. However, I have seen evidence to the contrary. I don’t believe that there’s a clear policy.


On the old CAF, clergy were verified.
On the new CAF, most of the clergy initially posting were ones from old CAF who presumably were verified. I’ve only seen a couple new clergy join since then.

The clergy posting here lately seem pretty benign and post in ways I’d expect clergy to post. For example, they aren’t commenting all over the sex abuse threads, and they are generally being kind. We had one case where someone claiming to be a priest joined and immediately started an odd discussion. I Googled and found there was indeed a priest of that name somewhere, but because the poster seemed strange and like he might have stolen a legit priest’s identity, I flagged the poster to the mods. I presume others did too because he disappeared within a day or two.

I would suggest if you find a purported priest acting un-priestlike on here, flag the post and write a note to the mods with your concern.


I did. (Pretty sure.) The thread got taken down due to others issues. And IMO, it was not out of line for Father to say.
@HolySpirit1 the priest you’re referring to was on the old CAF. and according to tisbear they verified there. It is also my opinion that we should be more respectful to our clergy to keep the few clerical members we have left.




We MUST BE [not just should be]. If we cannot be charitable in our conversations with them; we ought not to post a reply at all. AMEM

THANKS for pointing this out DeniseNY


the idea of a badge icon was merely a quick way to identify who has been verified as an actual clergy or religious so others dont have to wonder and or make requests to find out,

also to claim that one can tell just by the way someone types, or speaks, an uses that as an indicator or proof that one is a religious or clergy is 100% foolish, and equivalent to saying you can tell if someone is evil, or in a state of sin, or holy, just by the way they dress, look, or by the color of the their skin. Even more foolish to say you know someone is by the way they talk online, for all anyone knows , i am a transgender person, female to male, and clergy. point is, prove im not.

an to think that this is an impossible task is just nonsense and lazy not to do, an to say well the admin doesnt want clergy or religious speaking on behalf of C.A.F well in fairness, C.A.F is speaking and teaching on behalf of the catholic church, so what in the world is the difference of clergy or religious speaking on here ? If anything C.A.F should be recruiting and paying clergy to be on this site.

and again giving them moderator privelages would allow them to handle problems on their own. with out the need of the entire internet community to come to their rescue.


I don’t get why it’s so important to know every detail about someone saying they are clergy. I myself have shared a little information about my life and what I do and I don’t think i should have to provide all kinds of verification to prove my gender, the fact that I was really married, or that I held a certain job. I haven’t seen any clergy throwing their weight around claiming special privileges for being clergy, and I don’t think they should have to provide all kinds of verification either.

Why is this such a big deal that you can’t just give them the benefit of the doubt unless they post something deserving of a flag, in which case you can flag them? It’s not like one of them is hearing confessions or celebrating Mass on here.


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