#catholic answers forum
So, yesterday, I get this message from the Catholic Answers Forum moderator warning me about an infraction I committed. The message stated
He is referring to a response I made to one of their members. Let me give you a little background, the thread was about the Staples vs. White debate on 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. If anyone is familiar with the Catholic Answers Forum, it is most difficult to keep folks on track and goes astray very easily. Usually, everything from the Trinity to the canon to the ol’ “number of Protestant denominations ” red herrings are tossed into the mix. Every now and then, someone will hop on the thread with something like this.
Because of the frustration caused by warding off these red herrings and staying on track, I didn’t want to wander off the beaten path to indulge philosophical meanderings. It bothers me when purgatory, other than being a later belief and has had multiple understandings in its vague “existence”, is given a convenient philosophical coating to bring legitimacy to the doctrine. In my humble estimation, this is sophistry. pure and simple. So, I replied to this post with the following
Now, although my response is critical of Ratzinger’s statement, there is nothing personal about it, let alone any that could be offensive to Catholics. If one provides a statement like the above without there being any evidence of its reality, then we can muse “all the live long day” about it, but it remains nothing but words. At CAF, how often are the statements of Protestant leaders criticized and worse. Yet, is anything done about it by the administrators. My intent was the statement and not the one making the statement. Getting into these types of dialogues makes the discussion tedious, but it seems that calling sophistry for what it is, gets you warned because of the status of the individual saying it and not for any other reason. I really doubt that there would have been much offense if Ratzinger were still a cardinal and theologian. It is deemed disrepectful of the faith of Catholics to criticize a statement from a pope, at least that’s what it seems this moderator is infering. Needless to say, I’m still quite peeved, especially when one considers all the personal nonsense I’ve endured on that forum. So, I questioned this moderator, asking him if the same thing applies to those who criticize Protestant leaders. What I got was
Again, remember. the CAF forums is replete with all sorts of personal attacks against Protestants, from past to present, Luther through MacArthur. To back it up, one only needs to read through the threads. Yet, one remark regarding one’s own personal musings and I get a warning. Although I have no knowledge of the disciplines given to Catholics on the forum, it is hard to take this moderator’s statements seriously when one sees the constant bantering given Protestants. So, I respond once again, explaining that no animosity was intended, but I still had to question him once more if the same standard is enforced for the likes of John MaArthur, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, James White, etc. and the ol Churchmouse is told
So, my statement is judged as “contempt for the Catholic faith “. Calling one’s statement “sophistry” (because it is) is ruled “contempt”. The moderator continued by posting the list of CAF rules, with emphasis (red letters) as to where the violation was committed
Is calling a statement made by a Catholic cleric “sophistry” disrespectful of the “faith of Catholics”. How? It seems that one needs an infallible interpreter for these rules because the moderators don’t seem capable of grasping a correct understanding. We Protestants can read them ourselves and ascertain what the rules mean without the need for outside sources. If one looks at rule 7 (which is really “8”), does my criticism of Ratzinger’s statements compare to Whore of Babylon, Holy Roller, Christ-killer, or terrorist ? Not at all. If one looks at rule 9 (which, in reality, is number 10 on their website), did I pursue speaking about the mods and their actions on the forum itself? Nope! This applies to those who use the forum to criticize a moderator’s actions, of which I didn t do. Maybe there is another deposit of rules which brings clarity to these rules that I am unaware of (and they cannot provide it for me because it is rooted in the traditions and practices of the forum and not outright). Yet, I am told by this moderator that I must give an affirmative not to break these rules, by midnight, to keep my account open
I can abide by the rules as they are written. There’s no problem there, but the way I see it. it’s like this: If I give an affirmative then I would be acknowledging my comments to be “contempt for the Catholic faith and its leader” and that these rules apply to the situation. On another level, to affirm these would imply that Ratzinger’s statements aren’t sophistical in nature, which is something I cannot do because I believe they are. Please remember, I am not calling Ratzinger a Sophist, but only that his statement is sophistical. The moderator needs to understand that Ratzinger’s writings are in the public forum and open to criticism. That’s just the way it is.
Moral of the story. If you would like to participate on the Catholic Answers Forums, you must read through the rules and understand that words, such as contempt. are always left up to the discretion of the moderator in charge. He or she can interpret the rules in whatever way he or she deems fit. Whether or not it truly defines contempt really doesn t matter. Furthermore, although the rules forbid any criticism of moderators or their actions on the forums, the moderator can put you under review anyway, which negates your posting privileges until you are able to see things their way (and you have until midnight of course). If you dare to disagree, question the fairness of the actions, or critique the process, well, prepare to have your account permanently closed. Sure, you can exercise the option of contacting the administrators if you’d like, but I wouldn t hold my breath if I were you, especially when one sees the liberality practiced by Catholics who do the same to Protestants. They can continue as they please. If you are one who desires to speak freely without having to walk on eggshells, worrying if public statements are going to be deemed dishonestly, well this isn’t the forum for you. Biased minds will find loopholes in the rules and you’re a goner.
Addendum: Hmmm maybe it s contemptuous to refer to the pope as Ratzinger and not by his proper title, Pope Boniface XVI. Well, considering that I still view him as Joseph Alois Ratzinger and considering that I reject the concept of papism and its alleged charisms, I choose to refrain from advancing the title. So, if this is deemed contemptuous , well, that is something I can live with. You just can’t please everyone, especially when it comes down to one’s integrity.
Post addendum: I did get one last response from the moderator, which amounted to “see ya !” I mumbled something to the extent of “There is nothing new under the sun “, which leads to my final graphic.
By the way, the word is “refusal ” and not “refussal”, right PRmerger? ( Churchmouse at 5:43 PM