Is this type of question allowed? Can I ask something about Christian habits, like prayer requests?

  1. In the Roman Catholic Church, there is a little book titled "Prayer Requests" that allows people to sign their names before, during, or after the service. How do Roman Catholics use the signatures? Do the prayers involve personal contact? Should the prayer notify the one being prayed for that the one being prayed for is receiving a prayer by the prayer? How do online prayer requests work? Given the nature of the Internet, online prayers may be less intimate and less sentimental than handwritten prayers or oral prayers, as writing or speaking may take more thought than simply typing blindly on the Internet or clicking on a button. Is there a distinction between a regular prayer and a heartfelt prayer, or is that distinction just made up by outside observers of Christianity? Finally, does the Roman Catholic Church use these prayers and the list of contacts in the book as a way to contact people who may request the sacrament of the anointing of the sick? During the sacrament, do Catholic priests really come to your house and perform the sacrament? Do they really touch the sick, even if the illness is highly contagious? How do they deal with sick, homeless Catholics or non-Catholic relatives?
  2. How do practicing Christians observe Lent and Advent?
  3. How is the feet-washing ritual observed during the season of Lent?
  4. How is the Lenten eucharist different from an eucharist from other days of the year?
  5. What do Christians do on their saint's day, as opposed to, say, their own birthdays (though this may apply more to Spanish-speaking countries)?
  • 2 through 4 definitely need to be scoped ("How do practicing Catholics observe Lent and Advent" might be fine). Common practices and traditions of a specific group are on topic, as they can receive specific, objective answers.
    – Ryan Frame
    Jul 23, 2013 at 14:01
  • Well, Anglicans also observe Lent and Advent. It's not really a Catholic thing.
    – Double U
    Jul 23, 2013 at 14:02
  • 3
    Right; but they may not observe it the same way, which makes the question too broad. Then you'll have an answer that says "not all Christians do," which is just as correct. Separate questions would be more useful.
    – Ryan Frame
    Jul 23, 2013 at 14:03
  • Are you sure? There are 50,000 Christian denominations. Maybe it would just be useful to recognize the big ones and ignore the rest.
    – Double U
    Jul 23, 2013 at 14:15
  • 2
    @Anonymous just hit the ones you're interested in.
    – wax eagle
    Jul 23, 2013 at 14:24
  • @RyanFrame The first question is really long, because those questions are very similar and trying to convey a general idea. Do I really have to separate them?
    – Double U
    Jul 24, 2013 at 3:25

1 Answer 1


Any properly scoped question about the history, doctrine or practice of Christianity is on topic. The only exception to this is the so called pastoral advice question which seeks personal advice.

To address your points one by one

  1. Definitely on topic. You might want to narrow it down to ask one question at a time, but generally if you've got a question about something that is happening in a church (specially if it's more than one church), that's a good on topic question.

  2. This one probably needs to be narrowed down to a denomination or two (specially if you see similar things). That said, asking about a specific practice such as the sign of the cross drawn in ash in observance of Ash wednesday, likely needs no further scoping as it can be narrowed to just those who practice this.

  3. Good question. No need for further scoping as it's already scoped to the people who do this.

  4. This might need scope, you'd have to research if the practice and meaning varies and if it does scope it where it varies. But with scope, it's a good question.

  5. This one likely needs no scoping as it's already scoped to those that venerate the saints and do something on their saint's day. Sounds like the start of a good question.

Most of what you're asking about, can be both on topic, clear and narrow enough with the right amount of prior research and sufficient knowledge to scope it down appropriately. My advice before you ask is to spend 10-20 minutes researching to develop your scope.

  • Are you sure about not needing further scoping on 3 (foot washing)? I participated in one Presbyterian (PCA) service which included foot washing, but such seems to be less common in that denomination than variations like communion by intincture.
    – user3331
    Jul 23, 2013 at 16:31
  • What about the Christian/Patriotism/Guns culture questions that were eventually closed and rejected in the following meta posts? Is culture not habits?
    – user3961
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:27

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