This website has been in business for five years, one year for every hundred years since Luther posted his 95 theses. In that time we've had a good bit of Ecumenical (and Eschewmenical) dialogue. But, we haven't achieved a genuine understanding of what is a good Catholic question.

Hence you'll see thing like this

closed as off-topic by Nathaniel, curiousdannii, Dan, bruised reed, Mr. Bultitude Dec 30 '16 at 21:47

on questions every Catholic knows there is an answer to like:

Outdoor wedding for Catholics

If you elect two of these 4 people, who have nominated themselves for moderator then it will only take one of them to close these questions:

Is praying Rosary by listening considered by the Catholic Church to be as effective as reciting?

and then there are questions that it would seem at first glance were closed because they bring up the divide between our faith traditions in a way that blatantly favors Catholicism. It may be disingenuous, it may be wrong, but it's still a question.

What is the case against seeing the Medieval Catholic Church as oppressive?

and especially

What contemporary criticism was given to Belloc's claim that the Protestant Reformation was the work of a few oligarchs?

and there are questions that are helpful to me as a catechist closed by non-catechists

What should a Catholic Religious Ed. class be taught about the Reformation?

According to 21st century Catholic critics, what's so great about the Canticle of the Sun?

Since the powers that be lumped us all together in this site, instead of allowing the Catholicism.SE proposal to continue in Area 51, we've been in this boat together. I recognize that this boat is not the "Barque of Peter", but seriously; the time is now for someone who can hold the reins of the close vote against what I believe is honest Protestant blinders.

They think the answer is "go ask a pastor" well, in 2000 years, there's a good chance someone has asked a priest, and probably written a book about it.

Shouldn't Catholics be the judge of what constitutes pastoral advice, what is too broad, what is doctrine, what is too narrow. We have a completely different language from you (you 95% of meta participants who are non-Catholic).

So tell me one good reason why you shouldn't elect a Catholic this election?

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    -1 Saying that people have closed questions because they personally don't like the answers is an unfounded accusation and poor form to boot. If you think any of those questions was inappropriately closed then go vote to reopen them.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jan 21, 2017 at 14:19
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    You also have to realise that voting to close questions can take time, and the reason the first close voters chose might not apply if the question was edited. I think this is the case for the outdoor wedding question, which was substantially edited shortly before it was closed. If you voted to reopen it now I think it would be very likely to be reopened. FYI I have just voted to reopen it. But it could also be a duplicate, so it might end up closed again.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jan 21, 2017 at 14:45
  • @curious you should say that, you're the most anti-catholic of the bunch. The rest of 'em are merely ignorant. You actually hate the Catholic Church.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jan 21, 2017 at 14:46
  • 4
    I really don't, and I'm saddened you know me so poorly you think I do.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jan 21, 2017 at 14:47
  • Well that's good to hear! Now's the time to act like it!
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jan 21, 2017 at 15:26
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    wow! it's almost like you're trolling us... Jan 21, 2017 at 15:46
  • 3
    Peter if this was main instead of meta and if there wasn't an election running currently (and hence I think it's important people see how you handle things rather than cleaning it up right away) I would delete those offensive ad-hominem comments. If it happened again I would consider suspending you as that's just the kind of bad vibes moderators are supposed to help this site avoid! The biggest use-case I can see for a Catholic moderator right now would be somebody who could suspend you with less drama than if I did it (which it seems like you'd make out to be some Protestant conspiracy).
    – Caleb
    Jan 21, 2017 at 16:16
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    Peter, somewhat OT, I note that I got zero up votes on the answer I gave to the question you cite about praying the Rosary, and one down vote. Was my answer that bad? The question needed a Catholic perspective, and I was puzzled by the closure since my answer amounted to a small frame challenge in terms of the assumptions I saw in the question that do not conform to what I was taught. Jan 21, 2017 at 16:35
  • 7
    Three of the questions you linked to are now open! All it took was raising awareness of those questions, which could have been done without all the accusations of bias by protestants.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jan 21, 2017 at 23:42
  • @bruisedreed If I were doing the trolling, I would have been the one to point out everything I didn't like about you on the elections page. christianity.stackexchange.com/election?cb=1 That was a bummer of a thing for Caleb to do; then he goes on meta for no particular reason and posts chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/34922845#34922845 Usually it's the candidates who are throwing these kinds of jabs at each other, not the moderator!
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jan 22, 2017 at 2:20
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    @Peter I heavily criticized curiousdanni, so you're not alone in receiving it here.
    – user3961
    Jan 22, 2017 at 4:27
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    Peter, your posts today do not reflect the same person as years ago. I'm confused why there's such a fixation on your 'persecution'. I thought claiming victimization when none exists was a mostly evangelical protestant thing. You're asking for a blanket special pass, instead of using the system that's already in place, which apparently works as most of your links in this post are now open questions.
    – user3961
    Jan 22, 2017 at 4:33
  • @freds yeah, I'd like to avoid sounding like a victim as much as possible and I'm skeptical of the need to pound inclusivity into systems (like colleges and churches), but I'm also skeptical of high-rep users on this site closing questions that might as well be written in low-dutch for all they can understand the words contained within. I make no attempt to judge these posts when they come from other sects. Sometimes, I make an attempt to understand! I think a mod should make an attempt to understand (or ask another mod who does) when closing a question from a new user and correct mistakes.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jan 23, 2017 at 18:35

2 Answers 2


As a Catholic Candidate, this is in my interest so I support it (Just Kidding 8^D )

St Francis of Assisi had attributed to him the following aphorism1:

Preach the Gospel every day; use words when necessary.

It is a never ending struggle for me to walk in those footsteps, but I think that's the way to go for any of us, particularly when we run into obstacles.

Quite frankly, I respond to this against my better judgment because I really, really don't like denomination wars. (They wound the Body of Christ). There's the whole internet for that noise, I prefer that we be free of that here. I fear that this discussion may go that way, so I ask up front to anyone engaged in this meta discussion: please don't go there.

What's an election?

Elections are always to some extent popularity contests. I don't think there's any way to get around that, it's in the nature of the beast. I am glad to see that you tossed your hat into the ring. Experience matters in leadership roles.

As I was not here in the beginning, I didn't get to see dark separated from light back when Christianity.SE was without form. I know from RPG.SE a couple of the early helpers (founders?) of this site who are not Catholic -- @mxzyplk and @waxeagle -- and who don't come here much anymore. Do they, like you, feel that something good from the beginning has been lost or is it the usual RL getting in the way? I don't know. Apparently, some other users from early on (@Richard?) aren't that active. Something is different.

I do know that I like (a lot) the site "as it is," and that there appears to be some sort of shared vision of "the site as we'd like it to become." Better than now means what? What the community figures out is better.

You are right that mod's have influence on that, the direction toward 'better', and that mods are in a leadership role, and that the exercise of mod powers can be perceived as crossing various boundaries. (Have seen this discussion in spades at RPG.SE recently, and to a lesser level at History).

Does denomination matter?

Apparently, based on current norms, it does and so our questions are bounded to deal with that potential cause of conflict. The fine line to walk is to not make denomination a source of friction.

One of the core concerns in the questionnaire is "How do we attract/keep new users and new questions?" so we, as a site, are in a position of selling the product. Here's the sales pitch:

  • Come to our site (versus thousands of others) because of (fill in the blank here).

Nobody has to come here, it is elective participation. We need to stand out as 'good site to go to' and part of that has to do with tone. (Almost hilarious, and very ironic, that I bring this up given my recent chat/comment discussions with @DickHarfield and @Abstractioniseverything about my predilection for cutting remarks).

Were am I going with this?

If we do something to promote tension and friction between Christian denominations, we are doing it wrong. I don't think we'll attract the kind of users and content we hope for if we have an undertone of inter-denominational tension.

Should we elect (insert name here) because he or she is Catholic?

That's an interesting question, but my gut feel on that answer is that tokenism isn't anyone's preferred outcome. I agree with your point about one thing, though, and I've run into it a few times where I left a comment, or made a VtC, in part due to not "getting" a core issue of the topic. What you feel that some mods do I have done at least once, and likely more than once. (@KenGraham recently pointed out in comments what I was missing. I rescinded the VtC).

We have tools to address the problem that seems to be your foremost concern: comments, edits, chat, and votes to reopen. We also have meta to discuss reopening for any question, or to ask 'mod(x), why did you do that?'

If that's your major concern, that a lot of VtC's happen in part due to a lot of not grokking the core subject due to Catholic nuance, we should use the tools to address that. Maybe those of us who do participate here, and who are Catholic, should use those tools more often. Yes, it's more work to get 5 votes than one. When Jesus said "pick up your cross and follow me" he wasn't promising any of us an easy road.

Consider Lee's position

I've engaged with @LeeWoofendon in a number of conversations, and in chat. Thanks to those conversations, I keep in the back of my mind his expressed frustration with the popularity contest nature of "by denomination voting" that he sometimes sees or has experienced. Through that dialogue, and taking your concern about representation in the mod ranks as an avenue to preventing bias, where's his seat at the mod table? His problem is almost the reverse of the one you have presented, in terms of the volume of tagged questions for his faith community.

What to do?

Vote for me and I'll set you free! (Just Kidding 8^D)

  1. Lead by example, communicate, and raise points/issues as they arise.
  2. Be a good, or better, contributor. (That last is the gauntlet cast at my own self).
  3. Build good will. There's a song I hear on the radio now and again, on the local Christian station, which uses as the chorus this paraphrase from scripture

    They will know we are Christians by our love ...

    I think that taking that course of action will attract votes in any mod election (be it this year or next or the next) and will also attract more people to the site.

While I realized that this is technically not a Christian site (per the meta post), increasing participation here will at least indirectly, if not directly, get people thinking and talking about Christian topics as long as they come here to see what we (the community) have to say.


Vote for me and I'll set you free! 8^D (I really need to stop doing that)

  1. Communicate and raise concerns where warranted, using current tools

  2. Offer good answers, good edit advice, and vote to open/close questions in areas where you have expertise

  3. Encourage new users to come back again

  4. Profit! (Wait, scratch that, this isn't 4chan)

1I am aware that there is some debate on whether or not he ever said that, but it fits how he lived his faith once he left his old life and became a new man.


I'm going to suggest this is mostly balderdash. Here's why I think that.

You've misidentified the problem

Most of the issues you've raised have nothing to do with Catholicism vs. other possible question scopes.

  • The outdoor question was poorly scoped and deserved closing in its initial form (which is likely when most of the VtC's happened). It looks fine to me right now and I disagree with the final close voter on it. What their rational is I don't know, but I would start by asking them and together suggesting we re-open it.

  • The rosary question was closed as "unclear". Whether a question is unclear or not has nothing to do with it being Catholic or not. In fact I would say questions with Protestant scope have a harder time with this in general because they have to be more specific.

    This question has also been edited since it was closed, but nobody (including yourself, as of this writing) has voted to re-open it yet. If you think it's clear now you have the power to vote. Better to do it now and get some community behind you than mod hammer it open just because it's tagged .

  • The middle ages question was closed as too broad.

    Assuming you know that the actual motivations of this was Protestants not liking the answers is poor judgment on your part. I would hope that any potential Catholic moderator would make better use of both Occam's and Hanlon's razors!

  • The Belloc question has other issues.

    It already has my upvote, but it does suffer from being more of a ramble than a question. It's not clear whether it's a truth question looking to justify the fellow or if there is really some scope from which it could be answered factually and to your satisfaction even if you end up disagreeing with the answer's theology.

    I suggest this question is closed because people couldn't make out what the potential scope for answers should be and because it exhibits and existential crises where you ask about a view and criticize it in the scope of the question more so that it having anything to do with Catholicism.

    Being too quick to force this through because of the views represented rather than on it's merits as a well formed question would be a problem.

I can also call you bluff on the accusation that Protestants are the only ones suggesting some questions are better addressed using local authorities. The following comment was left on one of your exhibits by a Catholic catechist:

Have you asked a local Catholic priest in Pa (where you live?) on what the preferred protocols are in that diocese? Suggest that you go straight to the source.

Listing off some questions that closed is a silly way to make this argument. I could point to 10x as many Protestant ones that got closed in similar fashion, including many much higher upvoted posts of my own. You seem to be looking at the data a) filtered for one type of thing and b) tinted with your pre-determined conclusion.

This is the wrong solution

Having a Catholic moderator may be a good thing. In fact I think it would be a good thing, but not for these reasons! Somebody who would just use the power to force their way without (and in opposition to) community consensus as you suggest would be a bad thing.

For all the examples you give the solution is not to have some moderator who can go against the flow, the solution is for YOU as a community member to cast a re-open vote now that the questions are appropriately fixed or step in to help fix them. As of this writing you had not done so, hence I conclude you don't understand what a user should do vs. what a moderator should do.

Shouldn't Catholics be the judge of what constitutes pastoral advice, what is too broad, what is doctrine, what is too narrow.

They already are. Catholic participants including yourself already have access to the same tools as are used by all site participants. I could point out plenty of examples where Catholics have voted to close Protestant questions, but this isn't a problem for me because they were doing so on the basis of the question scope not it's theology.

the time is now for someone who can hold the reins of the close vote against what I believe is honest Protestant blinders

If that's what you would expect a Catholic mod to do them I would be against it. Hopefully there are Catholics out there with better judgment about how to relate to the community.

Electing a moderator shouldn't change the basic flow of what types of questions meet site guidelines and which don't. One reason NOT to elect a Catholic mod would be if that Catholic mod was going to operate in the way that you suggest it would be extremely disruptive. I'd like to think we have some Catholics around that do get the system and could work with it rather than against it.

  • 1
    I'm not disputing the existence of cruddy questions. I'm asserting that there is a language out there that protestants are insensitive to and there is a need for a mod who understands
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jan 21, 2017 at 15:43
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    @PeterTurner Even with a Catholic mod, there wouldn't be any segregation as far as who handles what flags except in extreme circumstances. In other words you'd still be required to educate rather than force the point, something that can be done by a non mod just as easily as a mod. Given your lack of flags, comments and open/close votes on main in regard to these issues and insistence that a moderator could just override the community I'm suggesting you have in mind a solution that's the wrong tool for the job.
    – Caleb
    Jan 21, 2017 at 15:49
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    Caleb I frequently run into comments wherein I have tried to answer from a Catholic perspective and then get responses that come from the sola scriptura point of view. That is an irrelevant response if we are bounding our questions and answers by denomination, and it's frustrating to me ... I am working on better ways to address that. I think that is the kind of thing that Peter refers to when he ways "there is a language out there that Protestants are insensitive to" in his posts. @curiousdanni also addressed in another meta post the problem of recognizing internal biases. Jan 22, 2017 at 3:52

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