I recently answered a question, which was flagged and deleted by a mod. Part of the reason given was it was 'derogatory' towards Catholicism, presumably because I said the phraseology Catholics use 'everyone is saved through the Church' is silly (as I think it is misleading). I'm a Catholic - I don't consider this characterization derogatory, just accurate.

Is saying something about a denomination that a mod finds 'derogatory' - even if accurate - grounds for deletion of the answer?

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    A statement cannot be 'silly'. Only persons can have the attribute of 'silliness'. That a person has a wrong perception does not make them 'silly'. And of whom is it said that he can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 2:33

4 Answers 4


In general, yes. We want answers to be respectful to everyone, to explain the facts in a neutral manner. But this site is also more conversational than an encyclopedia, and there is grey between perfectly respectful and outright insulting. It is a good thing I think for our community's personalities to be visible in answers, and that will include sometimes giving your personal thoughts on a matter, even if they're negative. I'm pretty sure I would've said that something is silly or irrational in an answer before. The community members will have to use their personal judgement to decide whether something crosses the line and should be flagged, as will the mods to decide whether to delete something.

I can't speak to the specific post you refer to because I'm not sure which it was, but you can flag it if you think it shouldn't have been deleted, and then we'll take another look. You can also edit it if you think it was too far into the grey.

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    My concern here is about denominational bias. Was the mod who commented on why it was deleted a Catholic? I don't know. But if he was, was he over-reacting because of his denominational affiliation? If I said "Mormons wearing sacred underpants is silly", would it have gotten the same treatment? Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 22:43
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    "Mormons wearing sacred underpants is silly" is definitely something I'd consider to have crossed the line.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 22:45
  • Is there some sort of published guidelines on what is crossing the line and what isn't? Or are we just going on mods' feelings about this? Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 22:50
  • If I had said "Studies suggest sacred underpants don't actually do anything" would that be crossing the line? Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 22:52
  • Similarly, if I had said "the phrase 'everyone is saved through the Church' is misleading" would that be crossing the line? Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 22:54
  • @AnthonyBurg Depends on the question. Do we have questions about evaluations of sacred underpants? The second example is fine I would think.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 22:58
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    OK, so it sounds like the specific course of action if someone believes their answer isn't derogatory would be to revise the wording to be more neutral-sounding and flag it for approval. Thanks! Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 23:05
  • @curiousdannii his second example second would is not be considered in any sense derogatory, but it wouldn't be an appropriate answer to a question asking for a Catholic viewpoint on salvation.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 13:14

Using the logic, I'm a Catholic, I can say what I want about the Church, is not good theology. And a statement that "everyone is saved through the church is misleading" implies there's some sort of attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of Catholics as opposed to the fact that this is a hard, if not impossible, to understand mystery of the Church. IF you had valid evidence to back up the claim that it was misleading, that is, the Church is deliberately misleading her adherents, then we really should not be Catholics in the first place.

So, it's kind of a catch-22, but is may prove the supernatural nature of the Church or may just be a logical fallacy or both.

and yes, we do delete everything that is seen as making fun of every other sect too, that is most of what we do. Usually the anti-Catholic stuff is just nasty as opposed to the anti-JW and anti-LDS stuff which is mostly overly critical.

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    LOL. You think saying something is 'misleading' is inappropriately derogatory! We really need objective standards for this, guys. The valid evidence is basic semantics - someone has never heard of the Church, goes to Heaven, but is somehow 'saved through the Church'. Sounds really odd to me. Catholics need a clearer expression of what is meant by this. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 17:03
  • "I'm a Catholic, I can say what I want about the Church, is not good theology" It's not theology - it's making clear I'm not anti-Catholic, and have no intention to be derogatory towards Catholicism. The Catholic Church and Catholic practices aren't perfect - deal with it! Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 17:04
  • vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P29.HTM sums it up pretty well. Faith, being the evidence of things unseen, fills in all the gaps.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 20:22
  • Not sure why you're linking to part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Can you say more about that? Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 20:42
  • you wrote that that "Catholics need a clearer expression of what is meant by this" I'm saying you have to Read The Glorious Catechism to find out what is meant by this. Dismissing it as silly is in itself rather silly. Calling is misleading is disingenuous, saying it is difficult to understand is more or less true. But apparently that gets you into trouble on sites like Unix.SE
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 20:52
  • Sure, what I'm saying is that when used in popular discussion, it's misleading. But I would be happy for you to post an answer to a question where you say calling that locution 'silly' is itself silly. You'd be wrong, of course. :) Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 21:00
  • You mean I should ask, "According to the Catholic Church, is the doctrine that outside the Church there is no salvation meant in jest?" yep, that'll merit a quodlibet.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 21:11
  • oh oh, OK re-read your post. I gotcha, well the problem is I wasn't saying misleading is derogatory, just that it is an assertion that needs to be proven. I guess you're saying that the English is misleading, not that the Church herself is leading amiss and we can agree there, because I, for one, have no idea what it means.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 21:13

I would like to add some relevant points to consider in addition to existing answers by the moderators:

  • C.SE is site where we try to have an atmosphere of
    1. mutual learning: a member from one denomination learn from one from another denomination (or even from within the same denomination)
    2. constructive debate: disagreement is welcome, but need to be expressed in a manner that advance understanding instead of simply "venting off"
    3. scholarship: assertion is backed by reputable sources (wikipedia, peer-reviewed journal, books from reputable publishers, official publication from a denomination, recognized primary sources like the Bible or council documents)
  • Therefore, if Martin Luther or Calvin himself were a C.SE user and were to post some derogatory remarks about the Catholic church that he previously published in print (fulfilled criteria #3 above), the post would have been deleted because those remarks were propagandist, inflammatory, and demeaning in nature (violated criteria #2 above).
  • This atmosphere is in direct contrast to other venues of the marketplace of ideas: coffee shop, informal discussion, chatrooms, etc. where those 3 rules above don't need to be respected.
  • Therefore, if Martin Luther were to be at a beer garden in 1519 Leipzig with John Eck debating papal primacy and called the idea "silly", he would be okay. But if Martin Luther found himself later at the Pleissenburg Castle formally debating John Eck to defend his theses, it would be in his best interest to use a less opinionated phraseology such as "insupportable by evidence", "needs to be reexamined", "can lead to corruption", etc. which invite the participants to a greater mutual understanding.
  • I understand that, and think it's reasonable. But then you have Peter Turner saying 'misleading' is an inappropriate term. He very well may say "insupportable by evidence", "needs to be reexamined", or "can lead to corruption" are also inappropriate phrases. Which is why I'm seeking greater clarity from the community on this. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 20:37
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    @AnthonyBurg I think saying "misleading" is fine, esp. if buttressed by evidence beyond a personal opinion, just the way we write school papers. But we wouldn't write "silly" in a school paper. My answer doesn't try to adjudicate which wording is okay, but to highlight the spirit behind what we are attempting to do on this site. So more important than the words are evidence. Words set the tone, but the proof is in the evidence. If I simply say "can lead to corruption", the tone is okay (still respectful), but without evidence one can downvote my post and demands me to provide it. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 21:01
  • Sure, but I didn't just say it's silly. I went on to explain why it's silly. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 21:01
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    @AnthonyBurg Since I don't have access to your whole post, and since I'm not a moderator, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to comment more on your case, just trying to help clarify the atmosphere of this site. God bless! I have enjoyed your questions. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 21:03

Is an answer that some consider 'derogatory' towards a denomination grounds for deletion?

You are making reference to your answer of the question: What MUST a Catholic believe to be a Catholic?

Here is what you actually said:

Catholics use a wording here that's a bit silly. They say salvation is through the Church in this sort of case, even though the person has never heard of the Church. The basic point, however, is that these people can be saved without believing anything that Geremia lists.

The question does not deal with those who may be saved, but what a Catholic must believe to be Catholic.

I believe that the phrase, would have been flagged by someone if it were employed on another question within another denominational perspective.

Your response seems more like an open rebuttal to another’s response to an answer on this post which would make the silly phrase seems inappropriate.

There is room for misunderstanding and grey areas, but true respect must always be maintained here.

You claim that you explained your reasons behind your statement of “silly”. Yet you did not. What does the phrase “salvation is through the Church”. It is not “silly”, but needs to be understood through the eyes of the Church. Something you have not grasped or actually explained, but passed over it quickly.


The Latin phrase extra Ecclesiam nulla salus means "outside the Church there is no salvation". The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church explained this as "all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is His Body."

This expression comes from the writings of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a bishop of the third century. The axiom is often used as shorthand for the doctrine that the Church is necessary for salvation. It is a dogma in the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church in reference to their own communions. It is also held by many historic Protestant churches. However, Protestants, Catholics and the Orthodox each have a unique ecclesiological understanding of what constitutes the Church. For some the church is defined as "all those who will be saved", with no emphasis on the visible church.1 For others the theological basis for this doctrine is founded on the beliefs that (1) Jesus Christ personally established the one Church; and (2) the Church serves as the means by which the graces won by Christ are communicated to believers.

Kallistos Ware, a Greek Orthodox bishop, has expressed this doctrine as follows:

"Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. All the categorical strength and point of this aphorism lies in its tautology. Outside the Church there is no salvation, because salvation is the Church" (G. Florovsky, "Sobornost: the Catholicity of the Church", in The Church of God, p. 53). Does it therefore follow that anyone who is not visibly within the Church is necessarily damned? Of course not; still less does it follow that everyone who is visibly within the Church is necessarily saved. As Augustine wisely remarked: "How many sheep there are without, how many wolves within!" (Homilies on John, 45, 12) While there is no division between a "visible" and an "invisible Church", yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense, we cannot always say.

The Catholic Church also teaches that the doctrine does not mean that everyone who is not visibly within the Church is necessarily damned in case of inculpable ignorance. - Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

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    How is "Catholics use a wording here that's a bit silly" different from "I said the phraseology Catholics use 'everyone is saved through the Church' is silly"? That's exactly what I said in the question above. It is clear it's not a personal attack - it's the standard Catholic phraseology. Are you saying answers can't contain rebuttals to other answers to a question? Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 16:59
  • @AnthonyBurg It is not meant to be a personal attack. But one is to remain polite when answering a question. The phrase Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus is not silly, but simply has to be understood through the eyes of the Church!
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 17:01
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    Do you know how impolite saying 'everyone is saved through the Church' sounds to someone who isn't in the Church? Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 17:15
  • @AnthonyBurg The question was not who can get to heaven, but what must a Catholic believe to be Catholic. Do you understand what the phrase actually means at a Catholic point of view?
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 19:00
  • Have you taken the same care with Geremia's answer to the same question, which begins with a bolded section 'Truths absolutely necessary for salvation' and which is mostly talking about what is required for salvation? Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 19:18
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    @AnthonyBurg I've deleted plenty of his posts when he quotes Pope Eugene for no apparent reason :). But now I remember what I did there. Your post really should stand alone, this is not a message board so saying X is incorrect is not necessary, unless you say Nestor is incorrect because that guy is a total jerk. 2/3rds of your answer was a comment so I converted it to a comment, unfortunately the system doesn't allow for comments that long I don't know why they let us convert long answers into comments, but it must be there for a reason.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 19:49
  • @PeterTurner Ya, you turned it into a comment which then truncated and lost half of it. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 20:38

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