PLEASE READ FIRST :: AAA Notes, Tips, Options

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OVERVIEW

The “Ask an Apologist” (AAA) forum is for asking our staff apologists specific questions about the Catholic faith.

The AAA forum is 100% moderated. That means all questions are reviewed BEFORE they are made public. In other words, when you submit a new thread (question), it will not appear immediately in the AAA forum. It goes into a private, back-office queue along with all the other (unanswered) questions that have been submitted. Our apologists will then select questions, answer them, and then make them public within the AAA forum.

Once a question is answered, the thread is locked by the apologist. If you wish to discuss an issue further, you can either submit a new question to the AAA forum or start a new discussion thread in one of the other forums on this site.

NOTES:
  • Staff apologists have limited time and are not able to address all questions. You may indeed have an interesting and pressing question, but if the AAA forum is extremely busy, it may not get answered. So please remember, not all questions are answered.
  • Some types of questions are never answered. In particular, apologists will not read, analyze, and comment on articles or web sites. Nor will we respond to requests for subjective opinions. And questions of a highly-personal or sexual nature are best handled by other means. (see post #2 below)
  • All questions that are submitted to the Ask an Apologist forum are subject to being published in the Ask an Apologist forum. This means that private questions (i.e., questions that you do not want to be made public) should not be submitted here. For assistance with private questions, please contact Catholic Answers directly.
  • Questions that are selected to be answered may be edited for various reasons, including brevity, clarity, or the need to remove private information.
  • If you wish to know how to respond to some claim, please pose the issue in the form of a specific question (e.g., “How can a Catholic answer this particular argument?”) rather than a general one (e.g., “Could you read this article and tell me what you think of it?”).
  • If you need an immediate answer, consider submitting your question to one of the other forums here. Our forum members may be able to answer it. Alternatively, you can contact our staff apologists by phone by calling Catholic Answers at 619-387-7200 (Mon-Fri, 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. Pacific).
  • Use font enhancements sparingly and only in cases of true need (e.g., to emphasize a point, you may use italics). Excess font enhancement commands make your post difficult to read and difficult to edit.
  • Submit only one question per post.
  • Self-edit your posts for length. You should be able to ask your question in 250 words or less (preferably less). Be concise.
  • Please retain a copy of your question before submitting it. If it is not answered within 5 days, then it was deleted (please see Rule 1 above). Please redirect the question to one of Catholic Answers’ public forums so that other participants can help you with the question.
  • Please do not submit your question multiple times. If a question is multiply submitted, all submissions will be deleted. Also, please do not continue a question in successive posts; it will be deleted. Confine your question to one post.
For tips and other help on getting your question submitted and answered quickly, please see the next post below.

updated 12/26/2012​
 
The apologetics staff has devised this list to help you increase your chances that your question will be answered by an apologist.

DO read the Ask an Apologist (AAA) forum rules above to enhance your chances of having your questions answered.

DO use SEARCH first to see if the question you have has already been answered. Use the search engine on the bar labeled “Threads in Forum.” The search engine is labeled “Search this Forum.” Enter a key word to find out if your question has already been answered by an apologist.

DON’T ask a question that has already been asked.

DO create a title for your post that is in the form of a question. For example:
Original title: “Maiden names”
Better title: “Must a woman change her maiden name to her husband’s name?”
DO make your question easy to read and understand. Please RE-read it for clarity.

DO use font enhancements sparingly and only in cases of true need (e.g., to emphasize a point, you may use italics). Excess font enhancement commands make your post difficult to read and difficult to edit. Posts that are difficult to read will be deleted.

DO make your question brief.

DON’T include opinions, preaching, or unnecessary details. For example:
Original question: “I’m so disappointed that my daughter has left the Church for an Episcopalian church and am worried she is going to hell. She has always been headstrong and this is just another example. Maybe I could have raised her better. Anyway, she and her Episcopalian fiancé have never been married before and are now marrying in their church. I really don’t want to attend the wedding but think I should. Can I go?”
Revision: “My daughter has left the Church to become an Episcopalian and is now marrying another Episcopalian in their church. Neither has been married before. Can I go?”
DON’T ask, "Could you please review the following web site (book, article) and tell me if it is OK?”

DO say, "I found this statement (quote statement) at the following (name web site, book, article). Is it consistent with Church teaching?”

DO ask questions that can be answered objectively.

DON’T ask questions asking for a subjective opinion, such as speculation about public figures, political or ecclesial.

DON’T ask if something is a sin for you or for another person. (The conditions necessary for a sin to be mortal have been answered numerous times already on the forum.)

DO ask if a particular action is morally permissible.

DO submit only one question at a time. If, after five business days have passed, you have not received an answer, your question has been deleted. Take it to the general forums for a response by participants or contact Catholic Answers directly.

DON’T submit questions asking why your questions were not answered.

DO ask questions with wide appeal.

DON’T ask highly personal questions, especially those that are of a sexual nature. (Instead, call our office and ask to speak to an apologist. The phone number is 619-387-7200.)

DO be aware that your question may be edited, sometimes substantially. If you have asked more than one question, only one question may be answered.

DO remember that the apologists are answering questions in such a way as so that they will be helpful to as wide an audience as possible. That means that some of what is included in an answer may not apply to you in particular but is included in the hopes that it will be helpful to the general audience.

DO check this thread on a regular basis. Sometimes it will be updated with new information that you can use to better formulate your questions.

The apologetics and moderation staff thank you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation!
 
Why in this forum are most of the questions locked after the first answer? I am new to this site. Thanks for your response.
 
Dear Julieanne,

Ask an Apologist is just that. It is the section of the Forum where people can ask a Catholic Answers apologist and learn what the Church teaches on the subject. It is not a discussion vehicle.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.
 
Am I doing something wrong? I never see my posts listed. What am I doing wrong?
 
This is a moderated forum. New posts by participants go into a private queue from which the staff apologists select questions they will answer. Due to the high volume of questions that are submitted to the queue on a regular basis, not all questions will be answered.

For answers to questions that are not selected, your options include:


  1. *]Post the question in a public forum
    *]Call Catholic Answers directly at 619-387-7200 and ask to leave a message for an apologist. An apologist will research the answer and contact you as soon as possible.
    *]Write to us at:

    Catholic Answers
    Apologetics Department
    2020 Gillespie Way
    El Cajon, CA 92020

    An apologist will research the answer and contact you as soon as possible.
 
I was wondering if there is a fee for using the apologist line or sending a apologetics question via fax at Catholic Answers?
 
Slow Burn:
I was wondering if there is a fee for using the apologist line or sending a apologetics question via fax at Catholic Answers?
Although we are certainly appreciative of any financial support that those who benefit from the services feel able to provide, there is no fee for contacting a Catholic Answers apologist. The only costs you pay is for the technology or services needed to contact Catholic Answers (e.g., phone, postage stamp). And, if you choose to leave a voice mail for an apologist, we call you back on our dime.

Anyone who wishes to help defray the costs for Catholic Answers to provide these services to inquirers can find more information about charitable gifts by clicking here. Even if you are unable to financially support our work at this time, we appreciate any past support you may have given and request your continued prayers.
 
I was wondering if there is a preferred method of contact that the staff apologists have for submitting questions (e.g., phone, letter, email, fax) other than the Forums? If so, is there a specific address, phone, or fax number to send the questions to, other than the main lines and address to Catholic Answers? Thank you for your wonderful apostolate.
 
The preferred method is for inquirers to call Catholic Answers’ business office (619-387-7200) and ask to leave a voice mail for an apologist. On the voice mail please leave your name, contact information, and question, and an apologist will contact you as quickly as possible.
 
I was just given an assignment to come up with several similarities between Peter and Paul. I have been stumped and was wondering if you could help me.
 
It is not the purpose of this forum to do students’ homework for them. Your teacher gave you this assignment in order to challenge you to think more deeply about the lives of Peter and Paul. While you could copy down whatever answers others might give you, those answers would remain theirs, not yours. Your teacher wants your answers; not someone else’s.

At most, I can help you by recommending that you read through the letters of Peter and the letters of Paul, looking for common themes, interests, responsibilities, etc. You might also compare stories of Peter in the Gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles to stories of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles.
 
Is there any way to have private conversations on here with someone to discuss a certain matter?
 
Yes. Send the person a private message. You can access the private message center by either clicking on the person’s user name or by clicking on the “Messages” link at the top of the page.
 
There has been several times now where I’ve posted a question and have never receieved an answer. I’ve noticed that some people who have posted questions have gotten responses almost immediately; and, if not, at least within a day or two. Answers to questions have ranged from quick responses to in-depth posts. So I would like to know why I haven’t seen any responses to my questions.

Since I’ve been posting to this forum, I’ve submitted approximately ten questions and received answers to maybe three. So can someone explain to me why this happens?
 
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DaMaMaXiMuS:
Since I’ve been posting to this forum, I’ve submitted approximately ten questions and received answers to maybe three. So can someone explain to me why this happens?
Yes. See this thread, which is a sticky at the top of the Ask an Apologist forum:
Here are a couple of the notes you will find in that thread:
Staff apologists have limited time and are not able to address all questions. You may indeed have an interesting and pressing question, but if the AAA forum is extremely busy, it may not get answered.

Please retain a copy of your question before submitting it. If it is not answered within 5 days, then it was deleted (please see Rule 1 above). Please redirect the question to one of Catholic Answers’ public forums so that other participants can help you with the question.
For questions that do not get answered and that you do not wish to post to the general forums, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

Questions that are chosen to be answered are usually of a general-interest nature and have not been asked before. Sometimes you may see variants of the same question (e.g., annulments, weddings), but there is usually something about them that is unique and that will interest the general public. Those questions that are chosen immediately usually happen to be asked when an apologist is online and notices a new question that intrigues him or her.

The staff apologists do their best to answer as many questions as they can on the forums in a timely manner, but the popularity of the AAA forum and the limited time of the apologists does mean that some questions submitted to the AAA queue may not be answered. Participants whose questions are not answered are welcome to contact Catholic Answers directly. All questions submitted by voice mail to the apologetics staff are answered within three to five business days, depending on the current backlog.
 
Hi…

I asked a question about 4-5 days ago and haven’t gotten a response. Also, I don’t see my question in this forum! Do questions to an apologist appear on any forums, so others can see the question?

Thanks.

Art Granville
 
Dear Art,

As you may have noticed, I just answered your question. We get many more questions than we can answer. Usually we try not to answer a question that we have recently answered. Questions that are serious and seem urgent, we tend to answer first. Also, on this forum you only see the questions that we have answered.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.
 
Many of the questions being answered in this forum are being answered by laypeople. What authority has been given to them from the Vatican to authoritatively answer these questions about the Roman Catholic faith?
 
The Vatican does not deputize laypeople to speak on its behalf, with the possible exception of Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Vatican’s press office. (And, in that capacity, in which he usually handles press relations, he generally does not deal with the kind of questions apologists answer in this forum.)

Catholic laypeople answer questions about the Catholic faith on the basis of being educated Catholics. Just as a person might turn to a lay catechist for answers to questions of faith and morals, so that person can ask those questions of a lay Catholic apologist.

Recommended reading:

Are these forums affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church?
Which apologist has the Church’s approval?
 
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