Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Suspended From Catholic Answers

Well, it only took me 10 years to get suspended.

Old Today, 7:52 pm
Join Date: May 19, 2004
Posts: 799
Religion: Reformed
Default Re: Who is Martin Luther and why was he excommunicated?

Originally Posted by spina1953 View Post
I think that I am smart enough to know the difference between facts and uncouth remarks and spin.
If this is about me, which I think it is, I am not the subject of this discussion, nor have I made any of you the subject of this discussion. Rather, I've asked factual questions about the material being posted, and a lot of these factual questions I've raised, if not most of them, have been ignored.

Yes, I'm sure you all think it was some sort of anti-catholic rant I went on to receive this badge of honor. Nope, I got it for asking the moderator about 3 or 4 times why he allowed personal attacks against me that were off-topic to the actual discussion. He never responded, unless of course you count being suspended.

 Here's one of the notes I sent him:

Since I've contacted you now a few times about these personal attacks, am I going to get another infraction for abusing the alert system?

I would hope not. Frankly, if you have a moment, I would appreciate you letting me know why you allow personal negative comments about me to be posted. Perhaps you have a good reason, or perhaps I don't understand the rules. An explanation from you would probably cut down on me sending you these alerts. I know I've pointed out 3 previous posts that were about me personally, and not the subject matter of the topic at hand. All are still visible on the forums.

Elsewhere on CA I found the following:

"It should also be noted that Catholics are NOT given preference because of their religious affiliation. In fact, Catholics are often held to a higher standard. As our Lord cautioned, "To whom much is given, of him will much be required" (Luke 12:48). Here at CAF, we believe that the truth will take care of itself. Our job is to reveal it as charitably as we can."

I can  understand Catholic Answers suspending me for some severe violation of the rules, but what it really comes down to is that they don't quite know what to do with someone who plays by their rules that they don't like. They'll allow someone they don't like to get lynched by their Lord of the Flies mob mentality.


explorer said...

Their banning policy is strange.

I knew one person who posted an atheism question which sounded a bit too much of an "attack" on the Christian faith and he got banned. Interestingly, their forums banned topics on Atheism for a period from about 2005. I last visited it in 2012 or 2013 and atheism topics was still banned. The ban probably still stands.

I have also heard interestingly on RadTrad discussion boards that CAF despise the Dimond brothers so much that they ban topics even about the Dimonds debating James White on Sola Fide.
Some sedevacantist also got banned due to "agenda to propagate MHFM Cult" (see here:

Don S said...

I've never questioned CAF moderator action until now. I had read about uneven enforcement of the rules from other bloggers, but hadn't seen it first hand. I chalked it up to silly complaints of angry fringe posters.

The action taken after this most recent round of Luther bashing certainly seems unfair to me. You never attacked anyone in that horrendous thread, but two other [Roman Catholic] posters were permitted to personally bash you, Luther, me, entire denominations and synods -- heck, even other Roman Catholics for not being "Catholic" enough!

The suspension policy is simply mystifying. I'm thinking of one particularly vulgar Roman Catholic who ought to have been banned months ago. But instead, he's permitted to continue bashing all his sworn enemies on his self-appointed, one-man crusade. (Well, two man. He has a poorly-educated parrot of a partner and the two have their own conversation throughout threads.)

Most disheartening to me, is that Armstrong - who I've come to largely respect (exception being the disjointed and infamous 'Luther List') - joined seemingly only to take the 'side' of the uncharitable posters. There was no search for truth about Luther the man.

CAF had become one of my daily internet haunts. I enjoyed the calm discussions and camaraderie of fellow Christians. Today is a sad day for me.

James Swan said...

I can appreciate the support from both of these comments, but keep in mind, anything you write publicly here that's positive about me in any way can and may be used against you by other bloggers.

The stated reason I was suspended was for sending in too many alerts to Mr. Hilbert. I think I may have sent him three alerts, all on different posts (maybe it was 4 posts, I don't recall). All the posts were about me personally in some regard and not about the topic. All of them are still visible on CAF.

I never asked him to ban or suspend anyone. I simply asked why the posts were being allowed (as explained in blog entry here) and if I understood the rules correctly. Mr. Hilbert never wrote me back.

A few weeks ago this sort of thing started up, and a few of my posts in which I presented a meager defense were removed, whereas the actual personal posts about me were kept. I was also contacted by Mr. Hilbert asking me to remove the link to my blog under my personal profile, which I did. I asked him then why he was allowing personal stuff to be posted, and he did not respond. So, this started back on Aug. 25.

I'm not sure what Mr. Hilbert's reasoning here is. I can only conclude that's it's not consistent with the stated rules and also the expressed statements on charity found all over CAF. He may have some other good reason for his actions that he's not allowed to share. There is a way to appeal stuff like this via CAF, but it's not really a battle I want to pursue. No, I'll take the suspension- and if I do return, I will certainly keep it in mind that the rules of charity do not apply to me, and I'm not allowed to use the alert system, and anything said about me personally is allowed.

In the meantime, I may post a few of the interactions here on the blog- like some of the blatant anti-contextual information that was posted that I asked for clarification on, and never got any.

FWIW, I was pleased to come across a few people participating in the discussion that were willing to look at facts and evidence without making it personal. One woman actually started a discussion thread asking for me for dialog on some interesting subjects, and the moderators removed the entire thing. I don't get that either.

Perhaps it's because of my involvement with Dr. James White? I don't know.

Lloyd Cadle said...

The only time I have ever been banned from any website was from the "Heidelblog".

Scott Clark can write stuff against Catholics that are as scholarly as the likes of a Dave Hunt (remember him?) or a Chuck Mistler but you are not allowed to respond.

But as long as you suck up, and think and bash like he does, you are welcome on his website.

He did respond via his personal e-mail, but he clearly did not want any un-Reformed, pro-Catholic stuff to be heard. With him, on his site, it is his way or the highway.

By the way, Catholic Answers has regular time slots on their radio program for non-Catholics at least once a week. As long as one doesn't use profanity, they take all comers.

James Swan said...

Well, Mr. Cadle, welcome to my little friendly blog. It's been quite a while.

Lloyd Cadle said...

Thank You!

Pete Holter said...

It is too bad when the exchange of ideas gets stifled. It doesn’t happen on James Swan’s blog! James, I enjoyed the series that you did on Tetzel. “During his illness Luther was moved to pity, and sought to console him by writing that the matter had not been begun on his account.” Sad. Love will bring us back together.

With love in Christ,

James Swan said...

Hi Peter,

You've always been one of the bright lights in regard to Roman Catholicism. you've always given me hope that people can disagree with each other and not make it personal.

Now your comment, implying that I'm fair, sets you outside the pack, for sure. I'm very sorry if you get maligned or attacked for your words. There are only a few people, who I refuse to interact with or won't allow to comment here.

Lloyd Cadle said...

James -

Good point. Back in the day-when I was Reformed, a great friend that I worked with for seven years was a devout Catholic (he still is), and I used to go to lunch almost every day.

He used to defend Catholicism and I would defend Reformed theology. We never fought but had respectful conversations. We both learned a lot.

That is what I like about Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers. The boat can be sinking, you can take shots at his theology, but he doesn't take it personally and responds with intellegent answers. He wins a lot of folks that way. Tim Staples also does the same. By the way, It seems like Tim Staples has the whole Bible memorized.

James Swan said...

Mr. Akin is one of the best in terms of pleasant demeanor. Mr. Staples has gotten better over the years.

PeaceByJesus said...

This is just another example of the cultic devotion and immaturity that is typical of so many RC apologists.

Of course, when you are not to objectively examine the evidence in order to ascertain the veracity of official RC doctrine, as your basis for assurance of Truth is the premise of the assured veracity of Rome, then those who substantively appeal to such examination are considered threats.

And CA too often deals with them as if they are disgruntled inquisitors who long for the means of their old job.

explorer said...

"This is just another example of the cultic devotion and immaturity that is typical of so many RC apologists. "

Jimmy Akin attempted to defend JPII receiving the cow dung mark of shiva on his forehead from the hindu priestess by claiming absurdly that the hindu priestess was a catholic woman giving a traditional indian catholic pre-mass greeting.

Jimmy Akin's attempted defense of JP2:

Refutation of Jimmy Akin's video:

James Swan said...

OK, riddle me this Batman:

The moderator who suspended me, who would not respond to any of my requests for moderation, who allowed me to be attacked, who wouldn't even write me back to let me know what was going on, has just posted the following on CAF:

Eric Hilbert

Join Date: September 30, 2009
Posts: 6,315
Religion: Catholic

Something for all of us to remember:
Pope Francis: correction without charity is 'a slap in the face'

Now, if anyone can explain this guy, I would really like to hear it.

PeaceByJesus said...

Now, if anyone can explain this guy, I would really like to hear it.

As what one does constitutes what one really believes, (Ja. 2:18) then it means that,

A. "Charity" means whatever Rome and thus a RC says it means, so that charitable correction means banning a challenging but carefully code-abiding adversary, just as burning "heretics" who believed akin to you was doing what was best for them (i was told this).

B. The "charity" part of the correction was toward others, eliminating a threat to the steady flow of propaganda, and warning others what happens when you get too close to the target.

C. The mod is another RC who interprets the pope to confirm to his interpretation of Rome, as part of the unofficial mighty Internet magisterium that criticizes evangelical for interpreting their own supreme authority.

Let the voting begin.

James Swan said...

I think option D is I've been a vocal critic of CA materials and personalities, so there's no hope for me to be brought into Romanism, especially since I've contributed blog entries for Dr. James White.

Option E is the moderator really doesn't care about rules or being fair, but enforces the arbitrary appication of the rules because of time restraints. The moderator could care less who I am, but rather spends as little time as possible keeping the forum in order.

I think it's either of these, not sure which one.

Unknown said...

I just want to say, I do not believe there is an alleged "board of moderators" in Catholic Answers Forum. I think there is ONE DUDE who does LITTLE ELSE than spend ALL of his days on CAF, so he feels its HIS, and he feels ENTITLED to do WHATEVER HE WANTS.

He has created a series of psudo-moderators to boost his importance, and particularly to DEFLECT ALL CRITICISM and ALL ACCOUNTABILITY for his actions. Notice, the "mods" all sound EXACTLY LIKE him. Check it out. They are are ALL curt and judgmental. To the EXACT SAME degree.

Not one of them posts on forums. Have you ever seen a forum where you know NOTHING about ANY of the moderators and NONE of them chat on the forum? No. Haven't you noticed on every other forum you get a "sense" of the differing personhoods of the different moderators, because they all speak with a unique voice that it theirs alone? Yes.

The ONE CAF dictator-moderator is LYING when he says there is a "board" of busy moderators, when its JUST HIM. He has "retired" one or two of his fake moderators, the rest, male or female fakes that they are, NEVER take a break from the forum, year after year. "They" are all there DAILY. Sound fishy? It is.

No, there is no "board of moderators" at CAF, as that one man lies to everyone that there is, and Catholic Answers shamefully allows this. This is a one single man who considers himself the King of CAF, and he LIKES banning people, ESPECIALLY people that sound smarter than him, or holier than him. Its all about what HE likes.

I cannot believe Catholic Answers puts up with it. Why do they turn a blind eye to the forum with THEIR name on it? Its not right.

The list of "Banned" at CAF, for the most part, is an HONOR ROLE. Just click on the name of a banned person you see, and read the posts they write. If they are not actual spammers you can depend on reading posts by them that show they are level-headed, intelligent, devout, and kind.

I think the Sole Moderator King that has long-monopolized the CAF - for MANY years - perhaps more than 20? - and he runs it according to his personal preferences and he answers to NOBODY and he is a narcissistic male who believes he is entitled not to answer to ANYONE for his decisions, and that he owes no allegiance to fairness.

And he does NOT like people smarter and nicer than him. And that turns out to be a LOT of people.

Probably Catholic Answers does not know what to do about him so they leave him alone. They are probably completely dependent on him for inventing the forum, and setting it up, and it truly is a monopoly. So they hear the complaints and think there is nothing they can do, so they do nothing.

My husband once took what he thought would be a dream computer programmer job. We lived out in the country and this was in a beautiful home a short further ride into the county. No more commute to the city! He was to assisting the sole computer expert for a moderately sized corporation, who worked from home. This guy had ALWAYS been their sole programmer, so, he had a real monopoly, and he was King. Well my husband was given little to no work to do, just mow the guys lawn and he could spend the day hunting his land, which he enjoyed. The guy did not want to share his monopoly on computer programming for the company. The employees of the company would call with their needs and questions and he would give them curt answers and slam down the phone, saying, "Idiot!". My husband left the go-nowhere job after about a year because he was afraid of not keeping up in his field. For all we know he still has that monopoly...

The CAF Mod reminds me of that guy...

PeaceByJesus said...

The list of "Banned" at CAF, for the most part, is an HONOR ROLE.

It seems to often be the case, as whenever I have seen a valid challenge it is from a banned poster. You can imagine what life would be line under the Roman monarchy many trad. RCs long for.

Yet even many Caths complain about the mods. And it is likely there is more than one. I read read some say "Robert Bray is particularly zealous in banning all comments that are "unamerican". Thomas Casey seems to have it in for those who express support for Traditional Catholicism."

Anonymous said...

Most new users of Catholic Answers Forum expect their moderators to be fair. Yet, they soon discover the dark truth of the matter. The site is operates in a cloud of fear and intimidation and is moderated by individuals who have personal agendas and become quite militant about enforcing them.

The TOS are unfairly and unjustly enforced by these CAF moderators so that thier personal biases become reflected in the overall content of the sites. @comoderator is perhaps the worst and is overly reactive to imagined infractions. This moderators is accountable to no one and has complete power to delete comments and ban users. It is sheer tyranny.

The flag system in place exacerbates the problem of tyrannical moderation on CAF. The more CAF moderators encourage particular biases, the more quick the community will become to flag comments not in keeping with those biases even if those comments do not truly violate the TOS. The flag system, far from its intended use, is abused on CAF and merely becomes a means of unleashing the vengeance of unfair these unfair moderators upon those who express ideas contrary to the collective, modetator approved agenda.

It’s really a viscous cycle and truly undermines CAF's claim that its TOS fosters fairness and civility. For there is never anything fair or civil about censorship carried out by the militant moderators on Catholic Answers Forum. And so, the site rightly gains a reputation for unfairness on the net.

James Swan said...

I still have a CA account, but I rarely post comments. I scroll through the active discussions from time to time.

If I recall, the moderator that had it in for me was named Eric Hilbert? I think that was the person's name. The thing most troubling was the alert system. I think I was banned one time for abusing the alert system, or something like that? I don't really recall now.

One very fascinating thing happened on the CA forums. A retired priest with a strong ecumenical bent began defending Luther, so, it was ironic to watch Rome's defenders attack one their own instead of someone like me.

Anonymous said...

TheOldColonel says:

Catholic Answers is a company with a brand name. It is in competition with other sites. CA seems to have forgotten that and doesn't seem to realize how the poor moderation and bias on the forum degrades their brand name.

This, along with the theologically shaking answers their "experts" give on the air, should make anyone ashamed to be associated with this company.

It's only a matter of time before a better brand comes along. Hoorah!

James Swan said...

Um, I suspect you had a negative experience on the CA Forums?

Anonymous said...

Catholic Answers is a horrible place.

The saddest part is that they are indicative of the problems infesting the Catholic Church today, especially in regards to the sex abuse crisis, and they desperately need some sort of reform.

Many Catholics are frustrated at the Bishops, priests, and other clergy who repeatedly stonewall victims (labeled THE worst form of abuse in psychology), refuse to talk or listen, shut people down, quickly jump to conclusions that people are lying, and commit other forms of what is called "spiritual abuse." A vast number of Catholics and other observers are aware that these behaviors are only worsening the problem, and digging the hole even deeper.

The sad thing is, these same abusive attitudes reign supreme at Catholic Answers.

I made a post pointing this out, and not only did numerous members of Catholic Answers turn into mud-slinging fanatics - displaying all the horrible behaviors that we hear about from Bishops (such as suggesting in a round-about way that I was lying about my past experiences with Catholic Answers, jumping to conclusions that I had incited hatred against priests [which I had not], suggesting that I had done other inappropriate other words, lots of automatic "victim blaming," etc.) - but the moderator suspended my account and completely deleted my post so that you cannot even find it on their site.

However, I feel that this was likely done through great fear.

They know that I was calling them out on spiritual abuse. They know that the people responding were responding poorly to me, bashing me and the like, and then being called out by me for doing so. They could see that I was pointing out to them that the participants attitudes - and the attitudes of Catholic Answers - are perfect examples of spiritual abuse, and that I hoped others would learn from my post how NOT to behave.

The fact that Catholic Answers entirely removed the post (not just closed it) shows that they were possibly afraid of being called out so publicly. As a result, they acted just like the Bishops, clergy, etc. and resorted to stonewalling rather than open dialogue about what can be done to stop such horrendous tactics.

Fortunately, I still have screen shots.

Anonymous said...


As a follow up to my last comment, here is the post that Catholic Answers did not want the world to see:


Some years back, I encountered spiritual abuse on this forum.

I did not understand what was happening at the time. All I knew was that it felt terrible, distressing, and horrendously wrong.

I had made a post to ask about a situation that had occurred with a priest that concerned me. I did not mention the name of the priest, or where this situation occurred. It was entirely anonymous.

Almost immediately I was publicly told (via the forum) to not mention such things, and I was sent an email from the Catholic Answers “staff” wherein I was instructed that my post had been publicly closed due to the “topic.”

In other words, no one wanted to hear what my concerns were, and the definitely did not want to help me.

When I sent an email asking this individual what I had done wrong, I was curtly and rudely told that if I continued to press the topic, my account would be suspended. My concerns were never addressed, the added suffering that they were causing my situation was not looked at. Instead, I was treated with a callous lack of charity that was truly appalling.

However, if I recall correctly, I did press the topic. I wanted an answer as to why I was being treated so coldly. Like the wounded child that approaches their parent to report abuse, and is systematically “dismissed,” I wanted answers for such additional pain. (Such a scenario is called “double victimization” in psychology.)

Ultimately, I never returned to the forum again. I cannot recall if it was because I closed the account or they did. Either way, I was very coldly shut down by a highly rude and uncaring staff that utterly refused to show me any compassion or concern.

For years I wondered about this situation from time to time. I knew that it was wrong, but I could not put my finger on it.

As scandals have continued to emerge in the church over the years, despite the efforts of many to silence such things, one aspect that I noticed was that often times the responses of many in the Church were just as painful - if not more painful - to the victims than the actual abuse itself.

Not only did those individuals suffer physical abuse, but they were forced by those they turned to to endure spiritual abuse as well. This reminded me of my situation here.

That was when I finally realized that I had experienced spiritual abuse on this forum.

Abuse is always about power. Someone has power, and uses it in a way that causes harm to another.

It is an abuse of power to hear someone say “I have been hurt” and then shut them down as though they do not deserve to be heard, especially if that person is in charge of some sort of public organization, like the one here.

Plain and simple, it is spiritual abuse, and I experienced it here.

It is my hope that in the years since this situation happened, the emerging problems in the Church will begin to teach others charity for those who need a caring, kind, compassionate ear. Vast education needs to occur in how to properly respond in these situations.

Enough people have suffered already. They do not need the ones they turn to for help to do nothing more than add to it.

James Swan said...

Hello Anonymous:

Thanks for sharing. I understand your concerns with the Catholic Answers folks and the way they treated you. Even though I've had an account over at CA for a number of years (I think its over a decade at this point), I don't visit there often, so I don't recall all of their specific rules or guidelines for what they will and won't allow posted, so I don't know off hand if you violated any of their rules (I suspect you didn't, but I'm not sure).

Your mistake with CA was the same mistake I made: the moderators appear to not really care about the individuals they moderate or how and to whom they apply the rules. The specific moderator I mentioned above (Eric Hilbert... not sure if he's still there), would let the CA folks bash away at me, and then when I reported each episode, he gave me infractions for abusing the alert system, along with no explanations. I don't think this is all that difficult to figure out. We were both posting on an open forum, and I suspect the moderators don't have the time or patience to do more than play along in this wild west we call cyber-discussion forums. Your post was probably too hot of a topic, you hit too closely to the target, and I suspect they assumed what you were posting would interfere with their mission of bringing people back to the Roman church. In fairness to them, is having an open forum discussion on a personal experience of priest abuse a good topic to have on an open forum? I'm not sure. The CA moderators could have had their legal antenna up, not wanting to be involved with your situation!

If you still feel strongly about the situation, you could actually step out of anonymity and write them an actual letter, explain your experience. I would send it certified mail right to Catholic Answers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reply James.

I am sorry to hear that you had a similar experience. The lack of caring over at Catholic Answers is a very serious problem.

I am sure that my post did hit very close to home, but I was hoping that after all that has passed in the Church over these years, more people would have learned the importance of brushing up on their "how we respond to others in specific situations" skills, and that they might be open to such self-reflection. Unfortunately, they are not at that place yet.

Catholic Answers is in a unique position to address this sort of issue, and it is really too bad that they will not step forward like some of the other Catholic sites out there who are really hitting home with this topic right now. It seems they want to be more apart of the problem than the solution.

If it helps, I never attempted to open a forum discussion that would lead to sharing uncomfortable information for the very reasons of caution that you mentioned. It was years ago, but I had been discussing something else, and happened to mention briefly an "awkward" situation that occurred. No names, no locations, no details. In fact, I never even said it was physical abuse of any kind. I never said exactly what it was, either then or ever online. I was that brief and that vague (on purpose too I might add, as I did not want to cause any problems). Nonetheless, I was shut down rather than shown concern. A healthy response was denied, and instead "stonewalling" was enacted.

To anyone who has been treated poorly by Catholic Answers... or anyone in the Church... hang in there. The failures in charity of others cannot change that God loves you.