It seemed these things were popping up in multiple discussions as people like @Suzanne chased me about, so rather than continue the multiple hijacks, maybe putting them here will be more entertaining for everybody.  All I ask is that people be kind, and perhaps answer questions in turn.  These questions come from

1. Why did you choose catholicism over all other religions?

Because it made the most sense to me on several levels.  I of course can't rule out cultural bias, since obviously I'm a westerner and Roman Christianity is culturally pervasive.  For me it was a conscious choice at some point, though I am not a convert.   Interestingly, if I were not Catholic I'd be more inclined to Judaism than the Protestant faiths.  Perhaps the shared intellectual depth of Judaism and Catholicism is a contributing factor.

2. Do you follow the decrees made by the Vatican?

The Vatican does not make "decrees".  The Holy See serves as the administrative center of the worldwide Catholic community, and we do have some administrative rules like any community (our technical term for these is "merely ecclesiastical laws").  For the rest, all we do is teach.

3. Do you agree or disagree with contraception being available to those who would choose to use contraception, if they had access?

I'm not sure why I should care.  Now sometimes when people say "being available" they mean that I should pay for it.  I think that's a different sort of question that belongs more in the realm of public policy.

4. How do you choose which parts of the bible to follow, and not follow.

We don't "follow" the Bible, we read it and refer to it, the way anyone does with a favorite book or reference text.  We try to "follow" God, perhaps, or the example of Jesus or other holy men or women, but not the Bible.  In teaching things or exploring religious ideas, we refer to a wide range of writings and experiences, including long oral tradition, writings of various scholars, journal articles, encyclicals, consensus documents, conciliar writings, etc., much like any intellectual community.

5. Is purgatory in or out, these days.

It's a theory that had moderate but not universal acceptance some centuries ago.  It's still referred to, but not anywhere near as widely as in its heyday.  So it never quite rose to the level of Newtonian Mechanics in physics in terms of acceptance as a theory, and it's perhaps fading faster, but like Newtonian Mechanics it's still referred to in some contexts. 

Tags: Bob, Catholic, Dr., Professor, Robert, Vatican, bible, purgatory, questions

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I believe many of those here use these names as a term of endearment. Many of my friends on other sites call me Kitty cat, or other such pseudonyms because of my chimera avatar. It is of course a tiger at a base level, but the character itself is far from feline. Don't take it personally.

He may be a Christian, H3, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's gullible enough to buy the "terms of endearment" angle - if I'd thought he was, I'd have offered t sell him a stake in the Brooklyn Bridge a long time ago. We could have worked out the details through PayPal.

Just trying to be nice. There's no reason for us to be hostile to him. Even if we don't respect his ideas or his beliefs, there's no reason to not respect the man.

Clearly some people have found reasons to do so. Isn't this one of those personal things?

Well, we are prying into his personal beliefs. And the church in general does tend to make us Atheists out to be hateful, hedonistic heathens. I see no reason to live up to that description.

But when you, a Christian, come on an atheist board, you must expect to have your personal beliefs questioned. Has he never questioned ours?

You say, "hateful, hedonistic heathens" like it's a bad thing --

Disrespecting his beliefs is one thing, and even I do it from time to time.

But he is a human being as well, even though his church doesn't see me and my husband to be as human beings.

I'm not saying pull your punches, I'm saying be a better human being than he expects.

H3, RE: "I'm saying be a better human being than he expects." - that's honorable and noble, but there are those out there who eat people like that for breakfast and ask what's for dessert?

Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and Russel are four who were very hard to swallow.

It's a thread titled 'Ask Dr. Bob' on a voluntary forum. I don't know if 'prying' carries the right implication.

I think it's great that you, personally feel no reason to insult him. Personally, I don't either, at least not intentionally.

That said, some members have some very strong sentiments against the Catholicism which Bob defends, and others have expressed that they find him insincere and evasive. If that's how they feel, shouldn't they be honest about it? If they feel it is worth confrontation, should they not be honest and confront him? To act to the contrary for the sake of public perception... isn't that just pandering? 

Personally, I'd say the strategic value of playing nice or civil is overestimated, but I won't go as far as to ask you to share in that view. I'm simply suggesting you keep in mind that people often do have their reasons for their negative or even diminutive responses.

I understand. Confrontation can, however be performed without name calling, at least not diminutive name calling.

He is insincere, and he skirts around questions like a child playing tag. And his views on clergy pedophilia seem to be less than human. But when he does give a strait answer, He does it professionally, most of the time. We can still be better.

Revealing or receiving confidential Vatican information is now punishable by up to two years in prison, while newly defined sex crimes against children carry a sentence of up to twelve years. Because all sex crimes are kept confidential, there is no longer a legal way for Vatican officials to report sex crimes.

Catholics trust in god to punish wrongdoers - which is why they have been getting away with it. No god, no punishment.

It is the hypocrisy involved that goes to the core of the catholic church - I don't care if they have sex with a donut - by lying and hiding they become perverse and evil men - and they are all protected. -

Damn those video cameras.

@Arch - "Does it always result in harm? What if we were to bring it out of the closet? so it isn't as psychologically abnormal and stressful? A society where it is accepted as n ordinary form of mentoring by youth and parents? If that were the case, so that long term harm were minimized and social and person/economic benefits for the child were larger, would that make it OK."

I can tell you where Bob is going with that - I knew this - my point being that times have moved on, civility and protection of children has changed - the rights of children to be unmolested is foremost - Children during the Bronze/Early Iron/ Grecian times, were not given a choice, they were told what to do and put up with, by adults.

Do you think Bob, by putting this statement up - thinks that it is OK raping children, and that we should just tell everybody to 'get with it', as it was 'normal' during times gone by? Do you think Bob has children, and he would hand them over to a priest?


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