- Catholic Answers
Catholic Answers, based in El Cajon,
California, is one of the largest lay-run apostolates of Catholic apologeticsand evangelizationin the United States. It publishes [http://www.catholic.com/magazines.asp "This Rock"] , a ten-issue-a-year magazine, focusing on Catholic evangelismand apologetics. It also produces the [http://www.catholic.com/radio.asp "Catholic Answers Live"] radio show, which features some of the most prominent men and women in the Catholic Church answering callers' questions.
Catholic Answers operates with the permission of the Diocese of San Diego, within the borders of which it resides. As such, it is listed in the current edition of [http://www.catholicdir.com/ "The Official Catholic Directory"] the authoritative listing of Catholic organizations, priests, and bishops in the United States.
It was founded in
1979by Karl Keatingin response to a fundamentalist Protestantchurch in San Diego that was distributing anti-Catholic propagandain the form of tracts placed on the cars of Catholics attending mass. Some were by notorious anti-Catholic Jack Chick. Its mission statementexplains its purpose:
:"Catholic Answers is an apostolate dedicated to serving Christ by bringing the fullness of Catholic truth to the world. We help good Catholics become better Catholics, bringing former Catholics "home", and lead non-Catholics into the fullness of the
faith. We explain Catholic truth, equip the faithful to live the sacramental life, and assist them in spreading the Good News." [ [http://www.catholic.com/home/about.asp About Catholic Answers] ]
He first started by writing a modest tract titled "Catholic Answers" to counter the arguements he saw in the anti-Catholic tract. He distributed it on the windshields of the cars in the fundamentalist Protestant church's parking lot. Due to the feedback he received from that tract, he published 24 more tracts.
1988he quit his law practice and turned Catholic Answers into a full time apostolate, with an office and full-time staff.
Apologists currently working for Catholic Answers include Director of Apologetics and Evangelization
Jimmy Akin, speakers Jason Evert, [http://www.christinaking.com/ Christina King] , Rosalind Mossand Tim Staples, and staff apologists Peggy Frye, Michelle Arnold, Jim Blackburn, and Fr. Vincent Serpa. Clinical psychologist Ray Guarendicontributes regularly as a radio guest and speaker.
Notable Catholic figures who formerly worked with Catholic Answers include [http://www.ignatius.com/ Mark Brumley] , [http://www.asencionpress.com/ Matthew Pinto] ,
Patrick Madridand [http://www.gerrymatatics.org/ Gerry Matatics] .
The "Voter's Guides" controversy
2004presidential election, Catholic Answers published the [http://www.caaction.com/pdf/Voters-Guide-Catholic-English-1p.pdf "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics"] . It was produced both in pamphlet form and as an insert to the newspaper " USA Today". This publication promoted five "non-negotiable" issues that were also major political questions in the election cycle. The five non-negotiable issues explained and discussed were abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, same-sex marriageand human cloning. The term "non-negotiable" is used by Catholic Answers to describe issues that are "intrinsically evil and must never be promoted by law." ] Catholic Answers maintains that there are many more "non-negotiable" issues but these were "selected because they involve principles that never admit of exceptions and because they are currently being debated in U.S. politics."]
"The Voters Guide for Serious Catholics" was criticized for correlating with a Republican agenda. Critics argued that the publication did not take into account the full breath of
Catholic Social Teaching, including economic, social justice, or other life issues. Catholic Answers responded that political candidates can have a range of policy stances on issues that are not "non-negotiable" and still be in line with Church teaching. On the other hand, Catholics must not vote for candidates who take the wrong stance on "non-negotiable" issues.
While "The Voters Guide for Serious Catholics" made no endorsements of any candidate or political party, the organization came under strong attack by liberal organizations and Democratic Party candidates as a partisan publication. In
2004complaints were filed by Catholics for a Free Choicewith the IRS claiming that it was in "blatant violation of its charitable status" [ [http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/news/pr/2004/20041020irscomplaintcatholicanswers.asp Press release from Catholics for Choice] ] in an attempt to revoke Catholic Answers tax exempt status.
An IRS investigation resulted in no action against Catholic Answers, the IRS rule ruled that the Voters Guide for Serious Catholics could be safely distributed by religious organizations because it did not comprise political intervention:
" [Catholic Answers, Inc.] created, published and distributed the "Voters Guide for Serious Catholics" ("VGSC"). The VGSC asserts that it is intended to help the reader vote for candidates for public office in a manner consistent with Catholic moral teachings. The VGSC identifies five issues it deems to be "non-negotiable" issues and instructs the reader on how to narrow down the list of candidates to those who are acceptable based on the non-negotiable issues. The VGSC does not directly or indirectly make reference to any specific candidate, political party or election. Therefore, the content of the VGSC, standing alone, is not political campaign intervention because the VGSC does not support or oppose any specific candidate for public office [Addendum to Letter 3609P, May 2, 2008] ." [ [http://www.caaction.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=91&Itemid=114 IRS ruling on complaint] ]
Nevertheless, a new legal entity called [http://www.caaction.com Catholic Answers Action] was created which has a separate 501(c)(4) tax status. Donations to Catholic Answers Action, unlike those to Catholic Answers, are not tax deductible.
Debate continues as to the effectiveness of the campaign on educating Catholic voters but Catholic Answers plans to continue the campaign in future elections.
Eternal Word Television Network
* [http://www.catholic.com/ Catholic Answers'] (official website)
* [http://forums.catholic.com/ Catholic Answers' forums]
* [http://oce.catholic.com/ Catholic Answers' Original Catholic Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.pureloveclub.com/ Pure Love Club] Catholic Answers' chastity outreach
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