Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
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About AskACatholic.com and the CPATS philosophy

About AskACatholic.com and CPATS

AskACatholic.com is a lay Catholic support group of Catholic apologists, priest-helpers and grammarians, who work together to answer questions from anyone with a sincere heart about the Catholic Faith, and about what Catholics believe in general. We do the best we can to ensure all our answers are loyal to the Magisterium, which is the Teaching Authority of the Roman Catholic Church founded by Jesus, Our Lord.

In addition, we have a secondary goal of assisting and promoting the development of other lay Catholic apologetics support groups at the parish level. We have been doing this primarily under the founding name of our web site, the Christifideles Pizza and Theology Society, (CPATS.org), since 1996.

We meet in and around Natick, Massachusetts (about 20 miles west of Boston) where our Web Administrator, Mike Humphrey lives.   Our very informal membership resides in the Boston-Worcester, Massachusetts area, although we have been blessed to have other well-educated Catholics join the team from out-of-state, as well as from various English-speaking countries, outside of the United States. Over the past years, we have assembled a volunteer grammarian team which proofreads the questions and answers for clarity. You can read up on the team here. Our primary focus is two-fold:

  • To clarify teachings and correct misperceptions about the only True Church Our Blessed Lord Jesus established on St. Peter, that is, the Roman Catholic Church.
    {AskACatholic.com}

  • To promote Catholic support groups that are loyal to the Holy Father and to the Church's Magisterium.
    {CPATS.org}

For those who may question the kind of Catholics we are, all the apologists who answer questions on our web site:

  • Reaffirm and believe in all the Catholic Councils from Nicea to Vatican II.
  • Discourage politicizing of any one Liturgy against the others, including:
    • The Novus Ordo or Mass of the Ordinary Form
    • The Tridentine, Latin, or Mass of the Extraordinary Form
    • Those used in the Eastern Rite, and
    • Liturgies that preceded the Council of Trent
  • Reaffirm and believe in all the content in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

We believe we are the first lay Catholic apologetics support group in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and possibly in New England. We consider ourselves a mini "Catholic Answers"
of Massachusetts. So whether you are a confused Catholic or a sincerely seeking non-Catholic:

  • Protestant
  • Jew
  • Muslim
  • Atheist
  • Agnostic
  • Pagan
  • Mormon or
  • Jehovah Witness, or
  • Some other type of non-Christian

we want you to AskACatholic, i.e., ask us, the question that has been on your mind for a while but check our knowledge base first.

For Catholic Christian surfers, AskACatholic.com/CPATS is for those who are:

  • Loyal to the Church's Magisterium and Her teachings.
  • Seeking to reaffirm Catholic truth that he or she is unsure of.
  • Seeking to discern what are proper moral and ethical Catholic standards.
  • Striving to be supportive of cardinals and bishops who are loyal to the Holy See

For non-Catholic Christian surfers, AskACatholic.com/CPATS is for those who are:

  • Being drawn toward or thinking about joining the Catholic Church.
    (Be sure to check out our programs: CCCPP | Holy Rosary. )
  • Confused about what Catholics really believe and are interested in getting the real truth!
  • Are in a complex or confusing relationship with a Catholic and are looking for guidance.
  • Are interested in the Catholic Church's moral view on a specific issue.

For Non-Christian surfers, AskACatholic.com/CPATS is for those who:

  • Just wants to know more about who Jesus Christ is, and
  • Want to know what Catholic Christians believe and teach about Him.

Occasionally, we get a question that is phrased:

"What does your group believe about _____________________?"

What our little group thinks or believes in is not important. We just try to pass on what the Roman Catholic Church has officially taught since 33 A.D. and continues to teach and believe today.

That's it! No more, no less.

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We address areas of:

  • Catholic apologetics
  • Situational apologetics

      By this I mean discerning proper ways of handling perceived liturgical or Church abuses and suggesting proper ways of handling each unique situation whether by charitable conversation with the pastor, priest, deacon, religious, their immediate superior, or layman or by just leaving it in the Hands of Our Lord by our personal prayer.

  • True Catholic faith-sharing and evangelization
  • Church liturgy and proper liturgical practices
  • Limited pastoral issues seeing that none of us our ministerial priests
  • Canon Law
  • Clarification of theological and doctrinal issues

We strive to embrace a spirit of charity, encouragement and support when answering all questions we receive. With due respect to our Catholic priests, some issues can sometimes be aired out more freely among the Christifideles Laici, the lay faithful of Christ. This lay organization strives to work with, not against, bishops and pastors at the ecclesiastical level who are in union with the Holy See.

We all strive to love, support and pray for our Catholic priests. We thank the Lord for the fine examples of priests He has given us, while at the same time, we pray for those who could, at times, give a better example.

Unlike some people who call themselves Catholic, while simultaneously playing "personal pope" in their lives, by picking and choosing what they want to believe — a grave sin, this organization consists of lay Catholics who understand what "submitting to Jesus' Church" means, and what being submissive to the Church's Magisterium means.

This does not mean that we will never have doubts or always understand the full meaning of all Church teachings. It does, however, mean that among our Catholic brethren, we will strive to foster an environment where we can share our confusions with each other, knowing that whatever the Church teaches on an issue of faith and morals, is true and must be believed, because Jesus said so.

It is through our fraternal friendships that we can be open to asking our friends those "dumb questions", so we can be more knowledgeable and better Catholics for the Church. This is the greatest benefit of Catholic apologetic support groups at the parish level and why more are needed!

Thanks to the great work from our volunteer apologists and grammarians, who answer questions from this web site and strive to ensure proper grammar is used, we have a triple E (EEE) rating from Catholic Culture, a well-known web site that evaluates other web sites for their loyalty to the Church. We have also received the Benedictine 2000 Award for Excellence, as well as other awards.

Ecclesiastical obedience and the rights of Catholic Christians back

The volunteer apologists, grammarians and priest-helpers, who have supported [AskACatholic.com — CPATS] since we began, all strive to fulfill our Christian vocation via apostolic action which is permitted, and even obligated, by Canon Law. We specifically derive our rights and obligations from the following:

Canon 215

Christ's faithful may freely establish and direct associations which serve charitable or pious purposes or which foster the Christian vocation in the world, and they may hold meetings to pursue these purposes by common effort.

Canon 225 § 1

Since lay people, like all of Christ's faithful, are deputed to the apostolate by Baptism and Confirmation, they are bound by the general obligation and they have the right, whether as individuals or in associations, to strive so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all people throughout the world. This obligation is all the more insistent in circumstances in which only through them are people able to hear the Gospel and to know Christ.

Canon 225 § 2

They have also, according to the condition of each, the special obligation to permeate and perfect the temporal order of things with the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, particularly in conducting secular business and exercising secular functions, they are to give witness to Christ.

1 Peter 3:15

Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience.

The Catholic Church for all of us starts at the local level: in our parish. This is where Our Lord, from the beginning of time, has planned for us to partake in His plan of bringing the Good News of Jesus to the whole world. We encourage everyone to work and develop their unique calling from their parish, and in obedience with a bishop that is loyal to the Holy See.

Most of our apostolate work is based in the Archdiocese of Boston, and we are delighted to report that, according to Cardinal O'Malley's secretary, the Cardinal himself has said some very kind things about the work we are doing.  Nevertheless, we acknowledge the content of Canon 216 which states:

Canon 216

Since they share the Church's mission, all Christ's faithful have the right to promote and support apostolic action, by their own initiative, undertaken according to their state and condition. No initiative, however, can lay claim to the title 'Catholic' without consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Thus, we want to make it clear that our domain name, AskACatholic.com is not meant to imply that we are an official Catholic web site in any way. By putting the disclaimer "Does not imply ecclesiastical approval", below our domain header, we hope to clarify this issue, and show that we are striving to keep in good graces with our local bishop/cardinal, Cardinal O'Malley.

We are simply a group of individual Catholics trying to do God's will. We are baptized Catholic Christians called to preach, teach, evangelize, and clarify the Word of God in both the written and oral Traditions of the Church, in whatever diocese the Lord has called each of us.

  • Isn't that what Our Lord Jesus tells us to do in the Gospels?
  • Isn't that what St. Paul would do if he had access to an Internet back in his times?

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The CPATS Philosophy back

Although we have changed the name of the main domain from CPATS.org to AskACatholic.com, it is very important to spread and develop the initial philosophy we started about fifteen years ago.
For this reason, we still have the "Starting your own CPATS" web page.

  • Why?

Man is a social being and enjoys being around like-minded individuals with whom he can develop friendships. Even monks in monasteries belong to a religious family, dedicated to imitating their lives to that of a saint who was an exceptional model of holiness, an exceptional ideal for living a Christ-like life. They share a sense of community and identify themselves as witnesses of Christ, in their living, working, eating and praying. They have been called by Christ to a religious vocation.

The philosophy behind CPATS meetings and get-togethers was and still is to replicate this way of living among the lay faithful of Christ who have been called to a secular vocation, via the baptismal character they received, on their souls, at Baptism. As lay Catholics, we have been called by Christ to sow the full Gospel seed in the secular world in which we work, and to show evidence of this full Gospel dating back to 33 A.D. We even strive to imitate the Christian life in the secular world at work, by example and by faith-sharing, when proper, in order to fulfill Our Lord's desire in John 17:21,

"that they may all be one, Father, as you and I are one."

As Cardinal Law said when he was bishop of Missouri:

"The most ecumenical thing a Catholic can do, is be unmistakably Catholic."

So too with lay Catholic apologists and evangelists.

In a world that is getting more confused by sin, practicing Catholics who are loyal to the Holy Father and the Church's Magisterium, need a secular vehicle by which we can:

  • confirm what we know to be true
  • reaffirm what we think is true among friends, and
  • ask among these friends those "questions" that seem too embarrassing to us, but not to our friends.

You, the visitor, are wonderfully created in the image and likeness of Jesus! Your questions, if they are sincere, are never dumb!

So the idea behind a Christifideles Pizza and Theology party is to gather together over pizza and drinks every several months, so that Catholics who are loyal to the Holy See and the Holy Father, can discuss current issues, raise questions, and clarify concerns.

  • Why pizza?

Because no matter what the age, most people like pizza, especially young people. However, even at our get-togethers' we don't always have pizza. This isn't a pizza cult. Many, justifiably so, are concerned about health issues. At our last apologetics support meeting we had chicken!

Share with us similar CPATS concepts you have implemented in your parish, town or city. If they are good ones, we'll post them on the Starting your own CPATS web page.

One last important issue:

When I original founded this organization, I received about one e-mail each year from visitors who were offended by the name of this web site. Some also questioned whether I was anti-Christian. They reasoned that the CPATS part of the title, showed an invasion of Sacred Theology by the profane.

My response:

Lighten up! The last thing I would want to do is to scandalize the Church in any way. Let's face the facts:

  1. Catholic support groups loyal to the Magisterium, especially among young people are badly needed.

  2. Young people love pizza.

By using this name, all I tried to do is create an interest in apologetics among young Catholics.
This is badly needed because, at least in the Boston, Massachusetts area, there is a lack of interest in Catholic apologetics with an emphasis on orthodoxy. If we start introducing Catholic apologetics in the early religious education and CCD grades, we may find the Lord calling young people to the vocation of a single, or married, lay Catholic apologist, like each of us.

By orthodoxy I mean not going to the left of Church teaching, and not going to the right of Church teaching, but staying right down the middle. Besides, even our current and previous Popes,
Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II like that idea. (See below)

One visitor to our site implied that you cannot talk about the Trinity over beer and pizza. We disagree.

  • What do you want practicing Catholics to talk about over beer and pizza? ...
    the sin they enjoy committing?!

Since this is not an issue of faith and morals, but of theological opinion, we're sure that our critics won't mind too much.

With the help of the Holy Spirit and the Lord, we would like to see clusters of CPATS meetings and
get-togethers initiated throughout the United States, and even the world. This would be a place where lay Catholic apologists and evangelists could meet to discuss issues concerning the life of the Church and the life of Christ!

  • What could make our Blessed Lord, our Holy Father, and our cardinals and bishops in union with Him happier?

We are not only "working out our salvation with fear and trembling", but we are doing so in true brotherhood.

Thanks for taking the time to read about us, and come back often. We are always interested in new ideas for the site.

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Pope starts his own CPATS

A good friend of mine commented:

Well Mike, you can't ask for a better endorsement!

VATICAN CITY, October 25 2000 (AFP) - The colors of the Vatican made it to the latest variety of pizzas Wednesday when bakers from the four corners of the world celebrated their Jubilee with Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter's square.

The new pizza Wojtyla, after the pope's Polish family name, comes with zucchini flowers, yellow pepper and a vegetable cream, plus mozzarella cheese — yellow and white being the papal colors. Two thousand bakers, mostly from Naples, attended the celebration of their trade by the pope, who was given a special pie by the head of Italy's pizzeria association, Angelo Jezzi.

Pizza ovens went up outside Castel Sant' Angelo, just off the Vatican, to serve some 60,000 pilgrims, while on the outskirts of Rome free pizzas were given to the homeless and needy. Pizza throwing competitions were also held for the entertainment of sick children at the Bambin Gesu hospital.

The late John Paul II blesses pizza makers during the Jubilee of Pizza Chefs on October 25, 2000.
The late John Paul II blesses pizza makers during the Jubilee of Pizza Chefs on October 25, 2000. Here, gifts are delivered to Il Papa by Walter Botrugno of the Associazione Nazionale Pizzaioli E Ristoritori, Catalan Stefano of the Pizzaioli Associati Siciliani, and the owner of Naples' Starita Pizzeria, the famed location of Sofia Loren's L'Oro di Napoli.


And more recently:

September 14, 2005 - Pope Benedict blesses pizza ovens used for feeding the poor.

      An article in the next days Italian newspapers reads:

"Vatican Approves of Pizza"

If someone has a copy of this issue from the Italian newspaper or from the October 25, 2000 (AFP) issue above, please e-mail it to me.

Pope Benedict blesses pizza ovens used for feeding the poor.

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Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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