If a Catholic had questions, where should he or she go for answers other than the Bible (and the catechism)? Specifically, I'd like to know where to get answers on topics I find divisive, intolerant or racist. [This cuts out the fat, but turns it into a "list" type question, like a long list of URLs.]

  • I think you have an actual question here that we can answer. Is it "Where do I go to get official Catholic answers?" – fгedsbend Dec 21 '14 at 10:26
  • Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. Please see the Types of questions that are within community guidelines – fгedsbend Dec 21 '14 at 10:27
  • Yes! Official Catholic answers and Catholic apologists to look into – Ben Nelson Dec 21 '14 at 10:29
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    I recommend trimming the fat. There's a lot of unnecessary details in this post. – fгedsbend Dec 21 '14 at 10:33
  • The best place to look is the Catechism. Because that distils Catholic teaching, and it's full of footnotes referencing the Bible and documents produced by the Church. The print edition explains all the abbreviations in the footnotes; it doesn't appear that the online edition includes that. – Andrew Leach Dec 21 '14 at 14:45

The bishop, or at least the Ordinary of the particular church, is the one who has ultimate pastoral care over all the people in his diocese:

In exercising the function of a pastor, a diocesan bishop is to show himself concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to his care, of whatever age, condition, or nationality they are, whether living in the territory or staying there temporarily; he is also to extend an apostolic spirit to those who are not able to make sufficient use of ordinary pastoral care because of the condition of their life and to those who no longer practice their religion.

A diocesan bishop ... is bound to propose and explain to the faithful the truths of the faith which are to be believed and applied to morals.

(Code of Canon Law, Canon 383 section 1 and Canon 386 section 1)

Because under typical circumstances a bishop simply doesn't have sufficient resources to provide adequate pastoral care to each and every person in the diocese, priests are appointed to care for those in particular areas, including to counsel them in matters such as those you describe.

Unfortunately, it does occasionally happen that priests do let their personal understandings get in the way of official Church teaching. If you are concerned that this may be happening, or if you just want to get more understanding of a particular issue, you may be able to get help from your diocese, which may have an office of evangelization or something similar (here, for example, is a link to the Evangelization Office of the Archdiocese of St. Louis).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is also an important resource, of course; but it isn't primarily intended as a direct source for answering questions. Instead, it's intended as a reference for those who will pass on Catholic teaching to others:

This work is intended primarily for those responsible for catechesis: first of all the bishops, as teachers of the faith and pastors of the Church. It is offered to them as an instrument in fulfilling their responsibility of teaching the People of God. Through the bishops, it is addressed to redactors of catechisms, to priests, and to catechists. It will also be useful reading for all other Christian faithful.

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 12)

In addition, there are many books and websites which will give Catholic answers to questions. Only a relative few, however, can be considered as containing content which is specifically concordant with the official Magisterium of the Church; so I will refrain from specifying even those which I personally have found most useful.

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    While a Bishop doesn't have enough time to personally deal with every member of his diocese, many Bishops will make time for a parishioner who specifically requests an appointment. Also all Bishops who deserve the position pray regularly. You can always pray and ask God for the opportunity to speak with the Bishop. – Please stop being evil Feb 26 '15 at 4:08

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