Category talk:American Roman Catholics

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Diane Keaton?[edit]

The article about Diane Keaton states that she was raised as a Methodist, and became agnostic/atheist. It has no indication that she was ever Catholic. Shouldn't that entry be removed from the list? 206.53.197.12 02:50, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

William Donovan[edit]

William Donovan, Medal of Honor recipient and head of the World War II Office of Strategic Services should be added to this list. His Catholic faith was a prominent element in both his upbringing and adult life and he was recognized for service to the Vatican. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.237.208.21 (talk) 20:48, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Deletion of this category[edit]

The vast majority of articles listed here and in the Catholic sub-categories give no source for religious practice or belief as an adult; many articles under these categories do not mention religion in the text at all. This is a contravention of basic wikipedia policy on sourcing, Wikipedia:Citing sources. It also goes against WP:BLP.

BLP also states "Categories regarding religious beliefs ... should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief ... in question; and the subject's beliefs ... are relevant to his notable activities or public life, according to reliable published sources." The personal faith of 99% of the people in this category is not notable in their public activities. I therefore would strongly urge deletion of these inaccurate categories that deeply compromises Wikipedia's attempts at factual representation. Span (talk) 05:33, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

It is ambiguous what you are asking for. If you are encouraging the removal of the category from the articles where sufficient documentation is missing I very much concur, however, if you want the category itself to be deleted I think you are attacking the problem in the wrong manner. __meco (talk) 07:22, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't think Span is asking for deletion of the category, although he/she can clarify as needed. I am slowly removing the instances of categories in articles in which there is no sourcing or inadequate sourcing that the person self-identifies with Catholicism as an adult. My personal opinion (and this is certainly debatable) is that there is no clear line between whether some public figures are notable for their faith. WP:V and WP:RS generally are clear about sourcing a person's Catholicism, but WP:BLPCAT gives very little description about what is "relevant to his notable activities". My view is that often will have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Public figures, such as movie stars, sometimes are public about their beliefs (not just religious). For example Sean Penn is categorized under "American anti-Iraq War activists" and justifiably so in my opinion. I don't think we have to restrict the Catholic category to people who are known only for their association with Catholicism, such as clergy. My opinion is that is far too restrictive. But I'm curious what others think. Thanks. Cresix (talk) 16:19, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree with Span that this category "compromises Wikipedia's attempts at factual representation". Some of the designations of Catholics seem to be based on their being a graduate of a Catholic school, even though many Catholic-school graduates are not Catholic. One option would be to retain the category, but limits its members to people who self-identify as a Catholic, based on cited sources. For example, many baptized Catholics later stop practicing Catholicism and no longer dentify themselves as "Catholic". Eagle4000 (talk) 17:24, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
That's already the case, as stated in WP:BLPCAT, which is why I'm removing the cat from articles with no sourcing that the person self-identifies as Catholic as an adult. I think the point of disagreement is how notable the person's Catholicism needs to be (such as Brooke Shields). Cresix (talk) 17:39, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

There are several points here. Of the many thousands of articles under Catholic and other religious categories and sub-categories, virtually none have any sourcing. Those that do - usually because they were challenged on it - give references for a religious upbringing, not adult practice. Of evidence for adult religious practice (when pressed) sources are often found religious magazines like The Watchtower or from non RS sites such as blogs.

In addition, almost none of the cases of religious reference in the articles are up held by WP:BLPCAT which states "Categories regarding religious beliefs and sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief or orientation in question; and the subject's beliefs or sexual orientation are relevant to their notable activities or public life, according to reliable published sources." The default position of Wikipedia is clearly not to not add this info in respect of individual's privacy unless there is clear public relevance (which there very rarely is). What we are stating to see a spate of additions like this "Gruffudd's parents are committed Christians" and this: "the Braxton children were raised in a strict religious household". It seems clear that there are editors out there on a mission to add religious categories come what may.

I am not necessarily suggesting category deletion. I am saying that we have a situation where 99% of these articles are either miscategorised and misusing religious information under BLPCAT. This seems to me to throw significant doubt on the efficacy of the category / categories themselves. It is representing, wholesale, inaccurate information. I don't think a case by case wade through each article will address this flaw. Span (talk) 00:49, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I certainly agree that there is a very serious problem with appropriate sourcing. I've removed hundreds myself (sometimes with some good faith resistance until I point out WP:BLPCAT), and probably will remove hundreds more over the next few months. And I agree that many of the examples are utterly absurd; apparently some editors have added the category based solely on whether someone attended Catholic school, or are good friends with a Catholic priest, or even if their last name sounds Italian.

As I've stated, however, I believe there is a gray areas regarding whether a person's self-identified faith is notable for that person. I don't think there are clear balck-and-white distinctions in some cases. That, of course, is just my opinion, and it is an opinion for anyone who comments here because WP:BLPCAT provides almost no guidance on that issue. It may be a worthwhile endeavor to try to hammer out some more specific guidelines for this issue at the talk page for WP:BLP. I suspect your 99% figure is probably an overestimate, although I have no idea what the actual percentage would be. Thanks. Cresix (talk) 01:08, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree 99% is too high an estimation. Perhaps one of the issues here is that editors are not used to giving sources for categories. The other seems to be that some get very heated about defending the Catholic constituency and see it as an attack on their religion. They then enter into a crusade. Cresix, is it proving successful to remove categories from articles one by one? Do they not just pop back up on the article like burnt toast? Maybe I'm missing something. I agree WP:BLPCAT needs more clarification. Best wishes Span (talk) 00:28, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

So far not many have popped back up, and the great majority that have were made by editors who fully understood after I gave them a detailed explanation. I have created my own template (not a warning template, just a message) for explaining this to editors who restore the category, which has helped things to go quite smoothly. I think many of the improperly sourced categories were added long ago, then some of the crusaders drop out and others drop in. I hope (and think) over time we will get a handle on this problem, but it will take time, especially if we go beyond the Catholic category and work on other denominations or religions. Cresix (talk) 00:53, 15 October 2010 (UTC)