Busted Halo
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Mike Hayes :
250 article(s)

Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
September 2nd, 2014

The easy answer to start off with is that the water that is used is not holy water. It is ordinary flat water from a bottle or a faucet.
During the offertory part of the mass (Which begins the Liturgy of the Eucharist) the priest pours just a few drops of water into the chalice and then says: “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”
This is done to symbolize the water and blood that flowed from the side of Christ on the cross (John 19:33) after he was pierced with the soldier’s lance. It calls our attention to the fact that what is human (our gifts of bread and wine) will become divine soon in the consecration.
The prescription…

August 15th, 2014

This question was submitted to Busted Halo’s Summer School Contest.
What is the best way for a young adult to get involved in ministry without becoming one of the “little old church ladies”? I work for the Church and find that I still have trouble!…
My first thought is to simply be yourself. You need not become anyone other than who you are. So if you’re not a “little old church lady” than you will not be one. Some practical advice would be to take your life outside of the church seriously — but to do so in a spiritual way. St. Ignatius of Loyola would remind us to try to see God in our everyday actions, not merely those when we are inside a church. That will provide you with the opportunity to have a more

August 12th, 2014

Question: I know its a touchy subject but I was always taught that people who committed suicide would go to hell. I read a article that said the churches got together and literally started saying this to keep people from killing themselves because their lives were poor, ect and thought they could just kill themselves and go to heaven to be in a better place. Does this make sense? So is this teaching untrue?…
The Church’s teaching is ever evolving with new discoveries and her teaching on suicide is no different.
In today’s times, we know much more about mental illness than ever before. We now know that anyone who commits suicide is not in control over their own actions. For something to be sinful, by definition,

August 8th, 2014

This question was submitted to Busted Halo’s Summer School Contest.
Q: My question is about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As a convert, I have always wondered about the sins I committed before I became Catholic. Because I was Protestant, I did not go to confession, but instead asked for forgiveness directly from God, without a priest in prayer. Are those sins forgiven or do I have to go to confession for them? Am I living in past sin?…
Forgetfulness is not a sin, so if you merely forgot to mention these, then it’s just suggested that you add them to your next confession. If you purposely withheld them, then that is a sin (often called a sacrilege), and you will need to confess that you purposely withheld these

August 1st, 2014

Lately, we’ve been bombarded with so many sad events. From the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down in Ukraine, to children and others fleeing Central America because of unbearable gang violence, to the fighting between Israel and Palestine, the world indeed looks like a precarious place.
In times like these, we are called to pray for and to do whatever is necessary for peace. And Pope Francis has given us good examples of both.
Regarding the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, Pope Francis drew attention especially to minors seeking asylum from the violence and oppression in a speech directed mostly at Mexico, but with a clear call for U.S. immigration policy officials to pay attention.
“Such a humanitarian…

July 25th, 2014

This question was submitted to Busted Halo’s Summer School contest.
How do I invite coworkers to think about fair trade, recycling and other everyday social justice issues?

There are a bunch of possibilities here. The first is to take advantage of times when these issues naturally come up. So, you might organize a special event for Earth Day or bake and share Christmas cookies made with fair trade chocolate. Another example: when the environment or another social justice issue comes up in conversation or current events, you might share what Pope Francis and Catholic bishops have to say about it. And more likely than not, if your coworkers know you are Catholic, they will be turning to you when they hear Pope

June 20th, 2014
How to pick your team for World Cup 2014

Having trouble picking a team to root for in this year’s World Cup? As the competition heats up, here’s a guide (broken down by World Cup groups) to some of the teams’ Catholic roots.
BRAZIL (Group A)…
Not only is Brazil the host country of World Cup 2014, but for centuries Catholicism has been the biggest religion in the country. Brazilians threw one heck of a party for Pope Francis on Copacabana beach last summer during World Youth Day, and that might be enough reason to give them your support. The team has a player named Hulk who gives them a clear edge. He was recently injured and is muddling through the tournament. But you can’t keep a Hulk down for too long. By the way, there’s a huge statue of Jesus in Rio de

June 19th, 2014

“I remember in Brazil, they’d provided for me an enclosed Popemobile, but I cannot greet the people and tell them I love them inside a sardine can, even if it is made of glass. For me it is a wall.” — Pope Francis to La Vanguardia, a Spanish newspaper…
We’ve got one cool pope. The guy greets large crowds all the time, kisses kids on the head, drinks coffee from strangers, and reportedly sneaks out at night to visit the homeless.
So, perhaps the popemobile, a vehicle with bulletproof glass on all sides, is sending the wrong message.
I remember when the popemobile first arrived on the scene after the attempted assassination of John Paul II. We all thought it was kind of cool, but it did seem to restrict

May 16th, 2014

Earlier this week, Pope Francis ordained 13 new priests, and he took great pains in announcing what he considered their main job to be as clerics: Be merciful.
In his homily, the pope said that he gets upset when he no longer sees people going to confession because people were “scolded” by their confessors, “as if the church doors were closed in their face.”
“Please don’t do this,” the pope told 13 new priests he ordained in the basilica. He used the example of Jesus who never tired of showing mercy to others. Pope Francis said priests should remember that Jesus “didn’t come to condemn but to forgive.” More from Vatican Radio:
He called on the newly ordained to “be…

April 29th, 2014

Q: Sometimes I cannot keep an erection long enough for my wife to climax. Is it a sin if I manually or orally complete her climax? Is it a sin if my wife manually or orally completes my climax? The older I get (I am 71) the more often this happens. I love my wife and could not see a day I would not like to try to make love to her.
Not every single sexual act, per se, need be procreative, but within a “sexual session,” if you will, there needs to be “openness” to procreative activity. In this case, you are in fact being open to procreation, but your age and your physical limitations prevent the pregnancy naturally. Normally, these acts would only be used as “foreplay” to pro-creative sexual activity…

April 25th, 2014
Papal Saints John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized — is Oscar Romero far behind?

Upon the death of John Paul II, the chants began in the streets of Rome: “Santo Subito! Santo Subito!” (“Sainthood now!”)
Now a pope doesn’t make a saint willy-nilly; this takes careful deliberation. When the process of making saints began, they were named by acclimation of the people in a particular area. That is why we have names like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Anthony of Padua. When the full population in an area followed the example and began calling a person a saint, it stuck. (Obviously, that kind of system can be abused and actually the Church has gone back and removed some saints from the rolls because they frankly just didn’t measure up.)
John Paul II will be named a saint by Pope Francis. Some would…

April 23rd, 2014

We usually talk about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost, the feast we celebrate 50 days after Easter when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. These spiritual gifts are given to us by God and are intended to guide the way we live our lives. It’s God’s hope that we nurture these gifts in order to become who God wants us to be.
Signs that we are appropriately harnessing these gifts are the Fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The presence of these fruits in our lives is a good sign that…

April 18th, 2014

Technically speaking, Catholics are firstly required to fast on Good Friday, meaning to eat only one full meal for the day and then to merely sustain themselves for the rest of the day–meaning two smaller meals that do not equal the one large meal.
To your question, Catholics are also required to abstain from eating meat on both Good Friday and each Friday in Lent (as well as Ash Wednesday). Fish is used as a substitute for meat-based meals. But of course with vegetarian diets abound in today’s day and age there are many other solutions besides fish.
Historically, since about the second century of Christianity, Christians abstained from meat on Friday as a kind of sacrifice and reminder that acknowledged…

April 17th, 2014

Some parishes, in an attempt to reenact the Last Supper (traditionally defined as a Passover supper) hold a seder meal for their parishioners. This recently has been the subject of much controversy. There’s a great article discussing this here.
In short, we should note the following:
1) A seder is not for Christians. Just as a Christmas tree is not for Jewish people. The use of a Hanukkah Bush is a grave misnomer according to the rabbis in my local community. As Christians, we should hold Jewish rituals in the highest esteem and moreover, not attempt to Christianize them. This may in fact be looked upon as anti-Semitic when we do so.
2) The modern seder did not begin until 70 AD after the destruction of the temple.…

April 16th, 2014

The Old Testament has (almost) never been read at the Eucharist during Easter season. St. Augustine of Hippo in the 4th Century started this based on earlier practices by Cyril of Jerusalem.
While there are no readings from the Hebrew Scriptures during the Easter season, there are several readings from here at the Easter Vigil. Here we draw out the history of our salvation in one night…from creation, through Abraham, through Moses, etc.
During the Easter season, the Hebrew Scriptures are replaced by the Acts of the Apostles. The logic draws upon the practice of looking forward from the resurrection to balance the Easter Vigil’s looking back on our salvation history.
On weekdays in the Easter season in fact,…

March 27th, 2014

Q: I have a rather odd question regarding fasting during Lent while dealing with an eating disorder. Fasting (not eating) is very easy, yet could do me more harm than good. I want to practice according to the Church’s teaching, yet I want to stay healthy. What are your thoughts?
Fasting is a means of self-denial used as a penance for sins throughout the season of Lent. But good health takes precedence over any ecclesiastical law. For this reason the Bishops have noted that those over 60 and those under 14 do not have to fast. Those under the age might miss the point and those over the age are in need of nourishment and place themselves in danger if they begin a fast, especially those not in good health.
The United States…

March 27th, 2014
President Obama’s trip to the Vatican is a coming home of sorts

As President Obama and Pope Francis lock eyes for the first time, I imagine that the pope’s pastoral presence has brought back many memories for our country’s Commander in Chief.
What most people don’t know is that while the president is not a Catholic in terms of religious denomination, he was certainly steeped in the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching in his early days as a community organizer in Chicago. Those days shaped most of his political social thought as well as his religious outlook. Take this quote from President Obama’s commencement address to graduates at Notre Dame in 2009:
And something else happened during the time I spent in those neighborhoods. Perhaps because the church folks I worked…

March 11th, 2014

“A Jesuit named Francis … a little something for everyone,” I texted my colleague who works at a Franciscan University.
I watched as Pope Francis emerged on the balcony last March and bowed his head, asking the crowd to pray for him. I was taken aback at the new Holy Father’s humble gesture. Not only could you hear a pin drop in St. Peter’s Square at that moment, but many of my students were captivated by the event, many of whom aren’t even Catholic.
“I love this ceremony,” said a Jewish student standing near me. “Does the new pope do this every time?”
“We could only hope,” I joked. “No, this is new. Maybe this guy will surprise all of us.”
It indeed has been a whirlwind year since the election…

March 4th, 2014

Pope Francis wrote a letter to all of us, that is, each family — asking for prayers for October’s Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The synod (group of church leaders) is being convened to discuss “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.”
In short, this will be a large meeting where Catholic bishops from all over the world will gather to discuss matters relating to families. As the pope put it in his letter, “This Synodal Assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation… and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church.”

January 10th, 2014

Who gave Jesus his halo — how did he have it in the first place? Do we just presume God?…
The halo is an artist’s rendering of holiness and nothing more. Halos often symbolize “sainthood” in Catholic circles, but in Ancient Greece they were drawn behind heroes as having more than natural light around them.
The first halo in Christian art was in fact given to Jesus and used to represent Christ, rather than holiness. Artists would often paint or depict Christ before his baptism in the Jordan without a halo, showing that the halo is a human way of recognizing God in our midst. (After the baptism, Jesus was recognized as the Messiah).
So halos are human inventions, not God’s.

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