Busted Halo
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Mike Hayes :
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Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
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
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 8th, 2014

I am separated. I was only married for a month and it was never consummated, and it was outside of the Church. Can I receive communion?
Yes! In the eyes of the church you were never married if this was simply a civil ceremony. The marriage not being consummated is also grounds for annulment. It sounds to me as if you would like to dissolve this marriage. I would talk with your pastor about all of this, make a good confession, and then you should be free to receive communion.…

January 7th, 2014

The King James Version has 39 books in the Old Testament, all written in Hebrew. However, the Old Testament of the New American Bible contains 46 books, including an additional seven (Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and Baruch) which were part of an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible called the Septuagint. Those are the main differences. So if you want to read those books you’d need to read those in the NAB which is the version Catholics use at mass.
Other differences is that the NAB was translated in 1970 — more than 350 years after the KJV was produced — which makes it more accurate academically. However, the New King James Version was produced in 1982 and it has included…

January 6th, 2014

At the beginning of a New Year, we can turn to the words of Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel) for inspiration as we tighten up our commitments, forge into new territory, and pray together for lives filled with joy — of all kinds — in 2014.
Resolution #1: Be Joyful
Obviously this is at the heart of the papal message in Evangelii Gaudium, and something Pope Francis professes himself. It’s not always easy to be joyful, especially when we are in physical pain or when someone hurts our feelings. But Francis reminds us that:
The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.…

January 6th, 2014

This smacks of placing limitations on one’s holiness. God does not place an imaginary line that rates how holy we are on us. Rather holiness is a more all-encompassing term. Asking this question suggests that one would like to sin “just enough” to know how bad they could be without spilling into hell.
An adult sense of faith places us into a new sense of relationship with God. This relationship requires participation on our part where we place ourselves in our human weakness before God and humble ourselves in that presence. It’s not about how holy we can be, it’s about always trying to be as holy as we can be.…

January 2nd, 2014

I commit the same sins over and over and I feel bad going to confession when it is most likely I will commit the same sin. How do I say I will not sin again when I feel inside I will sin again? Am I using confession as a excuse to sin knowing I can confess and be forgiven?
All of us have weaknesses and our sins are consequences of that. No one is perfect, and usually many of our sins are things that continue to trip us up time and time again.
That said, while we have this tendency toward some particular sin, we also need to attempt to get over this. Our efforts here must be true attempts to get past our sin, to get underneath the tendency, and to make a true attempt to stop the behavior.
Again, none of this is easy and therefore we have confession…

January 1st, 2014

My fiancé and I would like to get married in Italy through the church and are taking all the courses need to do so through the catholic church here in the U.S. Since we would be excluding many family members and friends by having a ceremony it Italy we wanted to come back to the U.S and a month later have a civil ceremony is that possible? The lady at our church said it wasn’t because in the churches eyes it “belittles” the sacrament. So my question is can i get married through the catholic church in italy then come and have a civil ceremony in the U.S without the church knowing or having to file in any way my civil marriage?
This question asks a few things to consider. But mostly, it asks about the celebration…

December 2nd, 2013

Technically speaking, a priest or a deacon is only supposed to bless anything and certainly would be the only ones to use holy water in a formal blessing. However, informally we bless one another all the time. For instance, when someone sneezes the typical response is “God bless you.”
Many people have holy water fonts in their homes, usually on their doorframe. We all bless ourselves when we enter a church by dipping our fingers in the holy water font. Perhaps a good idea is for husbands and wives to dip their fingers in together at home or church and create a formal ritual that way.
Here’s one prayer for husbands to pray for their wives:
Lord, our God, bless _________ as my wife. Grant her the grace…

November 28th, 2013

I’m tempted to ask whether you mean for God or for us?
God hears all prayers and the intention of simply praying is enough for those prayers to be brought to God. The use of the word “heard” however, describes God as a type of divine “Santa Claus”.
Prayer is simply communication with God. However, prayer doesn’t change God…prayer is meant to change US. Our communication with God isn’t some kind of divine wish list, instead it is an opportunity to grow closer with God, to understand where God might be working in our lives and what God might be asking of us.
Prayer is also a reminder for us. That reminder is that we are not in control and so, we stand before God in awe of what…

November 20th, 2013

God forgives all sins. So there’s no need to worry about that. The question might be whether this was even a sin. Your husband may have not had intended to kill the person in this encounter and instead acted if self-defense. For something to be sinful, one has to have intent to commit the act and have full knowledge that the act is sinful and then, has to actually carry it out.
In this instance, let’s say your husband had every intention of finding an enemy and killing them. That indeed would be sinful. A good confession would be appropriate (and healthy) for him to share much of the horror of war with God and to ask for forgiveness in his part in the war. War may be necessary and one might be following orders, but…

October 4th, 2013
A conversation between a saint and a pope named Francis on the saint’s feast day (October 4).

St. Francis: Your Holiness, it’s so nice to see you!
Pope Francis: We can cut the formalities. After all, I took your name!
St. Francis: True, Jorge, true. I was honored but then I got jealous thinking you’ll be the more famous Francis.
Pope Francis: Ignatius of Loyola must be giving you a lot of grief!
St. Francis: Nope, but he lost a bundle! He bet that you were going to take his name after you were announced. I gave him 3-1 odds that it wouldn’t be “Ignatius.”
Pope Francis: Ouch! He’s gonna give me a lot of heartache for that one. Since I’m a Jesuit and all.
St. Francis: The fact is that you’re giving him a lot of good press. And you’re doing a swell job!
Pope Francis:… Thanks, thanks. It’s not easy. Do you

September 25th, 2013
Reactions to the pope's in-depth interview and what it means for young adults

Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor of the Italian La Civiltà Cattolica, has created a masterpiece of an interview with Pope Francis, cobbled together from questions from 16 Jesuit journals, including America… magazine here in the United States.
What’s the takeaway for young adults? In this initial reflection, I’m going to share my thoughts on that question. Later, and as we continue to see Pope Francis in action, I’ll reflect more deeply on the issues he’s covered in the interview. For now, my thought is that synthesis makes for easier reading.
Be a humble sinner
The interview starts with a simple question and a short answer: “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” (Pope Francis’ given name) and his

September 23rd, 2013

Recently, a former student came to me for advice about dealing with a group of people who didn’t share the Church’s ideas on a variety of subjects. I thought immediately of what Pope Francis might say.
I noted to the student that relationships take work. And many times we will encounter people in the world who do not share our beliefs. Our goal is not to be dismissive, but rather to stay in relationship with these people anyway. To dismiss them would sever the possibility of relationship. I also noted the words of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”
Too often people use these words…

September 20th, 2013

Question: I was 18 when I married my first husband. The local priest would not let us have the ceremony in the church because I was pregnant. He performed it in the rectory. Is it a Church rule that you cannot marry in the church building if you are pregnant?…
It is not. I’m going to assume that the wedding was also small and intimate. Your priest was most likely embarrassed by your pregnancy (or angered by it) and did not want to have the wedding in a more public setting. Likely, he saw this as a failing of his own in having one of his parishioners pregnant out of wedlock.
But let’s not assume, perhaps he had good reason to have the wedding in the rectory. To your question, there is no hard and fast rule about where the

September 6th, 2013

Question: A Catholic born in the Church grows up, and during their lifetime, they want to start a Marriage Officiant business. Not interested in giving the sacraments, they decide to join a well known ministry that ordains non-denominational ministers. Our Catholic then creates a wedding business that does not incorporate the Eucharist since this is an Ordained Priest’s duties. Years later, someone from the Church finds out, and now our Catholic is probably facing Excommunication for starting the business. Can this Catholic be excommunicated for becoming an ordained minister in this business?…
The answer is, as most answers are, “it depends!”
The first thing to point out is that excommunication

September 4th, 2013
Pope Francis asks us to fast for peace in Syria this Saturday, September 7

“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart.” — Pope Francis…
With the recent revelations that chemical weapons have been used in Syria’s civil war, the United States has been clear about how seriously it takes these human rights violations. Over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry reported that

August 28th, 2013

No. If that were the case all of our priests and religious women would be “bad.”
I sense that what you may be asking might fall under a few different categories:
1) A single person who wishes not to marry.
2) A married person who simply doesn’t want to have children.
The first part enables me to talk about the vocation to the single life. Some people do not feel called to be married. They are typically fine with being single and live lives of holiness in doing so. If they never marry nor have children they are not doing anything sinful.
The second situation is more complex. One of the requirements to be married in the Church is to be “open to the procreation of children” meaning that we don’t…

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