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Mike Hayes :
263 article(s)

Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
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 29th, 2013
Help for figuring out what to do with the rest of your life

Labor Day is upon us, and recent college grads are entering the workforce for the first time. However, far too many young adults are unemployed, unable to find a suitable job, much less a career. For many more, their current jobs don’t exactly match up with their idea of a “dream job,” and scores of others are underemployed (overqualified for their position) but need to work to pay the bills.
In my work as a spiritual director, I often specialize in helping people find meaningful work. I spend time helping young adults find where they believe God may be calling them and then help them take some proactive steps to put those desires into a practical career path. At the very least, I work with young adults to articulate…

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.
or
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…

August 13th, 2013

Question: My family has always wondered about the case of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas. Over the years, we’ve known many atheists who decorate trees and exchange presents, either “just for fun” or so their kids don’t feel like they’re “missing out.” On one hand, I feel like Jesus would be happy that they’re being loving towards each other no matter what the reason. On the other hand, it’s a little irritating to me. Does the Church have a position on this? And does it matter that they are copying non-religious aspects of the holidays, like Christmas trees and Easter bunnies?
The interesting thing to note is that the rituals surrounding the…

August 5th, 2013

Question: My son is planning a wedding next summer, he was raised Catholic but stopped attending Church after HS, his bride attended the Presbyterian Church, neither have attended Church in the past 5 years, they are planning to have a nondenominational minister officiate their wedding. I have been encouraging them to attend PreCanna classes, they are “too busy” work and college classes. they also are having an outdoor ceremony at a resort. Is there any chance they could have a Catholic Priest officiate ?
The short answer is probably not. They would, at minimum, need to go through marriage preparation in the Catholic church and then file for a dispensation from place to the local bishop who would…

July 31st, 2013

Security at World Youth Day has always been an issue. When millions of people gather for a public event, in general, security can be a challenge. Add to this the fact that the pope will be on the scene and the concerns about safety grow drastically.
But Pope Francis doesn’t seem to be very concerned about security at all. On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, he appeared to relish in the fact that his car made a wrong turn and people mobbed the vehicle to try to touch him or just get a glimpse of him.
After a week of what could be a draining non-stop schedule of events, Pope Francis, in his late 70s, was fed by the energy of the young people who surrounded him:
This trip has been very good; spiritually, it has done me good … meeting…

July 30th, 2013

Pope Francis said that he doesn’t give interviews.
But that all changed on the plane ride back from World Youth Day where for nearly 90 minutes the pope stood and didn’t dodge a question from anybody.
You can read John Allen’s summary of the impromptu press conference here.
Pope Francis mentioned the following with regard to the gay lobby that supposedly exists within the Vatican and that reportedly he acknowledged exists:
When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.
The question…

July 22nd, 2013
Will Pope Francis continue with the World Youth Day pilgrimage after Rio?

I’ve been to two World Youth Day events and they were indeed spectacles. I even dedicated an entire chapter to World Youth Day in my first book, Googling God. These pilgrimages that bring youth and young adults together from all over the world were the brainchild of John Paul II and will probably be what he will be remembered most for as pope. He wanted to bring college students together for a “jamboree style campout” with the pope at the helm. The result was a Pope-as-Rock-Star event that brought hundreds of thousands of young people together from around the globe.
But there is a huge downside to World Youth Day. It costs A LOT of money — for the host diocese to produce and for the individual pilgrim to attend.…

July 19th, 2013

Question: Now that the pope has announced indulgences for World Youth Day, I’m having a hard time finding an easy-to-understand explanation for my youth group. Could you help?
Sure. Let’s take a more common example to explain a larger theological point. Let’s say your daughter took your car without permission. You would be angry as a parent, but you would forgive her for what she did. However, you certainly would give her some kind of punishment for what she had done as well.
With our sins, God always forgives us. The sacrament of penance forgives our sins and God’s forgiveness eliminates our ETERNAL punishment However, that doesn’t mean that the toll of our sins over the course…

July 18th, 2013

Question: My husband and I have had an ongoing discussion. Occasionally we have friends who stay one or two nights with us. Our more ‘devout’ Catholic friends who are dating but not married have always stayed in separate rooms. But recently we had two lapsed Catholics stay with us and they shared one room (and one bed).
Our debate is, first, are we being sinful by allowing others to do so? Second, what if the people aren’t religious – do we impose our beliefs on them? I know some of our friends/family would laugh hysterically if we told them they couldn’t sleep together in our house.
In full disclosure, this most recent couple are very much adults – 30′s and up. And we do not…

July 9th, 2013
He's not headed to the usual papal vacation destination, but Pope Francis will still make time to chill this summer

Despite the stifling Roman heat, Pope Francis is remaining in Vatican City this summer instead of escaping to the usual papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo, a favorite place of his predecessor, Benedict XVI.
Pope Francis also recently said that he resides in his present apartment in the Domus Santa Marta for “psychiatric reasons,” prompting many to laugh at the thought that the climate of the Vatican bureaucracy may drive the pope insane.
But the heart of the matter here is what a vacation or time away provides for us. How do we refresh and renew ourselves? Pope Francis has said repeatedly that he needs to be around people and can find himself growing lonely in the grandness of a huge job like the papacy.…

July 1st, 2013

Question: I know you can adore the Blessed Sacrament in front of the tabernacle without exposition, so what exactly is the difference? What does it mean that exposition makes the Eucharist vulnerable to vandalism?
Also, how many adorers should be present for exposition of the Eucharist? It seems to me that exposition is meant for more than 1 person.

While Jesus can certainly take care of Himself, there has been many unfortunate incidents where non-Catholics have desecrated the eucharist. One famous example includes someone taking a host and thumbtacking it to their bulletin board and taking a picture of it with the words “It’s just a damn cracker.”
We’d certainly like to avoid giving…

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