Busted Halo
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Mike Hayes :
271 article(s)

Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
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…

June 26th, 2013

Last weekend Pope Francis found himself in some hot water.
Or, I suppose, it depends on how you look at it. In short, the pope decided to skip a musical concert he was previously expected to attend. One would not have even noticed this, but Pope Francis was to be a guest of honor and arrangements were made to have a papal throne (in Francis’ case — a white papal armchair) at the event.
That throne remained empty and it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Because this was a Vatican event, attended by many high-ranking cardinals and bishops, as well as the tuxedoed “Gentlemen of the Pope,” laymen who are like an honor guard that greets various Vatican dignitaries, it was widely interpreted as the pope intentionally…

June 26th, 2013

Certainly. However, the question that remains is whether you are using your gifts and talents to the best of your abilities. We all have a vocation — a calling — to express ourselves for who God has gifted us to be. For some of us, that calling directly relates to the way we make a living. For others, it may not relate directly, but instead relates to how we spend our time in other ways. A father may see fatherhood as his central vocation and therefore spend less time courting business clients to spend more time with his family. Another may see providing justice as her/his central vocation and spend much of her/his time working to end inequality in the world.
God certainly, at minimum, cares that you do not work…

June 19th, 2013

This is a question that has befuddled people for centuries upon centuries. The Old Testament, in particular the Wisdom Books, try to tackle it. For example, Ecclesiastes addresses the question of why bad things happen to good people with: “Everything is the same for everybody: the same lot for the just and the wicked, for the good, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who offers sacrifice and the one who does not. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as it is for the one who takes an oath, so it is for the one who fears an oath. Among all the things that are done under the sun, this is the worst, that there is one lot for all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:2-3).
The concept of divine retribution was well ingrained…

June 14th, 2013

No. Catholics believe that heaven is not a place per se but rather a state of being that does not correspond to the limited scientific laws that we find here on earth. The life we share with God goes beyond stages of sickness and makes us all one again with God — where sickness can never have power over us again.
The Church teaches that “In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men. ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.’”
It sounds to me like perhaps there might be some fear that Mom may no longer remember who you are because…

June 11th, 2013

When we look at the two stories of creation in Genesis (yes, there are two…… look them up), we read not a literal story but a mythological one, in the best sense of that term. The point of the story is that God cares for creation and human beings have a primary place as a special creation of God.
Science holds that there is the possibility of life on other planets. Mathematically speaking, it is quite possible that life may exist elsewhere in other galaxies.
The Church would take a humble position before God in stating that we do not know all things. Only God knows the origins and the hidden secrets of the universe. Therefore, should we discover life on other planets, we would believe that God was the creator of those

May 28th, 2013
Pope Francis reminds us that Christ’s sacrifice is not just for Catholics

It’s often that religious people adopt a “holier than thou” attitude that professes that they have all the answers and that their particular religion is the wing nut that holds God together for the rest of the planet. (“If they’d only join OUR religion, all would be well with the world.”)…
And while I’m sure that Pope Francis would hope that most people would in fact, see the beauty of Catholicism, last week he reminded all of us that “doing good” surpasses any affirmation of a particular faith tradition:
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes

May 23rd, 2013

As reforms begin at the Vatican Bank, more officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, Pope Francis has also taken on global, personal, and spiritual financial matters in his papacy. Last week while speaking to new Vatican ambassadors he highlighted that “the majority of the men and women of our time continue to live daily in situations of insecurity, with dire consequences… People have to struggle to live and, frequently, to live in an undignified way.”
Reflecting on the economies of the world, Pope Francis pointed out that some exist simply to make money without adequate consideration for the rising number of people living in poverty in our midst. The idea that economic growth is the answer…

May 23rd, 2013

This is a part of the fraction rite called the commingling. The priest quietly says the words “May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” It comes from an ancient sign of unity with the Pope. Many, many years ago the pope would share small piece of the body of Christ with other Catholic churches in the city of Rome. They would then commingle this in their chalices as a sign of unity with the Pope. While we don’t do this any more the symbolism is the same.
It’s also a symbol of the resurrection. Christ’s resurrected, yet broken body is reunited with his blood coursing once again through his body.…

May 9th, 2013

Technically, no. But it is perhaps the best metal suited for a chalice. The gold goblet after all is a longtime symbol of family and tradition.
There’s a more practical reason for a chalice to be made of “material that must be noble, durable, and in every case adapted to sacred use. In this sphere, judgment belongs to the episcopal conference of the individual regions.” (Inaestimabile Donum -Instruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery from the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship.). Everything else is highly BREAKABLE!
So more common or breakable items should not be used such as glass or clay but may be allowed by the Bishop of the diocese especially in countries…

May 2nd, 2013

This statement comes from the early part of Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. He believed that God calls us to:
“a complete indifference with regard to all created things, not preferring health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to humiliation, long life to a short one. We wish only for those conditions that will aid our pursuit of the goal for which we have been created.”
In short, this means that our dependance needs to rely on God. Do we believe that God cares for us, in some way, in even the most dire situations? If so, then it doesn’t matter what might befall us.
A great example comes from when you need to make a choice about your next move in life and you narrow things down to two choices. Being…

April 26th, 2013

Question: How many times a day is it permissible for a lay person to receive communion? I know canon law states “Can. 917 One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic celebration in which that person participates, without prejudice to the provision of can. 921 §2.” But I don’t know what it means to “participate in a Eucharistic celebration.” For example, if I attend daily mass on Saturday morning and receive communion again at the Vigil mass on Saturday evening. If I receive communion at the Saturday evening mass am I permitted to receive it again on Sunday morning? Am I permitted to receive it on all three occasions? (In…

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