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.
March 26th, 2013

Question: Why is it okay that we have Church Festivals where excessive drinking and gambling occur? I thought we believed those things were only okay in moderation.
Freedom is one of the main tenets of the Catholic faith. Just because booze and gaming tables are around doesn’t mean that you need to partake in them.
However, to your point, there should be a limit set by the bartenders to “cut off” those that have “had enough” and even for the gambler who doesn’t know when to quit–although that is a lot harder to control. A good compromise might be to give a free table to AA and GA at those events to help those who have addictive tendencies in case they need to reach out to someone.…

March 21st, 2013

Question: Everyone is saying the pope picked Francis after St. Francis of Assisi. Is it possible he picked it after St. Francis Xavier who was a Jesuit?
Pope Francis recently addressed this himself:
I will tell you the story. During the election, I was seated next to the Archbishop Emeritus of São Paolo and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Cláudio Hummes — a good friend, a good friend! When things were looking dangerous, he encouraged me. And when the votes reached two-thirds, there was the usual applause, because the Pope had been elected. And he gave me a hug and a kiss, and said, “Don’t forget the poor!” And those words came to me: the poor, the poor. Then, right away, thinking…

March 19th, 2013
6 ways for Pope Francis and the rest of us to address transitions in a new career

No cardinal ever says he wants to be the pope — and it’s not because of his humility. Being pope is a backbreaking, overwhelming task. The room where the new pope vests in the papal robes is called the “Room of Tears” for a reason!
Sometimes we’re all afraid of responsibility, and young adults know this all too well. From your first job to that first big promotion, responsibility on the job can be daunting and filled with daily pressures. And often, while the prospect of a new profession or promotion is exciting, transitions are tough.
So, here is some unsolicited advice from my new book, Loving Work, to help Pope Francis prayerfully make his way through the papal transition — and hopefully some…

March 12th, 2013

This quote is attributed to St. Francis: “Speak the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”
Our example as Catholics is to what most people will pay attention. Conversely, we discredit our religion each time we are hypocritical, when we are unkind, treat people unfairly, or act out of character in ways that are not consistent with our faith. When our religious leaders violate these same principles, we lose much in the face of those who we hope to evangelize.
I’ve found when we’re unashamed about simple things like going to mass, or participating in parish events, or speaking out for the vulnerable, others get curious and wonder what makes us tick. They ask some questions about…

February 25th, 2013

This is an age old question that stymies many people? What kind of God allows bad things to happen? And more importantly, like a child who gets burned after touching a stove, we apt to not want to be hurt a second time. Trust gets more difficult when we are hurting and evil has an opportunity to kick us when we are down and most vulnerable during these times.
St. Ignatius talks about desolation often. And indeed this is exactly where evil wishes to keep us: In a place of hopelessness, where nothing can ever be right again. Our faith tells us otherwise. We don’t have a God that shields us from pain and suffering. In fact, our God embraces our pain and suffering to Himself by taking on our likeness and then dying on a cross.…

February 12th, 2013
Three steps for Catholics returning to the Church after being away

I often run into people who, upon finding out that I’m a lay minister in the Catholic Church, inform me that they’ve been away from church for some time. Many aren’t angry with the church (though some are and often have good reason for being so!), rather they’ve simply fallen out of practice. Many tell me that they’d really like to return but they’re “afraid the roof will cave in.” It can be quite anxiety provoking to come back to church. Who knows what kind of feelings this might stir up? The truth is that relief,… not anxiety, is the central emotion that many people feel upon “coming home” to the Catholic Church.
But how does one “come home”? Do you need a formal invitation? Is there a need to announce

January 7th, 2013

Anyone who was in college in the 90s remembers the powder keg that was the Los Angeles riots. Sparked by the acquittal of police officers who brutally beat Rodney King, Los Angeles saw some of the worst violence that we could imagine.
And one voice rose above the violence that day. It wasn’t a president or a pope calling for peace, but rather it was the man who had been beaten within an inch of his life, the one man who was wronged by the jury’s decision that day — Rodney King.
“Can we all get along?” King said after watching the violence erupt. He was a black man, victimized by white cops, who now stood up for white people who were being attacked simply for being white and being in the wrong area of Los Angeles at…

November 6th, 2012

Question: I have always considered myself a good person. I tried to live by the golden rule. Six years ago I suffered a very traumatic event that destroyed my faith in God and people. I became very ill, lost my job, my apartment and my car. Lived on the streets for almost 3 years, began to drink and abuse drugs. I have been taking small steps to improve my life but I have not been able to regain my faith. I still question why God allowed so much to happen to me when I always put others before my own wants and needs and treated people right?
The fact that you are even thinking about restoring yourself to a healthy sense of faith betrays the fact that you would like a relationship with God despite all that has happened. That also shows…

October 26th, 2012

Of course they can! The name Halloween comes from All Hallow’s Eve, meaning the day before All Saints Day — those we call hallowed or holy as we hear in the Our Father…

October 2nd, 2012

Not necessarily. I actually faced this issue myself when tree roots damaged my sewer line. I considered removing the very large tree from the front of my house and replacing it with a smaller one. However, my plumbers were able to secure the line and remove the roots and seal the new pipe avoiding the need to remove the tree.
One option to consider is what are your priorities? Is the destruction of your house which keeps your family sheltered worth a single tree? How about the idea of removing a tree without considering other options simply because it has done some damage to your property that might warrant a simple fix?
Tress often help protect homes by shading roofs from the sun and obviously are good for the environment.…

September 19th, 2012

Question: Why do we pray to saints? Should we really? Is it in the Bible somewhere? Lol When I was little my Mom would tell me to pray to Mary, God was busy she said, lol.
Have you ever had a friend who you asked to pray for you? That’s exactly the same thing that you’re doing when you ask a saint to pray for you. The big difference is that saints are people who the church has ample evidence that they are conclusively in heaven with God. So we ask for what we call their intercession…. Intercession means that we ask them to be the “middle person” between us and God. They bring our prayers to God and ask God to receive these prayers and to grant our requests. Because we believe that saints are indeed closer

September 11th, 2012

Before I answer this question directly, it should be noted that forgiveness does not give assent to the horrible actions committed by another. Forgiveness allows us to heal from harms done to us by moving forward and not allowing this pain to continue to control our lives.

June 28th, 2012

Our feelings are always important things to take note of, and we can use them as a way to discern whether what we are doing is something that God would want us to do. In this case, feeling guilty might lead you to discern more deeply. Why are you watching the movie to begin with? Does focusing on sexually explicit scenes make you a more loving, faithful or hopeful person, or do they just objectify the actors in the scene and create a lustful image for you to swoon over?
That said; focus is the main point. We almost cannot help but watch images these days that are in some ways sexually explicit. The creators are responsible for them, but how we react to them is key. Might you become more engaged with how women, for instance, are…

June 27th, 2012

There’s certainly no hard and fast rule in any Church documents that doesn’t allow priests to carry guns. Just as there’s not one that says priests can’t carry a bow and arrow either. But prudential judgment is what is called for here.
The question to ask ourselves is, “Does a priest need a gun to protect himself where there is a lot of violence — in an inner city, let’s say?” The further question is, “Would the gun actually cause undue harm in a situation and bring more violence into the situation than is necessary to subdue an enemy or to protect the general public?” In the general state of daily affairs, does the priest need to carry a handgun to defend himself? Probably not. Could carrying…

June 22nd, 2012

Of course it is. Particularly for its benefits with regards to mindfulness and the relief of stress through meditation. The issue that exists is that yoga is used in other non-Christian religions to invoke or pray to the gods they believe in. This is explicitly not what we do as Catholic Christians. We can, however, use the yogic poses for our own purposes. Paulist Father Tom Ryan helps people do exactly that. Check out his website.
from Mike Hayes and the Busted Halo Question Box…

February 29th, 2012

Yes. Depending on what the result of our impatience is, it could be a quite serious sin.
For example, if we are impatient in waiting for someone to die who is in great suffering and we euthanize them ourselves, we commit murder by allowing our impatience to rule us.
Impatience is something that is a bad habit and can be changed with frequent prayer. Listening to where God calls us and spending time in silence allows us to de-stress and relax a bit more with God.
Retreats are another good opportunity to deal with our impatience. We spend time with God away on “God’s time” not ours and realize that there is no place else to be but there for awhile. In doing so we can rest easy knowing that often there is often…

December 25th, 2011

An exact date was attempted to be calculated for the Nativity of the Lord but it was deemed impossible (there was/is not enough information available to determine this).  So originally, March 25th the first day of spring was discussed as an appropriate day to celebrate the birth of Christ to coincide with the re-birth of the spring!   However, other scholars noted that this would be a better day to place Jesus’ conception, as we believe that God becomes incarnate at the moment he is in Mary’s womb.
Therefore, if we add 9 months to that date we get…December 25th!
Secondarily, many Romans were sun worshipers.   Many celebrated a kind of sun feast day on Dec. 25, while others note a virility god…

December 23rd, 2011

Keeping vigil has always been a spiritual practice in Catholicism. This is what we are essentially doing by attending any “Vigil” mass, we wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Savior.

There is also a Biblical reference here that can be included. The Shepherds in Luke’s infancy narratives in his Gospel were keeping watch over their sheep on the nightly vigil. In a sense, we are the same shepherds today and we are entrusted to keep watch over one another.

December 20th, 2011

Of course they are! Catholics are free to sing “Jingle Bells” or “Frosty the Snowman” or any of the many songs that reflect the Christmas season.

Perhaps there are song parodies that might be objectionable material in general, but most of the tried and true carols that we know well can be sung by Catholics.

December 13th, 2011

I can offer three that would be good to pray with:
1) St. Thomas Aquinas — the official patron of scholars and a doctor of the church. His great work, the Summa Theologica, might just be something you’re studying in fact.
2) Blessed John Newman is not yet a saint but is on the way to being one. He was very active in the intellectual life and set up centers for discussion so as to merge Catholics with intellectual conversation at universities as it was often misconstrued that to be Catholic is to be anti-intellectual. Campus Ministry Centers across the United States often bear his name. Read The Idea of a University… sometime.
3) An obvious one is St. Ignatius of Loyola who founded the Jesuits whose charism is

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