Busted Halo
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Mike Hayes :
241 article(s)

Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
May 4th, 2010

With the headlines blaring these days about priests who have been abusive to children, it’s important to note that we’re talking about a small percentage of priests who have abused children. Nonetheless, it’s a serious problem that we all hold some responsibility to keep at bay.
I would say that the first thing we should do is apologize on behalf of the church that we are part of, even though we haven’t done anything. We are part of a family of faith and if a member of your immediate family had done something horrible you’d be quick to apologize.
Secondly, I would note four things that I have found to be helpful. One is to be vigilant. All dioceses have classes for people who work with children…

April 28th, 2010

This is the prayer that is offered by the priest during confession also known as the sacrament of reconciliation or penance.
After one confesses their sins, the priest might give some advice to them and then give them a penance–an act of making amends, usually a few prayers offered to God. They then ask them to say the formal prayer the act of contrition. When that is done they then offer the prayer of absolution which formally forgives their sins ritualistically.
Here are the words, some of the most beautiful in all of Catholic tradition:
God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of your son, you have reconciled the world to yourself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of…

April 27th, 2010

Question: Are Catholic Women Allowed to Dress Sexy? Someone once told me that it was being immodest to do so and that this was sinful behavior.
Answer: As in most things, the answer depends on the object of your intentions. Are you dressing sexy in the hope of attracting someone with whom you want to have sex that night? Is your clothing too revealing to the point where it is clearly a “sexual overload for anyone who you hope to catch their eye (revealing way too much and leaving nothing to the imagination)?
Some would give the excuse that they should be able to dress however they want and that it’s another’s problem if they receive their outfit in a sexual manner. Granted, for some, even a nice pair of…

April 21st, 2010

There are several thoughts that I’d like to share about this. The first being a simple one. You can talk to your pastor about how you might improve the “performance” aspect of the music at mass–which is what I think you are really referring to. Perhaps you are a good singer and can offer your own gifts and talents here.
The second thought is that perhaps this is an opportunity to be mindful. To consider that the music wasn’t really composed for you to like or dislike. Rather, this was someone’s prayer. The composer sat down and wrote a piece of music designed not to move US, but rather, to move GOD.
Now some would also say “If THAT music was made to move God, than perhaps one may…

April 14th, 2010

Great question! For different people, obviously there will be different answers based on what inspires them and perhaps a personal preference for a particular kind of literature.
Since you asked me, I will say that I really can’t narrow down my choices to just one. The ones that inspire me the most are The Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John in the New Testament. And in the Old Testament I’m a great fan of the WIsdom Literature: Ecclesiastes and Job as well as the book of Proverbs.
Perhaps, the last one I mention, Proverbs, is the one I’d be forced to take. After all, I know most of the stories in the Gospels and in the two Wisdom books I mentioned. But Proverbs provides us with age-old wisdom in the form…

April 14th, 2010

Great question! For different people, obviously there will be different answers based on what inspires them and perhaps a personal preference for a particular kind of literature.
Since you asked me, I will say that I really can’t narrow down my choices to just one. The ones that inspire me the most are The Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John in the New Testament. And in the Old Testament I’m a great fan of the WIsdom Literature: Ecclesiastes and Job as well as the book of Proverbs. Perhaps, the last one I mention, Proverbs, is the one I’d be forced to take. After all, I know most of the stories in the Gospels and in the two Wisdom books I mentioned. But Proverbs provides us with age-old wisdom in the form…

March 30th, 2010

First of all, I hope you are feeling a bit better after an obvious experience of suffering in which you may still be feeling sad.
We often want a savior who removes suffering from our experience but what ends up happening is that we find that savior hanging from the cross!
It’s disappointing to many that God often doesn’t save us from experiences of suffering. Instead God values human freedom above controlling and micromanaging our lives.
Scripture tells us that suffering is the result of human choice and an imperfect world. With human freedom and our imperfect selves comes the risk of making a choice that hurts ourselves or others and other people’s choices having an effect on us or other innocent…

March 24th, 2010

Marriages must be open to pro-creation and to unity in the Catholic Church. So since women can’t bear children past a certain age most people assume that this kind of marriage would not qualify as a Catholic one.
However, that is not the case. The word “open” is the key word in that sentence. Couples of any age that are unable to bear children are not trying to prevent pregnancy but rather they are simply unable to bear children for whatever reason (menopause or infertility). Their openness to the possibility of children however is still present in the sexual giving of the one to the other. Now that won’t produce a child as wishing can’t really change science, but there could be a miracle!…

March 19th, 2010

We don’t know.
Easiest question ever!
Scripture has provided us with very little evidence of St. Joseph’s life much less his death. He has no spoken words in the Bible and God only speaks to him in dreams. We assume that Joseph is dead because we don’t see him at the foot of the cross with Mary at Jesus’ crucifixion.
It was also assumed that Joseph was much older than Mary and so in an age where people didn’t live that long Joseph would have died long before Mary. Life expectancy was about 40 years old at the time and so if Jesus was 33 when he died then Mary was well into her 40s, a very old woman for her time! Joseph would have to have been in his 50s and it is unlikely that he would have lived that…

March 11th, 2010

My first thought is that if you feel the need to respond to anything you don’t like you should have enough restraint to not fire off something impulsively over email or approach the priest immediately after mass and give him a piece of your mind.
However, I do think that preachers need to know when they aren’t reaching people in their community. So perhaps the right approach is to ask to make an appointment and to explain your point of view at that time and to listen to his side of the story as well.
Lastly, you use the word “like.” It’s important to note that mass does not exist for you to “like.” Mass exists for GOD to like. We come to praise God and hope that our actions move God…

March 4th, 2010

Traditionally, “parishes” are based on geography and there were very few differences from one parish to another in ritual experiences.  Technically, Catholics are supposed to choose their parish based on these geographical distinctions, but practically speaking almost nobody does this any more.  People choose to worship where they are spiritually fed most often.
Parishes also seem to follow the same kind of expectations.  While the celebration of the Eucharist is the same in all parishes, other things are not.  Some parishes have a great commitment to social justice.  Others have a large commitment to education or to pro-life activities or the poor.  In fact The United States…

February 25th, 2010

The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” comes into play here.  While it wouldn’t bring about an imminent death if one were not to hit the gym, long term, it may indeed have consequences.
We are required to “take care of the temple.”  St. Paul writes that we should “glorify God with our bodies.”
A second note:  The Greeks believed in dualism, meaning that the body was bad and corrupt and that the spirit was all that mattered.  That gave rise to many not caring about their health, mostly also because they expected the world to end relatively soon.
But “we do not know the day nor the hour.”  God wants us to be the best version of ourselves.  So while…

February 17th, 2010

Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent,… when Catholics (and some Protestant denominations) take time to remind themselves that life indeed is limited: that we will die.
The Ash Wednesday ritual is simple.  Catholics place ashes on their foreheads as a visible reminder to others that they acknowledge that their bodies will turn to ash one day, that life is indeed precarious, but that they are also a resurrection people.
Catholics believe that more lies beyond this end, and so the ashes are marked by the sign of faith — the cross — at once a symbol of God’s destruction and His greatest triumph.
We listen to the words that the priest or minister says to us as he places the ashes on our forehead: “Remember that you are

February 16th, 2010

Literally translated as “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is a celebration that takes place the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The idea is that people pig out on the foods that they are going to restrict themselves from during the Lenten fast. In some ways it’s akin to storing up for the long haul, like a bear that goes into hibernation. In this case however, it’s a mostly cultural phenomenon that gives people an excuse to party and to participate in debauchery.
Other countries often have similar celebrations called “Carnivale” which is translated “without meat” and thus provides people the opportunity once again to eat much before depriving themselves of…

February 11th, 2010

Concupiscence is the term the church uses to describe our own human disordered inclination to sin.  These include disordered desires (desires that go against God’s plan for what’s best for us).  Even after we regain God’s grace in confession we still have this tendency to sin again.  None of us are perfect and we all fall under the weight of concupiscence but because God knows His creatures so well, he understands our nature and forgives us and gives us the chance to try again.
We all have things that tie us up and that keep us in their grip–all the things we are tempted by and that we desire in an unhealthy way can all be attributed to this weak tendency of ours which we term as our concupiscence.…

January 21st, 2010

Hamartiology is simply put, the study of sin.  Hamartia is a Greek word meaning “missing the mark” and coupled with the word logia or “discourse,” we get the word for studying sin.
In general, Hamartiology is a division of systematic theology, so when you are looking for courses on Hamartiology you would probably find it in courses that fall under the “systematics” genre in theology.…

January 7th, 2010

It’s always uncomfortable for people to give and get criticism.  But when offered and received from a place of charity, it can often be a good thing.
A priest friend of mine some time ago told me that he welcomes criticism, especially on the weeks that he knows he was feeling a bit “off” in his delivery or preparation.  In fact he also says that he needs to hear from his parishioners to know whether he’s reaching them and ministering to their needs as a preacher.
I would say the following.  A homily criticism shouldn’t be the first interaction that you have with your priest.  He deserves an opportunity to get to know you and for you to get to know him.  Secondly, in the waning…

December 18th, 2009

An interesting question that has more to do with art than religion!
The answer is that it really depends on the artist who made the crucifix.  Take a look at a number of different crucifixes…
Some have Jesus with his head bowed depicting his death.  The artist wants us to concentrate on a Jesus who died for us.  Another might show Jesus kind of pumped up and looking refreshed.  This artist wants to show that the cross cannot hold Jesus back from defeating death.  A third might show a twisted agonizing face of Jesus which allows the viewer to concentrate on a God who suffers for his people.
So yes, there is some symbolism there but it varies with each artist’s depiction of what they are asking us to…

December 16th, 2009

Yes.  A cross is simply the “t-shaped” instrument that was used for crucifixion which now, bears more of a symbol of triumph for Christians.  A crucifix however, is any image of that same cross with Jesus’ body (known as the corpus) depicted on it.
Catholics are free to wear either and to have either on display in their churches although most Catholic Churches would choose to have a crucifix on display while many Protestant churches opt for the cross.  In other cultures the image depicted on the crucifix may also be more vivid depicting a suffering Jesus more dramatically as well.

December 9th, 2009

Images of Jesus, Mary, and the saints usually painted in a gesture of blessing meant as an aid to prayer and meditation, directing our minds and hearts to that holy person.  These are very popular in the Greek Orthodox Church especially.  Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words so here is a picture of an icon.…

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