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Mike Hayes :
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Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
July 23rd, 2010

Jesus makes the analogy so that people will understand that God cares for us as a parent cares for a child. Some might say that he knew what He was doing when he opted for using “Father” as opposed to “Mother.”
God is genderless, but there is a great absence felt by those who do not have the love of a Father, especially men, who have lost or never known a Father. A horrifying statistic is that about 70% of prisoners in the United States do not have a father in their lives. He may have realized that people lacked this bond and would need to seek God in order to fill that absence.…

July 10th, 2010
Discussing faith, family and Derek Jeter with longtime Yankee Stadium announcer Bob Sheppard

Bob Sheppard, the longtime Voice of Yankee Stadium died this week at the age of 99. Sheppard’s majestic elocution gave players and spectators goosebumps for over half a century. Sheppard was also devout in his Catholic faith and he was kind enough to offer Senior Editor Mike Hayes an interview about both his faith and his career as he tried to return to the public address booth after an undisclosed illness. Sadly, he would never make it back. We’re reprinting our interview here. You can also hear the full audio version of the interview here on a Busted Halo Cast.
Anyone who has attended a Yankee’s home game since the mid-twentieth century has been greeted by the unique—and now legendary—style

July 7th, 2010

Simply put, no. In fact, it seems impossible. What we know from psychology about suicidal behavior is that the person is not in control of their own actions.
For a matter to be sinfully grave, one would need to willfully do that action. Therefore in the case of suicide, one isn’t sinning willfully.
It’s important to note that at one time the church did deem suicidal behavior as an action that would merit hell. After careful discussion with the modern psychological community, the church proclaimed their teaching in a new light. This is a great example of how the Catholic Church remains in dialogue with the world, especially with the scientific community, always learning and evolving with modernity.…

June 22nd, 2010

A basilica is simply an important church building designated by the pope because they carry special spiritual, historical, and/or architectural significance. Once named a basilica the church can’t lose its status as a basilica. A basilica may or may not also be the cathedral of the diocese. This is the highest permanent designation for a church building.
A cathedral is the church where the bishop’s throne (called cathedra) is located. It is the main church of a diocese. A cathedral may or may not be a basilica. It is the home church for the bishop or archbishop of a Catholic diocese while a basilica may also be the cathedral in the diocese there is no requirement for it to be so. For example, The University…

June 15th, 2010

It’s less complicated than one might think, actually. The Papal Nuncio (the Pope’s representative in a country) solicits names that members of the Bishop’s conference in the area put forward and then selects three of those names to be forwarded to the Pope (the Holy See). The Pope then meets with the Nuncio most often and asks some questions and they decide what person might be best for the position. The bishop functions in a diocese (a local geographic area) as a CEO would in a corporation. They are in charge of the local governance of the diocese. Therefore, the local area does have some influence over who gets to be bishop of the diocese, however, the Pope is free to choose none of the candidates…

May 19th, 2010

Almost never. It is very rare that the death penalty is ever permissible in Catholic teaching. Only when grave danger is imminent and a society is unable to protect itself from a perpetrator can the use of the death penalty be applied as a moral justification.
What does this mean? It means that all other means of keeping a prisoner at bay have been exhausted or are unable to be made available. As an example, prisons are readily available and criminals are easily detained in them. As a result the death penalty in the United States and other places that have the ability to construct a criminal justice system to maintain law and order and detain and incarcerate criminals would not be allowed to employ the death penalty as…

May 13th, 2010

The Ascension refers to the day celebrated 40 days after Easter when Catholics celebrate the fact that Jesus returns to God after being with his disciples after the resurrection. It is a central element of our tradition and is included in the creed recited at mass each Sunday. It is also a Holy Day of Obligation and Catholics are required to go to mass on that day.
The scriptural basis for this comes from Acts 1: 9-11.
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.
They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into…

May 12th, 2010

First of all, please accept my condolences on the death of your child.
Indeed, you can and should have a funeral for your child and any miscarried baby can have a Catholic funeral. Quite often hospitals and obstetricians give parents who don’t carry a child to term a hard time when they ask for the remains of their child. Catholic teaching professes that life begins at conception and that the child has a soul at that juncture as well. Often the healing that comes along with grief is not offered to the parents of a miscarried child, thinking that “they’ll get over it and have another child.”
A second common misconception is that a baby that dies needs immediate baptism. While it almost sounds…

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…

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