Busted Halo
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Mike Hayes :
255 article(s)

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

December 1st, 2009

The letters refer to the different “orders” that the priest or sister belong to.   For example:
Fr James Martin, S.J. :   S.J. stands for Society of Jesus which is the formal name for the Jesuits.  So Fr Jim would be a Jesuit priest.
Fr David Dwyer, C.S.P.:  C.S.P. stands for Community of St Paul which is the formal name for the Paulists.  So Fr Dave is a Paulist Father.
Sr. Christine Wilcox, O.P.:  O.P. stands for Order of Preachers which is the formal name of the Dominicans.   So Sr. Christine is a Dominican Sister.
As you can see sometimes the letters stand for what the order’s charism is as it does for the Dominicans who have a central mission regarding preaching.
Now I know what…

November 26th, 2009

The two most popular Catholic prayers that surround food traditions are the simple “Grace Before Meals” and “Grace After Meals.”
One need not pray these prayers on Thanksgiving if you are Catholic, prayers from your own words are, of course, fine.
However, if you are looking for more structure in your prayer these two simple ones work well.
Grace Before Meals
Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.
Grace After Meals…
We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for all thy benefits, Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
While Grace After Meals is seldom ever prayed it indeed does express Thanksgiving.  The

November 25th, 2009

Question: I was just wondering why does there seem to be a definite split between different religious orders (Franciscan, Jesuit, Benedictine, ect)?  I know that each was founded by different people of faith with different emphasizes.  I guess my question is why does there seem to be some negativeness between certain orders?  Is there a negative history between certain orders or is it like college rivalries, where you, for example, don’t like Purdue just because you root for Indiana University?…
You are correct in stating that there are wide differences between religious orders and sometimes these differences even cause splits WITHIN religious communities.  Just look at all the

November 18th, 2009

My question: My Spiritual Director says that if I am in touch with Jesus and keep a regular and good relationship with Him (through personal prayer, Word of God, mass etc), I can receive all I need from Him i.e. all my needs can be satisfied from Him. However, I personally feel that there are some things that I cannot receive from Him. For example, sometimes when I pray, I dont get the comfort that I would have got if I had spent that time with a friend. Many times I feel the need for a hug or a touch. If I pray at that time, it doesn’t satisfy as much as getting a real hug. Is this because the ‘quality’ of my prayer hasn’t reached that level OR is it because some needs just have to be fulfilled from other humans…

October 23rd, 2009

Since you’ve only known this girl a few months I would be very cautious about jumping into marriage too quickly. It’s the number one reason that annulments and divorces happen. Let’s put that out there first of all.
I think you need to explore the reasons as to why you have cold feet. It also sounds to me like perhaps people are pressuring you to get married –which is never a good reason to get married. I might suggest talking with a counselor or a priest that you trust about this.
Marriage is a sacramental partnership and it is never a 50-50 partnership. Rather it is a 100%-100% partnership where each person totally gives themselves to one another and grows in love. You needn’t be the “Head…

October 3rd, 2009
Making my peace with the blessing of the animals

If you’ve ever seen dog owners walking to church with their pooches in ridiculous outfits, sprayed with doggie perfume and a bow in their fur you’ve stumbled upon the annual “blessing of the animals” on the Feast Day of St Francis, October 4. In years past I witnessed one woman’s dog in a top hat and tails. Another dressed in a doggy business suit. A third looked like a clown (both dog and master).
I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when I overheard conversations in the pews about how smart their silly mutt was and how much love they received coming home to the wagging tail that greeted them at the door. Owners shared recipes about what they cook for their pets, talked about what…

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