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Mike Hayes :
267 article(s)

Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
March 27th, 2015

Technically speaking, Catholics are firstly required to fast on Good Friday, meaning to eat only one full meal for the day and then to merely sustain themselves for the rest of the day — meaning two smaller meals that do not equal the one large meal.
To your question, Catholics are also required to abstain from eating meat on both Good Friday and each Friday in Lent (as well as Ash Wednesday). Fish is used as a substitute for meat-based meals. But of course with vegetarian diets abound in today’s day and age there are many other solutions besides fish.
Historically, since about the second century of Christianity, Christians abstained from meat on Friday as a kind of sacrifice and reminder that acknowledged…

March 25th, 2015

Question: I have a close friend. We spend so much time together, we also sleep in the same bed — no funny business. Is it a sin to sleep in the same bed and or house?
While the act of mere sleeping is not sinful in and of itself, this situation certainly lies in the danger zone of Catholic teaching. We call this the “near occasion of sin.” By sleeping in the same bed you are running the risk of the situation getting out of control. Perhaps you become more attracted to one another over time or more curious and attempt to take things a bit further. Perhaps you begin to notice your friend’s body more intimately and it begins to tempt you? Perhaps he/she has no feelings for you, but you begin to develop them…

March 18th, 2015

Jesus’ own words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” might lead us to think this is so, but the truth expressed here is to suggest that Jesus is both human and divine. The human part of Jesus’ experiences what many of us feel in times of desolation: abandonment by God. But the Church teaches that even in the most desperate situations God never leaves us alone. Even in the worst cases of torture and death, we believe that God ultimately redeems all suffering.
In Jesus’ cross, we see a God who is unafraid to experience human suffering and human death because God has the power to defeat death and therefore God will do the same for us.
So, while Jesus may have had the human emotional response…

March 11th, 2015

Q: I have a rather odd question regarding fasting during Lent while dealing with an eating disorder. Fasting (not eating) is very easy, yet could do me more harm than good. I want to practice according to the Church’s teaching, yet I want to stay healthy. What are your thoughts?
Fasting is a means of self-denial used as a penance for sins throughout the season of Lent. But good health takes precedence over any ecclesiastical law. For this reason the Bishops have noted that those over 60 and those under 14 do not have to fast. Those under the age might miss the point and those over the age are in need of nourishment and place themselves in danger if they begin a fast, especially those not in good health.
The United States…

February 27th, 2015

There are a bunch of possibilities here. The first is to take advantage of times when these issues naturally come up. So, you might organize a special event for Earth Day or bake and share Christmas cookies made with fair trade chocolate…

February 25th, 2015

Please, first of all, accept our deepest condolences. Suicide is always tough for those who are left behind, so please know that we are keeping you and your family in prayer.
Catholics trust in the mercy of God. That is THE central element of our faith and Pope Francis has taken great strides to make sure that it is preached far and wide to the faithful. What we know about suicide from a psychological perspective today, is that it is often not a free choice, most often as a result of depression or other mental illness.
Then we add to our knowledge, what we consider sinful behavior. For something to be a sin, a person must choose to do this sin freely. They must be in control of their own actions. If they are not, then their actions…

January 14th, 2015

Two weeks into the New Year and your resolutions — if you made any — have either started you on a path to self-improvement or left you feeling not quite up to the challenge. Invariably, some people will make a New Year’s resolution to pray more often (or at all!), and the effort comes to naught when they realize they don’t really know how to pray, or, perhaps, even what prayer is. So, why not get some help?
We often hire personal trainers, financial advisors, even dating consultants, to meet our goals. Why not find someone to assist us with our personal relationship with God? We call that person a spiritual director — someone specially trained in the art of spiritual direction.
Essentially, a…

January 9th, 2015

Question: What does God mean, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you?”…
This comes from the opening lines of the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. This verse (Jeremiah 1:5) and the ones that follow are a call to leadership for the under-confident Jeremiah. Essentially, God is saying that he has given Jeremiah many gifts, and he doesn’t need to be afraid. God knows Jeremiah; he was born for the role that is being prescribed for him.
Jeremiah goes on to prophesize the fall of Judah to Babylon and that many of Judah’s people will be captives in a foreign land. So, the job of being a prophet was not an easy one. Often in our lives, we are called to difficult

December 12th, 2014

Question: As an animal lover and someone who has a deep connection to my pets, I’d like to know more about what the Bible says happens to our pets and other animals when they pass away. Does God have a place for them in heaven? Will we see them again?
As a dog lover myself, who is obsessed with my best friend, Haze the Dog, I always picture Haze bounding toward me when I reach the eternal reward, ready to greet me again.
The truth is that we know little about what heaven is like. What we do know is that this is a complete union with the Divine. So any earthly pleasures that we have come to know will be far exceeded by the complete joy that awaits us in heaven.
The Church teaches that we have dominion over the animals of the world…

November 19th, 2014

In this season of giving, I have been reflecting on how thankful I am for the inspiration that Pope Francis has given me, especially in the past few months. While this space could be filled with dozens of examples, I whittled my list down to these grace-filled moments.

Emphasizing mercy
Francis continues to be “The Pope of Mercy.” In October, during a meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law, Pope Francis said: “It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples’ lives from an unjust aggressor.”
Then he went one step further: “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”
The pope…

November 12th, 2014

Q: I have a question about forgiveness. I have a coworker that really annoys me – to put it mildly. I have been trying to be more forgiving of the people with which I work, but this one guy I have not forgiven for anything yet. It is hard for me to do it. He has such a hyper-critical, superior, selfish, angry, and exasperating attitude that I am at the point where just want to avoid him – or publicly dress him down – or maybe crack him over the head. When he thought I was not around my desk today, I caught him mocking me. Now, I really do not want to forgive him. I know I cannot avoid him indefinitely. I know I should not take him down either verbally or physically. I know forgiving him is what I should do. How do I prepare and…

October 15th, 2014
Halftime at the Synod brings with it an “earthquake” regarding the Church’s attitude toward the LGBT community.

As the extraordinary Synod of Bishops shared a midpoint document summarizing dis-cussions so far, we should remind ourselves that the Synod is far from over. In fact, there will be another session next year when Pope Francis will issue his own teachings on the subject of family. Nonetheless, several issues raised in the conversations so far should cause us to sit up and pay attention.
#1 New Attitude Toward the LGBT Community… — While the Synod upholds Catholic teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman, there was a remarkable change in tone toward gay couples that the acclaimed Vaticanologist John Thavis called “an earthquake.” The document states first and foremost that “homosexuals have

October 7th, 2014

An excellent question! The incarnation of Jesus is not bound by human biology. So we are talking about a supernatural event that we are trying to limit by our own natural biology.
That said, Jesus was indeed both human and divine. So it is not important to emphasize the biological necessity of a male donor, but rather the emphasis is on the divine one entering into humanity through our human birth to a woman. Does this happen by a male sperm uniting with a female egg. Almost certainly, but not necessarily. It is a true mystery of our faith with regards to “how” this all happened scientifically. The faith element of this event is what we need to emphasize here. The point of the story is that God entered into our…

October 6th, 2014

Q: I was recently asked, what do I believe, does the Soul/Spirit actual dies when the body expires? I said no the Soul does not die. Am I right or wrong?
Soul signifies the “spiritual principle in humanity“. Because the Greeks often emphasized that the soul needed to escape the body, we often have a tendency to “prefer” the soul to the body.
However, this is not Catholic theology. The body is nothing without the soul and the body gives animation to the soul. They work in consort throughout human life. We care for our bodies respectfully.
To you question more directly, the soul is immortal. It is the essential part of the human body that likens us to God’s image. It does separate from the…

October 2nd, 2014
Pope Francis is setting a course for compassion ahead of the Synod of Bishops

As the Church prepares for the upcoming Synod (or meeting) of Bishops on the Family, is Pope Francis sending us signals as to what we can expect?
Everyone is on edge waiting to hear what Pope Francis has in mind. Will he lift the ban on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving communion? Will he talk about couples who live together before marriage? Will he address questions on birth control? It’s anyone’s guess as to what direction the October gathering of bishops is going to take.
But recently the pope may have tipped his hand when he presided over the weddings of 20 couples from the Diocese of Rome, many of whom already had children or had been living together.
During the wedding Mass, Pope Francis said, “This…

September 21st, 2014

Q: If my father watches porn he catches me watching it what should i do?
A: My initial reaction says that you should simply turn off the porn! And that is a good idea in general. Pornography, besides being addictive (especially online), does great harm to others, not merely objectifying them for your own sexual pleasure and limiting them to that, but pornography is often linked with human trafficking, bullying, prostitution, drug use, and much more. This is a great article about the damage resulting from pornography addiction as well. And, awhile back, I did a three-part feature on sexual addiction and porn addiction here at BustedHalo.com. It is a serious problem besides being sinful.
However, more to your point…

September 19th, 2014

No. Television and Internet broadcasts of Mass are useful for the sick or those unable to get to Mass because of some other infirmity. If you were to miss Mass because you are purposely choosing to attend another event (say, a baseball game) that is a violation of the commandment to honor the Sabbath.
As the Catechism notes:
You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.

What is required is to gather as a Christian assembly of faith, not necessarily Mass, per se. There are plenty of parishes in the country, and many…

September 10th, 2014

Question: My brown (cloth) scapular breaks frequently. Is it “OK” to wear a medal scapular?
Do I need to have each (new) scapular blessed?

Yes, but some restrictions apply here. The scapular is generally blessed at an investiture ceremony, in other words, those who wear the scapular shouldn’t just initially buy it in a store and start wearing it. They should have some affiliation with a religious order that uses it as part of their habit. For example, I was a parishioner in Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish when I was a child and we would often pray to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on her feast day and then all would be given a scapular which would be blessed in a ceremony.
If that scapular (which is usually made…

September 8th, 2014

Overcoming anger is no easy task, especially when one has been hurt. It is possible however. Our first task to understand is that anger is an emotion. Emotions are normal and not at all sinful. However, we cannot allow our emotions to rule our decisions. The evil one would like nothing more than for us to fall into what St. Ignatius of Loyola calls desolation–thinking that all is lost or hopeless and that nothing really matters anymore.
Recovering from anger takes time and when we are thrust into desolate times it is important not to make any decisions or take any actions towards others when we aren’t thinking clearly. Only after we heal and can begin to see the light again can we actually make a good discerned…

September 5th, 2014

No. Holy Water is a sacramental, a material object that is blessed and used to increase devotion and should not be thrown out into sewage systems. Holy Water can remain in receptacles for long periods of time if need be or if there is a need to clear out fonts or holy water receptacles, one should take the water and use it to water the earth outside a church or it can be poured down the sacrarium in the sacristy which is a sink where the pipes go directly into the earth.…

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