Busted Halo
author archive
Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D. :
51 article(s)

The Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D., formerly the Interreligious Affairs specialist at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is now pastor of St. Benedict's Parish in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo Credit: Bob Roller, Catholic News Service (CNS).
April 18th, 2012

While the members of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” consider themselves “Christians” very few Christians would recognize the Jesus that is taught by the LDS. While they use “Christian,” the same words that other Christians use, the meanings they attribute to those words are actually quite different. For example, they Mormons do have the same belief in the nature of God as Christians do. According to the Articles of Faith on their own materials, God is rather malleable is simply “exalted man.”
“We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advancement — a Being who has attained His…

March 28th, 2012

An ecumenical council is when the entire Church, through the bishops, gathers together to address one or more issues vital to the life of the universal Church at a given period of time. The first seven councils of the Church are generally accepted and called the “Ecumenical Councils.” The First Seven Ecumenical Councils, as commonly understood, are:
First Council of Nicaea (325)
First Council of Constantinople (381)
Council of Ephesus (431)
Council of Chalcedon (451)
Second Council of Constantinople (553)
Third Council of Constantinople (680)
Second Council of Nicaea (787)
However, the term has also sometimes been used within the Catholic household of the faith to denote councils of all the Catholic…

March 21st, 2012

There are two Catholic organizations in the United States which work very closely with each other to further the ecumenical mandate of Christ as expressed in John 17:21ff and embraced by the Second Vatican Council in its document, Unitatis Redintegratio, or the Decree on Ecumenism and later in the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms of Ecumenism (1995). 
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, (USCCB) through its Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs maintains very active dialogues with almost all Christian denominations or ecclesial communities in the United States.  The Committee has a secretariat in Washington, DC, that staffs the work of the CEIA, as it…

March 14th, 2012

Question: It seems like Catholics and many mainline Protestant denominations are getting farther and farther apart on moral issues like abortion, the definition of marriage, and the ordination of active homosexual clergy. How does this affect ecumenical dialogue?
It is true that just about every mainline Protestant denomination is struggling internally with the very questions you mention. As a Catholic, it is not unlike watching your very good neighbors have a knock-down, drag out, fight right in their front yard. It can be a very uncomfortable feeling. Nevertheless, you don’t quit talking to your neighbors just because they are having internal relationship issues. If anything, you pray for them even…

March 7th, 2012

Question: If Jesus prayed that we should all “be one” then ecumenism must be possible, right? Otherwise wouldn’t Jesus be praying an impossible prayer?
You are right. Ecumenism is possible precisely because Jesus prayed for it. In John 17:21ff Jesus prayed,
“I pray not only for these, but for those who will believe because of them…that they may all be one as you and I are one…so that the world may believe.”
The key, as in all things Christian, is to unite our prayer with that of Christ so that we are praying “Thy will be done,” instead of “MY will be done,” which we so often seem to do. The theological principle is that of “convergence.” A good image to illustrate this is a wagon…

December 26th, 2011

Most experts are quick to point out that the Kwanzaa is absolutely NOT a religious or political holiday. In fact, it was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor at California State University 1966. Professor Karenga wanted to establish for people of African descent in America and around the world a way to celebrate family, culture and community. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). These seven principles are each designated one day of celebration during the seven days of the Kwanzaa season which is celebrated from December…

December 23rd, 2011

Absolutely. Anglican and Lutheran traditions have been celebrating Advent for centuries. Other Christian traditions have picked it up over the years, but the practice varies from congregation to congregation, depending on their polity and liturgical traditions.…

December 21st, 2011

The church has never shied away from appropriating signs, symbols and rituals from the culture in which it finds itself and “baptizing” them, so to speak, and giving to them a Christian meaning. Christ himself did this in his own public ministry, using the rituals of his day and giving them new meaning in the order of Grace. Two obvious examples are his transformation of the ritual of baptism from a simple act repentance into the first rite of initiation into Church and his transforming of the Passover Meal into the Eucharist on Holy Thursday.
According to Fr. William Saunders at the Catholic Education Resource Center, “there is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles…

December 16th, 2011

While “Hanukkah bushes”, so called, have found their way into some American Jewish household, the practice is still relatively rare. Most Jews that I know do not like the practice simply because it smacks of “synchretism”, the amalgamation of symbols and rituals of different religions which are truly representative of none. One may call it a “Hanukkah Bush”, but it looks and awfully lot like a Christmas tree. For the same reason, it really doesn’t make much sense for Christians to have Menorah’s in their households at Christmas. What does make sense is for Christian and Jewish neighbors to share with each other the richness of their traditions as they live it authentically in their homes.…

December 7th, 2011

From its inception, the apostolic Church spread east and west. In due time the churches in these areas took on the language, traditions and culture in which they found themselves. In the west, the Church grew up in the predominantly Roman Latin culture and became the Roman Catholic Church. In the east, the Church became more and more associated with Greek Byzantium. Each developed its own legitimate and distinctive spirituality, liturgical tradition and internal discipline. For the first thousand years, both… allowed married men to be ordained, while monks and religious maintained celibate chastity. Beginning in the 11th century, for a variety of reasons, some spiritual, some practical, the Latin Church

November 9th, 2011

Question: Being a confirmed catholic in 2008, does attending a non-denominational Christian church go against a person’s Catholic beliefs? Also, is receiving communion at a non-denominational church also against the Catholic beliefs?
Attending a non-denominational church is does not go against Catholic beliefs, but receiving communion in that same church is not possible at this time. The key concept here is that of “real but imperfect communion.” In the Decree on Ecumenism (“Unitatis Redintegratio”) of the Second Vatican Council, the Council fathers state: “Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church…

November 2nd, 2011

Militant atheism is one of the worst forms of proselytism. It is definitely a belief system which seeks to impose its will on those who might have differing opinions. To combat militant atheism on campus, do these four things:
1. Pray. Why? Because it works. Pray for the conversion of those who seek to impose a militant atheism on college campuses. Pray for the faculty and administration to be open to the initiatives of faith based organizations on campus. Pray, pray, pray.
2. Refuse to be irrelevant.… A university environment is supposed to be one that welcomes the free exchange of ideas. In fact, your rights to this are guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States, as is your right to freely associate with other

October 26th, 2011

Unlike the Catholic Church, Buddhism is not hierarchically organized. Therefore, there is no earthly, physical head of the Buddhist religion as a whole. That being said, there are spiritual masters and abbots of monasteries who have a definite prominence within Buddhist communities. Probably the most well known of these figures is Tenzin Gyatso, better known to the world as H. H. The 14th Dalai Lama who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. The central institution in most Buddhist communities is the monastery. Like in Western monasticism, the Abbot or Abbess of the monastery is charged with the physical and spiritual well being of those in his or her care. To find out more, visit the site of the Interreligious…

October 19th, 2011

Sure. However, it is important to make the distinction between practice and belief here. Yoga actually grew up in the Hindu tradition (not the Buddhist tradition) and was seen as a total way of life and belief; not just techniques, practices or ideas, but also eating habits, bathing habits, meditation, social interaction, and work. Today, most practitioners of yoga do so for its physical benefits rather than its spiritual connotations. The key here is to be well rooted in your own Catholic faith so that you are able to recognize and make the distinction. Paulist Father Tom Ryan has actually written a book on the subject entitled “Yoga Prayer.” You can check out his insights and advice at: http://tomryancsp.org/books.htm…

June 15th, 2011

Mormons go on mission ostensibly for the same reason that Catholics go on mission, albeit for a very different version of the Gospel. In their Book of Doctrine and Covenants they claim that Jesus said, “proclaim my gospel from land to land, and from city to city… bear testimony in every place, unto every people” (Doctrine and Covenants 66:5,7). They will also refer to the biblical mandate of Mark 16:15-16 “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.” According to their own website, there are currently 52,000 Mormon missionaries serving in 350 missions around the world.
While it is not…

June 8th, 2011

Sure, although it’s not all that “secret.” You can ask any Mormon about it. The “garment” as it is commonly called, is a symbol of their dedication to God and the religious promises that they have made. It is conferred, somewhat like a religious habit, in a temple ceremony known as the “temple endowment.” This is when they are instructed in what the garment is and what is stands for and how it should be cared for. The garment is worn under other clothing next to the skin, reminiscent of the first garments that God made for Adam and Eve as they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Thus, for many Mormons, their garment takes the place of regular underwear. The garments are made at official LDS clothing centers…

June 1st, 2011

The two are very different. In Latter Day Saint (“Mormon”) polity, a ward denotes a large local congregation. Smaller local congregations are called branches. A ward is presided over by a “bishop,” a position which is analogous to a pastor in most other denominations.
A temple is different in that while it may also be used for worship and prayer, its primary purpose is to be a “house of the Lord” wherein the rituals or “ordinances” of the religion take place. This includes baptisms, weddings, and other important rituals for both the living and the dead. Unfortunately, for reasons of ritual purity, non-Mormons may not visit the inside of a temple once it has been dedicated. However, if you get a chance…

May 25th, 2011

Must a Catholic have a wake or a funeral–my friend’s wife doesn’t want one for her dying Catholic husband?
While not speculating about the dynamics of their relationship, it is the right of every baptized Catholic in good standing to receive the funeral rites of the Church. These include the Vigil (Wake), the Mass of Christian Burial, and burial or internment of one’s remains in a Catholic cemetery.
It’s important to remember that the Rite of Christian Funerals is as much for the living as they are for the deceased. All of the symbols used in the funeral rites are the same as those used at Baptism. The sprinkling of the casket with holy water, preferably from the baptismal font, is a reminder…

May 18th, 2011

I’m sorry to tell you that this is not allowed. Catholic prayers are said at Catholic weddings; Buddhist prayers are said at Buddhist weddings.
The principle here is that one should always avoid the practice of “syncretism”; that is, the combination of the rites and prayers of various religious traditions into an amalgam which is truly expressive of none of them. Granted, there are some quite beautiful prayers in other religious traditions. At first glance it may seem like a good idea to try to include one in your ceremony. But experience has shown that it just doesn’t work. Trust me on this one. I’ve seen it tried.
Instead, use the very beautiful prayers that are already included in the Rite of Christian…

May 11th, 2011

While I am unaware of any canonized saints who the Church would not consider in union with the Catholic faith, I do know that we share a number of saints with the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. These primarily include the early Church Fathers such as Ignatius of Antioch, Augustine of Hippo, John Chrysostom, Irenaeus of Lyons, and many others from the first millennium of Christianity.
Of course, this deals with those who are recognized publicly by the Church as saints worthy of veneration – those who are in “the Christian Hall of Fame,” if you will. We admit of countless others who are “uncanonized” saints, those faithful Christians who have entered into the presence of God for all eternity.…

Page 1 of 3123
powered by the Paulists