Busted Halo
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Richard G. Malloy, SJ :
94 article(s)

Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
January 10th, 2014

As Catholic followers of Jesus, we are called to love one another. How to do that in situations where people need to migrate calls for bold discernment and communal discussion. Justiceforimmigrants.org is the official website of the U.S. Bishops teaching us how to respond to immigration issues. Having recently spent a week at Border Links and KINO Border Initiative on the Arizona Mexico Border, I am more and more aware that real people suffer the insanities of our present immigration policy. For them, we need real immigration reform with a path to citizenship.…

January 9th, 2014

Not at all. St. Ignatius taught that in order to serve God we are to follow our deepest truest desires. God will place in our hearts and minds the desire to do what will best serve God and others. Parents often find such desires to serve their children welling up from the depths of their own hearts. Priests too find the desire to preach, celebrate sacraments, and serve the people of God welling up in our prayer. A priest’s relationship with Jesus is central and often cause for great joy, despite challenges. Married couples too find joy amidst the challenges. Single people receive the graces they need for their state in life.
Too many people have the deeply mistaken impression that priests are unhappy. Actually research…

November 27th, 2013

I have personally known 2 women now who chose to become nuns, but midway through their education, had a change of heart. Did God call them to these positions but decide they’d be better fit as mothers?
Who knows? Only God knows the human heart. Vocations are mysterious and often take people on paths unexpected and rarely straight.
People enter religious life for many reasons. It’s an old observation among those of us privileged to be members of religious orders that, “You enter for various reasons; but you stay for other reasons.”
The most radical reality of our faith is that God deals with us as free persons (Gal 5:1). Life isn’t some game show where there is Door #1, #2 and #3 and you have to guess which…

November 21st, 2013

I assume you’re asking here how Jesus can be both divine and human. Well, that has been the question ever since the resurrection and before. A great old Jesuit theology professor ours, Brian Daley, S.J., once said the Mystery of the Trinity is “Three Whos in One What.” The Mystery of the Incarnation is “Two whats in One Who.”
Richard McBrien’s magisterial Catholicism roots the Christian understanding of God in the reality of the Trinity. But we could not know the Trinity without Jesus having come and “lived [literally ‘tabernacled’] among us” (John 1:14).
O’Brien goes on to say we are interested in Jesus because Jesus saves us. And, “If he is not truly God, then he could not SAVE us. If he…

November 14th, 2013

Question: When one of your friend’s, who does not attend church on a regular basis, states that he feels he is being called by God, what do you say?
Why say anything? Just say a prayer and ask God to guide the person. God is running things. We don’t have to be overseeing the movements of God’s grace. The Holy Spirit blows where the Spirit will. God moves in mysterious ways. It is much better to wonder and contemplate God’s mystery than assume we know how people should be acting.
Often those who don’t seem to be following religious practices, as we think they should, are open to God in ways we may not recognize. The “I’m spiritual but not religious” crowd is mostly made up of those who are actually neither.…

November 12th, 2013

Question: I have family members who are very into the Latin form of the Mass. These family members, every time they get a chance, try to shove their beliefs on my husband and I. They try to show us how the Novus Ordo form of Mass is wrong and not legitimate and that we shouldn’t still be a part of it. My question is, do you have any suggestions as to how to just make them SHUT UP! It is getting to the point that I am tempted to start making excuses to not go to family events.
You have heard the old adage, when spouses fight, they often aren’t really fighting about the thing over which they seem to be fighting.
First, ask yourself if you really want to fight with your family members over the Latin Mass. When they talk about how…

September 24th, 2013

Maybe it would help to ponder the famous saying of St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel always. Sometimes use words.”
We religious people can sometimes fall into the temptation of running ahead of the grace of God. Try and remember that God is involved in all this. It’s understandable that you want your husband to find the peace and power, the joy and justice, the life and love, that you have found by attending church. Still, you have to let God get to your husband’s mind and heart. Pray to know what God would have you do to help God reach your husband. Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, not only our efforts. But don’t be afraid to gently challenge your husband. You want to invite, but not nag, your husband to…

September 17th, 2013

Questions: If God doesn’t live in heaven, where does God live? Maybe better formulated is, When does God live? In the past, the present, or the future?…
God is everywhere and every when. The great adventure of life is allowing grace to form us into persons who can be united with God forever. Pope Benedict XVI teaches in his magisterial Introduction to Christianity (1968) that heaven “is not to be understood as an everlasting place above the world or simply as a metaphysical region. … Heaven is not a place that, before Christ’s ascension, was barred off by a punitive decree of God’s, to be opened up one day in a positive way. On the contrary, the reality of heaven only comes into existence through the

September 10th, 2013

Dave Fleming, S.J, transposed St. Ignatius’ Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises into 21st century language. “The Goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit.”
Faith is a gift given us. Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen” (Heb. 11:1). We believe that God became what we are so we can become what God is. That’s not some Jesuit’s wild twist on theology. That’s St. Athanasius in the third century (CCC #460).
So, the answer to the question rests on what “having faith” means. Faith is not a thing one has; faith is a relationship one lives.…

September 3rd, 2013

The great Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner said, “We know there is a heaven. We should be very humble in what we claim to know about it.” And quite comforting is St. Therese of Lisieux, who said “I believe in Hell, but I believe it is empty.” I Timothy 2:4 says,“God desires [that] everyone be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.”
The truth is that all of us have lost loved ones. Where are they? How are they? Our beloved who have died are transformed. In their transformation in Christ, they have become and are being something radically transcendent and new. Rahner writes: “The great mistake of many people… is to imagine that those whom death has taken, leave us. They do not leave us. They remain! Where…

August 29th, 2013

If a marriage is unsustainable, or worse, violent, divorce is often the better option. No one should stay in an abusive situation. And I tell women, the first time he hits you, leave. Abusive, violent men rarely change. Our culture and our Church needs to do much more to teach men that physical violence against women is completely unacceptable. It’s not “wife abuse.” It’s “Cowardly Men Beating on Those Physically Weaker Than Them.” I wish newspapers would write headlines like, “245 lb. John Jones, a coward, beat up his 135 lb. wife last night. If you see him, turn him in.”
Abuse is also grounds for annulment. It signals that the person in question is not taking their marriage vows seriously and probably…

August 27th, 2013

Question: “Can I receive Communion even though I’m divorced? Why if you are Catholic and get divorced you can no longer attend the Church? Will that ever change? Is it better to stay in abusive marriages? I think not.
Answer: Spread this truth far and wide, because I hear too many who think divorced people cannot receive communion. You can receive communion if you are divorced. You are welcome to receive communion if you are divorced. My mother has been divorced for 46 years and has gone to Mass and received communion every Sunday. Our Church needs to provide more… programs for those who suffer divorce.
Divorce is hard and difficult. The Church recognizes with compassion that those who go through what is often

August 12th, 2013

Is foreplay against Catholic teaching?  Can I touch my girlfriend since her orgasm is not tied to fertility?…
Catholic teaching is set within a larger context, i.e., the invitation to form ourselves as the loving and generous persons God, and we, deeply desire ourselves to be.  These “is it against the church?” questions always make me want to challenge the minimalist assumptions behind the question.  Such questions are analogous to the ubiquitous classroom query, “Will this be on the test?”

God doesn’t ask us to do the minimum.  God asks us to do the more.  We are to be more loving, more generous, more self sacrificing, more habitually virtuous as a result of our relationship with Christ.  Reaching

August 9th, 2013

Why can’t people live together before marriage?…
Erma Bombeck once said “Living together is to marriage as babysitting is to being a parent.”  If living together before marriage was such a sure fire way to ensure a marriage’s success, divorce rates for those who cohabitate would be lower than those who don’t.  Actually the opposite is the case.  The Catholic Bishops website that helps young couples preparing for marriage www.foryourmarriage.org reports that marriages that come after cohabitation are 46% more likely to end in divorce.  Children are particularly vulnerable to the painful experiences that result from the dissolution of adults’ relationships.  “Forty percent

August 6th, 2013

Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae… (On Human Life), clearly states there are at least “two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning” (HV #12). Certainly a husband and wife who cannot conceive a child are called to continue to express their love for one another (the unitive meaning). Sex is a gift and gifts are to be accepted and enjoyed. Just as a couple who are past child bearing years can relax and enjoy sex even more as their love deepens and ripens with age, so too can those who unfortunately cannot conceive still grow in their love for one another and express that love through their sexual union.
Secondly, the couple has no control over the natural rhythms

February 14th, 2012

Question: At bars, I kiss my roommate (we’re both female) to get the attention of guys. It’s just kinda fun and we think it’s harmless and we don’t go farther than that. Is that a sin?

There exist thin lines between harmless, dumb, stupid, harmful and sinful. Two women using their sexuality in “harmless” ways can often verge on doing or causing great harm. Why are you trying to get the attention on guys this way? What’s the difference between this and flashing your naked breasts?
Chastity is the integration of sexuality into our lives (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2337). Does making out with your girlfriend integrate or disintegrate sexuality in your lives?
St. Ignatius teaches

December 14th, 2011

Question: Should I have my kids only receive gifts for a charity this Christmas or would that be against our tradition?  We’re pretty well off but I understand that we really should exchange some kind of gift during the Christmas season?…
We live in convoluted and confusing times.  Before the present economic crisis, people in the USA spent $200 Billion a year on Christmas gifts (de Graff cited in Malloy 2007:144).  That’s $850 per person! (I need go get better friends).  All this to celebrate the birth of Jesus born in poverty.  We often give someone something they really don’t want or need, and, a few months later, cannot remember what the gift was (or what was given us in return).
Nowhere in canon

February 15th, 2011

Read Bustedhalo.com daily! =)
And read some of the classic reflections on faith and service like Thomas Merton’s letter to a young activist or the “Oscar Romero” prayer (which actually was penned by Bishop Ken Utener.
Read about the great ones: Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Read good contemporary spiritual writers: John Dear, S.J., Annie Lamott, Anthony DeMello, S.J., Richard Rohr, Megan McKenna. There are many more.
Read and re-read the gospels and try and attend Mass often. Usually, busyness can make it seem we have no time for prayer and reflection, but there are always 10 minute spaces where one can pull out the rosary beads.
One practice many young people doing a year of service find helpful…

February 8th, 2011

The answer to this question is a bit above my pay grade. As a Jesuit, I’m not in the loop of the diocesan priests’ world. They better know who is moving up the ladder of ecclesiastical offices. The priests who study in Rome seem to get to know one another and they would have a better sense of who from other countries has a chance of becoming Pope. If you really want the inside gossip on such matters, the respected blog “Whispers in the Loggia” is the site to click.
The Center for Research in the Apostolate in Washington provides some great info on the world wide church. In 2025, there will be some 606 million Catholics in Latin America; 228 million in Africa; 81 million in the USA (Malloy 2007, p. 168). So you can see the…

February 1st, 2011

The simple answer is that statues of saints remind us of the saint and their heroic efforts on behalf of the people of God and the spreading of the Gospel Good News so needed in every age. We gaze upon and ponder statues and pray to become like the great witnesses to God’s love and mercy and justice. We don’t worship the statue or the saint. We let our imagination be fired up by thoughts of who that saint was and what he or she did. We hope to grow to be like the saint in their dedication to God and God’s people.
I have coffee mug with an image of a young St. Ignatius on it and a famous quote of his. Every morning, the image and the quote remind me to strive to be a faithful and loving Jesuit as St. Ignatius wants us to be.
Graven images…

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