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 18th, 2011

Symbols matter and communicate. What we wear “says” something. One would not show up at a Philadelphia Eagles game in a NY Giants jersey and expect to go unnoticed. A man who takes off his wedding ring before going on a business trip to Las Vegas would be questioned closely by his wife.
Funerals are times of sober reflection, prayer and celebration of a deceased person’s life. If I am not going to wear black, I need to think about what my attire communicates. Does my choice of dress or suit say I care about the person and appreciate and understand the profundity of the occasion? Or do my jeans and tee shirt or tank top say, “This is no different than a quick trip to Target.” If I choose not to wear black, why do I choose…

January 11th, 2011

Born in Spain in 1580, Peter Claver, a bright student, entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and spent most of his life serving the slaves in Cartagena. From 1610 until his death he reached out to those captured by slave traders and brought to the new world. A third of the imprisoned Africans died in transit, the dreaded middle passage. Claver made his life’s mission outreach to these people caught up in the horrors of the slave trade. For over 40 years he brought small gifts (medicine, fruit, brandy, bread, etc.) to those held in cargo holds and shipside slave pens. He catechized and baptized over 300,000 slaves. When invited by the slave traders to lodge in better quarters, Claver chose to stay with the slaves.…

January 4th, 2011

St. Peter Canisius, a Dutchman known as the second apostle of Germany, was a 16th century Jesuit in the forefront of the effort to respond to the critiques of the Catholic church being made by protestant reformers in Germany, Switzerland and other parts of Europe. His pastoral strategies were built on the Jesuit idea of trying to see the good in the ideas and opinions of one’s interlocutor. He felt clarification of the church’s teaching was more helpful than decrying the ideas of the Lutherans and others. The three catechisms he published left a lasting imprint on the religious formation of many, many people of his times. He was one of the most respected and influential churchmen of his age, advising Emperors…

December 14th, 2010

St. Edmund Campion was born in 1540 and rose to great political, ecclesiastical and academic prominence in Elizabethan England. The Queen (the daughter of Henry VIII) and others recognized Campion’s talents and many spoke of him as a future Archbishop of Canterbury in the young Anglican church. To be a Roman Catholic in Elizabethan England was a crime punishable by death. In his early 30s, Campion chucked it all and went to Rome where he entered the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. At the age of 40, he returned to England to preach the faith. Soon imprisoned for his work, the Queen offered him honors and influential offices if he would renounce the Catholic faith of Rome. Campion refused. He suffered torture on the…

December 7th, 2010

“The mandatum is fundamentally an acknowledgment by Church authority that a Catholic professor of a theological discipline is a teacher within the full communion of the Catholic Church” (http://www.usccb.org/bishops/guidelines.shtml ). The mandatum is a relational reality between a Bishop and a Catholic person teaching Catholic theology within the diocese. A Catholic teaching Buddhism, or a non-Catholic teaching church history are not given mandatums. The Bishop is expected to give the mandatum to the theologian (“If all the conditions for granting the mandatum are fulfilled, the teacher has a right to receive it and ecclesiastical authority has an obligation in justice to grant it. (Cf. http://www.usccb.org/bishops/guidelines.shtml…

November 30th, 2010

Tell them the church is a hospital for sinners, not a showcase for saints. The transformation that begins at our Baptism is, for most of us, an affair of one step forward, three steps sideways, two steps back, and two steps forward. The human condition is characterized by original sin, the truth that things are not as they should be. The good news is that God comes to save us from the sinfulness of our lives and times.
Also, challenge those who will eschew the church because of the hypocrisy of some members. Sure there are some hypocrites, but what about the millions of Catholics of good character who authentically integrate the practice of the faith into their lives of love and service? Do other institutions (education,…

November 23rd, 2010

The answer is “No.” And many people wonder why. I have met many men who would gladly serve as deacons, but they cannot promise to remain unmarried if their wife should die. Most cogently say, “How could I deny my children a women who would love them as their mother did if she died? They would need a new Mom.”
It is little known, but a married deacon whose wife dies can petition Rome for permission to remarry. See Deacon Greg Kandra’s cogent comments on this issue.
On some different lines, a married protestant minister can now be ordained a deacon and then a priest. His wife and children attend his ordinations. There are dozens of such married priests serving in the Roman Catholic church in the USA today…

November 16th, 2010

Question: I have had to be away from my wife of ten years and our children for several weeks as I am taking a Christian course but my sexual urge is driving me “crazy” now. It’s almost all I think about and I am not happy about that.  I need to focus on other things but sex is almost all i think about! Would it be a sin against God if my wife and I were to masturbate with each other over the phone?

Our contemporary world presents us with possibilities and choices never thought of in previous times.
On one level, I wonder if you should strive more to control your sexual appetites and not allow your sexual urge to drive you “crazy.” Easy for me to say. And I’m the guy who cannot resist eating an extra Tastykake

November 4th, 2010

Mike Hayes, one of the editors at Bustedhalo® opined in response to this question, “I think kissing WITHOUT passion might be a sin.”
Mortal sin is “deadly sin,” sin that separates us from the community and God on a deep and real level. To persist in mortal sin, knowingly and will full intention of the will, cuts us off from the life of grace, the power of God to save us and bring us to eternal life.
It is difficult to argue that passionate kissing by itself could rise to the level of mortal sin. Now if you’re kissing another person’s spouse or your close relative, consequences may be more complicated.…

October 26th, 2010

The Church is very clear. Full, complete, genital sexual activity is reserved for those in the sacramental covenant of marriage.
Let me gently challenge the “where should the line be drawn” type questions. Love is not a reality that is measured and molded by rigid rules. The reality of love, God’s very self, is the transformation of human persons into beings who can live forever with God. That transformation begins when we are conceived and is marked by our Baptism. Any and everything we choose to do should be in tune with that transformation of our hearts and minds and souls.
The challenge for those who are not married is to find appropriate and just ways of expressing what their relationship means. The “100…

October 12th, 2010

The simple answer is “Yes.” The priest may just have forgotten to lead the community in the prayer or may have a good pastoral reason for omitting it (e.g., a baptism during Mass, time constraints, etc.)
Could I also gently challenge the questioner? Where do these “does it count” questions come from? What spirit elicits in us this need or desire to worry about what “counts”? For some, Mass devolves into doing the bare minimum: “Does Mass “count” if I’m there from offertory to communion?” And those who leave before the final blessing make me wonder why they come at all, although again, maybe someone has a real need to leave immediately after communion: e.g., a sick child or elderly parent who…

October 8th, 2010

God does not desire that we suffer. God realizes that creation has gone horribly wrong (that’s what the book of Genesis gets at poetically). God’s plan is to respond with the power of Divine redemptive and healing love to the ways in which creation has gone awry. God’s love is the transformative power of the Holy Spirit given us in our relationship with Jesus.
The reality is that suffering in human life is a given. God desires to save us from suffering and death. I have often preached, “There are only two things of which I am absolutely certain. One is that God loves us. Two, human persons suffer.” No one has ever disagreed with number two.
The great lesson of our faith is that there is no resurrection without…

August 31st, 2010

The only thing I know for certain is that a rule of architecture says that “form follows function.” And therefore, we have a bit of a clash in post Vatican II Church Architecture.
We have older churches with high ceilings and long aisles with pews lined up in parallel rows. This emphasized the transcendent nature of worship and our relationship to God Almighty high above us.
Newer churches, with lower ceilings, often “in the round,” having people sit so they can see one another, emphasized the communal sense of worship and the community formed as we join around the table of the Lord.
The Eucharist is both meal and sacrifice. We have both a table and an altar. Church architecture reflects this breadth and width…

August 24th, 2010

1. Read the reading beforehand. Read it again. And again. Ask the priest or someone how to pronounce a word of which you are unsure. Read notes about the readings. Get a sense of what you are proclaiming.
2. Realize you are proclaiming the Word. Be expressive (but not histrionic). Don’t rush. But don’t be so slow that people think you cannot read easily.
3. Keep your finger on your space in the text and look up, make eye contact with your brothers and sisters for whom you are reading. You are helping them encounter God in the Word proclaimed.
4. Use your “thirty foot” voice, not your “six inch” voice. Speak from your diaphragm not your throat.
5. Practice with the microphone beforehand. Ask someone if you can…

August 17th, 2010

The priest’s stole is worn around the neck, like a yoke. The deacon’s stole is slung across one shoulder and the opposite hip. The stole is a “sign” or “badge” of office. The liturgical vestments (alb, stoles, chasubles) indicate the positions of service to the community provided by bishops, priests and deacons.
Many cultural realities have something analogous to this. Various indicators of captains on sports teams are ubiquitous (e.g. the arm cuff worn by one player on each side during the World Cup).
Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University writes: “In the light of the Second Vatican Council’s call for an overall simplification…

August 10th, 2010

Question:… How do I get a Catholic hospital chaplain to visit my father in the hospital?  With the Hippa laws, they don’t send them over anymore.
Very easy. Every hospital I have ever been in has a pastoral care dept. or chaplains’ office. Ask your nurse for the number. Call them and tell them you would like your father to be visited by the priest or Eucharistic minister. Also, if you are near your home parish, call the rectory and inform them your father is in the hospital.
Know that priests and pastoral ministers cannot read peoples’ minds. Be ready and willing to share with them the level of involvement with the church that the ill person usually maintains. It is awkward to be asked to bring communion to “Dad”

August 3rd, 2010

First, ask yourself who died and left you in charge of making such judgments of taste? Remember the old Latin phrase, “de gustibus non disputatem est” (there’s no accounting for taste). I would bet $100 that what you “don’t like” someone else in the congregation “does like.”
A story: One lady got mad at me once because I didn’t urge people to receive on the tongue. When I tried to point out to her the church’s clear teaching on the option of receiving in the hand, I had the distinct impression that she was one day going to be telling someone about this priest, i.e., me, who didn’t do what she “likes.” Most people like it when I play the guitar to emphasize a point in a homily at a college…

July 27th, 2010

There’s an old Latin phrase, de gustibus non disputatem est (“there’s no accounting for taste”). Personally, I think visiting Cathedrals is always interesting. From The National Shrine in Washington, DC, to the Western flavor of the Cathedral in Salt Lake City to the flow of humanity I’ve observed in Cathedrals from Philadelphia to Seattle, I always am amazed at the reality of the church on display in these buildings and human meeting spaces.

July 20th, 2010

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are the methods of prayer and ways of relating to God that Ignatius of Loyola developed in the years after his conversion to Christ. Ignatius realized God loves us and wants to deal personally with each of us. One way to let God be God in our lives is to pull back from the hustle of daily life and go on retreat.
The full Exercises usually entail 30 days of silent retreat divided into four “Weeks” (roughly seven days). Each day the retreatant spends four or five hours of prayer a day and attends daily Eucharist. Daily, she or he will meet with a Director of the Exercises, one trained to guide and coach a person through the experience.
The First Week, the person making the Exercises…

July 13th, 2010

Call your local parish and get the number for the chancery (the main office of the Bishop of diocese). The folks at your local chancery will be happy to help you with this request.
Judy Grant, the ever capable and friendly parish administrator at St. Anthony’s Parish in Cody WY (where I’m based while I celebrate Masses in Yellowstone National Park in the summer), suggests writing directly to the office of the Bishop of Rome. Here’s the Pope’s mailing address:
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City
email: benedictxvi@vatican.va
The Pontifical North American College in Rome has a Bishop’s office for American Visitors to Rome. I imagine they would be able to help also. Their…

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