Busted Halo
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Richard G. Malloy, SJ :
103 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).
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…

June 22nd, 2010
Seeking the sacred in soccer

For me, the World Cup intimates something of what God is and can be for us. The principle guiding our getting together and enjoying life. The meaning of our days. The joy of our victories and our consoler in defeat. If, as St. Ignatius taught, we should seek God in all things and God wants to be with the people of earth, then He has to be at the World Cup in South Africa this summer. Look for Him there.
It was 1982. I was teaching an English class of fifty primeros (high school freshmen) at Colegio San Mateo, the Jesuit school in Osorno, Chile, deep in the South of that beautiful country. Class was rolling along. The Chilean kids were always respectful and well behaved. Suddenly, they all just started standing up and walking…

June 8th, 2010

That priests are somehow “different.” I’ve often been told, “I can’t believe you’re a priest.” I don’t know if that says something about me, or the priests they have met. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was when I was told, “You’re cool. You’re not what I expected a priest to be like. You don’t walk around like you have a stick up your behnd.”
In my experience, so many people really don’t know priests. Especially young people, college age, don’t know any priests under seventy years of age, so when they meet someone like me who is a fanatical fisherman, a faithful Phillies fan, plays the guitar, knows the movies they’ve seen, and can just hang out with them, they are surprised.…

June 1st, 2010

Mortal sin is deadly sin, those freely chosen acts and dispositions that make the reality of God’s grace (i.e., his love and power) dry up in us. God can no longer relate to us because our sins have pushed God out of our lives. Pride, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Greed, Envy, Sloth, freely chosen and acted on, can ruin our lives. Take gluttony. A 1200 lb. person is not able to live happily, the way God desires us to live. Or the destruction and greed that Bernie Madoff caused. Social sin, like war or corporate malfeasance, can also be mortal, i.e., deadly.
Mortal sin is not easy to commit. The sinner must know and realize the act is grave matter, have full knowledge he or she is committing such sin, and give full consent of the will…

May 25th, 2010

The word God speaks to us is our life. Sit quietly and ask yourself the following question:
What really fills me with joy and passion?
God is speaking there. We can think about this in a number of ways. Who do you really love and who loves you? God is in those relationships, communicating who and what you and the persons with whom you are in relation are becoming for all eternity. What injustice or evil makes your blood boil and calls for your action(s) to set things right? God is very likely in that experience. How do you prepare for Mass? Too often we walk into the work of the liturgy with less preparation than we make for seeing a Friday night movie. Read the readings all week before Sunday Mass and see how God’s communication…

May 20th, 2010

The quick answer is that bread and wine during the Eucharist are not transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus of Nazareth, but the glorified reality of the risen Christ. The sacramental signs of bread and wine are substantially (trans-substantiation), by the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit, become Christ present to us and in us. As Catholics, we receive the Eucharist (we don’t “take” the Eucharist). The sacrament achieves by signifying. A too literal reading of the words means one misses the deeper realities communicated by metaphor and meaning.
The deeper answer needs more awareness of what a sacrament is and how a sacrament achieves the mediation of God’s grace. The question presupposes…

May 18th, 2010

Ghosts are figments of novelists’ and Hollywood movie makers’ imaginations. Ghosts are the souls or spirits of the dead that somehow manifest themselves to the living. Despite popular stories (Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, etc.), no one has ever proven the existence of Ghosts. For decades, James Randi has offered a prize of $1,000,000 dollars to anyone who can prove the paranormal. He hasn’t had to pay anyone yet.
As those who follow Jesus “We believe… in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” The transformation in Christ that begins at baptism reaches culmination when we die. Death is when our souls separate from our mortal bodies and our mortal bodies decay. We hope and trust our souls…

May 11th, 2010

Contact the proper authorities. Any parish, diocesan office or local police station can hear your suspicions, help you evaluate the evidence you do have, and take appropriate action. If the priest has several other allegations against him, even if you do not have proof, another person voicing suspicions will call attention to the matter. Still, make real sure of your suspicions. Has the victim told you he or she has been abused? A false allegation can destroy people’s lives, both the life of the supposed perpetrator, in this case the priest, and also the suspected victim. No one, especially a child or adolescent, wants to be embroiled in the fantasy of someone’s overactive imagination, and have everyone…

May 6th, 2010

The first thing I wonder on reading your question is why you feel the need to make such a distinction? Jesus commands, “Stop Judging that you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1). St. Ignatius counsels that the first question one should ask if one feels the need to correct another is if one is, in truth and love, the one to make the correction. Maybe the correction will be better received and appropriated if the appropriate person suggests the correction.
On another level, the answer to your question is rather obvious: ask the person. Only a person in the sanctity of their own conscience can decide if he or she is rejecting the Catholic faith. Only the person can tell you if they are rejecting the faith. And, even if they do so…

April 20th, 2010

Well, you can.  The question is should you?  More importantly, what is God asking of you in this situation?  Mostly consider refraining from sex until after the wedding.  Even if you are now in a “committed relationship” you are still immersed in a culture whose first commandment is, “If it feels good, do it.”  Maybe the idea of “Wait! It will feel and be even better!” is worth considering.

There is so much wrong with the hook-up culture in which so many young people try and form their minds and hearts and prepare for marriage.  But the worst thing about hook-ups (solely physical sex without any expectation of any further connection, let alone relationship) is that such encounters make sex so much…

April 15th, 2010

If I know some of the products I buy (like Nike sneakers for example) were made in sweatshops, am I morally bound by the church not to purchase them?

Are you morally bound by the church or your conscience?  The church teaches you must follow your rightly formed conscience.  Check out this video of Jim Keady who gave up a job as a soccer coach at St. John’s University rather than wear Nike apparel.

Jim now spends his life trying to educate us on the issues you raise.  Visit his website  http://educatingforjustice.org/

Walter LaFeber’s Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism… (Norton 2002) revealed that Nike paid Jordan more per year to be Nike’s “face” than they paid all the women combined who labored

April 13th, 2010

Sure you can.  The question is should you?  More importantly, what is God asking of you in this situation?  A helpful book for you would be Dean Brackley’s The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times.


More intriguing is the fact you are asking the question.  Obviously, you are aware that as Catholics, we find pornography abusive and troubling on many levels.  Pornography “does grave injury to the dignity of the participants… since one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others” (CCC #2354).  The Catechism goes on to speak of porn’s more subtle and  insidious damage.  Porn immerses one in “a fantasy world.”  Such fantasy can make it very difficult to live with reality. 

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