Busted Halo

Caitlin Kennell Kim, seminary grad, baby wrangler, ordinary radical, writes about the life of a convert in the Catholic Church and explores how faith and everyday life intersect.

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March 19th, 2013

Pope Francis greets a boy after celebrating Mass at St. Anne's Parish within the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets a boy after celebrating Mass at St. Anne’s Parish within the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms;
I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. (from an ancient prayer to St. Joseph)

I want to talk about fathers. I want to talk about fathers because — despite what one might garner from nearly every aspect of popular culture — they matter. They matter profoundly. I want to talk about fathers today because it is the Feast of St. Joseph and the day in which our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, will celebrate his installation. So, in honor of these two humble and loving fathers and in honor of all humble and loving fathers, we need to talk.

One day early last week as our alarm clock radio started blaring at 6:30 a.m., the voice of a woman tore me from my sleep. “Top 10 reasons why your husband is just another one of your kids,” she chortled. …

March 16th, 2013

We have a new pope and Fr. Jack Collins, CSP, hits the streets to find out what people know of the new pontiff, asking about his name and origins as well as their hopes and advice for the new head of the Church.…

March 12th, 2013

angelsdemonsWith all the excitement surrounding the conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor, I was reminded of a certain fictional depiction of a papal conclave: Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, specifically the 2009 film version directed by Ron Howard.

In Angels & Demons, Brown’s Robert Langdon (who is also the protagonist of The Da Vinci Code) finds himself once again embroiled in controversy regarding the Catholic Church, this time in connection with the death of the pope and a bomb threat against the conclave and Vatican City.

Although Brown has been criticized for misrepresenting the Church, when recently re-watching Angels & Demons, I actually found that he isn’t that far off in regard to certain traditions, specifically some elements of his portrayal of the conclave. That’s not to say, though, that Dan Brown is always right — the man makes his errors, too. To help you sort out fact from fiction, here’s a breakdown of some story points from the movie and how they relate to Conclave 2013.

March 6th, 2013

Visit our Facebook page to view all the results of Papal Madness…

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Habemus falsum papam!
We have a fake pope!

Though voting was tight most of yesterday between the final two Papal Madness competitors, Stephen Colbert ultimately triumphed over His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan by approximately 50 votes, making him the winner of this bracket and naming him Pope Stephen XI (a.k.a. Pope Suburban I, as coined by Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, in a recent Colbert Report appearance.) Now, we won’t get into the specifics of whether Colbert is actually the 10th or 11th pope to be named Stephen, we’ll just congratulate him on his win and wish the Cardinals as much success in their conclave as we’ve had in ours.

Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in knowing how they will truly elect the pope, (and no, it’s not a bracket contest), check out our informative short video.

Thanks for playing everyone! Below is a little wisdom from our new fake pope on the Catholic faith.

Papal Madness Champion:
Pope Stephen XI

01-colbertStephen Colbert is the winner of Busted Halo‘s® Papal Madness tournament. Colbert enjoys the spotlight nearly as …

March 6th, 2013

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in a scene from the movie Skyfall. (CNS/Columbia Pictures)

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in a scene from the movie Skyfall. (CNS/Columbia Pictures)

Having just won two Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Sound Editing (and recently out on DVD), the James Bond film Skyfall is certainly in the midst of some media spotlight at the moment. But there’s another reason that Skyfall is particularly relevant right now — the way its themes coincide with the season of Lent.

In quick summary for those of you unfamiliar with Skyfall, the film follows James Bond, Agent 007, as he faces off against a terrorist named Silva who wages war on Britain, the secret service organization MI6 and its leader M. In addition to his foe, Bond must also overcome the challenges raised against him by his age and the wounds (both physical and mental) that his job as a secret agent has afforded him.

So just where, then, do the season of Lent and the film Skyfall overlap?

The idea of mortality

“Think on your sins.” When Silva broadcasts this message to M, it carries a sinister and foreboding terror — clearly, this man is out for revenge, to make M pay for the “sins” …

March 5th, 2013

Head to our Facebook page right now for your final chance to vote in Papal Madness…

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Wow. Yesterday’s matchups were not as exciting as the final four should have been, with both Stephen Colbert and Cardinal Dolan tearing through their opponents and thus advancing to the final round of Papal Madness. Does the blame lie with us not doing a better job of seeding this thing (which is actually a lot harder than it looks), or is it the anomaly of No. 4 seed Mark Wahlberg upsetting the Music region and thus not putting up a better showing against the Cardinal? We always figured (and dare we say hoped), that Colbert would advance to the last round, and he (and you the readers via voting) did not disappoint.

And now here we are: The Holy Father Face-Off…

If you haven’t already, go to our Facebook page and vote on today’s big matchup.

Today’s showdown is a dream come true for the modern Catholic, Christian, seeker, or pretty much anyone who’s interested in the intersection of faith and (pop) culture, as the Cardinal and Colbert meet up once again. In the one corner we have one of the more …

March 4th, 2013
Farmers and their advocates protest outside a supermarket for fair wages. (CNS photo/Jim West)

Farmers and their advocates protest outside a supermarket for fair wages. (CNS photo/Jim West)

This year I’m not fasting during Lent. Period. Not because I’ve given up on the concept of fasting as spiritually edifying. Not because I’m the worst faster in the long and storied history of fasting (which, by the way, I am). Not because I have a tendency to be rebellious, defiant, and stubborn (me, me, and — let’s face it — me).

This year I’m not fasting because I’m pregnant with our fourth little one and, in her inspired and loving wisdom, Mother Church has given me a pass. I’m still practicing abstinence from meat… but it didn’t quite seem like enough. So, this Lent I’m retracing the steps of a spiritual adventure I embarked upon last year. I am aiming at the fast the Prophet Isaiah describes — a fast from injustice. I have a few new ideas. I hope you’ll come along with me — in addition to your Lenten fast, in lieu of a traditional fast (not everyone is obligated to fast), or in an “oh… fudge” attempt to salvage a Lent that to this point resembles one long, drawn-out, and …

March 4th, 2013

Visit our Facebook page and vote on who you want to see go head-to-head in the last round of Papal Madness…

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It’s Day 5 of Papal Madness and we’re perplexed: Do people really like Mark Wahlberg this much, or are Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney just not as popular as we believed? Meanwhile, the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Dolan, took Busted Halo‘s® very own Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, to the cleaners; Stephen Colbert triumphed over Conan O’Brien; and Martin Sheen made quick work out of Jim Caviezel.

If you haven’t already, go to our Facebook page and vote on today’s matchups.

Well, we’ve arrived at the Faithful Four. In the top part of the bracket it should be no surprise that we have our two No. 1 seeds from the Media/Politics and the Hollywood regions facing off as the always hilarious and devout pundit Stephen Colbert takes on beloved Catholic actor Martin Sheen. And in the bottom half it’s No. 3 seed His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan vs. No. 4 Marky Mark Wahlberg. Who will we see in tomorrow’s final matchup? Could it be a replay of the Cardinal and Colbert, or perhaps the stars of …

March 1st, 2013

Visit our Facebook page right now and scroll down to vote on who will be in the Final Four of Papal Madness…

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pollStephen Colbert absolutely obliterated MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during yesterday’s “Spiritual Sixteen,” with Matthews only getting 4.3% of the total vote — the biggest deficit Papal Madness has seen to date. Upsets of the day included actor Jim Caviezel prevailing over director Martin Scorsese, and the surprising win of Mark Wahlberg over Bruce Springsteen. (How did that happen?!!!) Jesuit fans out there will be sad to say goodbye to Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, who lost to none other than His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

If you haven’t already, head over to our Facebook page to vote on the “Ecclesiastical Eight.”

Today’s matchups leave nothing to be desired: Two of the most Catholic actors in Hollywood face-off when No. 1 seed Martin Sheen takes on No. 6 Jim Caviezel. In the Media/Politics region, No. 1 Stephen Colbert goes head-to-head with fellow comedian Conan O’Brien, and No. 2 seed in the Music region, Sir Paul McCartney, confronts surprising 3rd rounder, No. 4 Mark Wahlberg. Meanwhile in the Friends of Busted Halo® region, things may turn …

February 28th, 2013

(Visit our Facebook page and scroll down to continue voting in Papal Madness…)

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Obviously, the big papal news today is that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning at 8pm Vatican City time (2pm EST), so for a quick overview of what’s going to happen next in the real world of choosing the pope, check out our video, “How Do Catholics Elect the Pope?”.

But if you’re interested in the more fun and creative way of doing things, go vote in Day 3 of our Papal Madness bracket by selecting your favorites from the second round of contenders, “The Spiritual Sixteen”.

Yesterday’s matchups held no real surprises, as most of the top seeds from both the Hollywood and Friends of Busted Halo® regions advanced. There was a slight upset when No. 6 seed Jim Caviezel took out director Kevin Smith, but since Caviezel’s claim to fame is portraying the son of God, we probably should have seen that one coming. Despite his best efforts of rallying his readers and friends, Mike Hayes was unable to best No. 2 seed Fr. Jim Martin. The closest race was between two Paulist Fathers, as Steven Bell took on and …

February 28th, 2013

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. (CNS photo/Michael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin)

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. (CNS photo/Michael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin)

As Congress struggles with how to create a national budget, and with hundreds of billions of dollars of cuts to the military, federal agencies, and social service programs looming, a group of religious leaders released a letter this week reminding elected officials of their duty to the poor and marginalized.

Calling themselves the “Circle of Protection,” the group drafted a letter to President Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, thanking them for their commitment to reducing the staggering national deficit, and also asking them to consider the poor by sparing social programs, whenever possible, during this process.

They write that there are legitimate debates to be held about how to run government most effectively, and the role that it should play in society, but they call for actions that prevent “a serious economic setback or push more people into poverty” and that will “advance the common good, ensure fairness, and defend the most vulnerable is good religion and good politics.”

Of note in the …

February 27th, 2013

(Go to our Facebook page and scroll down to keep voting in our Papal Madness bracket…)

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Papal Madness got off to a terrific start yesterday in Day 1 of our contest. We had some exciting matchups, even though they had some fairly predictable outcomes: top seed Stephen Colbert trounced fellow pundit Bill O’Reilly, Bruce Springsteen destroyed Morrissey, and Sir Paul McCartney routed Eddie Van Halen. It’s been a big week for Canada, first with Ben Affleck’s name drop during his Oscar acceptance speech, and now in Papal Madness with Canadian crooner, Michael Bublé, overcoming the very talented, Jack White. (We’ll see how well Bublé fairs tomorrow against fellow subject of the crown, Sir Paul McCartney.) The closest contest by far was former rapper turned actor, Mark Wahlberg, defeating smooth singer and pianist, Harry Connick, Jr. (Perhaps the voters went with acting talent over musical faculties?) Other winners included Joe Biden over John Kerry, Conan O’Brien over Marco Rubio, and Chris Matthews over Sean Hannity.

And now, Day 2 begins. Head over to our Facebook page now to vote on the Hollywood and Friends of Busted Halo® regionals (see the competitors below). If you don’t see the voting polls …

February 26th, 2013

(Go to our Facebook page to begin voting in our Papal Madness bracket right now…)

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Well, it’s that time of the century, where the election of a new pope coincides with March’s NCAA basketball tournament. The cardinals will soon gather for the papal conclave in Rome, most likely to choose someone from within their own ranks to succeed Pope Benedict XVI. However, there’s always the remote chance they look outside of the College of Cardinals for a successor — because technically you don’t have to be a cardinal, bishop or even a priest to be elected pope. Any baptized, single, male Catholic can be chosen, who would then need to be ordained a priest and then ordained a bishop in order to accept his new title as Bishop of Rome.

With that we present you the chance to help select the next pope with Busted Halo’s® Papal Madness, a bracket contest of baptized Catholics, who are all technically eligible to take up the chair of St. Peter (except, in some cases, for that whole being single part…oh well). It’s up to you to help us figure out which of these would make the best papal candidate. …

February 22nd, 2013
Daniel Day-Lewis stars in a scene from the movie, Lincoln. (CNS/DreamWorks)

Daniel Day-Lewis stars in a scene from the movie, Lincoln. (CNS/DreamWorks)

Daniel Day-Lewis has long been one of my favorite actors, and I’m not alone. This year he’s sweeping the awards circuit and taking home every best actor prize (and will most likely take home the Oscar this Sunday) for his portrayal of the 16th president of the United States in Lincoln.

Day-Lewis becomes Abraham Lincoln on screen. We aren’t that familiar with what Lincoln was actually like because he wasn’t president in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. Reporters didn’t blog about him, replay or even play sound bites from his speeches. He was the first president (along with the first family) to be widely photographed, though it was nothing like the White House Flickr page.

We know Lincoln led the country through a bitter, bloody Civil War (and the film pays tribute to the soldiers who fought, died and were wounded.) After Lincoln’s own personal beliefs about slavery in the United States progressed, he worked to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery. Lincoln was known for his oratorical skills, despite having what some historians characterized as a reedy, high-pitched voice (or higher …

February 20th, 2013

pi-largeWhat happens when a bookworm sees a novel-inspired movie? Personally, I get very nervous. I don’t like to see my favorite books exploited by Hollywood to attract large crowds to the box office. Many times directors lose sight of important aspects of the book and focus on sensational visual effects. Having read the novel by Yann Matel, I think Life of Pi was a perfect balance of effects and the original story. The movie was also able to capture the spiritual and religious significance of the book — what to me made Life of Pi a moving read.

Simply put, Life of Pi is a story about a boy who really just wants to love God. We learn that Pi was first introduced to God through Hinduism; however, he yearns to understand many religions. He meets people who share Christianity and Islam with him. I found this so interesting because most people are born into their parents’ faith and go their whole lives practicing it without questioning it. I have always been curious about other faiths, and I’ve enjoyed learning about them in the various theology classes I’ve taken. But I never once considered that I would practice them in …

February 15th, 2013

giving-up-to-goImagine a life without hearing the words, “Is that for here or to go?” No coffee to go. No drive-thrus. No take-out containers.

Imagine walking into a coffee shop where no one is staring at a piece of technology. Instead everyone is either engaged in conversation or silently taking in the scene around them.

Impossible? Maybe in this country. But such was my life along the Camino. For 37 days my only option was to sit down and enjoy my beverage or my meal. Instead of assuming I wanted everything in a disposable container “to go,” it was assumed I was sticking around and thus everything was served on real plates with utensils made from something other than plastic. Takeout was not even an option.

Walking into any cafe along the Camino, I rarely saw people staring into the screen of their laptops, or scrolling through the Internet on their phones. I saw something that used to be common in coffee shops: people gathered talking to each other.

I loved this single-focus mindset. It was impossible to drink coffee while walking on the Camino — they were two independent tasks, each to be enjoyed in their own right. …

February 14th, 2013
How the new pope might engage the political world.

Pope Benedict XVI and U.S. President Barack Obama during Obama's 2009 visit to the Vatican. (CNS photo/Chris Helgren, Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI and U.S. President Barack Obama during Obama’s 2009 visit to the Vatican. (CNS photo/Chris Helgren, Reuters)

For the past 700 years or so, the election of a new Pope was always preceded by the death of another, and so it meant, presumably, that Catholics would spend some time mourning the loss of their spiritual leader before considering who might serve next. This time around, however, with Pope Benedict XVI’s startling announcement Monday, many Catholics are mourning the end of a papacy, perhaps, but also looking quite quickly to the future, eagerly wondering who will be elected to lead their church.

The election of a pope is most definitely spiritual business. Guided by the Holy Spirit, cardinals, men selected by a pope because of some immense contribution to the life of the Catholic Church, (in this case, all 117 eligible electors were made cardinals by either Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI) cloister themselves inside St. Peter’s Basilica and consider the traits they’d like in the man who will lead the world’s largest Christian church. This is done, we are told, with a profound sense of prayer and reflection, and it’s not a responsibility any one of …

February 13th, 2013

What is Lent? What are the three practices the Church suggests we do during Lent based on the teachings of Jesus? Why do Catholics eat fish on Fridays and why is it called “Good” Friday, anyway? Fr. Jack Collins, CSP, is once again hitting the streets, this time on Ash Wednesday near St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, asking these questions and more.…

February 5th, 2013

Bipolar disorder, depression, obsession, loss and isolation — not topics that you would think add up to an Oscar-nominated love story. But Silver Linings Playbook shines a light into the dark corners of life that we often try to ignore and balances them with touching moments of connection and healing. Not to mention healthy doses of football and dancing. David O. Russell, the film’s writer and director, uses humor and empathy to draw attention to serious issues in a story about a flawed man who transforms his life with the help of love and family.

When we meet Pat Solitano, played by Bradley Cooper, he has had a rough year. He spent eight months in a mental institution being treated for bipolar disorder. His unfaithful wife has left him and he has no job. Pat’s endgame — to win back the love of his estranged wife — is misguided, but it gets him out of bed in the morning. It’s only after he meets Tiffany, a young widow with her own mental health issues played by Jennifer Lawrence, that Pat realizes he needs to change course. Tiffany and Pat lean on one another, celebrate small victories, and …

January 31st, 2013
Will John Kerry look for global guidance from his faith?

Tomorrow, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry will be sworn in as Secretary of State, taking control as Hillary Clinton begins the next chapter of her very public life. Clinton visited more than 120 countries and racked up one million miles of travel. She introduced a refreshing sort of diplomacy, bringing American soft power to the people, hosting Q&A events with everyday folk in the countries she visited, paying special attentions to issues that affect the lives of the most vulnerable, women, and children.

Kerry, a Catholic, begins his tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat at a time when international flare-ups abound and pressures on the United States at home and abroad are great. He will face the well-known crises of civil war in Syria, the faltering transition to democracy in Egypt, human rights abuses and currency manipulation in China, and a litany of other high stakes affairs.

What, though, are some of the other challenges that Kerry might bring back into the spotlight? Could his faith guide him toward advancing human rights in the forgotten places where U.S. involvement might help individuals lead more dignified lives? Below are five suggestions that the new …

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