Busted Halo
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April 16th, 2012

Few of us think or live like Don Draper from “Mad Men.” You won’t find me hiding behind my office door drinking whiskey, concealing secret affairs or unseemly behavior. My office doesn’t even have a door. Seeing the way Don treats certain people you might call him heartless. But there’s something about Don Draper that shows he’s truly in touch with the human heart.
In the third episode of season five, Don and his colleague Harry are backstage at a Rolling Stones concert waiting to meet the band’s manager about an advertising deal. While waiting, Don begins speaking to a young female fan:
Don: So what do you like so much about the Rolling Stones?
Girl: Why don’t you get me backstage and you’ll see.…

April 2nd, 2012

It’s game time. Tonight is the NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Game. Over the weekend Kentucky was victorious over Louisville in the bluegrass battle and Kansas edged out Ohio State. Unfortunately, not a single religiously affiliated school made it through to the Final Four in the men’s tourney. The NCAA Women’s Tournament was a different story. Baylor (Baptist) and Notre Dame (Catholic) overpowered their opposition — Stanford and UConn, respectively — to land in the women’s championship game.
Men’s Recap
The weekend started with Kentucky handling Louisville fairly easily. The game was close for a quick spurt during the second half and was briefly tied, but for the most part…

March 29th, 2012

I wasn’t going to write about The Hunger Games movie – I’m a huge fan of the books and had no advance screening, so I just went to the theater with everyone else on opening night as a consumer. But I have to share my reaction to concern expressed about The Hunger Games…‘ violence which I’ve read in the days following the movie’s release. I was certainly very interested to see how the makers of the movie would deal with translating the book’s extreme brutality against and among children into a movie that children could watch. I am surprised they went as far as they did and think they came very close to the edge. There’s lots of blood, and a few of the children are killed onscreen

March 23rd, 2012

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, then you know some one who has. The books and the movie adaptation, which opens today, have been the subject of an enormous amount of buzz for some time now. The series was hugely popular with young adults almost as soon as the first novel was released. Critics, writers and readers alike have been raving about it.
Set in a not-so-distant dystopian future, The Hunger Games… is essentially about survival in the worst of conditions. A totalitarian government controls the nation of Panem — what was once North America and is now a vast nation of 12 “districts” and the Capitol. To keep its subjects in the districts in submission, this

March 22nd, 2012
A March Madness update and a look at the ethics and morals that “rule” college basketball

March Madness continues and I can hear brackets busting all over the country. I doubt that very few people predicted the outcomes of last Friday’s games. As of right now my bracket is fine, but I have already lost two of my final four teams and will therefore struggle mightily as the tourney continues. As you already know there are several religious institutions in the men’s and women’s tournaments this year, and some of them are doing quite well. Three such schools have made it into the Sweet 16 — Baylor, Marquette, and Xavier. Unfortunately, this number is guaranteed to shrink due to the fact that Baylor and Xavier will play for the right to enter the Elite Eight, while Marquette will battle Florida for…

March 18th, 2012
March Madness with a Catholic twist (UPDATED BRACKETS)

Football season is over, the start of the baseball season is still a month away, and yet this is my favorite time of the sports year — March Madness. Aside from the joy I get from any use of alliteration, the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament offers 68 different teams the opportunity to compete for the championship trophy. (Scroll down to read the rest of the article!)
Click the bracket below to view a larger version or if you’d like, click here for a downloadable PDF. And click here for the women’s bracket.…

It is not unusual to see schools with religious associations competing extremely well during the college basketball season and championship tournament. That’s not the case in college

March 17th, 2012
Why we celebrate a Saint with song and drink

It’s March. The air is getting slightly less frigid, the wind is blowing, the snow is (God willing) starting to melt. This can only mean one thing: it’s time to start rocking the green and drinking the beer. In other words, it’s time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’re Irish and Catholic or anything else imaginable, March 17 is a day of revelry and fun, where everyone takes part in the traditional celebratory green beer and expects kisses simply for being “Irish” (even when they’re not). All this revelry is understandable in celebration of such a wonderful saint, but the question has to be asked: Why do we celebrate a man of God with excessive drinking, songs, and the color green? It might…

February 6th, 2012

Next month Busted Halo® turns 10!… BustedHalo.com was founded 10 years ago in order to help young adult spiritual seekers explore their faith and connect with other young adults on their own journeys toward God. We’re still at it with thought-provoking articles, blogs, and columns, engaging videos, informative podcasts, and “The Busted Halo® Show with Father Dave” on Sirius XM Radio.
Since we’re turning 10, it’s time for a party. And we want to celebrate with the Busted Halo® community. We’d like to invite you to share your personal story of how Busted Halo® makes a difference in your life. What does Busted Halo® mean to you? What’s your favorite thing about Busted Halo®? Create a short

January 30th, 2012

Not a football fan? Neither am I. But in a country where football is more or less a religion, it’s hard to escape the clamor and commotion surrounding the holiest of holy days — Super Bowl Sunday. I’ve managed to circumvent The Big Game for the past few years (one of the perks of attending a women’s college), but now that the Giants have made it to the championship and New York is teeming with football mania, I’ll have to try a lot harder to dodge the Super Bowl bullet. To help me — and you — get through this football-filled festivity, I’ve come up with a few ideas.
1. Puppy Bowl VIII
For more than two hours, beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday February 5, Animal Planet offers the most brilliant solution…

January 27th, 2012

“We Need to Talk About Kevin” is already playing in NYC; it opens today in LA, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix and is rolling out nationwide.

Sometimes Zuzu’s petals are all you have to hold onto. That’s the underlying message of We Need to Talk about Kevin, Lynne Ramsey’s remarkable allegory on the transcendent nature of relationships. At first glance, it would seem that Kevin is yet another installment in the pantheon of post-modern films intent upon assaulting the human desire to give meaning to the world. Indeed, Kevin is a relentless film that gives its audience few opportunities to come up for air from the depths of anguish to which it plummets.

Yet it is in those infrequent instances of relief, conversion and mercy that the film finds its identity and direction. Kevin is a story of hope for a new millennium, an It’s a Wonderful Life in the age of school shootings and planes crashing into buildings — a world-weary world that has been bombarded by nihilistic themes in their narratives for the better part of a century. It is a world where any attempts to offer a message of mercy, conversion and redemption must be done deftly and authentically, because at the end of the day, sometimes the community won’t rally around you and more often than not Mr. Potter carries the day.

January 25th, 2012

[The Tree of Life… was a surprise nominee for Best Picture in the 2012 Academy Awards nominations on January 24. This is our review of the film originally published on June 20, 2011. For full Oscars coverage and commentary, visit our special

December 31st, 2011
(1942 – 2011)

When Clarence Clemons joined the E Street Band in October 1972, I was six months old. He was just beginning his musical partnership in a New Jersey shore town that was recovering from a race riot that had destroyed the city and I was just beginning my life in a suburban New Jersey town 60 miles away, whose last major disturbance was the arrival of George Washington’s troops at Jockey Hollow. For the most part, the major shocks of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s were settling down into a very long hangover in which the following generations — mine included — would have to learn how to bridge the divides and the injustices of the past by simply learning how to live with one another.
But growing up…

December 30th, 2011

For most of the public history of alcoholism and drug addiction all the way back to Noah, the general impression has been that it is something that happens to men. Women might have gotten “in trouble” with prescription drugs or white wine, but it was men who were drunks. Men were sent to prison; women were sent to mental hospitals. Of course women were drinking and drugging and some of them were getting in serious trouble, just like men. But mostly it was happening behind closed doors. It just wasn’t proper.
In a groundbreaking 1954 article in Good Housekeeping…, “Letter To A Woman Alcoholic,” writer Margaret Lee Runbeck appealed to female readers who were struggling with addiction

December 27th, 2011
(1932-2011)

Could there have been anyone more gorgeous, more sumptuous, and more glamorous to a girl growing up in the ‘50s and 60s than Elizabeth Taylor, or “Liz,” as we called her? The very shortening of her name to “Liz” is a clue to how we took her to our hearts. She wasn’t distant or far away; she was approachable, loveable. From the fresh young girl with the impossible violet eyes in National Velvet, to the sultry woman attired only in a slip in Butterfield 8, to the raucous and angry wife in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf…, Liz never played it safe. She took risks.
Her wide-eyed stare into the loving eye of the camera did not just spell out her beauty; it announced, “I am who I am —

November 17th, 2011

“Here it comes!” my husband said, as the wind slammed our hillside house and a storm of heavy, wet flakes descended on our deck. It felt as if the sky were turning itself inside out and then falling on top of us. Beautiful, yes; scary, just a bit. The furnace stopped humming and embraced silence as a spiritual path. The refrigerator subsided, muttering, then was quiet. All of the lights were snuffed, as if light itself were being hoarded within the bulbs until a better day presented itself.

We sprang into action. Luckily, we could dip buckets into a half-filled hot tub in the basement and haul them upstairs for flushing toilets. We got out the candles and the hurricane lanterns, one so old it barely worked, a relict from hurricanes during my own childhood. My husband ran out onto the deck and started piling wood into a leather carrier, lugging it indoors — along with a blast of wet, cold air.

October 26th, 2011
Is Halloween really the holiday from Hell?

From my high school students this time of year I often get a lot of questions like this:
“Mr. H., why are we celebrating Halloween? I mean, isn’t it a pagan/demonic/commercial holiday anyway?”
Well, let’s look at a tiny bit of the history of this ghoulish night of witches and goblins. Or is it a gleeful night for saints and angels? Let’s go way back to the 8th century, when a chapel dedicated to the memory of all the holy martyrs in Rome was declared. This feast, which happened to coincide with other pagan festivals — such as the Irish samhain… (pronounced “souwain”) celebrating the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter with a touch of playful remembrance

October 20th, 2011
Now available on DVD

The Way, written and directed by Emilio Estevez (Bobby) and starring his father, Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The West Wing, The Departed), is rather obviously about the spiritual journey. The Camino de Santiago, called “The Way,” is a literal spiritual journey, a 1,000-year-old 500-mile pilgrimage route across the Pyrenees. The lead character Tom (Sheen) takes a physical journey to Spain and eventually on the Camino while also taking a spiritual journey starting with word that his son (Estevez) has died. Many of the other characters Tom meets along the way are on their own spiritual journeys, whether they are Camino pilgrims or not. 

Despite being built around a religious pilgrimage, however, The Way is not a “faith-based” film; rather, it is a movie about a human story, and the human story. There is no preaching; there are no soppy scenes meant to tug at the spiritual heartstrings. Estevez’s writing reveals a sophisticated understanding of the beautiful brokenness of people, the glorious absurdity of it all. One of the overarching themes is how Tom gets thrown together with other pilgrims. Not only was it his intent to travel alone, but if he were to travel with others, these are definitely not the others he would choose. But it is precisely through struggling with each other’s imperfections that we are challenged, pushed outside our comfort zone, and, sometimes, forced to grow spiritually whether we like it or not.

October 18th, 2011
One woman joins an artists' community organized by an unlikely character

I remember the first time I met Fr. Frank Sabatté. It was my junior year at the School Of Visual Arts and I was participating in a group show with two other artists. Me (the photographer) and two painters. The one thing we three had in common was that our work “explored the complexities of the erotic.” So imagine my surprise when a man walked up to me and announced he’s a priest. I found myself struggling to articulate that I was exploring the notion of sexual attraction. Fr. Frank listened with consideration, and before he left we exchanged cards. I thought for sure that was that.
A few weeks later I received an e-mail from Fr. Frank, a Paulist priest, inviting me to a group discussion on art and…

October 11th, 2011

In one of the opening shots of Machine Gun Preacher,… a member of warlord Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) kneels a mother down before her child. He hands the child a club and screams something at him in his native language. The child, terrified, flinches every time the soldier screams at him, and keeps glancing at his mother who, with a quivering lip, nods at her child, eyes brimming with tears. The child looks back at the soldier, who lifts a gun to the child’s head and barks at him again. The child slowly lifts the club over his head, and looks for one last time into the eyes of his mother. He winds up and brings the club down with all his might. The screen goes black.
Later in the movie, viewers learn this child

September 30th, 2011

We’re a nation captivated by coupons. We see them advertised everywhere: Facebook, e-mails, and magazines. Apple has several apps specifically meant for coupon-lovers, and Groupon has certainly become a house-/apartment-hold name.
All of this is nothing, though, compared to the coupon use seen on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing.” For those not familiar, “Extreme Couponing” is exactly what it sounds like: a show that features people who spend hours searching for, printing, organizing, and then using their coupons. These people take great pride in their massive amounts of coupons, their organization skills, and the amount of goods they purchase. It was amazing to see the hoards of products that…

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