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Facts of Faith

Little known Catholic facts, knowledge and trivia

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, and Fr. Larry Rice, CSP, discuss facts of Catholicism not widely known, including everything from historical facts to modern pop culture references about the Church.

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October 25th, 2010

What’s the point of praying for the dead? Fr. Larry Rice and Fr. Dave Dwyer discuss why Catholics see praying for the deceased is important and why other denominations may not agree.…

October 25th, 2010
Busted Halo’s Editor-in-Chief says goodbye after six years


When I took over as editor-in-chief of Busted Halo in May 2004 we were still living in a web 1.0 world. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist and updating this site involved working with a content management system that—compared to what we use today—might as well have been designed by Fred Flintstone. So much has changed so quickly in the world of the web and social media that it’s almost as if we now exist in a different universe.
Social media isn’t the only thing that has changed in that time. The conversation about the intersection of faith and everyday life that we’ve hosted at BustedHalo.com has grown exponentially. Hundreds of thousands of seekers have come here in an effort to make sense of…

October 19th, 2010

After outlining the original dilemma and then adding a later twist to it, now we’re ready to hear an analysis of the dilemma from our in-house “expert” in moral theology and ethics:

In the initial survey, as well as in the (post-discovery-of-the-wrinkle-factor) second one, I think I would opt for the final response: “None of these sound right to me.” My primary focus here is the well-being of my best friend Beth. Upon hearing the wedding news, two questions would concern me first: whether she is reading Thomas accurately, and whether he should become her spouse. Whether to be at her wedding ceremony — as maid of honor, bridesmaid, or simply in attendance — is secondary, I think, and largely incidental.

October 17th, 2010
Letting go of the desire to be God's enforcer

Recently, I sat next to a woman on the long bus rise to the country who spent an hour on the phone tracking down the owner of the hair salon she’d been at earlier that day. (We’ll put aside for this discussion that you are asked not to use your cell phone on the bus unless it’s an emergency, out of consideration to your fellow passengers.) Once she got the owner, she launched into a detailed complaint about the service she’d received from a stylist, firmly suggesting that the stylist needed to change her approach to customer relations and that the owner needed to appreciate the importance of good customer service in retaining clients. But instead of the thirty-odd words I just used, she lectured…

October 14th, 2010
The final part in a series of conversations with influential author Brian McLaren

In more than a dozen highly influential books, evangelical pastor Brian McLaren has championed a progressive approach to evangelical Christianity, stressing issues of social justice and rejecting the traditionally conservative politics of the mainstream evangelical movement. But McLaren’s politics are best understood as an outgrowth of his religious thinking. His most recent book, A New Kind of Christianity, published in early 2010, sets out to reread the Bible from a 21st century perspective, deconstructing its Greco-Roman narrative, emphasizing the Jewish context of early Christian belief, and proposing a more open-ended view of Christianity’s sacred text as “an inspired…

October 13th, 2010

Now we’d like to complicate the story just a bit more by telling you what happened next…

 

The Wrinkle

After a few moments silence Michelle tells Beth that she can’t in good conscience stand up in a church before God and support a marriage that she so clearly feels is wrong and unhealthy.

On the other end of the phone she hears Beth start to cry and Michelle begins to feel sorry that she has hurt her close friend so badly. When Beth composes herself, she tells Michelle that she hasn’t had nearly as much dating experience and that she “exaggerated those incidents with Thomas” partly out of inexperience and also in part because she kind of enjoyed the drama and it made her feel like she finally had something to share with Michelle in terms of relationships. Now she’s concerned that Michelle will never give Thomas a fair chance.

Time for you to decide again. What’s the right thing to do now?

October 12th, 2010
New research proves that successful women aren't overqualified for love

While it’s probably not very Christian to say “I told you so” and do a little victory jig, I kinda can’t resist: New research came out this week that proves my demographic predictions about education and marriage from 2006 correct. In addition to some good-news data for college-educated young adults, there’s also a lesson to learn — one that you haven’t seen in the newspaper articles of the last few days. Here’s the story:
For years, newspapers and magazines have run stories about the so-called plight of the educated woman. The conventional wisdom was that women with a college or graduate degree were overqualified for love and unattractive to men. Social…

October 8th, 2010
St. Paul the Apostle Church hosts 4th annual exhibit of contemporary artists

As the Artist-In-Residence for the Paulist Fathers in New York, Fr. Frank Sabatté seeks to foster conversations among artists to explore the connections between creativity and spirituality. The outgrowth of that mission has been “Openings,” an artists’ collective in New York that sponsors weekly discussions among artists as well as numerous small group shows and one large annual exhibit of contemporary art at St. Paul the Apostle Church.
This year’s annual exhibit, entitled “Naked Measures,” expanded to include 20 artists — the largest group yet — whose work is hung throughout the church next to more traditional sacred art. In the video here, Fr. Sabatté,…

October 7th, 2010
Third in a series of conversations with influential author Brian McLaren

In more than a dozen highly influential books, evangelical pastor Brian McLaren has championed a progressive approach to evangelical Christianity, stressing issues of social justice and rejecting the traditionally conservative politics of the mainstream evangelical movement. But McLaren’s politics are best understood as an outgrowth of his religious thinking. His most recent book, A New Kind of Christianity, published in early 2010, sets out to reread the Bible from a 21st century perspective, deconstructing its Greco-Roman narrative, emphasizing the Jewish context of early Christian belief, and proposing a more open-ended view of Christianity’s sacred text as “an inspired…

October 5th, 2010

As Beth and Thomas’ relationship became serious, Michelle began to be troubled by some of the things Beth would tell her.

Few of us are ever faced with making the sorts of life or death decisions we routinely hear about in the news. And yet there are decisions we face every day that — whether we realize it or not — have very real moral implications.

Part trivia game and part reality show, Busted Halo’s Moral Dilemmas feature is intended not only to raise some moral issues for our readers but also to ask you to participate in resolving them. After reading the story below about Beth, Michelle and Thomas please tell us through a one-question quiz, linked to at the bottom of the page, what you think is the “right thing to do.”

October 1st, 2010
A four-legged love story

“God is beauty.”
— St. Francis of Assisi

Here’s what I expected to be able to rightfully call my own by the age of 35:
(1) an 18th-century farmhouse in the country and a corner brownstone apartment in either the Upper West Side or the East Village in New York City; (2) no less than five published books, at least one of which would be a New York Times best seller (if for no other reason than that I could say no to being in Oprah’s Book Club…); (3) an ideal husband who liked cooking and traveling and could also fix computers; (4) yearly trips to Europe for wine, a tour of the Nutella factory that included free samples, and types of cheese that can’t even be found at Zabar’s.
On the morning

September 30th, 2010

BH: One of the great things in the movie that I think is very powerful is when Luis is holding that little baby; you’re smiling as broad as the day and that’s a really great shot. Was it a problem that most of these kids were black and you guys are Hispanic? Like, who are these guys? Was that an issue?
AL:… It’s never been an issue. To me, when I first went, of course I had that in there. I was telling myself, “What am I doing; what am I getting into, man?”
[Laughs.]
It’s Alabama. And in our culture and where we come from, the streets and all of that — you’re already created a certain way. So of course you’re created to be a racist.
You’re created to be all of these things.

September 29th, 2010
Second in a series of conversations with influential author Brian McLaren

Novelist Clyde Edgerton and Rev. Eric Porterfield, pastor of Winter Park Baptist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, went to speak with McLaren at his home in Maryland. In this, the second in a series of excerpts from their conversation, they talk with him about his belief that our concept of God continues to evolve over time.

September 28th, 2010

Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts on this moral dilemma. After giving the original dilemma and then adding a wrinkle to it, we are now ready for an analysis of the dilemma from an expert in moral theology and ethics.

September 26th, 2010
A simple prayer with a powerful message

“God, grant me the serenity…” You’ve probably heard the Serenity Prayer, whether while attending a 12-Step meeting as a member or guest, or from watching a movie or TV show with a representation of one. Recited by Christians, non-Christians and “spiritual-but-not-religious” seekers alike, the Serenity Prayer is part of our culture. This is due in large part to its adoption by Alcoholics Anonymous, from there spilling over into many recovery and self-improvement activities. Its genius is its brevity — how it says so much that is important in so few words.
But it can also become meaningless through repetition, so I want to devote a column to sharing this wonderful…

September 24th, 2010
Chickens, kaparot and Gaga

Amongst the harder Jewish traditions to explain to Jews and non-Jews alike is kaparot. This symbolic “atonement” rite, conducted in preparation for Yom Kippur, involves waving a live chicken over one’s head three times while reciting the appropriate text.


The chicken is then slaughtered in accordance with halachic procedure, and its equivalent monetary value is given to the poor — or, as is more popular today, the chicken itself is donated to a charitable cause.
Before I hear cries of “fowl play,” bear in mind that during this ritual, the chicken is treated as humanely as possible. After all, Jewish law forbids causing unnecessary pain to any of God’s creations. 

In fact,…

September 23rd, 2010
First in a series of conversations with influential author Brian McLaren

Brian McLaren, Protestant pastor, author and theological gadfly is one of the most influential figures associated with the Emerging Church movement, a loosely defined network made up in large part of younger evangelical Christians seeking to reinterpret traditional beliefs and practices for the 21st century. Movement participants, stressing their intellectual and spiritual diversity, think of themselves as engaged in an open-ended “dialogue” or “conversation,” much of which takes place on the internet at sites such as emergentvillage.com, where McLaren’s podcasts help set the tone.

In more than a dozen highly influential books, McLaren has championed a progressive approach to evangelicism, stressing social justice and rejecting the traditionally conservative politics of the mainstream evangelical movement. McLaren told an interviewer in 2006, “When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the Gospels.” He has worked closely with the evangelical anti-poverty activist Jim Wallis, whose Busted Halo interview can be read here.

McLaren’s politics are best understood as an outgrowth of his religious thinking. His most recent book, A New Kind of Christianity, published in early 2010, sets out to reread the Bible from a 21st-century perspective, deconstructing the book’s Greco-Roman narrative, emphasizing the Jewish context of early Christian belief, and proposing a more open-ended view of Christianity’s sacred text as “an inspired library” rather than a “constitution.”

Novelist Clyde Edgerton and Reverend Eric Porterfield, pastor of Winter Park Baptist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, went to speak with McLaren at his home in Maryland. This is the first of a series of excerpts from their conversation; it focuses on McLaren’s idea of “prophetic confrontation” and the difficulty of promoting social change. The entire interview can be found here.

September 23rd, 2010
The unedited transcript the conversation between Brian McLaren, Clyde Edgerton and Eric Porterfield

When I read the following apology written by Brian McLaren in his new book, A New Kind of Christianity,… I figured Mr. McLaren probably didn’t suffer from that pious arrogance evident in the quiet behavior of some gentle Christians.
An apology is due here, a profound and heartrending apology to the Jewish people for the ways we Christians have colonized their story and then — this can hardly be said without the feeling of acute nausea — turned it against them through anti-Semitism and other forms of religious supremacy. And I must also apologize because I have not been careful enough in the past to avoid recolonizing their story, and I may inadvertently fail again in these pages. But I hope my Jewish

September 22nd, 2010
Speaking out for the moderate Muslim majority in America

Take a good look at my picture on the right: if you saw me walking around in New York City I look just like any other girl wearing an H&M shirt, Blackberry in one hand and Starbucks coffee in the other, right?
Would you guess that I’m a Muslim — born and raised? Maybe not. But I am. And as of late, I’ve had to defend my religion more times than I can count.
This is the typical dialogue I encounter when people find out I’m Muslim:
Person: “You’re a Moz-lem?”
Me: “Yes! I am.” (I smile hard, to seem friendly and maybe overcompensate for any stereotypes said person has about “Moz-lems” — it doesn’t usually work.)
Person: “But,…

September 20th, 2010

Now we’d like to complicate the story just a bit more by telling you what happened next…

 

THE WRINKLE

Jason takes a deep breath and tells the man that he’d be willing to buy him some hot food and call to make sure he gets taken to a shelter that night.

The homeless man says that the shelters are more dangerous than the streets and that he doesn’t want to lie to him: what he needs is some money so he can buy a cheap bottle of whiskey that will help keep him warm during the cold winter night.

Time for you to decide again. What’s the right thing for Jason to do now?

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