Busted Halo
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March 2nd, 2008
BustedHalo columnist and contributing editor Christine Whelan receives the prestigious Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship

It is with enormous pleasure and pride that we announce contributing editor and columnist Dr. Christine B. Whelan’s selection for a Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship in Science & Religion—one of the youngest journalists to ever receive that honor. Christine will spend the summer at the University of Cambridge, England, engaged in research and study on the ways in which science and religion affect each other in contemporary society.
Since the fellowship began in 2004, Pulitzer Prize finalists, bestselling authors and other prominent journalists have received the award. Christine will be joined in Cambridge this year by journalists from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times,…

February 29th, 2008

“A recent study found that 44% of American adults have changed their faith from when they were children. Have you changed your own personal faith, and if so, why?”…

February 28th, 2008
The Mormon Church is busy growing (and challenging misconceptions)

“You’re not true Christians,” shouts the barrel-chested 43-year-old Lonie Pursifull to a group of Mormons passing through Temple Square, the world headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Salt Lake City, Utah. “You’re not following the true gospel of Jesus Christ. You’re liars. You’re of your father—the devil.”
Pursifull pastors the Wildness Bible Church in Duchesne, about 90 miles outside of Salt Lake City. He says off and on for the last 13 years—despite being hit 16 times in the face and receiving 23 death threats—he’s come to Temple Square to preach to Mormons.
Ryan Sanchez listens not too far…

February 27th, 2008
BYU students are proud of their faith but it doesn't mean they're all the same

Bushy haired, scruffy and wild-eyed, a punk-rock singer bellows out the words to an irksome tune. Blaring throughout the campus, the singer’s lyrics laud the virtues of environmentalism. Students stop to enjoy the music and many even dance, punk-style, in front of the singer’s stage. The event could easily have taken place at UCLA or the University of Florida, but believe it or not, it took place at Brigham Young University (BYU). “Yeah, we can get a little wild here,” a passing student admits. “But who ever said you can’t be loud and still be a Mormon?”
With over 30,000 students, BYU in Provo, Utah is the largest privately owned university in the United States. Acknowledged…

February 26th, 2008
Young Catholics might be more serious about marriage than they are about the Church

Catholic young adults place great importance on marriage but have turned away from church-based ideas of how to make it work, according to a study released last week by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

For Catholic members of the “millennial generation,” men and women born between 1982 and 1989, marriage is not to be undertaken lightly. Some 82% of these teens and 20-somethings report that they believe marriage is a lifelong commitment, compared with only 56% of Catholics age 47 to 64—approximately their parents’ generation. Moreover, 84% of these young Catholic adults report concern that “couples don’t take marriage seriously…

February 25th, 2008
The head of Catholic Charities teams up with other organizations in trying to convince the President to redeem his administration’s policies

The clock may be ticking on the Bush White House, but a group of religious leaders claims it’s not too late for George W. Bush to redeem what they call his ‘shameful’ legacy. Last month, the leader of Catholic Charities USA, the Reverend Larry Snyder, joined other Catholic and evangelical Christian social justice advocates in urging the President to right the wrongs of his administration. Catholic Charities USA, is the national membership association of more than 1,500 Catholic agencies and institutions that serve approximately 7.5 million people a year. Fr. Snyder oversees the organization’s Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America, a multi-year, multi-faceted initiative that…

February 22nd, 2008
Fr. William Byron helps move prayer beyond our own desires

For many people, prayer is a private matter. Most of us prefer to pray alone and often squirm uncomfortably when someone suggests saying grace in a public place. We don’t often consider it proper to vocalize a prayer aloud.
But as William J. Byron, SJ points out, “The entire Christian world knows that when Jesus taught his followers how to pray he did not tell them to say ‘My Father.’ Rather, he instructed them to say ‘Our Father.’” We are often so preoccupied with our own day to day needs that the needs of others take second place—or perhaps even a distant third or fourth. Making time to pray simply for ourselves is a challenge in our culture, and our forgetfulness…

February 19th, 2008
A new survey reveals significant generational differences in Catholic attitudes toward marriage

Do you believe that your spouse should be your soul mate first and foremost? Do you agree that marriage should be whatever two people want it to be? Do you believe that living together decreases the chances of divorce? Depending on your age, you’ll probably have very different answers to these questions.
A new study released last week by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University found significant generational differences in attitudes about marriage, daily married life and the role of the Catholic Church in the sacrament of marriage.
Relationship Goldmine
All you regular readers of Pure Sex, Pure Love …know how I adore studies, surveys and statistics about what young-adults

February 15th, 2008
On being Black and Catholic in America

It was as if I was a kid again. The gospel choir numbering at least 30 strong lifted their voices to the rooftop. The pulse of the music, aided by drums, a saxophone, a bass, and a huge sound system, shook the rafters and rushed through my veins. My hands almost instinctively came together to clap as I joined in song. Praise and worship showered over the largely African American congregation with the joy-filled “Alleluia” and “Amen” bursting from every corner of the church. All the great memories of going to church with my dad came rushing back to me. The only difference was, instead of this being a Southern Baptist congregation like that of my father’s, the stations of the cross along…

February 13th, 2008
Rather than condemning The Vagina Monologues the Church should be listening to what it is telling us

“The split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time,” wrote Pope Paul VI in 1975. Occasionally I am reminded of this “drama” when some Catholic group boycotts something. But nothing makes me more aware of how deep this split is than the debate over the performance of The Vagina Monologues …on Catholic college campuses.
The Cardinal Newman Society has waged the most aggressive and successful campaign to remove the play from these campuses. They claim that the number of performances has declined annually from a peak of 32 on Catholic campuses in 2003 to 19 performances this year. College presidents and bishops have also added to the drama. Some of the responses

February 12th, 2008
Security concerns for Barack Obama are evidence that race is still very much an issue for some Americans

Recently, several media outlets, including the New York Times, have printed stories on the increased security surrounding the Senator and his family. “Obama must be wary of the assassin’s gun” was a headline in The Australian…, a major newspaper in the land down under. Members of white hate groups increase their rabid, racist rhetoric on the internet, cowardly hiding their identities behind anonymous website login names, just as they used to hide under white hoods.
Whites should be infuriated and ashamed when we learn that a Google search “assassinate Obama” gets almost 200,000 hits. I am disgusted when I realize the admirable and brave Michelle Obama and her beautiful little

February 11th, 2008

“What does the idea of sacrifice mean to you?”…

February 8th, 2008
An Orthodox Christian college student ponders salvation

So Heath Ledger passed away a few weeks ago, the final outcome of a long struggle with depression, substances, and wild living. While the thousands dying of starvation and neglect around the world are undeniably a bigger concern, I did find myself shocked and saddened. Although my generation has seen turmoil and tragedy in the world, from 9/11 to Iraq to Katrina, we haven’t really had a single Kurt Cobain-type figure around whom we can rally.
My favorite authors, from theologian Rob Bell to columnist Chuck Klosterman, find deeper meaning in pop culture, and in my own life, art, music, literature and film have always been tied to understanding God and appreciating His universe. I was baptized and raised Orthodox…

February 5th, 2008
When will the Church comment on the evils of Big Tobacco?

There’s a new cigarette on it’s way, one which Philip Morris, the world’s largest producer of cigarette products, hopes will meet the changing cultural and social needs of today’s smokers. The soon-to-be-launched “Marlboro Intense” will allow smokers to cope with indoor smoking bans by taking quick, deep puffs of a shorter but more potent cigarette during a quick outdoor break.
It’s an insidiously brilliant idea—and one that has global human implications to which the Catholic Church must pay attention.
Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International will become two separate companies, parent company, Altria, announced this week. By doing this,…

February 4th, 2008
Men, women and sports

My husband isn’t speaking to me. He isn’t speaking to anyone, really. He’s crushed by the Patriots defeat in last night’s SuperBowl.

I’m not that chatty either, but not because I care one way or another about the Giants’ upset last night. I’m just exhausted from hosting a big SuperBowl party, after a weekend of traveling.
I got up at 4 a.m. to fly from New York City (where LaGuardia was all decked out in Giants banners) to Iowa City. A snowstorm was headed for us, but I couldn’t be delayed: We were hosting 25 people for a SuperBowl party.
Super Snow Storm
Crazy? Yes. I don’t recommend hosting a party on a day which you begin 1000 miles away. But as the saying goes,…

January 30th, 2008
Ginny Kubitz Moyer's book, Mary and Me offers contemporary women's experience of the Blessed Mother

For many young women, their sense of Mary, mother of Jesus, is relatively one-dimensional. They recall a humble, pious woman who was submissive to both her husband and her God. Or she’s the woman in blue whom we crown with roses every May and who adorns our gardens peacefully. The modern female, it might seem, would have little in common with a woman who seems so out of touch with contemporary life.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer’s book, Mary and Me… (St Anthony Messenger Press, Jan. 2008) shatters all those presumptions by compiling reflections and stories from 46 modern women of all ages about their relationships with Mary. While the author uses traditional Marian titles like “Our Lady of Sorrows”

January 25th, 2008
Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood stuns and confounds

Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood… literally starts off with a thud. Only a few minutes into the film, set in late 19th and early 20th century California, the protagonist Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) loses his grip on a ladder and plunges down a shaft where he’s been excavating for silver.
When Plainview emerges, small chunk of silver ore in hand, Anderson shows us his changing fortunes with a few, quick brushstrokes. We see Plainview lying on the floor of an office, stretching the leg he shattered in the plummet, while surveyors certify his valuable discovery. From there he’s onto oil. He strikes crude with a small crew, and before long he’s making successful,

January 23rd, 2008

“Did you make any resolutions regarding your spiritual, religious or faith life this year?”…

January 22nd, 2008
Third Wheel: Is the married vs. single dynamic causing a strain in your friendships?

Anita, 26, had two close friends in college. These were the girls she could always call for a chat, who would be interested in planning a fun trip, going shopping, or confiding secrets. But a few years after college, both women got married—and Anita felt left out in the cold.
“They’re really not my best friends anymore” she told me. “Their husbands have become their best friend and it has put distance between us.”
Anita said she feels pressure to find a guy and settle down so she can reestablish her friendship with these women, as part of a couple. “It’s like they’re part of this married club that they’re waiting for me to join in. But I’m not planning…

January 21st, 2008
Looking at Obama through King's eyes

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
Almost 45 years ago, the Baptist preacher whom our nation honors every third Monday in January, delivered a speech that is easily one of the greatest in American history. In it, he laid out his vision for what a beautiful country America could become despite the indelible marks left by racism and hatred. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., fought within a hostile political, religious and cultural context to bring about unity, equality and peace. His speech, “I Have a Dream” was a rallying cry for change. And now, decades later,…

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