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January 22nd, 2013

We knew we were in trouble when the shoes floated down the hallway. My brother was the first to notice water leaking through the floor of our garage. He and my parents managed to heft the really valuable furniture, my deceased grandmother’s china closet and buffet, on top of my mattress, where they would be saved from the ravages of the flood. Even so, my family wasn’t prepared for how fast the water spread throughout the house, rising to six inches, enough to make buoys out of the sandals I kept under my bed.

January 21st, 2013

I received some great feedback on “A Cohabitation Conversation” published last fall, showing just how pertinent this topic is for couples. I was struck by the advice of one reader:
While I do agree that premarital cohabitation is not a good idea, it doesn’t always end up in divorce or unhappy marriages. My husband and I lived together for 6 years while we were in college. During those years of cohabitation we learned more about our Catholic faith we shared and grew stronger in that faith (understanding what the Church taught and why it taught it), we married, and have been very happily married for 23 years (with 4 children). While our situation was a bit different from the norm, I would NOT encourage couples to…

January 15th, 2013
Reflecting on body image and acceptance

One day while browsing Tumblr, I came across a blog post from Humans of New York, a website that showcases the daily lives of strangers around New York City via photograph. One of these pictures was especially striking; it was of an NYU student named Stella Boonshoft, posing in her underwear. The picture, taken from her personal blog, is a testament to self-love and body acceptance. Stella, standing proudly and smiling, is celebrating her body, the way God made it, imperfections and all. The picture garnered national attention, not just on social networking sites, but on national television news networks such as NBC, which aired a Today Show segment on Stella.
Body messages
As a young person admittedly influenced…

January 11th, 2013

Q: Why is the church so focused on banning contraception when over-crowding and over population is greatly dwindling the earth’s resources?

A: The Church is not trying to “ban contraception” — though given some of the recently media coverage I can understand why someone might think that it is.

January 10th, 2013

“It’s hard for men to be friends with attractive women,” he said. I wondered if I qualified as “attractive.” In that moment, sitting across from him at a cafe, I decided to let go of my high school beliefs and declare myself as such. Now I could personally relate to what he was saying.
He continued on explaining that when a man is “just friends” with an attractive woman people — himself included — wonder why he wouldn’t want something more with her. And there it was again. The age-old debate (well, for single thirty-somethings) of “Can men and women be friends?”
Up until nine months ago, the answer to that question was a definitive “No”…

January 9th, 2013

New Year’s resolutions make my liver quiver. Yet each year, I’ve begun with hope and the resolve to point my life in a new direction, armed with ways to do better and be better.
Those intentions usually fall by the wayside by the end of January.
Plans to lose those 10 pounds, save more money, watch less television, and guzzle only a small amount of Sprite each week quickly wane, and I settle comfortably into my old habits from the previous year.
But this year has been different. I completed my master’s of arts degree in a writing program in December. I’ve entered a new phase of life — one that requires I live on a different wavelength than I ever have before.
This rings especially true in regard to my spiritual…

January 9th, 2013

If I ascend to the heavens,
you are there.
If I fly with the wings of the dawn
and alight beyond the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand hold me fast.
Psalm 139: 8a-10…
In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. At a press conference on the eve of her historic flight, reporters asked her what effect space travel would have on her reproductive organs and whether she was prone to weeping when things didn’t go according to plan. I find it difficult (OK, actually incredibly amusing) to imagine the same questions being posed to Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin. Ride handled these questions — the content of which ranged from insultingly silly to profoundly sexist — with grace,

January 8th, 2013

I feel sorry for priests. Every Sunday they are required to get up in front of a crowd and preach, whether they’re good at it or not. This leaves them wide open for criticism — and, believe me, I’ve not only heard plenty of it, I’ve, unfortunately, done my fare share as well.
A common critique is that they don’t talk enough about morality or doctrine. Another is that what they say isn’t relevant, a complaint I can definitely relate to. Personally, I am tremendously irritated when the homily becomes a barrage of negativity against today’s culture. Then there are those homilies that go nowhere. For instance, I can’t remember a single thing from the homily delivered…

January 8th, 2013

As the world watches its greatest athletes swim laps and nail landings, we’ll look at some gold medal winners in their own right. Each day of the Olympics we’ll feature a spiritual great and some advice for staying fit on your own spiritual journey.…

January 7th, 2013

Anyone who was in college in the 90s remembers the powder keg that was the Los Angeles riots. Sparked by the acquittal of police officers who brutally beat Rodney King, Los Angeles saw some of the worst violence that we could imagine.
And one voice rose above the violence that day. It wasn’t a president or a pope calling for peace, but rather it was the man who had been beaten within an inch of his life, the one man who was wronged by the jury’s decision that day — Rodney King.
“Can we all get along?” King said after watching the violence erupt. He was a black man, victimized by white cops, who now stood up for white people who were being attacked simply for being white and being in the wrong area of Los Angeles at…

January 6th, 2013

When you turn on the radio you’re inevitably going to hear one thing and one thing only — mainstream music. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a handful of these mainstream artists. However, I’ve noticed a 180-degree turn in the content and inspiration for their music. Nearly every song that gets airtime today is about the collapse of a relationship.
Take Adele for example. “21″ was an award-winning, best-selling break-up story. Some songs from the album are filled with sorrow, some with anger, but all center on the painful break up with a long-term boyfriend. But when those drums begin pounding and Adele’s signature soulful singing hits, we can’t help but turn up…

January 5th, 2013

You may have read about the conversation between Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Stephen Colbert held at Fordham University on September 14 and moderated by Fr. Jim Martin, S.J. — but chances are you didn’t hear about from someone who was actually there. Due to the media blackout surrounding the event, no major news sources were present. Lucky for you, we, the Busted Halo interns, study at Fordham and were able to attend “The Cardinal and Colbert: Humor, Joy, and the Spiritual Life.” We’re here to provide an eyewitness account of the discussion, the events preceding it, and how it affected us…

January 5th, 2013

When I was younger, the worst day of the summer was invariably the day that the required reading list came in the mail. I had just finished school, so why were my teachers giving me more work?! It was so demanding too — not one, not two, but five books. In my opinion, that was a lot to ask of an 11-year-old. It also did not help that I hated reading. I would always choose to read the smaller books with the big… fonts during those tough middle school summers.
With high school came an entirely different literary experience. I was very lucky. My English teachers were terrific. They exposed me to classic works that took me by the hand, and I was entirely engaged. I went on a literary journey that started in Verona, Italy, and

January 4th, 2013

When I came into the Catholic Church ten years ago, there were a number of things I was a bit unclear about, including: the Pope, the Council of Trent, when exactly to kneel with everyone else so that I did not stick out like a foolish person with no wit, and — Eucharistic Adoration. Not only did I not know what it was, I could barely say… it.
I remember seeing our priest carrying the monstrance (another baffling thing I could barely say – it’s the special vessel used to carry the Blessed Sacrament) down the aisle, with the end of his sleeve wrapped around its handle like a good housewife holding a hot handle with an oven mitt. What’s with the cloth covering and all?
“Holy,” a friend whispered

January 3rd, 2013

I’m hurtling down New York City’s West Side Highway, being driven to high school. A very cool song with a very cool drum intro starts to play. I’d heard it before, but this time everything is different. I hear it anew because just a few weeks prior to that moment I had received a trap drum kit and a video from the Dave Weckl “Back To Basics” series as a gift from my parents, and I’d begun to teach myself how to play drums.
When I get home that day, I dig out the Dave Brubeck LP Time Out… from my parents’ vinyl collection and listen to “Take Five.” My mother, a singer and lifelong musician herself, asks me if perhaps I’m biting off a little more than I can chew. She knows the technical complexity of this

January 2nd, 2013

Merry Christmas from Busted Halo®!
A lot of people think Christmas only lasts one day, or worse yet, that December 25 ends the Christmas season. In fact, this date is just the beginning of Christmas in the Church, a season that actually lasts about 3 weeks.
In the tradition of receiving fun gifts, games and surprises on this holiest of days, we present you with Christmasopoly, a fun way to be informed about how long Christmastime really lasts. Use this as you journey through the 8, 12 and 20 days of the season, doing Christmas, all of it, the right way.
Click the image below to view a larger size, and click here for a printable version.

 …

January 1st, 2013

She was the beauty that was once revered for having the most beautiful voice in the world, garnering such an impressive array of recognition for her talents that she held the Guinness Book of World Records title for most awarded female act of all time in 2009. While the social legacy of Whitney Houston is still under construction as the entire world wrestles with the tension of the troubled and struggling woman who sang the songs of our lives and touched millions of hearts, my mind is made up.
Whitney Houston’s remade version of “The Greatest Love of All” hit the charts in 1986, the year I graduated high school. Though it wasn’t the song our school choir sang, it was the “unofficial official” theme song of…

December 31st, 2012

As the viral video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” by Jefferson Bethke, approaches 18 million views, I will add my response into the clutter. I’ve seen pro-life responses. I’ve seen Catholic exceptionalism responses. I’ve seen atheist and non-Christian responses that agree but then have their own conclusions. I am not interested in getting into theological debate, or in driving wedges between people. I want to make a simple point. It’s the same point I often make to friends who say they’re spiritual but not religious. And to some atheist friends right after they’ve explained why they don’t believe in God.
It is this: What you are calling religion…

December 30th, 2012

Three years ago, I spent my pastoral year of seminary training in Austin, Texas. At the same time a certain MTV program about my home state came on the air: Jersey Shore. For the next few months, parishioners peppered me with questions about the likes of JWoww, Snooki and The Situation as if I knew them. But just as I began to get indignant about the unfair prejudices lobbed against my beloved Garden State, I realized that I too had my own …television-influenced biases regarding the Lone Star State. Up until that point, everything I knew about Texas I learned from J. R. Ewing.
There are overlaps between these characters from our respective home states. They were the center of attention for American TV viewers, and they

December 29th, 2012

Thursday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act caused a lot of stir among Americans. Even Catholics were split on the issue. One priest tweeted, “What’s nxt? Will the government tell us we have to buy a car now, house, etc.? Let’s frame this the gov’t is forcing people to buy a product.” Another priest tweeted, “#gratefultweet This morning I am especially grateful that the poor and vulnerable may be better cared for in this wealthy nation.”

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