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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
July 11th, 2013

Question: If priests stand “in persona Christi” does this mean that nuns stand “in persona Maria”? Or in English…do Nuns represent Mary as Priests represent Christ?

Not necessarily. Many women religious consider the imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary an integral part of their spiritualty… but the same could be said…

July 10th, 2013

Question: I’ve heard it said fairly often that if someone joins the Freemasons, they can be excommunicated from the Church. Is that true? Why is Freemasonry such a bad thing in the Church’s eyes? I am a Catholic, and I love the Church, but I’ve also thought about joining the Freemasons, until I heard this.
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization…

July 9th, 2013

Question: I’ve read/learned about consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary and have held off on doing this until I learn more and pray more about it. I just finished a novena to St. Maximillian Kobe and learned there is the Militia Immaculata which has a consecration. I knew about the consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the St. Louis de Monfort…

July 8th, 2013

Have you ever seen the movie Cast Away? When Tom Hanks’ character finally escapes the deserted island and is on a plane travelling home, he discovers that his friends and family — sure after so many years that he must have died at sea — have held his funeral and buried an empty casket to say goodbye to him. It’s kind of the same with the Tomb of the Blessed…

July 5th, 2013

There is a new non-invasive procedure (a blood test or urine sample from parents) that allows pregnant parents to reveal the child’s DNA map before birth. This could discover illnesses in the child and prepare new mothers for the challenges ahead. Is this procedure okay?

In the abstract there is nothing wrong with this procedure, and it could be a beneficial…

July 3rd, 2013

Question: Why does the Catholic Bible include the Maccabees and the Book of Wisdom? And do any other denominations acknowledge the extra books? Why at some point were they considered part of the Bible then a man-made council decided they didn’t belong?

Catholic Bibles contain 46 books in the Old Testament, including seven (Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees,…

July 2nd, 2013

Question: I see that there is a medical expert onboard, and I would like to inquire whether or not the pill can abort fetuses, yes or no? Is this a valid concern, recognized by all medical professionals, meaning understood to be a possibility by medical experts who do not practice Catholic faith?

If by “the pill” you mean the contraceptive pill, the…

July 1st, 2013

Question: I know you can adore the Blessed Sacrament in front of the tabernacle without exposition, so what exactly is the difference? What does it mean that exposition makes the Eucharist vulnerable to vandalism?
Also, how many adorers should be present for exposition of the Eucharist? It seems to me that exposition is meant for more than 1 person.

While Jesus…

May 23rd, 2013

This is a part of the fraction rite called the commingling. The priest quietly says the words “May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” It comes from an ancient sign of unity with the Pope. Many, many years ago the pope would share small piece of the body of Christ with other Catholic churches…

May 17th, 2013

Question: How can anyone really take the bible seriously? It was written soooooo long ago and has gone through one translation after another. If someone sat down today and pounded out a bunch of stories because “God spoke to them” and said we should obey everything within them, would we believe it?  
The Bible was written long ago, between two

May 15th, 2013

This varies considerably among Orthodox Jews. Some feel other branches are legitimate; others feel other branches are illegitimate. Still others feel other branches are “good training” for more traditional lifestyles which would be the goal. In all cases, Orthodox Jews accept Jewish people born of Jewish mothers as Jewish (that is, part of…

May 10th, 2013

Question: In spiritual law, men leave their mothers for their wife, when they marry. But if a man chooses to love and cherish the mother OVER the wife, isn’t this a conflict that God would not encourage?
There is nothing in scripture that declares that a man should love or cherish his wife more than his mother, but it simply points to a change in the relationship

May 8th, 2013

The answer is neither and both. Judaism strongly opposes the wanton destruction of a fetus and at the same time permits abortion in a range of circumstances and therefore champions the civil rights that allow the Jewish legal decision-making process to operate freely. It is for this reason that in the United States, Jewish leaders have favored leniency in the…

May 3rd, 2013

Question: How do you reconcile the commandment to “love thy neighbor” when he/she is not living in the image of God without becoming too judgmental so as to act like the elitist high priests that Jesus spoke out against?…

Recalling St. Augustine’s well-known axiom “hate the sin, but love the sinner,” may be helpful here. All people are deserving

May 2nd, 2013

This statement comes from the early part of Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. He believed that God calls us to:
“a complete indifference with regard to all created things, not preferring health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to humiliation, long life to a short one. We wish only for those conditions that will aid our pursuit of the goal for…

May 1st, 2013

Unlike in Catholicism, there is no head of the Jewish religion. There are chief rabbis of various countries, but they function more as spokespersons on behalf of the Jewish community, rather than as final legal authorities for the Jewish community (though sometimes they are final authorities for micro-communities).
When looking for advice on how to practice…

April 30th, 2013

“Stabat Mater” generally refers to a 13th century Latin hymn entitled Stabat Mater Dolorosa (the sorrowful mother stood) though it can also refer to another Latin hymn from the 15th century entitled Stabat Mater Speciosa (the beautiful mother stood). Stabat Mater Dolorosa, the more well-known and widely utilized of the two hymns, recounts the experience…

April 29th, 2013

Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person requires utmost respect for the human body. We do not have bodies, we are bodies, created in the image of God. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church warns against an attitude that “tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for its sake, [and] to idolize physical perfection” (CCC 2289).…

April 26th, 2013

Question: How many times a day is it permissible for a lay person to receive communion? I know canon law states “Can. 917 One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic celebration in which that person participates, without prejudice to the provision of can. 921 §2.” But I don’t know…

April 25th, 2013

Question:Why are we instructed to believe in a book that contains things we would view in today’s society as morally wrong? 
There is a distinction here between believing in the Bible and believing in the God that is revealed in the Bible through Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we affirm that the Bible contains sacred scripture, which was written under the

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