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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
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Bible
Mike Hayes
Swingman/Editor
 
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November 19th, 2012

In the Old testament, Wisdom is often personified as a female figure who invites and leads others to righteousness. This female personification of Wisdom is widely regarded by theologians as a type – someone or something in the Old Testament that prefigures someone in the New Testament. There are various opinions about which New Testament figure Wisdom…

November 16th, 2012

The short answer is no. There are many people in the world who do not know Greek, but have a strong understanding of the Bible academically as well as spiritually. It is unlikely that any Christian you know, including your parish priest, is able to read the New Testament in its original Greek…

November 15th, 2012

Church opposition to the death penalty stems from the fifth commandment: Thou shalt not kill. In recognizing society’s right to protect itself, the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes: “If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority should…

November 12th, 2012

The birthday of Mary has been celebrated by Christians since at least the sixth century. Though no one knows the real date of Mary’s birth, it has traditionally been celebrated on September 8th. It’s believed that September 8th was chosen because of its proximity to the Byzantine New Year on September 1st (the birth of the mother of the Savior represents…

November 8th, 2012

There are some extraordinary biblical scholars teaching, researching, and writing in the field of scripture studies. A few of the best known are Raymond Brown, S.S., Jospeh Fitzmeyer, and Roland Murphy, co-editors of the tome The New Jerome Biblical Commentary and past presidents of the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature.…

November 6th, 2012

Question: I have always considered myself a good person. I tried to live by the golden rule. Six years ago I suffered a very traumatic event that destroyed my faith in God and people. I became very ill, lost my job, my apartment and my car. Lived on the streets for almost 3 years, began to drink and abuse drugs. I have been taking small steps to improve my life but I have…

November 5th, 2012

Marian theology (or mariology) is theology that considers Mary in relation to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church as a whole. Marian theology is shaped by many things, primarily the Scriptural texts involving Mary, the Marian dogmas of the Church, papal writings relating to Mary, and by the way that Mary is experienced by ordinary Catholics. If you are interested…

November 2nd, 2012

In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that October 11, 2012, would begin “The Year of Faith.” Longer than a calendar year, The Year of Faith is set to end November 24, 2013, the Feast of Christ the King, which ends the Church liturgical year. During this time, the Pope is calling upon the faithful to renew their commitment to the Lord in the face of growing…

October 30th, 2012

The Latin Vulgate, or simply “Vulgate” as it is more commonly known, is a Latin translation of the Bible done in the late fourth century A.D. St. Jerome is credited with being the primary translator. By the Middle Ages, his translation had become the most commonly used translation, and it was declared the official Latin translation of the Catholic Church…

October 29th, 2012

Catholics believe that Mary’s body is not buried in the earth but, rather, is in Heaven. This belief, referred to as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a long-standing tradition that was formalized into a dogma of faith by Pope Pius XII.
In the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus, he wrote that Mary, “having completed the course of…

October 26th, 2012

Of course they can! The name Halloween comes from All Hallow’s Eve, meaning the day before All Saints Day — those we call hallowed or holy as we hear in the Our Father…

October 24th, 2012

I didn’t manage to convince the editors that it would be a legitimate research expense, so I admit I haven’t laid hands on a copy myself! But all the news about this racy bestseller emphasizes that it contains lots and lots of unconventional sex. As you decide about reading it, here are a few things to consider. First, some basics from Church teaching: sexual…

October 22nd, 2012

Many people ask their family and friends to pray for them during difficult times. Catholics believe that Mary will pray for us, too, if we ask. In the Hail Mary prayer, when we say, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death,” we are asking Mary to intercede for us not just throughout our lives but also at the time of our death.…

October 19th, 2012

There are a number of ways to answer this extremely difficult question. First, the Church will never say it is OK to “aim at the death” of either your wife our your prenatal child — both are always going to be wrong. Life is of irreducible value and it is never acceptable to choose that an innocent person should die in order to bring about some other…

October 19th, 2012

The goals of the work for Christian unity (ecumenism) and interfaith dialogue are different. The goal of interfaith dialogue is not unity in faith and worship as is the goal with other Christians, but mutual understanding and respect, and mutual enrichment enabling us all to respond more fully to God’s call. It includes collaboration wherever possible…

October 15th, 2012

The Bible doesn’t give any indication that he did know who they were. In the Gospel of Matthew (2:1-18) , the magi bring news of the newborn king to Jerusalem. When King Herod hears of this he is troubled and asks his chief priests and scribes where the new king is to be born. This eventually causes Herod to order the massacre of all baby boys in and around Bethlehem.…

October 12th, 2012

Question: The new ban on large sugary drinks in New York City has me wondering, was I indulging in gluttony each time I had a 20 oz. soda? Was that a sin?
Like the answer to many questions about ethics, “it depends.” Is the drinking of the soda helping or hurting your living a flourishing life? Not all drinking of such soda is bad, but if it is hurting your…

October 9th, 2012

The habit worn by members of religious orders is a symbol of poverty and uniformity: poverty embraced by vow and endured by necessity requires simple dress, and uniformity makes religious men and women instantly recognizable witnesses to the gospel. But after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, many religious communities made the habit optional, limited…

October 8th, 2012

No. The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is the one savior of the world.
You will sometimes hear people say that Catholics believe that Mary is the “co-redemptrix.” There is a lot of misinformation around that, so here’s a quick explanation.
Over the last several years, many Catholics around the world have signed petitions urging the Pope to…

October 7th, 2012

In the world of biblical studies, there is no degree or certificate conferring “official” status as a biblical translator. Rather, scholars with higher degrees — generally PhDs — in scriptural studies or biblical languages work individually and in groups translating the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek. Generally, scholars are…

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