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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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September 27th, 2012

There are some significant differences in the membership of the Lutheran Church. Three of the different denominations that consider themselves Lutheran include:
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)  
Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS)
and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
According to the Handbook of Denominations…

September 25th, 2012

Question: I Know its a touchy subject but I was always taught that people who committed suicide would go to hell. I read a article that said the churches got together and literally started saying this to keep people from killing themselves because their lives were poor, ect and thought they could just kill themselves and go to heaven to be in a better place. Does…

September 24th, 2012

Parthenos is a Greek word meaning “virgin.” It relates to Mary because the evangelist Matthew, in describing Mary’s miraculous pregnancy, says, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.’” (Matthew 1:22-23) The quotation…

September 21st, 2012

Lending money to family members can be very tricky. It may help to remember that money comes and goes, but she will always be your sister. Even if you don’t have the greatest relationship, or if she doesn’t always make the best choices, sisterhood is something that money can’t buy. Rather than demanding anything, talk frankly with your sister. Give her…

September 20th, 2012

Question:
As a baptized Roman Catholic who is now a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, can I still receive communion in the Catholic Church without disrespecting the Church’s policy?
The sensitivity you express in the phrase “without disrespecting the (Catholic) Church’s policy” is admirable. As you have witnessed,…

September 19th, 2012

Question: Why do we pray to saints? Should we really? Is it in the Bible somewhere? Lol When I was little my Mom would tell me to pray to Mary, God was busy she said, lol.
Have you ever had a friend who you asked to pray for you? That’s exactly the same thing that you’re doing when you ask a saint to pray for you. The big difference is that saints are people who…

September 17th, 2012

When Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant, it must have been a terrible surprise. They were betrothed, but had not yet lived as husband and wife, so he knew the child was not his. (The Jewish wedding ceremony had two parts: betrothal, which was a binding exchange of consent in front of witnesses, followed a few months later by the bride moving into her husband’s…

September 14th, 2012

Five books are generally categorized as wisdom literature: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Sirach, and the Wisdom of Solomon. Although the literary style between these books varies, much of wisdom literature is characterized by short, pithy sayings like “Pride goes before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). The general focus of wisdom literature is a reflection…

September 13th, 2012

Question: I saw some reference to “A Common Word” letter from Muslims addressed to Christians. What’s the “common word” refering to?
In October 2007 a group of 138 leading Muslim scholars from many parts of the world presented an “Open Letter” titled “A Common Word Between Us and You” to Christian leaders calling for peace and understanding…

September 12th, 2012

The internet has created a new minefield for marriages and relationships. People who would never think of visiting an adult shop or ordering pay-per-view suddenly find these temptations only a click away in the comfort of their own homes, and thus the consumption of pornography has skyrocketed. Many spouses and partners experience pornography use as infidelity,…

September 11th, 2012

Before I answer this question directly, it should be noted that forgiveness does not give assent to the horrible actions committed by another. Forgiveness allows us to heal from harms done to us by moving forward and not allowing this pain to continue to control our lives.

September 10th, 2012

First, let’s look at the broader context of the Mary/Joseph relationship. Church tradition maintains that Mary was a virgin at the time of the conception of Jesus, and that she remained a virgin her entire life, never having sex with Joseph. This belief is reflected in numerous early Church writings and can be found in the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James,…

September 7th, 2012

What’s the Apocrypha and why is it part of some Bibles and not others?…
The Apocrypha is the set of 15 books generally placed between the Old and New Testaments that is included in Catholic but not Protestant bibles. The set includes the books of Tobit, Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, and portions or additions

September 5th, 2012

From a legal standpoint, your husband can express his desire to be cremated in a will or cremation directive. As his next of kin, you will then have the task of honoring his wishes. Thus, regardless of what your daughter thinks, you can go ahead with plans to have your husband cremated. The moral issue here is different. Upon your husband’s death, your daughter…

September 3rd, 2012

Though it’s an intriguing idea, the Scriptures don’t give any evidence to support the theory that the shepherds later became disciples. Remember that about thirty years passed between their encounter with the infant Jesus and the beginning of his ministry, so it’s unlikely that the shepherds would be around for both events.
There’s also the issue…

August 31st, 2012

What translation of the Bible should I be reading? There are a lot to choose from — which one is the best?

If you want to sit down specifically to pray and meditate on scripture, I recommend you use whatever translation you have on hand that is familiar, comforting, and appealing to you. If you love…

August 29th, 2012

Jesus appears often in the Qur’an (in a total of 93 verses scattered throughout 15 suras or chapters), but with significant differences. The Qur’an refers to him as the “messiah,” but the word has a different theological import than in Christian thought. In Muslim understanding, Jesus was not more than a creature, a human being. He is not divine. He…

August 28th, 2012

Stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself: Can I look myself in the eye, knowing that I made it to graduation not because of what I learned but because I cheated? Does my diploma represent my real achievement, since I paid a bribe to complete a class?
That was hard to do, wasn’t it?
Both you and your teacher made poor choices, but two wrongs do not make a right (or,…

August 27th, 2012

No. The Gospel of Luke tells the story of two disciples who encounter the risen Jesus on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. We know the name of one of the disciples (Cleopas), while the other is unnamed. There’s no reason to believe that it was Mary, though, who would be unlikely to be making such a journey in the first place and who would surely have been identified…

August 24th, 2012

Can you give me a brief description of how marriage prep works in the following situations where a Catholic is marrying a non-Christian? For example,

a)  Catholic marrying a Jew
b)  Catholic marrying a Muslim
c)  Catholic marrying a Buddhist


What rituals can be performed for the wedding that encompasses both faiths but still be valid in the eyes of the …

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