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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 26th, 2012

We don’t know when exactly Mary’s parents (St. Joachim and St. Anne) died. The Gospels don’t give us any information about them, so what we know comes from tradition and from apocryphal writings such as the Protoevangelium of James, written around A.D. 150. Even that information is limited, though, so we don’t know for certain when Mary’s parents…

November 23rd, 2012

Q: It is part of our culture to make Christmas about Santa instead of Christ’s birth and Easter about the Easter Bunny instead of Christ’s resurrection. Is it frowned upon to celebrate these other figures as well as Jesus?
In the month of December you can hardly enter any place of business without encountering a bell ringer in a Santa suit; in the spring, images…

November 22nd, 2012

Throughout human history, the act of sharing food together has suggested a level of bondedness between the people sharing the meal. Some of the significance has been lost in this day and age of American drive-throughs and eating on the run, but certainly in the Jewish culture of the Middle East at the time of Jesus, a shared meal connoted a level of intimacy between…

November 20th, 2012

It is not that modern books aren’t “good enough” to be in scripture, but that they aren’t “old enough.” Church leaders decided in the first several hundred years after Jesus’ lifetime which books should be included in the “canon” of the Bible and then they closed that canon. One of the criteria used to decide which books would make the cut was…

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.…

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