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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.

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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
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…

October 4th, 2012

The Missouri Synod’s website identifies three main areas of difference between the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA):
1.The doctrine and authority of Scripture — The LCMS believes that the Bible is without error in all that it says. The ELCA avoids making such statements, holding that Scripture…

October 2nd, 2012

Not necessarily. I actually faced this issue myself when tree roots damaged my sewer line. I considered removing the very large tree from the front of my house and replacing it with a smaller one. However, my plumbers were able to secure the line and remove the roots and seal the new pipe avoiding the need to remove the tree.
One option to consider is what are your…

October 1st, 2012

The Bible offers us very little information about the Flight into Egypt. The Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:13 -23) explains how Joseph had a dream in which an angel told him to take his family and flee to Egypt in order to escape Herod’s murderous plans. Joseph did as directed, and the family stayed in Egypt until it was safe to return to Palestine. But the Gospels…

September 28th, 2012

There aren’t any stories in scripture of Jesus fighting with his disciples, per se, but there are certainly examples of Jesus being exasperated, indignant, and disappointed with his friends/followers, for example Mark 10:14. There are times when Jesus told parables or tried to make a point but the disciples didn’t understand and he expressed impatience…

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 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

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,…

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