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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
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

Jesus did not ask Peter this question 3 times because he was hard of hearing or slow to comprehend Peter’s answers! The fact that Jesus asks Peter this question – “do you love me?” – three times is very significant.

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,…

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,…

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