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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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August 22nd, 2012

The Church of our day refuses to claim that someone is in Hell — even if their last act was to kill themselves. Yes, it is always intrinsically evil to aim at the death of an innocent person, and this includes one’s self. But especially in this context, “intrinsically” does not mean “very.” Determining the level of guilt in another person (aside…

August 21st, 2012

There is not a specific place where a manger scene should be placed. The only guideline is that the Manger Scene should not be placed directly in front of the altar (off to either side of the Altar would be fine). However, if the Church is exceptionally small and the manger can only fit in front of the altar, an exception can be made.…

August 20th, 2012

Did Mary tell the apostles anything in the upper room?
Luke, the author of Acts of the Apostles, doesn’t mention any conversations between Mary and the apostles as they wait in the upper room. He specifically mentions her presence in 1:14, but aside from that, we don’t know anything about what they may have discussed as they waited.
It seems likely that Mary…

August 17th, 2012

This is where a good study Bible or biblical commentary comes in handy. In the last century biblical scholars have been trying to parse out historical facts from the extensive literature included in the Bible. They have been studying the literary genres to give them more clues about what sections or books were never intended to be read as scientific data, for…

August 16th, 2012

While celebrating birthdays can boost staff morale and provide a bit of a break for everyone, it can also easily get out of hand. Even in the best work environments, office politics quickly get mixed in. How much do we spend? Do we spend more on the boss? Who has to organize? Who organizes for the organizer? Talk to your supervisor or the human resources manager about…

August 15th, 2012

What do other Christians believe about Mary (Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, etc.)?

Christians believe that Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of Christ. In general, however, Mary plays a much less significant role in Protestant faiths than in Catholicism. In post-Reformation Europe, Protestants viewed Catholic devotion to Mary as excessive…

August 14th, 2012

While the Deacon has the responsibility in the Mass to do some proclamations, (for instance, he says, “Let us give each other of sign of that peace,” or “The Mass is ended…”) the proclamation “Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith” is in the Eucharistic Prayer. The priest should be the only voice heard throughout the Eucharistic prayer.…

August 13th, 2012

Mary’s words are recorded in four passages in the Bible. Three of the four passages are from the Gospel of Luke: the Annunciation, when she speaks with the angel (Luke 1:34 and 38); her visit to Elizabeth, when Mary sings the psalm of praise known as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55); and the time that Jesus is lost in the Temple and Mary admonishes him (Luke 2:48).…

August 10th, 2012

Jesus lived in an agrarian society in which the majority of people would have had experiences living on farms or working with food crops and/or livestock. His audiences would have included shepherds, grape growers, wheat farmers, laborers in fruit orchards, and families raising livestock as just a few examples.
As the son of a carpenter in the Middle East 2,000…

August 9th, 2012

Sexual intimacy is meant to unite a married couple and help them express their love for one another; it is also meant to be life giving, open to the gift of a child and to a greater sharing of their love with the world. In Catholic understanding, masturbation cannot fulfill these twin purposes of sexual activity. Because it is a solitary activity, it is necessarily…

August 8th, 2012

“Ecumenical” refers to the work for unity among different denominations of Christians. The question you raise is an inter-religious one because it relates to members of other world religions rather than other members of other Christian… churches. The dialogue among Christians is not an interfaith or interreligious dialogue because, even though we

August 7th, 2012

First and foremost, we must have a little patience and understanding. Although having crying babies and noisy children at Mass is distracting, it is also important to welcome all to the Table of the Lord — no matter how quiet or noisy a person may be.
If this is a particular problem at your Church, you may investigate the Cry Room. For instance, if there is…

August 6th, 2012

The Church does not teach that Mary will have a second coming as Jesus does. Here it’s probably useful to distinguish between “second coming” and “apparition.” When we talk about the second coming of Jesus, we’re referencing the belief that Christ will come again at the end of time. As the Catechism states, “When he comes at the end of time to judge…

August 3rd, 2012

We celebrate the Feast of the Ascension forty days after Easter, and many people, like you, will be pondering just how it was – or if it was – that Jesus literally ascended bodily into heaven as described in Luke 24:50-52 and Acts 1:9-11. Did he jump really high? Did he sprout wings and fly? Did an invisible hand lift him gently upward? It’s a natural…

August 2nd, 2012

Catholic moral teaching on sexual intimacy is clear – it has twin purposes, union and procreation, and is meant to unite a man and woman in love and to allow them to be co-creators with God if they are blessed with the gift of a child. This means that sexual intercourse is reserved to married couples. But as anyone who has navigated the graced and confusing world…

August 1st, 2012

Yes, we do. What makes Christians unique from other monotheists like Jews and Muslims, for example, is the belief that who God is and what God is like, we find most clearly in Jesus. So for Christians, the way to God is through …Jesus and in the power of his Holy Spirit.

Not cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus would be like buying a house and being handed

July 31st, 2012

There are many places in the United States that you can study to be a liturgist! First, you can look into doing a Certificate in Liturgical Studies. Most Graduate Theology Schools (Graduate Theological Union, Catholic Theological Union, and Notre Dame, for example) have programs that you can complete to get a Certificate in Liturgical Studies. If you are looking…

July 30th, 2012

This custom has its roots in ancient symbolism, not in Mary. Throughout history and across different cultures, women have worn veils as a sign of modesty or purity. Mary is usually depicted with a veil because as a Jewish woman of the first century, she would have worn a veil anytime she went outside the home and was seen by those outside her immediate family.
Traditionally…

July 27th, 2012

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of references to alcohol (primarily wine) in the Bible. The references fall into three categories, having one of the following connotations: neutral, positive, or negative. Countless examples are neutral in the sense that they indicate the commonality of drinking wine at mealtimes with no moral judgment being given…

July 26th, 2012

This is a very, very complicated question. In general, it should be said Catholic theology offers wide freedom to valid decision-makers to remove even life-sustaining treatment. We are finite creatures and should not grasp for more life when it is unjust or when the burdens of medical treatment outweigh its benefits.
Still, human persons have has irreducible…

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