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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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June 27th, 2012

There’s certainly no hard and fast rule in any Church documents that doesn’t allow priests to carry guns. Just as there’s not one that says priests can’t carry a bow and arrow either. But prudential judgment is what is called for here.
The question to ask ourselves is, “Does a priest need a gun to protect himself where there is a lot of violence —…

June 25th, 2012

According to a survey by Forbes.com, an estimated 20 million pilgrims visit the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City every year. And though this is the most popular site, it certainly isn’t the only one. Watch this video and take a virtual tour to and through some other famous Catholic sites around the world.…

June 21st, 2012

Of course not! Both the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the U.S. Catholic Bishops recognize that sexual orientation is not a choice and is not sinful: “Generally, homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen. By itself, therefore, a homosexual orientation cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes…

June 20th, 2012

Deciding how to respond to a panhandler is one of the challenging aspects of urban life. He could use your spare change to feed his family or to feed his addiction, and you have no way to know which. But should you give money to your niece on her birthday? Or to your coworker who’s retiring? You don’t really know what either of them is going to do with the…

June 19th, 2012

The Church is strongly in favor… of stem cell research. Indeed, it has funded and even led conferences in attempts to find medical solutions via stem cells. The Church has almost always supported science, and even the Galileo affair was really an argument about whether he had actually proven his claims about relationship of the earth and the sun scientifically.

June 18th, 2012

Jesus did not ask Peter this question three times because he was hard of hearing or slow to comprehend Peter’s answers. Watch the video to find out the reason behind Jesus’ “Do you love me?” triple-questioning, as well as an overview of biblical numbers.…

June 14th, 2012

It’s actually a misconception that the Church advises against the use of fertility drugs. The Church teaches that union and procreation are the twin purposes of sexual intimacy, and that sexual relations are reserved to a man and woman united in the sacramental bond of marriage. In evaluating a drug or technology, the question to ask is whether it helps…

June 12th, 2012

The Church claims special authority to speak only about matters concerning faith and morals, but also asks Catholics (and all those of good will) to consider its arguments about other matters. Though it isn’t a question of faith or morals, the Church clearly and overwhelmingly sides with the scientists who argue that climate change is happening. Pope…

June 7th, 2012

Many couples experience the heartbreak and disappointment of being unable to conceive a child. While the Church encourages research that may help them to conceive, it also notes that some medical interventions available today are contrary to Catholic teaching. In the understanding of the Church, procreation and union are the twin purposes of sexual intimacy;…

May 29th, 2012

According to the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (nos. 328-29), all vessels should be made of precious metal; or, in the case of the United States, a durable material such as an ebony or hard wood. The reason why glass is discouraged is because glass can break very easily, and the sacred vessel should not be so fragile. However, despite the fact that glass is…

May 28th, 2012

In the Gospel of Luke, when Mary arrives at the home of her cousin Elizabeth, Mary proclaims a hymn of praise to God (Luke 1:46-55). The first part of it focuses on the greatness of God and what he has done in Mary’s life, while the second part talks about how God brings down the rich and powerful and lifts up the humble and lowly. The hymn finishes with a reference…

May 22nd, 2012

“And with your spirit” is the new way of saying “And also with you.” For a good explanation of the difference see this article about the Top Five Liturgical Changes (hint: “And with your spirit” is 1!).…

May 21st, 2012

A few months back, the question of whether it’s okay to wear a rosary around one’s neck engendered a great discussion in the combox. In my article, I shared that I couldn’t find any formal prohibition against doing so, and readers contributed all sorts of fascinating insights about their personal feelings for or against this practice. (Commenters: thank…

May 15th, 2012

Each liturgical season has a special color assigned to it that determines what color the priest and deacon’s vestments are and also to determine how the church is decorated. Here is a basic list of the colors:
White: White is used for all the feast days and during the Christmas and Easter seasons.
Red: Red is used on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Pentecost. It is…

May 14th, 2012

Question: Was Joseph a deadbeat dad? What happened to Joseph after Jesus’ birth?
Though the Gospels don’t say much about Joseph in general, there is clear Scriptural evidence that he was very present in Jesus’ young life. The Gospel of Luke tells the story of Mary and Joseph taking the baby Jesus to the temple to be presented, in accordance with the law of…

May 7th, 2012

When you look at the Annunciation story in the gospel of Luke, you can see that the angel’s message is pretty astonishing.
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne…

May 3rd, 2012

The word “hex”, meaning a spell or curse, derives from a German word for practicing sorcery; the word “jinx”, meaning something that brings bad luck, may derive from the Latin name of a bird used in witchcraft in ancient times. Catholics do not believe in either, nor in the many similar superstitions abounding in popular culture. The idea of a supernatural…

April 30th, 2012

The Hail, Holy Queen (known as the “Salve Regina” in the original Latin) is one of the most well-known prayers about Mary. It is a prayer of petition, asking Mary for her prayers on our behalf. Various sources place its origins in the eleventh or twelfth century. In medieval times, monks and friars sang it at the end of the day, and it is currently one of the four…

April 26th, 2012

It is always better to root for someone than to root against someone. What you really hope for is your team’s success, not the opponent’s failure, even though the latter is a necessary consequence of the former. (An even better attitude would be to hope that the best team may win, but for many sports fans that’s too much to ask.) In any case, your question applies…

April 23rd, 2012

Ordinarily in the Mass, the priest wears three types of sacred vestments:
Alb: This garment is common to both ordained and instituted members of the Church. The Alb is a long white garment that is worn over ordinary clothing. Often, a cincture is used around the waist so that the alb can fit properly.
Chasuble: This is a vestment that comes in many colors and the…

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