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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
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.

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…

July 25th, 2012

Well, it’s natural enough to want to go and see the place for yourself. Even people who know nothing about Islam use Mecca as a synonym for the ultimate goal. Every Muslim is required to make the pilgrimage (hajj) once in her or her lifetime; it’s one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Non-Muslims are not, however, able to participate in the hajj. …The area around the

July 24th, 2012

When a deacon is present at the Celebration of the Eucharist, he has some special duties that he is responsible for. These duties include proclaiming the Gospel (and possibly the homily), praying the General Intercessions, assisting in the distribution of Communion, and carrying out other liturgical duties as necessary. So although at World Youth Day there…

July 23rd, 2012

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is one of the congregations of the Roman curia, the departments that handle the various affairs of the universal Church. As its name suggests, the CDF addresses matters of doctrine. This includes issuing official statements on doctrinal points when necessary. It also includes investigating doctrinal…

July 20th, 2012

Daniel relates that he saw a vision of four beasts that originated in the “great sea,” a symbol for chaos and the power of evil. He then relates that the vision continued with an image resembling a human being or “one like a son of man” coming from above “with the clouds of heaven” (Dn 7:1-14). The beasts are considered to be symbols of pagan kingdoms…

July 18th, 2012

Since the ecumenical movement was really founded in Scotland, I’m concerned because the Catholic Church has recently closed the only seminary they had there.  Does this mean that the more “ecumenical” we become the less “Catholic” we might become?…
In a logic text book, I think that would be called a “non sequitur” (the

July 17th, 2012

All the precious blood must be consumed after Communion- no matter how much is left (see the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #279).
That said, one Eucharistic Minister should not be consuming large quantities of the precious blood as the effects of the wine will inebriate them, so they should drink as much as possible and then ask another Eucharistic Minister…

July 16th, 2012

Mary’s parents are St. Joachim and St. Anne. What we know about them comes from tradition and from apocryphal writings (writings that are in the style of sacred Scripture but are not believed to have been divinely inspired). The Protoevangelium of James (written around A.D. 150) describes them as a wealthy couple who were infertile for many years, leading…

July 13th, 2012

Indeed, Jesus was accused of being “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” The phrase is found in Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34 where Jesus contrasts himself to John the Baptist who was known for his asceticism in both diet and drink. Opponents of the two managed to find fault with both styles of living.
Certainly the Bible, especially…

July 12th, 2012

The Catholic Church is pro-life, and this not only means “not killing” and “actively supporting” life, but it also means being open to new life… as well. The Church therefore obviously wants to support the desire of married couples to be parents, but to do so in a way that is in line with God’s intention for how flourishing children come into the world.

July 12th, 2012

The sacrament of reconciliation celebrates God’s boundless mercy and love — no matter what we have done, God always gives us a fresh start if we express sorrow for our sins and a desire to amend our lives. There is absolutely no place for recriminations during confession. The priest may ask questions to help you thoroughly examine your conscience, and…

July 11th, 2012

It might end up making you more committed to and active in your Catholic faith than ever. A study was done recently by a Church-related agency on the level of religious commitment among couples. It found that a high incidence of couples who were very engaged in the life of their parish were those in which one of the partners had been a member of another tradition of…

July 9th, 2012

We don’t know for sure. The Gospel is silent about Joseph’s life prior to his betrothal to Mary. The tradition that he was an older man and a widower comes from apocryphal sources, namely the Protoevangelium of James, written around AD 150. This text is not considered to be divinely inspired and thus does not have the same weight as Sacred Scripture, though…

July 6th, 2012

Before even buying a book about the Bible, the first step is to buy a well-reputed study Bible. The Catholic Study Bible, the New Oxford Annotated Bible, or the Harper Study Bible are excellent Bibles for both prayer and study. The advantage these Bibles have is that they have well-documented footnotes and cross-references, introductory material before each…

July 6th, 2012

Thank you for your question, which shows great courage and faith and is already a step towards reconciliation. The Church is eager to welcome you and help you find healing and forgiveness. The best place to start is to talk to a trusted spiritual advisor. He or she will encourage you and support you as you work through the emotions surrounding your experience. When you are ready, one important step will be to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Preparing for that moment and moving forward with trust in God’s mercy afterwards will take time and you will need ongoing support.

July 3rd, 2012

For this answer, we look directly to the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #279:
“The sacred vessels are purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte after Communion or after Mass, insofar as possible at the credence table. The purification of the chalice is done with water alone or with wine and water, which is then drunk by whoever does the…

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