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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
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…

July 2nd, 2012

Mary didn’t know everything that would happen to Jesus. She was human, not divine, so she did not possess God’s knowledge. We know that she did know that Jesus was the Son of the Most High (remember that the angel told her that at the Annunciation), but she did not know the details of how his life would unfold. In the Gospels, when she encounters the unexpected,…

June 28th, 2012

Our feelings are always important things to take note of, and we can use them as a way to discern whether what we are doing is something that God would want us to do. In this case, feeling guilty might lead you to discern more deeply. Why are you watching the movie to begin with? Does focusing on sexually explicit scenes make you a more loving, faithful or hopeful person,…

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…

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