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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 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.

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…

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