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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.

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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
December 6th, 2011

No! This is a common misconception about the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal. The new missal is not better than the words we have been praying for 40 years…it is just a different way to pray. How is the new missal different? A different tool was used for translation from the original Latin text. In the 1975 Sacramentary (the book we previously used), translators…

December 5th, 2011

There is almost no information in the Gospels about what Mary was doing or where she was during the years of Jesus’ ministry. One story we do have, told by three of the four evangelists (Mark 3: 31-35, Luke 8:19-21, and Matthew 12:46-50), talks about how Mary and Jesus’ brothers come looking for him. The use of the word “brothers” here is often understood…

December 1st, 2011

The Catholic theologian Gerald O’Collins, S.J., has called the writings of the prophet Isaiah “the fifth gospel.” By this he means that so many of the themes of the gospels, enfleshed in their portrayal of Jesus, have their scriptural beginnings in Isaiah. Isaiah’s connection to the story of Jesus seems particularly strong in the…

December 1st, 2011

Question:  I dropped by a local parish recently to visit the Lord in their perpetual adoration chapel. When I got there, however, there were no other “adorers” there and the Precious Body was covered by a cloth. My question is this: Why cover Him up? It doesn’t make the host cease to be the Body of Christ, right? And covered or not, He is well…

November 24th, 2011

Marriage in the Catholic Church is different from civil marriage. It is no mere legal contract, easily made and easily broken; rather, it is a covenantal relationship in which a man and woman commit their whole selves to each other, in love and fidelity, for the rest of their lives. The Church recognizes marriage as a sacrament, a special sign of God’s love in…

November 22nd, 2011

Every Mass that we celebrate is directed by the Bishop whether the Bishop is there in person or whether he has appointed a priest to celebrate the Mass (General Instruction for the Roman Missal #92). When the Bishop is present at the Mass, he will often preside over the entire Liturgy. In the event he does not preside for the entire Mass, he will at least preside over…

November 17th, 2011

Fees for a wedding ceremony go directly to the parish and are generally applied to administrative expenses: church upkeep and utilities, staff time and paperwork. The pastor receives a salary from the parish; weddings and other celebrations are part of his job and he isn’t paid according to how many he does. But, as you well know, a lot of time and energy goes…

November 15th, 2011

The Gloria and the Creed are reserved for our most solemn holy days, which includes the Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist and any other holy days in the Church (including Solemn Feast Days). The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (nos. 53 and 68) states that the Gloria should always be sung (or said) on Sundays (except during the seasons of Advent and Lent).…

November 10th, 2011

If you’re planning a Catholic wedding, then you and your fiancé have been working closely with your priest throughout the preparation process. He has probably met with you many times, helped you to arrange for an engaged encounter and/or marriage preparation classes, and guided you through the liturgical planning for the ceremony. Over this time you have…

November 9th, 2011

Question: Being a confirmed catholic in 2008, does attending a non-denominational Christian church go against a person’s Catholic beliefs? Also, is receiving communion at a non-denominational church also against the Catholic beliefs?
Attending a non-denominational church is does not go against Catholic beliefs, but receiving communion in that same…

November 7th, 2011

The USCCB has released a statement regarding flags in Church. Officially, there are no rules regarding state or national flags in the Church and the USCCB leaves it to the local bishop’s discretion on when, or if, to display flags in Church. Remember , in the Liturgy, we celebrate the living, dying and rising of Christ and all the symbols present in our Church…

November 3rd, 2011

Priests should dress tastefully and modestly, just as we all should, whether they are “on” or “off” duty. But, except for members of some religious orders that wear habits, they don’t have to follow any specific dress code. Black clothes and the Roman collar are extremely common for parish priests in the United States but are certainly not required.…

November 2nd, 2011

Militant atheism is one of the worst forms of proselytism. It is definitely a belief system which seeks to impose its will on those who might have differing opinions. To combat militant atheism on campus, do these four things:
1. Pray.… Why? Because it works. Pray for the conversion of those who seek to impose a militant atheism on college campuses. Pray for the

October 31st, 2011

No, Mary did not write a Gospel, or anything else that we know of.
There is a text that is known as the Gospel of Mary, but the Mary in question is Mary Magdalene, not Mary the mother of Jesus. It’s an apocryphal text, meaning that it is written in the style of sacred Scripture but is not considered to be divinely inspired. You can read Joe Paprocki’s answer on the…

October 27th, 2011

If your only disagreement with your family about your wedding has to do with your aunt’s voice, you’re probably ahead of the game. But in the interest of family harmony, rather than reminding your mom that your aunt is no American Idol, get someone who’s a little removed from the situation to make your point for you. If you’re concerned about her singing…

October 26th, 2011

Unlike the Catholic Church, Buddhism is not hierarchically organized. Therefore, there is no earthly, physical head of the Buddhist religion as a whole. That being said, there are spiritual masters and abbots of monasteries who have a definite prominence within Buddhist communities. Probably the most well known of these figures is Tenzin Gyatso, better…

October 25th, 2011

Two things to keep in mind if you want a singing assembly: 1) musical repertoire and 2) musical leaders. In choosing music for Mass, we must be sure that is easy enough for the assembly to sing. If you choose a piece that is technically challenging, then the assembly is more likely to listen rather than participate. One great way to get an assembly singing is to do…

October 24th, 2011

The song “Ave Maria” is a popular choice for Catholic weddings, and it is liturgically appropriate to include it, if the couple chooses to do so. (In fact, it was a part of my own wedding Mass.) When the bride and/or groom has a close relationship to Mary, the song can be a special way to honor that. And because the vocation of marriage often includes raising children,…

October 21st, 2011

These two terms are often used interchangeably, although in the synoptic gospels the apostles generally refer to the 12 men explicitly called by Jesus to follow him while the disciples are a more inclusive larger group that can be thought of as including the apostles.
The apostles listed in these gospels are: Simon (also called Peter), Andrew, James son of Zebedee,…

October 20th, 2011

Although Roman collars, habits and wedding rings are widely recognizable signs of the wearer’s life commitment, these visual markers are customs, not requirements (except in the case of some religious orders that do require the habit.) The fact that a person is not displaying one of these signs does not automatically mean that he or she is available for romantic…

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