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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
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…

October 19th, 2011

Sure. However, it is important to make the distinction between practice and belief here. Yoga actually grew up in the Hindu tradition (not the Buddhist tradition) and was seen as a total way of life and belief; not just techniques, practices or ideas, but also eating habits, bathing habits, meditation, social interaction, and work. Today, most practitioners…

October 18th, 2011

Standing together after the reception of Holy Communion is a sign of unity that we are truly the Body of Christ, which we have just received. However, in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, there are no specific guidelines for a posture after the reception of Holy Communion. There are posture guidelines for the Eucharistic Prayer leading up to the reception…

October 17th, 2011

Although nun’s habits (particularly the veils) may make them look like Mary, the habit actually has a broader symbolic meaning. Traditionally speaking, the habit is an outward sign of the nun’s vocation, a way of identifying her total dedication to God. (Even the religious orders who no longer wear formal habits often have some element of their dress,…

October 14th, 2011

Generally speaking “Israelites” refer to the ancestors of the Jews whose story is told in the Old Testament. In the book of Genesis, Abraham’s grandson Jacob was renamed “Israel”(Genesis 32:28) and following that renaming, Jacob’s descendants were commonly referred to as Israelites. It was centuries before the religion of the Israelites…

October 13th, 2011

If your dog is a service dog and you or another member of your wedding party depend on it in order to participate in the liturgy, then you should be able to include the dog. You can even put a bow on its collar if Fido will tolerate it! But you can’t have a pet in your wedding for any other purpose. Liturgy, by definition, is the work of the people – it is the way that we…

October 13th, 2011

The best answer to your question is that you should first make an appointment with your parish priest. Each person’s situation is different and each annulment case is unique; your priest will work with you through the process and guide you through the steps that are necessary for you.
As you are considering an annulment process, another preliminary step is…

October 12th, 2011

Question: My daughter and I are doing research on a Saint from China (she is adopted from there). What is St. Lucy Yi ZhenMei the patron saint of?
While not any official patronage is assigned yet to St. Lucy Yi ZhenMei, she is one of the newly canonized Martyr-Saints of China.
She was born in 1815 and was always very pious even professing chastity at the age of 12. She…

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