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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
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Bible
Mike Hayes
Swingman/Editor
 
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August 5th, 2011

The evangelist Luke wrote of a biological relationship between the mothers of Jesus and John the Baptist. Reportedly, the angel Gabriel told Mary “your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son.” (Lk 1:36). The original Greek text does not tell us exactly how they were related, but common tradition has held that because their mothers were…

August 2nd, 2011

Schools that require students to wear uniforms know that we take things more seriously when we are dressed for the occasion. Our dress communicates a great deal about who we are and what is important to us. When you dress for mass, you are telling yourself – and others around you – how much you care about what is taking place. Celebrating the Eucharist is the…

July 29th, 2011

According to legend in Western Christianity, there were three “wise men,” their names were Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar, and they were of various ethnic/racial origin. However, Matthew’s account of the magi’s visit (which is the only reference in the Bible to these famed visitors) tells us none of these details.
Because Matthew tells us that the…

July 27th, 2011

First communion day is very special for children. After a long period of preparation, they will finally receive the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time. There is often a lot happening that day. Your son may find himself sitting in a different place than your family usually sits and doing some things differently than he usually does at mass. He may have a special…

July 25th, 2011

First of all, I’d be wary of saying that Mary is “still appearing,” as that wording implies that there are approved apparitions happening on a daily basis. Though alleged Marian sightings do make for great news stories, only a very few of them have been investigated by the Church and found to be worthy of belief. It’s also important to remember that even…

July 25th, 2011

A church building is a special place calling for special behavior. While the church is our home and we should feel comfortable there – indeed, the church (small “c”) is a gathering place for the Church, the people of God (capital “C”) – that doesn’t mean that anything goes. Your actions in church show respect for God and for the community that gathers…

July 22nd, 2011

Sometimes a Catholic who reads from the New American Bible (NAB) can be overheard telling a Protestant who uses the King James Version (KJV) that she has more books in her Bible than he does — as if it’s a bragging right. The KJV has 39 books in the Old Testament, all written in Hebrew. However, the Old Testament of the NAB contains 46 books, including an additional…

July 20th, 2011

Congratulations on your daughter’s upcoming first communion! Of course you want to make sure that it is special, but don’t lose sight of what is really important. First communion is not about the dress or the pictures or the party – these are merely extras. First communion is about your daughter receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. It should be the first…

July 20th, 2011

The Catholic Church teaches that human sexuality is a beautiful gift from God. It allows us to love others and, in a special way, to truly give ourselves in love to one other person…

July 18th, 2011

Feast days (and solemnities and memorials) are days in the liturgical calendar where the Church highlights and honors an aspect of the Lord, of Mary, or of a particular saint. The Marian days usually fall into different categories. Some of them commemorate a particular event in Scripture, such as the Annunciation or the Visitation. Others highlight various…

July 15th, 2011

At a Catholic service, the presiding priest or a member of the parish staff will provide a list of scripture readings from the lectionary from which the couple may choose. The suggestions will include options for both Old and New Testament readings. If the couple has a preference for other biblical texts that are meaningful to them or have a particular significance…

July 12th, 2011

It’s good that you’re tackling this issue before first communion day. Make sure your child understands that you expect reverent behavior; do not encourage or tolerate any kind of silliness around the act of receiving communion, even when you are practicing.
Children have a natural curiosity about new things, especially something as special and mysterious…

July 11th, 2011

Matthew is one of the two gospels (along with Luke) to include an infancy narrative. Unlike Luke, though, Matthew gives a greater emphasis on Joseph than on Mary. Matthew tells the story of how Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant and intended to divorce her quietly, until he received a visit from the angel of the Lord. Matthew is also the only Gospel to include…

July 8th, 2011

Among the four gospels in the New Testament, Mark is widely accepted as the earliest gospel account. It is dated to approximately 70 A.D, while Luke, Matthew and John were composed in the following 20 years.
There were other gospel accounts written that were not canonized, and these are lumped together under the category of “apocryphal” gospels. The majority…

July 5th, 2011

The Rite of Ordination occurs within the context of Mass and therefore there will be some parts of the sacrament that will be familiar to you. Also, if you have participated in any of the sacraments recently you will notices some similarities in the Ordination Rite.
The sacrament itself occurs in between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.…

July 4th, 2011

Question: How difficult must it have been for Mary to teach anything to Jesus? Wouldn’t he already know twenty ways to do whatever she asked?
Your question touches on one of the most intriguing aspects of Jesus: the fact that he was both fully human and fully divine. Admittedly, it’s hard to imagine how being fully God and fully man would work in practical terms,…

July 1st, 2011

Hosanna is derived from a Hebrew term meaning “Save, now!” or “Please save,” as used in Psalm 118:25. Christian usage of the word is typically understood as a shout of adoration or praise, as when Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the people shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9). The celebration…

June 29th, 2011

Prostitution existed in biblical times so it’s not surprising it got some press from the biblical writers who were firmly rooted in the particular culture and time. More often than not, the concept of prostitution was used by biblical writers as a metaphor for unfaithfulness to God (“prostitute themselves to a foreign god”) or as a judgment against detestable…

June 28th, 2011

There are several church documents that provide guidelines for Church Musicians. For a general guide on liturgy and music you can refer to Chapter VI of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. More recently, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published Sing to the Lord, a document that provides musical guidelines for parishes and Church Musicians.…

June 27th, 2011

We don’t actually know why they came to find him. This story shows up in three places (Mark 3: 31-35, Luke 8:19-21, and Matthew 12:46-50), and none of the evangelists mentions the reason why Mary and Jesus’ brothers (often understood to be half-brothers or cousins; see the New American Bible footnote for Mark 6:3) are seeking him out. Mark’s version does…

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