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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
February 8th, 2011

The answer to this question is a bit above my pay grade. As a Jesuit, I’m not in the loop of the diocesan priests’ world. They better know who is moving up the ladder of ecclesiastical offices. The priests who study in Rome seem to get to know one another and they would have a better sense of who from other countries has a chance of becoming Pope. If you really want…

February 7th, 2011

Actually, we owe the first half of it to the angel Gabriel and to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” are the words of the angel when he greets Mary at the Annunciation (Luke 1:28). During the visitation, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth welcomes her with the words, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your…

February 4th, 2011

Ownership of land was very important in biblical times. Heck, it still is! Who doesn’t think that they’ve “made it” when they finally purchase their first home? To own property is to reach a degree of prosperity that makes you a “someone.” Recall that, in the Old Testament, the Jewish people find themselves in slavery in the land of Egypt. They have…

February 3rd, 2011

Q:  Do Hindus believe in Jesus? A friend told me that they believe in all gods.
Hinduism is an umbrella term for the indigenous religious traditions of South Asia, a vast subcontinent which is home to a wide diversity of belief and practice. However, certain principles are common among Hindus. Among these is the belief that there are many gods and goddesses,…

February 2nd, 2011

It depends on what your wife’s religious tradition is. If she is Christian, then there are many things which you already hold in common which you should celebrate such as your common baptism, common scriptures, belief in Jesus as Lord, etc. In short, what you can do together in conscience, you should do together, refraining only from those things which cannot…

February 1st, 2011

The simple answer is that statues of saints remind us of the saint and their heroic efforts on behalf of the people of God and the spreading of the Gospel Good News so needed in every age. We gaze upon and ponder statues and pray to become like the great witnesses to God’s love and mercy and justice. We don’t worship the statue or the saint. We let our imagination…

January 31st, 2011

Many depictions of Mary show her wearing a long veil that covers her head and stretches to the ground. This is also referred to as a mantle. Many Catholics find comfort in the image of Mary holding open her mantle and wrapping it around us, protecting us as a mother would protect her children. (This symbolism is found in Eastern Orthodox Christianity as well; the…

January 27th, 2011

Catholics believe that death is not the end of the human soul. The dead face a particular judgment which leads to damnation or salvation; those led to salvation may enter eternal life immediately or after a period of purification in purgatory. We don’t actually know what purgatory entails, although we do believe that we can have contact with the dead who have…

January 26th, 2011

No, not true. Even better than true. What your friend is referring to is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification which was signed by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation on October 31, 1999. See: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html…

January 20th, 2011

What is the best Catholic response to any problem? Pray, then act.
Pray for those who suffer from religious violence and persecution, that they will find safety and be able to live free from fear and coercion. And pray for the conversion of those who enable or perpetrate violence, that they will come to respect the human dignity and freedoms of all people.

January 19th, 2011

This is a very insightful question. Sometimes the differences in interpretation of Scripture and Tradition seem overwhelming. However, unity is possible because Christ prayed for it at the Last Supper “that they all be one…so that the world may believe.” Thus, as John Paul II said in Paragraph 20 of Ut Unum Sint, “the movement promoting Christian…

January 18th, 2011

Symbols matter and communicate. What we wear “says” something. One would not show up at a Philadelphia Eagles game in a NY Giants jersey and expect to go unnoticed. A man who takes off his wedding ring before going on a business trip to Las Vegas would be questioned closely by his wife.
Funerals are times of sober reflection, prayer and celebration of a deceased…

January 18th, 2011

Most likely.
The most remarkable thing about the Celebration of the Eucharist is that throughout 2,000 or so years- we have always come together to listen to the words of scripture and then share a meal together. Throughout the years, many people have prayed the Eucharist in many different ways. The 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal is just one more way to pray the…

January 14th, 2011

What we find in the New Testament is a reference to a woman named Phoebe as “minister of the church at Cenchreae” (Romans 16:1) The Greek word used here for minister is diakonos… which means servants, attendants, or ministers. St. Paul used the word to refer to himself on occasion as he did in 2 Cor 6:4 (“ministers of God”) and 2 Cor 11:23 (“ministers of

January 13th, 2011

Tithing (from an old English word meaning “tenth”) is the practice of donating a tenth of one’s income to the Church. Since its earliest days the Church has taught that all its members have a responsibility to support its mission and ministry; tithing is a shorthand way of describing that obligation in financial terms.
However, like many shorthand expressions,…

January 12th, 2011

Wait a minute! You if you reading this, you are already logged into one of the most popular Catholic websites on the planet! Throughout our history the Church has been at the forefront of social communications. There are several popular figures who come to mind just in the last century. In the 1950’s, Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s television show, “Life is…

January 11th, 2011

Born in Spain in 1580, Peter Claver, a bright student, entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and spent most of his life serving the slaves in Cartagena. From 1610 until his death he reached out to those captured by slave traders and brought to the new world. A third of the imprisoned Africans died in transit, the dreaded middle passage. Claver made his life’s…

January 7th, 2011

First of all, we don’t know exactly how many wise men visited the newborn king! This is one of those assumptions made by people throughout the ages that is not specifically mentioned in the Bible (just as the Book of Genesis never mentions an apple!). It is presumed that since they offered 3 gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Mt 2:11) – that…

January 6th, 2011

While the essentials of the Catholic marriage rite are the same throughout the world, the countless accoutrements that surround a wedding vary tremendously according to culture, region and economic status. Some Catholic brides in India wear red saris, while others choose white Western dresses; some couples stage elaborate engagement ceremonies, bridal…

January 5th, 2011

Secular Humanism is a particular worldview based on the principles of the Enlightenment. Typically, it dismisses religious affiliation or faith as beneath the dignity of the human person, who by reason and intellect alone, is capable of self actualization. Two of the most quoted phrases in this regard come from the 1973 Humanist Manifesto: “No deity will…

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