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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
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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December 14th, 2010

St. Edmund Campion was born in 1540 and rose to great political, ecclesiastical and academic prominence in Elizabethan England. The Queen (the daughter of Henry VIII) and others recognized Campion’s talents and many spoke of him as a future Archbishop of Canterbury in the young Anglican church. To be a Roman Catholic in Elizabethan England was a crime punishable…

December 13th, 2010

In 1981, at a high school in Kibeho, Rwanda, a teenager named Alphonsine Mumureke had a vision of the Virgin Mary. Mary identified herself to Alphonsine as “the Mother of the Word.” When Alphonsine’s story was mocked by other students, she asked Mary to appear to others, so that they might believe. In January of 1982, Mary appeared to a girl named Anathalie…

December 9th, 2010

Exact statistics are elusive, but according to a survey by Forbes.com, an estimated 20 million pilgrims visit the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City every year. (By comparison, visitors to the Vatican number approximately 18 million.) The shrine houses the cloak of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, to whom Mary appeared on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531.…

December 8th, 2010

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that the state known as original sin began with Adam and Eve, and has defined human nature ever since. “By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.” (CCC 416) The Church isn’t saying that original sin is genetic,…

December 7th, 2010

“The mandatum is fundamentally an acknowledgment by Church authority that a Catholic professor of a theological discipline is a teacher within the full communion of the Catholic Church” (http://www.usccb.org/bishops/guidelines.shtml ). The mandatum is a relational reality between a Bishop and a Catholic person teaching Catholic theology within…

December 6th, 2010

St. Nicholas, upon whom the figure of Santa Claus is based, was the bishop of Myra (today called Demre), on the Mediterranean coast of modern-day Turkey. He lived from 270-346. Nicholas was renowned for his generosity and also revered as a miracle worker, although little is known about his life. According to legend, Nicholas secretly tossed bags of gold into…

December 1st, 2010

Catholics liked him…a lot. And rightfully so since, even though he was a Hindu and not a Christian, he embodied much about what the Church stands for in her moral teaching. As the Second Vatican Council said in Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions:
“The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy…

November 30th, 2010

Tell them the church is a hospital for sinners, not a showcase for saints. The transformation that begins at our Baptism is, for most of us, an affair of one step forward, three steps sideways, two steps back, and two steps forward. The human condition is characterized by original sin, the truth that things are not as they should be. The good news is that God comes…

November 29th, 2010

To recap the story from Matthew’s Gospel:
When Mary and Joseph were betrothed, but had not yet lived together as man and wife, Joseph learned that she was with child. (At this time, according to the Jewish marriage customs, a couple was betrothed for several months before moving in together and having marital relations.) Naturally, he assumed that she…

November 25th, 2010

Although Thanksgiving, with its roots in early colonial harvest festivals, is observed as an American civic holiday, the very idea of giving thanks points toward religious celebration. It is to God, first and foremost, that we give thanks. For Catholics, the most appropriate way to observe Thanksgiving is to go to mass: celebrating the Eucharist (a word which…

November 24th, 2010

There are three principle ways in which one can be involved in the ecumenism, the cause of Christian Unity.
The first is Prayer. On the night before he died, Christ prayed for his disciples, “May they all be one…so that the world may believe that you sent me.” (Jn 17:21) So first, we must join our prayer to that of Christ. Since all Christians share a common…

November 23rd, 2010

The answer is “No.” And many people wonder why. I have met many men who would gladly serve as deacons, but they cannot promise to remain unmarried if their wife should die. Most cogently say, “How could I deny my children a women who would love them as their mother did if she died? They would need a new Mom.”
It is little known, but a married deacon whose…

November 22nd, 2010

Quick answer: no.
Backstory:… in 1988, a young woman at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale, Arizona, reported having received prophetic visions of and messages from the Virgin Mary. She also told her parish priest that she had had a vision of nine other young-adult parishioners who would become a circle of visionaries and locutionists (locution is when

November 18th, 2010

St. Teresa of Ávila, who lived from 1515-1582, was a Spanish theologian, writer, and mystic. She entered the Carmelite order as a teenager and, as she deepened her vocation and commitment through a dedicated practice of contemplative prayer, was dismayed by the laxity and worldliness that surrounded her even in religious life. In response she shepherded…

November 17th, 2010

On the night before he died, as he instituted the Eucharist, Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples when he said,
“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
- Jn 17:22-21.
Jesus…

November 16th, 2010

Question: I have had to be away from my wife of ten years and our children for several weeks as I am taking a Christian course but my sexual urge is driving me “crazy” now. It’s almost all I think about and I am not happy about that.  I need to focus on other things but sex is almost all i think about! Would it be a sin against God if my wife and I were …

November 15th, 2010

Reported Marian apparitions do sometimes make the news, but I don’t know of any actual apparitions caught on camera. There are no “recorded” images of Mary captured on live TV or film.
That said, there are several videos showing the visionaries of Medjugorje allegedly experiencing apparitions of the Virgin Mary. You don’t see Mary herself in them,…

November 12th, 2010

Stigmata, from the Greek word for “marks” or “signs,” refers to the physical manifestations of the wounds of Jesus on the hands, feet, side, and brow, accompanied by intense suffering. These are called visible stigmata. When someone experiences the sufferings without any outward marks, these phenomena are called invisible stigmata.…

November 11th, 2010

St. Jean de Brébeuf, SJ, who lived from 1593-1649, arrived in what was then part of New France, in the region of modern-day Ontario and upstate New York, in 1625.
For many years he lived and worked among the Huron people. In spite of his great strides in learning the Huron language and culture, he and the other European Christian missionaries in the region encountered…

November 10th, 2010

Yes, indeed, the two most notable in the United States are Islam and Judaism. In Islam the daily prayers and recitation of the Qur’an is most properly done in Arabic. This is because Muslims believe that the Qur’an was revealed to the prophet Mohammed in that language. However, sermons and instructions are almost always given in the local language.…

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