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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
March 11th, 2015

We should highlight an important point here: There is a distinction between matters of faith and other practices of the Church. The essential truths of the faith — Tradition with a capital T — do not change and cannot ever be updated or modernized. But many aspects of the life and practice of the Church — tradition with a lower case t —…

March 6th, 2015

In Jewish and Christian tradition, the number 40 has symbolic meaning. A period of 40 days or years, more than being a literal measurement, represents a long time and a period of preparation or testing. When 40 days or 40 years have passed, the appropriate period or the “right amount of time” has been completed in preparation for the working of God’s grace.…

March 4th, 2015

Questions about “unpardonable sin” often arise because of Mark 3:29 and its parallels. Responding to claims that he was possessed by an evil spirit, Jesus says that “whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” This challenging passage has been interpreted in many ways over the centuries.…

February 27th, 2015

There are a bunch of possibilities here. The first is to take advantage of times when these issues naturally come up. So, you might organize a special event for Earth Day or bake and share Christmas cookies made with fair trade chocolate…

February 25th, 2015

Please, first of all, accept our deepest condolences. Suicide is always tough for those who are left behind, so please know that we are keeping you and your family in prayer.
Catholics trust in the mercy of God. That is THE central element of our faith and Pope Francis has taken great strides to make sure that it is preached far and wide to the faithful. What we know…

February 20th, 2015

Q: During Mass, before you receive communion, shouldn’t you be on your knees before God? Standing doesn’t seem right to me on one hand. On the other hand I want to follow current teachings. Can you shed some light?
Kneeling was once the common posture for receiving communion, and some people wonder if this is a more reverent way to receive the Body and Blood…

February 19th, 2015

You’re out with your friends on a Friday night and suddenly you notice that one of them has switched from his favorite microbrew to… lemonade? Is it time for Lent already? Giving up something for Lent sometimes evokes head-scratching in non-Catholics, but what might seem like just another Catholic eccentricity can actually be a practice with deep spiritual…

February 4th, 2015

Q: How do we reconcile the teaching to “love thy neighbor” and the traditions of Christian faith with controversial topics such as gay marriage?

Viewed from within, the Church believes its position on gay marriage is a stance of love. But sometimes what comes across instead is scorn or fear, stemming from ignorance of what it is like to stand in the shoes of…

January 30th, 2015

Let’s start with what “spirituality” essentially is. Spirituality is a growing intimacy with God experienced through the people, events, places, and things in each day’s living. And how will that happen? Through what you see, hear, taste, touch, smell. We are embodied spirits, and the doorways to our hearts and minds are our senses.…

January 28th, 2015

Q: I’m in a three-year Pastoral Institute course that our diocese is offering. This is my third round of taking these courses in two different dioceses over a 20-year period, and I have never been taught scripture like this. The current course is on the Old Testament being taught by a religious sister of 72 years. I believe she knows her stuff, but I am questioning…

January 23rd, 2015

Q: The gospel reading from Luke 20:34-36 says:
Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are…

January 16th, 2015

Question: Where in the Bible does it say one must go to confession? I believe it was made up at some time so the “church” could know what its parishioners were doing. I pray daily to God and ask forgiveness of sins personally. They are forgiven. Why would I want to tell them to someone else? Priests are no “closer” to God than I am. What say…

January 12th, 2015

Yes, all of the Eastern Catholic Rites are in communion with Rome, and together with the Latin Rite, they make up the Catholic Church. That’s why they’re called Eastern Catholic Rites. Members of the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church do fulfill their Sunday obligation if attending the Sunday worship of an Eastern Catholic Church, and they are welcome…

January 9th, 2015

Question: What does God mean, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you?”…
This comes from the opening lines of the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. This verse (Jeremiah 1:5) and the ones that follow are a call to leadership for the under-confident Jeremiah. Essentially, God is saying that he has given

November 13th, 2014

Q: Why do infants who receive the sacrament of baptism have to wait until they are older to receive the sacrament of confirmation, instead of receiving them at the same time?
Delaying the sacrament of confirmation until some time after baptism preserves the candidate’s direct connection with the bishop. In the early Church, people who became Christians…

November 12th, 2014

Q: I have a question about forgiveness. I have a coworker that really annoys me – to put it mildly. I have been trying to be more forgiving of the people with which I work, but this one guy I have not forgiven for anything yet. It is hard for me to do it. He has such a hyper-critical, superior, selfish, angry, and exasperating attitude that I am at the point where…

November 11th, 2014

Q: What’s the best way to respond to someone who thinks it’s “funny” to always comment on a show of faith in the workplace (like prayer before a meal)? I don’t want to create tension but I feel I should respond.
The tension is already there, because this person’s comments are making you (and perhaps others) uncomfortable. You’re right to respond.…

October 16th, 2014

Some Christian communities talk about the “assurance of salvation,” an absolute certainty that one will go to heaven upon one’s death, regardless of how someone lives their life. The proposal sometimes sounds transactional: if I do X, God will do Y. (Often X means giving assent to the doctrinal formula of some particular group.) This may be justified…

October 7th, 2014

An excellent question! The incarnation of Jesus is not bound by human biology. So we are talking about a supernatural event that we are trying to limit by our own natural biology.
That said, Jesus was indeed both human and divine. So it is not important to emphasize the biological necessity of a male donor, but rather the emphasis is on the divine one entering into…

September 30th, 2014

Question: My boyfriend was previously married through city hall. He and his ex have gotten divorced. Would we be able to get married in a Catholic Church?

Is your boyfriend a baptized Catholic, or is his previous spouse a baptized Catholic? If so, did they get a dispensation from canonical form (being married before a priest and two witnesses) in getting married…

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