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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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September 14th, 2010

Question:… I’m an ardent and faithful Catholic who has been in a relationship with a guy who was raised a Buddhist. While he does not often practice his faith or even believe fully in it’s teachings, he finds that it is an important aspect of his Mongolian heritage. We are getting serious and have talked about marriage. He knows that as a Catholic, I

September 13th, 2010

The earliest writings about Mary are in the New Testament, which was written in the second half of the first century. After that, Mary is mentioned in several apocryphal texts (texts that are written in the style of the Gospels but are not believed to be divinely inspired). One of the most Mary-centric of these books is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written…

September 9th, 2010

Who is the Dalai Lama and should I listen to his teachings if I am Catholic?
The Dalai Lama is the temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a successive line of teachers have held this title since 1391, each believed to be the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama.
The present Dalai Lama is the 14th person…

September 8th, 2010

Actually, not all of them do. The practice has its origins in the dictates of modesty. From time immemorial, an uncovered head was considered immodest. Married Jewish women covered their heads, usually with a scarf or veil, so as not to draw attention to themselves.
In relatively recent times, the wearing of a wig or a half-wig, called a “sheitel” in Yiddish,…

September 7th, 2010

Liberation Theology is a school of theological thought that is centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ in terms of liberation from poverty or unjust social situations, most especially in Central American Culture. It arose as a moral reaction to the poverty cause by social inequalities in that region. Gustavo Gutierrez is the most famous of the liberation…

September 6th, 2010

The Council of Ephesus, which was held in 431, was crucial in affirming the truth of the title “Mother of God.” People had been calling Mary that for quite some time, but it was not dogmatically defined until the Council.
Here’s how it happened: At the Council, the bishops denounced the Nestorian heresy…, a heresy that claimed that Christ’s human and divine

September 3rd, 2010

As is true today, women played an important part in serving the early Church. Scripture itself refers to many such women by name, beginning with Luke’s Gospel which tells us about the women who served in addition to the Twelve: “Mary, called Mag’dalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
and Joan’na…, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward,

September 2nd, 2010

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, informally known as the Order of Malta, is a Catholic religious order which dates to the 11th century. It was founded by merchants from Amalfi (in modern day Italy) who, inspired by John the Baptist, ran a hospice providing care and shelter to pilgrims visiting Jerusalem.…

August 31st, 2010

The only thing I know for certain is that a rule of architecture says that “form follows function.” And therefore, we have a bit of a clash in post Vatican II Church Architecture.
We have older churches with high ceilings and long aisles with pews lined up in parallel rows. This emphasized the transcendent nature of worship and our relationship to God Almighty…

August 30th, 2010

Over the centuries, many different chaplets (series of prayers usually said on a string of beads) have been written to express devotion to a particular saint or to an aspect of the Christian faith. The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is one of the most well-known chaplets. It is based on the visions received by Sister Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, in the 1930s. It…

August 27th, 2010

Was St. Paul homophobic? Some people come to that unfortunate conclusion when reading some of his writings about homosexuality such as Romans 1:24-27; 1Corinthians 6:9-10; and 1Tim 1:10. In particular, it must be noted that, in the Greco-Roman world of which Paul was a part, it was not uncommon for boys or young men to be kept for the purposes of prostitution.…

August 26th, 2010

The cycle of funerary texts called “Bardo Thodol” is often casually known in the west as the “Tibetan Book of the Dead.” A more accurate translation of the title might be something like “Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State,” from “thodol,” meaning liberation, and “bardo,” meaning liminality. According to Tibetan…

August 25th, 2010

In every culture and religion, a prospective wedding is always a big deal. It’s a time to celebrate the engaged couple and introduce family members to each other, perhaps for the first time. Hindu engagement ceremonies are no different.
Depending on which Hindu community you are from, the engagement ceremony is known as mangni, aashirwad, or misri. Usually…

August 24th, 2010

1. Read the reading beforehand. Read it again. And again. Ask the priest or someone how to pronounce a word of which you are unsure. Read notes about the readings. Get a sense of what you are proclaiming.
2. Realize you are proclaiming the Word. Be expressive (but not histrionic). Don’t rush. But don’t be so slow that people think you cannot read easily.
3. Keep…

August 20th, 2010

In Proverbs 1:20-33, we encounter a female character named Wisdom. She is walking through the streets, crying out in a loud voice for people to follow her. Who is this mysterious figure? Some have come to think of Lady Wisdom as a being, a deity in her own right. Others have come to equate her with the feminine side of God or the Holy Spirit. A closer look at Scripture…

August 19th, 2010

St. Francis of Assisi was known to have a love of the natural world and of creation; countless legends are told about him that attest to his special relationship with animals. He is said to have used live animals in popularizing the nativity scene and to have spent time preaching to the birds, who he called his sisters. In one famous story, he tamed a wolf that had…

August 18th, 2010

If you’ve seen the movie The Rookie, with Dennis Quaid you might know this answer.
St. Rita has recently been touted as an unofficial patron saint of the sport because of the references made to her in this movie where Quaid plays Jimmy Morris, an actual ballplayer, who makes an unbelievable comeback to become a major league ballplayer. While coaching St.…

August 17th, 2010

The priest’s stole is worn around the neck, like a yoke. The deacon’s stole is slung across one shoulder and the opposite hip. The stole is a “sign” or “badge” of office. The liturgical vestments (alb, stoles, chasubles) indicate the positions of service to the community provided by bishops, priests and deacons.
Many cultural realities have something…

August 16th, 2010

A Marian apparition is a supernatural appearance of Mary to a person (or group of people) on earth. Since the early centuries of the Church, there have been thousands of reported Marian apparitions. “Reported” is a key word here; just because someone says that they saw Mary doesn’t mean that they really did. The Church, under the guidance of the bishop…

August 13th, 2010

Every so often, a headline appears online or in newspapers about a research team that believes they have discovered evidence of Noah’s ark. Could it be that the ark that is described in the Book of Genesis factually existed? It’s possible. However, whether or not the story of Noah’s Ark is factual, Catholics embrace the story as true. That’s…

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