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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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July 15th, 2010

St. Bonaventure (1221-1274), bishop and doctor of the Church, was a medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. According to legend, he became gravely ill as an infant and his mother took him to St. Francis to pray for his recovery. St. Francis had a vision of the child’s future greatness and exclaimed, “O buona ventura!” – O, good fortune! –…

July 13th, 2010

Call your local parish and get the number for the chancery (the main office of the Bishop of diocese). The folks at your local chancery will be happy to help you with this request.
Judy Grant, the ever capable and friendly parish administrator at St. Anthony’s Parish in Cody WY (where I’m based while I celebrate Masses in Yellowstone National Park in the summer),…

July 12th, 2010

My own life hasn’t involved nearly as much foreign travel as I’d like, so I can’t speak from extensive firsthand experience. But I have talked to lots of different women about Mary over the last several years, and it’s safe to say that there are indeed countries where Mary is a far more visible presence than she is in much of the U.S.
Why is this the case? It’s…

July 9th, 2010

The Book of Daniel is named after its main character or “hero,” a young Jewish man who is taken into exile to Babylon. The book is part of a literary genre known as “apocalyptic,” meaning that it deals with the topic of the “end times.” This type of literature was very popular in the centuries just before and after the birth of Jesus. In fact…

July 8th, 2010

Why is St. Paul called an apostle?  He wasn’t one of the twelve apostles that Jesus picked. 
The word “apostle” comes from the Greek “apostolein,” meaning “sent ones.” Although Jesus specially designated twelve of his followers in a symbolic restoration of the twelve tribes of Israel (see Matthew 10:2-5, Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:13-16),…

July 7th, 2010

Simply put, no. In fact, it seems impossible. What we know from psychology about suicidal behavior is that the person is not in control of their own actions.
For a matter to be sinfully grave, one would need to willfully do that action. Therefore in the case of suicide, one isn’t sinning willfully.
It’s important to note that at one time the church…

July 5th, 2010

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II survived an assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square. May 13 is the anniversary of the first apparition of Mary to three peasant children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. The Pope later attributed his survival to Our Lady of Fatima. The experience increased his already very strong devotion to Mary.
Even the enthusiastic endorsement…

July 2nd, 2010

In short, the Jesus Seminar is a twice-a-year gathering of 70-plus scholars who vote on what they consider to be the historical accuracy of the Gospels. The Jesus Seminar was founded by Robert Funk, a Protestant Theologian, in 1985. The overriding goal of the Seminar, co-chaired by John Dominic Crossan, is to “un-earth” the voice of historical Jesus which…

June 30th, 2010

There is no requirement that Jewish converts continue to celebrate Jewish liturgical feasts once they have been baptized. Most Jewish converts I know do not. It’s not that such things are forbidden , strictly speaking; it’s just that many do not feel the need given the new context in which they are living. It’s not so much a rejection of their past as it is…

June 28th, 2010

It is common to find stories of unusual or miraculous births in various religious traditions (everything from impregnation by a god to a sterile woman suddenly conceiving and giving birth). This fact in itself, though, does not mean that Mary’s virginal conception was simply copied from another tradition.
The Catholic Church has consistently taught that…

June 25th, 2010

When I was writing my book, The Bible Blueprint: A Catholic’s Guide to Understanding and Embracing God’s Word (Loyola Press), I addressed this very question! With the help of my friend, Dr. Michael Cameron (Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Portland), I compiled the following annotated bibliography of “must reading”…

June 24th, 2010

Salubong (Tagalog for “meeting”) is a traditional Filipino devotion that reenacts the encounter of the risen Christ with his mother. In communities in the Philippines, on the morning of Easter Sunday, statues of the risen Christ and of the blessed mother are carried through town in two separate processions. The men of the community, in a procession of…

June 23rd, 2010

First, if you do not already have a working relationship with the campus ministers or local religious leaders around campus, introduce yourself to them. Meet for coffee or for lunch and discuss the joys and challenges of your ministry. Chances are you will find that you all share a lot in common.
Second, commit to meet on a regular basis. Once a month is a good rule…

June 22nd, 2010

A basilica is simply an important church building designated by the pope because they carry special spiritual, historical, and/or architectural significance. Once named a basilica the church can’t lose its status as a basilica. A basilica may or may not also be the cathedral of the diocese. This is the highest permanent designation for a church building.…

June 21st, 2010

Where can I see the Pietà? And do they make small reproductions of it that I can buy for my nightstand?
The term “Pietà” refers to any image of Mary holding Christ’s dead body. The most famous one is the statue made by Michaelangelo, on display at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. I’ve never seen it in person (though it’s on my list of things to see…

June 18th, 2010

Why doesn’t the Catholic Church recognize the King James version of the Bible? I heard that one was the most accurate.
Today, a visit to the Bible section of any major bookstore can result in a head-spinning experience! Why are there so many translations? First and foremost, the obvious reason that we have translations is because the Bible was not written…

June 17th, 2010

Resurrection accounts in the four canonical gospels vary widely. According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to the tomb to anoint his body; according to John, the first appearance is to Mary Magdalene alone; according to Luke, the first to see him are two disciples making their way to Emmaus. The gospels are…

June 16th, 2010

Yes. At their wedding, the Catholic couple promises to “accept children lovingly from God and raise them according to the laws of Christ and his Church.” This includes adopted children. That being said, most adoptions these days are “open adoptions” where contact with birth parents is much more common. In some circumstances, it can be very beneficial…

June 15th, 2010

It’s less complicated than one might think, actually. The Papal Nuncio (the Pope’s representative in a country) solicits names that members of the Bishop’s conference in the area put forward and then selects three of those names to be forwarded to the Pope (the Holy See). The Pope then meets with the Nuncio most often and asks some questions…

June 14th, 2010

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title for Mary as the patroness of the Carmelite order. Mount Carmel is located about twenty miles from Nazareth. For many years, the mountain attracted religious hermits, and around the thirteenth century they became formalized into the Carmelite order. The monks built a church there honoring Mary, and their spirituality as…

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