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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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October 20th, 2010

Certainly. However, you should investigate a few things. Is the retreat an “interfaith” retreat or is it run by a non-denominational church? There’s a huge difference there. The Campus Ministry Association or other governing body would be a good place to ask about those running the retreat. Are they well-known to the University community?…

October 18th, 2010

On September 19, 1846, two children in the French village of La Salette saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud and his friend Mélanie Matthieu (some sources say she was fourteen, others fifteen) saw a beautiful woman inside a glowing sphere of light. The woman, who was weeping and wore a crucifix around her neck, spoke to the children…

October 15th, 2010

Names play an important role in the Gospels. While major characters such as the Apostles, Mary and Joseph, King Herod and Pontius Pilate are named, when it comes to more minor characters, we don’t always get the name of the individual. In many ways, this creates a bit of a mystery with regards to these characters, similar to the mystery that surrounded the masked…

October 14th, 2010

The term “transculturation” was coined by 20th century Cuban sociologist and ethnologist Fernando Ortiz. He proposed the term in contrast to the word “acculturation,” which describes the process of transition from one culture to another on the part of an individual or a group.
Transculturation, on the other hand, refers to the encounter between…

October 12th, 2010

The simple answer is “Yes.” The priest may just have forgotten to lead the community in the prayer or may have a good pastoral reason for omitting it (e.g., a baptism during Mass, time constraints, etc.)
Could I also gently challenge the questioner? Where do these “does it count” questions come from? What spirit elicits in us this need or desire to worry…

October 11th, 2010

Religious imagery is found in many gangs, for a variety of reasons. In the case of Our Lady of Guadalupe, she is a cultural and national icon as much as a religious one (as the patron saint of Mexico, she is a familiar and beloved figure). That said, people who work with gang members say that gangs often derive a certain feeling of power or protection from images of…

October 8th, 2010

God does not desire that we suffer. God realizes that creation has gone horribly wrong (that’s what the book of Genesis gets at poetically). God’s plan is to respond with the power of Divine redemptive and healing love to the ways in which creation has gone awry. God’s love is the transformative power of the Holy Spirit given us in our relationship with Jesus.…

October 7th, 2010

Rome has figured prominently in the history of the Church from its earliest days. Its Jewish community had close ties to Jerusalem, and thus Christianity reached Rome even before Paul came there as a missionary in 49-50. Peter and Paul both met martyrdom in Rome, giving the Christian community there special status. Also, Rome was one of the major cities of the…

October 6th, 2010

St. Damien of Molokai was born Jozsef DeVeuester in Belgium in 1840. As a young man he entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a missionary order, taking the name Damianus at first vows. His brother, also a member of the same congregation, was assigned by their superiors to the mission in Hawaii but became ill and could not make the voyage.…

September 30th, 2010

Out of respect for Jordan’s predominately Muslim culture, in which women keep most of their bodies covered because of exhortations to modesty in the Koran, travel authorities suggest dressing “conservatively” or “modestly.” Note well that Jordanian Muslim standards for what is conservative or modest might be different than what is considered…

September 29th, 2010

Jainism is one of the most ancient religions in the world. Jains follow the teachings of a succession of 24 prophets known as Tirthankaras, the last of whom is Tirthankar Mahavir. Prayers are often addressed to the Tirthankaras.
Jains believe in a multi-layered universe which contains a series of heavens and hells, the greatest of which is the “Supreme Abode”…

September 24th, 2010

Question: Where does the church get some of the legendary stories of St. Joseph such as the wooden stick that blooms for Joseph but not others?

Many Catholic churches have altars (or at least statues) on either side of the main altar, dedicated to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Take a close look at the St. Joseph statue the next time you’re in church

September 23rd, 2010

While the Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of religious worship, government restrictions hamper some actual religious practices. Officially, only state-recognized religious institutions are allowed to exist, and repression of non-recognized groups – such as the Falun Gong movement – can be severe. Foreigners who congregate in houses…

September 17th, 2010

Q: Why does the author of John’s gospel use the term “the disciple whom Jesus loved?” Is this a homosexual reference?
One of the more mysterious characteristics of John’s Gospel is his reference to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” or the “beloved disciple.” This reference occurs 5 times in John’s Gospel:
·
13:23-25 (the…

September 16th, 2010

St. Cyprian was born early in the 3rd century in North Africa, converted to Christianity as an adult, and was made bishop of Carthage in 248 or 249. As bishop he endured persecution and controversy but was eventually martyred in the year 258.
Cyprian’s thought helped the early Church develop its understanding of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of…

September 15th, 2010

An interesting question considering that if you count daily Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, Catholics worship on every Saturday and Wednesday, as well as every other day of the week. By Saturday worship I assume you’re talking about the Seventh Day Adventists who celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. This practice comes from their acknowledgement that it…

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,…

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