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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
October 29th, 2010

The 7 Deadly or Capital Sins are not found in a list, per se, in the Bible, but rather are part of Church Tradition, dating back to the early Church and especially St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. These sins are considered deadly or capital (from the Latin word for head; caput). In the Bible, there are examples of lists of sins, such as Proverbs 6:16-19 and…

October 28th, 2010

The Philippine islands were colonized by the Spanish, who began to build settlements there in the late 16th century. The Spanish practice of colonization was to impose not only political rule but also religious hegemony; the cross and the sword went hand in hand during the Spanish imperial period throughout the world. Thus Christian missionaries suppressed…

October 27th, 2010

Walk away–just as you would do if there were a company selling credit cards or any other group on campus that you’re not interested in.
Being aggressively approached by a religious group is a serious problem on many of the Campuses in the United States. Some groups have invited people into their churches and then berated their religion. Others are…

October 26th, 2010

The Church is very clear. Full, complete, genital sexual activity is reserved for those in the sacramental covenant of marriage.
Let me gently challenge the “where should the line be drawn” type questions. Love is not a reality that is measured and molded by rigid rules. The reality of love, God’s very self, is the transformation of human persons into…

October 25th, 2010

On a rainy August evening in 1879, in the town of Knock in County Mayo, Ireland, several witnesses saw three figures standing outside the parish church. They described the three figures as Mary, standing in the center; St. Joseph, on her right; and St. John the Evangelist, standing on Mary’s left. Behind the three was an altar upon which rested a lamb. The scene…

October 21st, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI is from the German state of Bavaria, a region which is predominately Catholic and sometimes described as the “most religious state in Germany.” It is home to the village of Oberammergau, whose famous passion play, produced only every 10 years, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world. Bavaria is also known for its…

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…

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