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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
November 15th, 2010

Reported Marian apparitions do sometimes make the news, but I don’t know of any actual apparitions caught on camera. There are no “recorded” images of Mary captured on live TV or film.
That said, there are several videos showing the visionaries of Medjugorje allegedly experiencing apparitions of the Virgin Mary. You don’t see Mary herself in them,…

November 12th, 2010

Stigmata, from the Greek word for “marks” or “signs,” refers to the physical manifestations of the wounds of Jesus on the hands, feet, side, and brow, accompanied by intense suffering. These are called visible stigmata. When someone experiences the sufferings without any outward marks, these phenomena are called invisible stigmata.…

November 11th, 2010

St. Jean de Brébeuf, SJ, who lived from 1593-1649, arrived in what was then part of New France, in the region of modern-day Ontario and upstate New York, in 1625.
For many years he lived and worked among the Huron people. In spite of his great strides in learning the Huron language and culture, he and the other European Christian missionaries in the region encountered…

November 10th, 2010

Yes, indeed, the two most notable in the United States are Islam and Judaism. In Islam the daily prayers and recitation of the Qur’an is most properly done in Arabic. This is because Muslims believe that the Qur’an was revealed to the prophet Mohammed in that language. However, sermons and instructions are almost always given in the local language.…

November 5th, 2010

An apocalypse is a revelation or prophecy about the ultimate divine purpose. As such, the word apocalypse is associated with the end of the world, when God’s ultimate purpose will be revealed. Contrary to popular opinion, the Bible does not contain a list of 7 signs of the apocalypse per se. However, the Book of Revelation, beginning with Rev 5:1, describes…

November 4th, 2010

Mike Hayes, one of the editors at Bustedhalo® opined in response to this question, “I think kissing WITHOUT passion might be a sin.”
Mortal sin is “deadly sin,” sin that separates us from the community and God on a deep and real level. To persist in mortal sin, knowingly and will full intention of the will, cuts us off from the life of grace, the power of…

November 3rd, 2010

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopalian Church is the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, previously Bishop of Nevada. Dr. Jefferts Schori was elected at the 75th General Convention on June 18, 2006 and invested at Washington National Cathedral on November 4, 2006, as the twenty-sixth Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. As Presiding Bishop,…

November 2nd, 2010

Just as we have All Saints Day (Nov 1) in the Catholic Church where we celebrate those who have gone before us who we consider saints, we take an additional day (Nov. 2) to pray for all of those who have gone before us who may not yet be saints in heaven with God.
While All Souls Day is not a Holy Day of Obligation, it is an opportunity that many take to pray for the souls of…

November 1st, 2010

It depends on whether you are talking about the linguistics of the title or the theology of the title. “Theotokos,” an early Greek name for Mary, is often translated to “Mother of God.” According to scholars, a more accurate translation would be “the one who gave birth to the one who is God.” So in that sense, “birthgiver” is probably a more linguistically…

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…

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