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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 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,…

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…

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