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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
June 8th, 2010

That priests are somehow “different.” I’ve often been told, “I can’t believe you’re a priest.” I don’t know if that says something about me, or the priests they have met. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was when I was told, “You’re cool. You’re not what I expected a priest to be like. You don’t walk around like you have a stick…

June 7th, 2010

First, let me make an important clarification: Catholics are not required to involve Mary in their prayer lives. Doing so is totally voluntary. Many people pray to her and ask for her intercession; others never do. It’s a matter of choice.
That, of course, begs another question: why do many Catholics make her a part of their prayers? Ultimately, it comes down…

June 4th, 2010

Some parts of the Bible are easier to read than others. Likewise, some parts are more inviting to read than others. Many people find books such as Leviticus and Numbers to be rather daunting and tedious to read. On the other hand, many books in the Wisdom section of the bible are among the most popular. The Book of Proverbs is one such book. Reading it can be likened…

June 1st, 2010

Mortal sin is deadly sin, those freely chosen acts and dispositions that make the reality of God’s grace (i.e., his love and power) dry up in us. God can no longer relate to us because our sins have pushed God out of our lives. Pride, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Greed, Envy, Sloth, freely chosen and acted on, can ruin our lives. Take gluttony. A 1200 lb. person is not…

May 28th, 2010

Today, we have Democrats, Republicans, Tea Baggers, Libertarians, Evangelicals, and any number of other political, religious, or special interest groups that account for the diverse and often volatile discourse we regularly encounter. In Jesus’ time, things were no less volatile. Various religious and political groups flourished in Judaism, resulting…

May 25th, 2010

The word God speaks to us is our life. Sit quietly and ask yourself the following question:
What really fills me with joy and passion?
God is speaking there. We can think about this in a number of ways. Who do you really love and who loves you? God is in those relationships, communicating who and what you and the persons with whom you are in relation are becoming for…

May 24th, 2010

The infancy narratives (the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke) definitely comprise the bulk of Scriptural references to Mary. She is, of course, also present on Calvary when Christ died (John 19:25-27).
Beyond those stories, Mary does turn up in a few other places, all relating to Christ’s ministry. She is present at the Wedding Feast at Cana, when she…

May 21st, 2010

Remember learning about different kinds of literary devices in English class? Well, one of these devices is known as personification, which is when an abstract concept is represented as a person or given human qualities. For example, we may talk about opportunity knocking or time standing still.
In Scripture, the virtue of wisdom is personified as a woman…

May 20th, 2010

The quick answer is that bread and wine during the Eucharist are not transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus of Nazareth, but the glorified reality of the risen Christ. The sacramental signs of bread and wine are substantially (trans-substantiation), by the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit, become Christ present to us and in us. As Catholics, we receive…

May 19th, 2010

Almost never. It is very rare that the death penalty is ever permissible in Catholic teaching. Only when grave danger is imminent and a society is unable to protect itself from a perpetrator can the use of the death penalty be applied as a moral justification.
What does this mean? It means that all other means of keeping a prisoner at bay have been exhausted or are…

May 18th, 2010

Ghosts are figments of novelists’ and Hollywood movie makers’ imaginations. Ghosts are the souls or spirits of the dead that somehow manifest themselves to the living. Despite popular stories (Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, etc.), no one has ever proven the existence of Ghosts. For decades, James Randi has offered a prize of $1,000,000 dollars to anyone…

May 17th, 2010

Imagine that dear friends of yours were getting married, and the beverages ran out shortly after the reception began. It wouldn’t ruin their marriage, certainly, but it would put a damper on the celebration. As a close friend, you’d probably offer to go to the store or do whatever you could to help. Even if a disappointing reception is not exactly a problem…

May 14th, 2010

Since Dan Brown published The Da Vinci Code, there has been a lot of attention focused on the apocryphal gospels – texts written around the same time as the 4 canonical Gospels that have not been included in the Bible. While Dan Brown created an entertainment phenomenon that has him laughing all the way to the bank, his facts are not straight. Unfortunately,…

May 13th, 2010

The Ascension refers to the day celebrated 40 days after Easter when Catholics celebrate the fact that Jesus returns to God after being with his disciples after the resurrection. It is a central element of our tradition and is included in the creed recited at mass each Sunday. It is also a Holy Day of Obligation and Catholics are required to go to mass on that day.…

May 12th, 2010

First of all, please accept my condolences on the death of your child.
Indeed, you can and should have a funeral for your child and any miscarried baby can have a Catholic funeral. Quite often hospitals and obstetricians give parents who don’t carry a child to term a hard time when they ask for the remains of their child. Catholic teaching professes that…

May 11th, 2010

Contact the proper authorities. Any parish, diocesan office or local police station can hear your suspicions, help you evaluate the evidence you do have, and take appropriate action. If the priest has several other allegations against him, even if you do not have proof, another person voicing suspicions will call attention to the matter. Still, make real…

May 7th, 2010

First of all, we know that the Bible contains enormous amounts of historical facts, many of which have been verified by historians and archaeologists. What we can say about the Bible is that it was not primarily concerned with facts. The human authors, guided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, set forth to relate a story of faith that took place within a historical…

May 6th, 2010

The first thing I wonder on reading your question is why you feel the need to make such a distinction? Jesus commands, “Stop Judging that you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1). St. Ignatius counsels that the first question one should ask if one feels the need to correct another is if one is, in truth and love, the one to make the correction. Maybe the correction will…

May 5th, 2010

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “May fifth”) is a relatively minor Mexican holiday commemorating the Battle of Puebla of May 5, 1862, in which Mexican forces defeated an invading French army far superior in numbers and equipment. Mexico only temporarily halted the French invasion; French reinforcements soon conquered the capital and it was not until 1867…

May 4th, 2010

With the headlines blaring these days about priests who have been abusive to children, it’s important to note that we’re talking about a small percentage of priests who have abused children. Nonetheless, it’s a serious problem that we all hold some responsibility to keep at bay.
I would say that the first thing we should do is apologize on…

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