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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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March 2nd, 2010

Some definitions to start:
“The Vatican” is the 108 acre plot of land in Rome, West of the Tiber River.
“The Papacy” is the office traced back to St. Peter who traditionally is considered to have been buried at “The Vatican,” so could we say he was the first Pope to “live” there?
The Lateran Treaty of…

March 1st, 2010

Mary, Seat of Wisdom (also known as Our Lady of the Chair or the Latin name Sedes Sapientiae…), is a very old title for Mary.  As with all of Mary’s titles, it highlights one specific aspect of her life and experience – specifically, her role as the one who gave birth to Christ.
Artistic representations of Mary, Seat of Wisdom often show her seated on a throne,

February 26th, 2010

Specifically, in Matthew 16:28, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” It is difficult to determine precisely what Jesus is referring to in this passage and many have interpreted it to mean the Second Coming which is to occur at the Parousia… – at the end of time.

February 25th, 2010

The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” comes into play here.  While it wouldn’t bring about an imminent death if one were not to hit the gym, long term, it may indeed have consequences.
We are required to “take care of the temple.”  St. Paul writes that we should “glorify God with our bodies.”
A second note:  …

February 23rd, 2010

Any Introduction to Sociology Textbook would have the numbers on world
religions, and www.adherents.com provides wonderful info on world
religions.  Their 2005 snapshot shows that 33% of the worlds
inhabitants, some 2.2 billion people, consider themselves Christian
(some 1.2 billion of those Christians are Catholic).  About 21% are
follower…

February 19th, 2010

Question: Isn’t Yeshua the correct spelling for Jesus’ name? I heard the name Jesus came about from a bad translation.

Jesus’ name means, “God saves.” But let’s go back a little and explore Jesus’ name. In Hebrew, the name Yeshua was fairly common. It is a variation of the name Joshua…, a name that we encounter in the Old Testament. It is likely, although

February 18th, 2010

The Catholic view of cremation has changed in recent years. Cremation was the common practice of the Roman empire at the time of Jesus. In contrast, the Jewish community followed the practice of burying the bodies of those who had died. In the tradition of his time, Jesus, after his death on the cross, was buried in a tomb, probably a cave. The early Christians appear…

February 17th, 2010

Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent,… when Catholics (and some Protestant denominations) take time to remind themselves that life indeed is limited: that we will die.
The Ash Wednesday ritual is simple.  Catholics place ashes on their foreheads as a visible reminder to others that they acknowledge that their bodies will turn to ash one day, that life is indeed

February 16th, 2010

Literally translated as “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is a celebration that takes place the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The idea is that people pig out on the foods that they are going to restrict themselves from during the Lenten fast. In some ways it’s akin to storing up for the long haul, like a bear that goes into hibernation. In this…

February 15th, 2010

What we know about Mary’s parents comes mainly from apocryphal texts — texts that are written in the style of sacred scripture but are not considered to be divinely inspired.  The Protoevangelium of James, a text written around 150 AD, identifies Mary’s parents as Joachim and Anne.  They were apparently a wealthy couple who suffered infertility…

February 12th, 2010

Do we have ideas on who really wrote the Gospels?  I know they are only attributed to people who “followed” Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—but what about the people who actually wrote down the words?…
In short, the answer is NO, we do not really know who put pen to paper for each of the Gospels. We do know that each of the Gospels went through an oral

February 11th, 2010

Concupiscence is the term the church uses to describe our own human disordered inclination to sin.  These include disordered desires (desires that go against God’s plan for what’s best for us).  Even after we regain God’s grace in confession we still have this tendency to sin again.  None of us are perfect and we all fall under the…

February 10th, 2010

Question:  In a world of particularity, where people have so many choices that they don’t know what to choose sometimes, doesn’t interfaith and ecumenical dialogue just confuse us more?  How can we retain our particularity while still staying open to dialogue with other faiths?

If you’re not well grounded in your own faith, then yes, ecumenical…

February 9th, 2010

Yes.  But keep in mind what the Bishops of the United States have said
about the participation of Catholics in political processes and measure
what a particular priest says against the collective wisdom of the
bishops.  Here’s a bit of what I offered in Nov. 2008 on my blog
(www.jesuitjottings.blogspot.com):
It is a mistake to think that the Catholic…

February 9th, 2010

Yes.  But keep in mind what the Bishops of the United States have said
about the participation of Catholics in political processes and measure
what a particular priest says against the collective wisdom of the
bishops.  Here’s a bit of what I offered in Nov. 2008 on my blog
(www.jesuitjottings.blogspot.com):
It is a mistake to think that the Catholic…

February 8th, 2010

The English major in me says that there are Marian themes in anything, if you look hard enough.  All joking aside, your question is a fascinating one. The first connection that came to my mind is the very name “Snow White,” with its connotations of innocence and purity. This has an obvious similarity to the Catholic beliefs that Mary was 1) conceived…

February 5th, 2010

In some non-Catholic Christian churches, it is not unusual to hear the preacher talk about the Scripture passage that he or she has chosen to proclaim and to preach on. In the Catholic Church, as well as in a number of Protestant denominations with a liturgical tradition, the selection of Scripture readings is not left to the whim of the individual pastor. Rather,…

February 1st, 2010

Question:  How can Mary be the Mother of God, if God is eternal?  Wouldn’t that mean she existed before God?…
It’s a great question, and one that was addressed definitively at the Council of Ephesus in 431.  Before we go there, though, it’s good to clarify what Catholics (and in fact most Christians) believe about God and the Trinity.
Catholics

January 29th, 2010

Many books of the Bible existed and were transmitted orally before they were eventually recorded in writing. This may seem strange to us today, however, in a society in which most people were illiterate, as in biblical times, the oral tradition was heavily relied upon.
One of the techniques that was used to help people remember long passages is evidenced in the…

January 27th, 2010

with Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J. and Mike Hayes

Of the many explanations offered in the wake of natural disasters such as the recent one in Haiti, surely one of the most troubling was televangelist Pat Robertson’s claim that the Haitian people made a pact with the devil to rid them of their French occupiers in the 19th century and thereby incurred God’s

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