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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.

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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 16th, 2010

Yes. At their wedding, the Catholic couple promises to “accept children lovingly from God and raise them according to the laws of Christ and his Church.” This includes adopted children. That being said, most adoptions these days are “open adoptions” where contact with birth parents is much more common. In some circumstances, it can be very beneficial…

June 15th, 2010

It’s less complicated than one might think, actually. The Papal Nuncio (the Pope’s representative in a country) solicits names that members of the Bishop’s conference in the area put forward and then selects three of those names to be forwarded to the Pope (the Holy See). The Pope then meets with the Nuncio most often and asks some questions…

June 14th, 2010

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title for Mary as the patroness of the Carmelite order. Mount Carmel is located about twenty miles from Nazareth. For many years, the mountain attracted religious hermits, and around the thirteenth century they became formalized into the Carmelite order. The monks built a church there honoring Mary, and their spirituality as…

June 11th, 2010

Although John is a very common name, there’s nothing “common” about the John we encounter in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere in the New Testament. If, in fact, the Gospel of John, the 3 Letters of John, and the Book of Revelation can all be attributed to the same author – the Apostle John – than we are in fact dealing with a very extraordinary author.…

June 10th, 2010

Our word “mission” comes from the Latin word “missio,” which means “sending.” After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and sent them out to the world to proclaim the good news. As they preached his message, they sent others, who sent others, and so on, always in Jesus’ name. Thus, from the earliest days of the Church, to be a Christian…

June 9th, 2010

While marrying outside the Church precludes one from receiving the sacraments, it is helpful for parents to keep the following in mind.
1. The end of the story is not yet written. The Holy Spirit continues to be active in the lives of your children. You’d be amazed how things can change as the years go by, especially when they start to have children.
2. Maintain…

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 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…

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