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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
April 9th, 2010

At first glance, this would seem to be a very impersonal manner for Jesus to address his own mother. It should be noted, however, that Jesus uses the same term when he speaks to Mary from the Cross, saying, “Woman, behold your son.” (John 19:26) Likewise, he uses the term often when speaking to other women (e.g. Mt 15:28; Luke 22:57; John 4:21)

For a Jewish man…

April 7th, 2010

Question:  I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution which is the right to keep and bear arms.  I currently carry a small revolver almost everywhere i go.  I pray to God everyday that I never have to use it.  I am also very seriously discerning a call to the priesthood.  My question is are there any rules about priests being armed is it allowed…

April 6th, 2010

We live in incredibly complex times.  So often the corporations that provide us with products and services are so large and so interconnected, we can hardly extract ourselves from connections to them.  Years ago, I was in a Jesuit community that decided to boycott Nestle because of that corporation’s practices in marketing infant formula in the third…

April 5th, 2010

If you’re looking for a general overview, I recommend The Catholic Companion to Mary, by Mary Kathleen Glavich.  This highly readable book covers key events of Mary’s life and explains Catholic teachings/beliefs about Mary.  It also has all kinds of Marian trivia (everything from her influence on female names to the definition of a “Hail Mary”…

April 2nd, 2010

The Stations of the Cross (sometimes also called the “Way of the Cross” or Via Crucis, in Latin) are a traditional devotion tracing the events on the way to Christ’s crucifixion. The devotion has its roots in the practice of pilgrimage to Jerusalem, especially to sites along the way to the cross. In the fifteenth century, as it became difficult for Christians…

March 30th, 2010

First of all, I hope you are feeling a bit better after an obvious experience of suffering in which you may still be feeling sad.
We often want a savior who removes suffering from our experience but what ends up happening is that we find that savior hanging from the cross!
It’s disappointing to many that God often doesn’t save us from experiences of…

March 30th, 2010

If I have a gay brother am I bound to not attend his “commitment” ceremony if I am Catholic?…

You are bound to do what is loving and just.  You are required to follow your rightly formed conscience.  Most importantly, “Ama Deus et fac quod vis” (Love God and do what you will).  St. Augustine, Bernard Lonergan and Matthew Fox all say that.  If

March 29th, 2010

When Jesus was on the cross, he entrusted the care of his mother to the beloved apostle (commonly believed to be John). “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27)…

March 24th, 2010

Marriages must be open to pro-creation and to unity in the Catholic Church. So since women can’t bear children past a certain age most people assume that this kind of marriage would not qualify as a Catholic one.
However, that is not the case. The word “open” is the key word in that sentence. Couples of any age that are unable to bear children…

March 23rd, 2010

We’re “against” it (LOL).  Seriously, we are called to be stewards of creation.  The church, like all sane and sensible institutions, knows the shift in global weather patterns are deeply dangerous and threaten humanity.

We’re slugging through the snowiest winter in Philadelphia history (I’m writing this on yet a fourth school snow day in 2010. …

March 22nd, 2010

In the Bible, Mary speaks on four separate occasions. During the Annunciation, she asks the angel how she, a virgin, could be the mother of God (Luke 1:34); later, she responds, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Directly after the Annunciation, Mary travels to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth,…

March 19th, 2010

We don’t know.
Easiest question ever!
Scripture has provided us with very little evidence of St. Joseph’s life much less his death. He has no spoken words in the Bible and God only speaks to him in dreams. We assume that Joseph is dead because we don’t see him at the foot of the cross with Mary at Jesus’ crucifixion.
It was also assumed that…

March 18th, 2010

Just by asking the question – and by caring about how your community prays – you are already on the right track. But the way you asked the question points to how you can begin to answer it for yourself. Do you want to know what “we” should do to help “them”? Or do you all want to know what you can do to help each other? Your parish leaders, especially those…

March 16th, 2010

Question:  What’s the Catholic teaching on plastic surgery?  If I want to get a tummy tuck or a breast enhancement am I committing a sin?

Sin is the rejection of God who is love.  God gives you, well, your, body and soul!  Do you accept yourself as you are?  Is getting this or that plastic surgery rejecting God’s gift of your body, or does the surgery…

March 12th, 2010

The Bible Code is both a book and a phenomenon which claims that one can find hidden (encrypted) messages in code in the first five books of the Bible in the original Hebrew text. These hidden messages are purported to predict events that occurred thousands of years later, such as the Holocaust and the assassination of JFK. Basically, the Bible code claims that…

March 11th, 2010

My first thought is that if you feel the need to respond to anything you don’t like you should have enough restraint to not fire off something impulsively over email or approach the priest immediately after mass and give him a piece of your mind.
However, I do think that preachers need to know when they aren’t reaching people in their community. So…

March 9th, 2010

Question: At work, I lie often. As long as I am taking care of my family and community, does God really care?…
As Dumbledore told Harry Potter, “It is our choices that show what we truly
are, much more than our talents and abilities” (Rowling, Chamber of
Secrets, p. 333).
To strive to tell the truth means one cannot be bought.  Choosing to
lie, consistently

March 5th, 2010

In the ancient world, suicide was sometimes accepted as an appropriate response to escape evil, avoid shame, express grief over a tragic death, or avoid capture or dishonor in battle. Overall, however, suicide was condemned. In the Old Testament, there are 6 examples of suicide:

Abimelech (Judges 9:54) – to avoid the shame of death at the hands of a woman

March 4th, 2010

Traditionally, “parishes” are based on geography and there were very few differences from one parish to another in ritual experiences.  Technically, Catholics are supposed to choose their parish based on these geographical distinctions, but practically speaking almost nobody does this any more.  People choose to worship where they…

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…

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