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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
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…

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

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,… a 40 day period of repentance 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

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
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
It is a mistake to think that the Catholic…

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