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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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July 10th, 2014

How does the person doing the reading know to say ‘letter from Paul’ when in the prayer book it just says Corinthians etc.? I’d like to do the readings but I don’t know these details.
Lectors who are doing the readings from the Bible at mass read them from a book called the lectionary. The lectionary is formatted to show the lectors which Bible passages…

July 9th, 2014

God is love and all we believe and do must be congruent with that primordial and primary truth. So preaching “hate” is always contradictory and unacceptable. What the Church teaches and preaches is chastity…, i.e., “the successful integration of sexuality within the person.” (Catechism #2237). We should know homosexuality is not a sin. There are

July 8th, 2014

Situation: My friend had a severe allergic reaction at a party. His wife was embarrassed by it and suggested we all keep eating and drinking. A nurse tended to his needs but he wouldn’t go to the ER or even urgent care. I was surprised at how his wife was more concerned about the party and the guests than her husband’s health. Do I address this with him?

This sounds…

July 3rd, 2014

Q: Can you help me understand why in Mathew 6:5-15 it states do not pray in repetitions as the heathens do? But yet it appears that the rosary is said in repetitions? And each week seems to be repetitive prayers in the Catholic church (such as the Lord’s prayer)?
I’m unsure which biblical translation you are reading from that refers to praying in repetitions.…

July 2nd, 2014

Watch this video and take a virtual tour to and through some other famous Catholic sites around the world.

July 2nd, 2014

As often as necessary. We need to form our habits for our habits form us. To repent often and whole heartedly turns us into people who are habitually open to the transformative grace of God’s mercy. Scott Hahn has a good book on confession. In there he says confession is like medicine. You keep going to the Doctor and getting the pill you need for your blood pressure,…

July 1st, 2014

First of all, my heart goes out to you. Discovering your husband’s infidelity must be a heartbreaking blow. It is important for you to seek safety and support to face the difficult decisions ahead.
In Catholic teaching, the bond of marriage is indissoluble. A truly valid sacramental marriage ends only in death. But couples sometimes discern that they can…

May 27th, 2014

Consider that according to the Code of Canon Law, in the marriage covenant “a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life … which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring” (canon 1055).
Marriage is a partnership in everything – the marvelous and the mundane, the…

May 26th, 2014

Q: How do we remain optimistic and keep the faith when we are in the valley, during our lowest of the low? When we feel like Job — everything goes wrong, everything bad happens, and we are ready to throw in the towel, when it becomes a pity party and we don’t WANT to hear advice from others…
“Life is Difficult” were the first words of Scott Peck’s…

May 19th, 2014

No, your friend did not go to hell.
The Catechism clearly states,
“We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives” (#2283).

We realize that those who take their own lives…

May 14th, 2014

Q: How do you overcome doubts? After attending college again, and being surrounded by atheists (with good arguments), how do you deal with doubts? I am a believer, and I still believe. This seems to be an isolating place to be.
Remember the father begging Jesus to heal the mute boy in Mark 9:24: “I do believe; help my unbelief!” Sometimes the line between unbelief…

May 13th, 2014

The sign of peace during the communion rite both recalls Jesus’ injunction to make peace with our brother or sister before bringing our gifts to the Lord (Matthew 5:23-24) and also our prayer for Christ’s peace and unity (Communion Rite, Roman Missal Third Edition). Sometimes the sign of peace celebrates forgiveness given and received; sometimes it expresses…

May 12th, 2014

I hear this question rather frequently from college students. I gently reply, first, in the Catholic church, we don’t “take,” we “receive,” communion. By receiving communion we are signaling, i.e., sign-ing (Sacraments are “signs”), that we are trying to live our lives according to the teachings of the Catholic faith. Communion is not the…

May 6th, 2014

My sincere condolences to your sister and all your family. Losing a child before birth brings a unique kind of grief, and both medical professionals and well-meaning family and friends may struggle to fully understand the loss and respond appropriately.
One thing you can do is ask your parish to have a funeral Mass or memorial service said for your sister’s…

April 29th, 2014

Q: Sometimes I cannot keep an erection long enough for my wife to climax. Is it a sin if I manually or orally complete her climax? Is it a sin if my wife manually or orally completes my climax? The older I get (I am 71) the more often this happens. I love my wife and could not see a day I would not like to try to make love to her.
Not every single sexual act, per se, need be procreative,…

April 23rd, 2014

We usually talk about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost, the feast we celebrate 50 days after Easter when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. These spiritual gifts are given to us by God and are intended to guide the way we live…

April 22nd, 2014

Q: Judith Jarvis Thomson wrote what may be the most famous paper in bioethics, “A Moral Defense of Abortion.” She compares abortion to unplugging someone from life support in her famous “unplugging the violinist” analogy. Since there is a difference between killing and letting die, her argument seems to only apply to eviction-based abortions. Is…

April 19th, 2014

The ceremony you saw was one of the rites associated with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This is a process of catechetical and spiritual preparation, following the practices of the early Church, for adults who wish to become Catholic. Various rites mark the stages of the journey, from the time when a person declares his or her desire to enter…

April 18th, 2014

Technically speaking, Catholics are firstly required to fast on Good Friday, meaning to eat only one full meal for the day and then to merely sustain themselves for the rest of the day–meaning two smaller meals that do not equal the one large meal.
To your question, Catholics are also required to abstain from eating meat on both Good Friday and each Friday…

April 17th, 2014

Some parishes, in an attempt to reenact the Last Supper (traditionally defined as a Passover supper) hold a seder meal for their parishioners. This recently has been the subject of much controversy. There’s a great article discussing this here.
In short, we should note the following:
1) A seder is not for Christians. Just as a Christmas tree is not for…

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