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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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May 22nd, 2015
Q: Soldiers in war are technically killing other sons and daughters of God in an effort to protect our country. Will this affect their fate on Judgment Day? Is it wrong to thank them upon their return home even though they’ve sinned? Never hesitate to thank a returning soldier for his or her service to our country. (Thank you, veterans!) Military service cannot…
May 14th, 2015
(From left:) Christ’s ascent to heaven is depicted in a stained-glass window at 1) St. Clotilde Church in Chicago (Catholic News Service photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World); 2) St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Montauk, N.Y (Catholic News Service photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic); 3) St. Mary’s Basilica in Winnipeg, Manitoba…
April 29th, 2015
The first and most important thing you can do in this vein is to buy a children’s Bible and read it with them. The Bible is confusing enough for adults to understand, so why would we assume children can make sense of it if we only read them one with adult language? There are some great children’s Bibles available, and they are geared to children of different…
April 24th, 2015
View of Pages From ‘Codex Pauli’(Catholic News Service photo/courtesy of Benedictine Abbey of St. Paul Outside the Walls) Q: Most Bible scholars agree that Paul’s letters are the oldest portion of the New Testament, i.e., these were written before the Gospels. Why then, does Paul not mention the virgin birth, not mention any miracles,…
April 21st, 2015
In the Second Chapter of John’s Gospel we read about the Wedding Feast at Cana. Mary approaches Jesus and asks him to do something about the fact that they have run out of wine. Jesus responds: “Woman, how does this concern me?” Women in Jewish culture at the time were viewed as property and as unreliable witnesses. Men addressing women as “woman”…
April 16th, 2015
Jesus did not ask Peter this question 3 times because he was hard of hearing or slow to comprehend Peter's answers! The fact that Jesus asks Peter this question - "do you love me?" - three times is very significant.
April 13th, 2015
Question: Did Pope Francis really say that those who do not believe in God can be saved, and that Atheists can also be saved? Yes. Pope Francis said that not long ago: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood…
April 9th, 2015
In first century Palestine where Jesus was living, tax collectors were individuals who worked for Roman administrators. They were responsible for collecting taxes to support the Roman Empire, which governed Jesus’ homeland. (Think of the IRS in our day.) Some of the taxes levied on the Jewish people might have been oppressive in themselves, but sometimes…
April 8th, 2015
Question: My daughter died a couple weeks ago from cancer and before she died she saw our dead dog. Did he really come for her? Are they with me now, and will I see them again when I get to heaven and are they well now? First of all, please know of our condolences to you and your family on the death of your daughter. Secondly, in answer to the first part of your question,…
March 30th, 2015
Matzo and drops of wine are seen on a plate at a Seder table.(Catholic News Service photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)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…
March 27th, 2015
Fried haddock and other items fill guest’s plate at a Friday fish fry at Pennsylvania church(Catholic News Service photo/Bob Roller)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…
March 25th, 2015
Question: I have a close friend. We spend so much time together, we also sleep in the same bed — no funny business. Is it a sin to sleep in the same bed and or house? While the act of mere sleeping is not sinful in and of itself, this situation certainly lies in the danger zone of Catholic teaching. We call this the “near occasion of sin.” By sleeping…
March 11th, 2015
Q: I have a rather odd question regarding fasting during Lent while dealing with an eating disorder. Fasting (not eating) is very easy, yet could do me more harm than good. I want to practice according to the Church’s teaching, yet I want to stay healthy. What are your thoughts? Fasting is a means of self-denial used as a penance for sins throughout the season…
March 11th, 2015
We should highlight an important point here: There is a distinction between matters of faith and other practices of the Church. The essential truths of the faith — Tradition with a capital T — do not change and cannot ever be updated or modernized. But many aspects of the life and practice of the Church — tradition with a lower case t —…
March 6th, 2015
In Jewish and Christian tradition, the number 40 has symbolic meaning. A period of 40 days or years, more than being a literal measurement, represents a long time and a period of preparation or testing. When 40 days or 40 years have passed, the appropriate period or the “right amount of time” has been completed in preparation for the working of God’s grace.…
March 4th, 2015
Questions about “unpardonable sin” often arise because of Mark 3:29 and its parallels. Responding to claims that he was possessed by an evil spirit, Jesus says that “whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” This challenging passage has been interpreted in many ways over the centuries.…
February 27th, 2015
There are a bunch of possibilities here. The first is to take advantage of times when these issues naturally come up. So, you might organize a special event for Earth Day or bake and share Christmas cookies made with fair trade chocolate...
February 25th, 2015
Please, first of all, accept our deepest condolences. Suicide is always tough for those who are left behind, so please know that we are keeping you and your family in prayer. Catholics trust in the mercy of God. That is THE central element of our faith and Pope Francis has taken great strides to make sure that it is preached far and wide to the faithful. What we know…
February 20th, 2015
Q: During Mass, before you receive communion, shouldn’t you be on your knees before God? Standing doesn’t seem right to me on one hand. On the other hand I want to follow current teachings. Can you shed some light? Kneeling was once the common posture for receiving communion, and some people wonder if this is a more reverent way to receive the Body and Blood…
February 19th, 2015
You’re out with your friends on a Friday night and suddenly you notice that one of them has switched from his favorite microbrew to… lemonade? Is it time for Lent already? Giving up something for Lent sometimes evokes head-scratching in non-Catholics, but what might seem like just another Catholic eccentricity can actually be a practice with deep spiritual…
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