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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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February 4th, 2015
Q: How do we reconcile the teaching to “love thy neighbor” and the traditions of Christian faith with controversial topics such as gay marriage? Viewed from within, the Church believes its position on gay marriage is a stance of love. But sometimes what comes across instead is scorn or fear, stemming from ignorance of what it is like to stand in the shoes of…
January 28th, 2015
Q: I’m in a three-year Pastoral Institute course that our diocese is offering. This is my third round of taking these courses in two different dioceses over a 20-year period, and I have never been taught scripture like this. The current course is on the Old Testament being taught by a religious sister of 72 years. I believe she knows her stuff, but I am questioning…
January 23rd, 2015
Q: The gospel reading from Luke 20:34-36 says: Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are…
November 13th, 2014
Q: Why do infants who receive the sacrament of baptism have to wait until they are older to receive the sacrament of confirmation, instead of receiving them at the same time? Delaying the sacrament of confirmation until some time after baptism preserves the candidate’s direct connection with the bishop. In the early Church, people who became Christians…
November 12th, 2014
Q: I have a question about forgiveness. I have a coworker that really annoys me – to put it mildly. I have been trying to be more forgiving of the people with which I work, but this one guy I have not forgiven for anything yet. It is hard for me to do it. He has such a hyper-critical, superior, selfish, angry, and exasperating attitude that I am at the point where…
November 11th, 2014
Q: What’s the best way to respond to someone who thinks it’s “funny” to always comment on a show of faith in the workplace (like prayer before a meal)? I don’t want to create tension but I feel I should respond. The tension is already there, because this person’s comments are making you (and perhaps others) uncomfortable. You’re right to respond.…
October 16th, 2014
Some Christian communities talk about the “assurance of salvation,” an absolute certainty that one will go to heaven upon one’s death, regardless of how someone lives their life. The proposal sometimes sounds transactional: if I do X, God will do Y. (Often X means giving assent to the doctrinal formula of some particular group.) This may be justified…
October 7th, 2014
An excellent question! The incarnation of Jesus is not bound by human biology. So we are talking about a supernatural event that we are trying to limit by our own natural biology. That said, Jesus was indeed both human and divine. So it is not important to emphasize the biological necessity of a male donor, but rather the emphasis is on the divine one entering into…
September 30th, 2014
Question: My boyfriend was previously married through city hall. He and his ex have gotten divorced. Would we be able to get married in a Catholic Church? Is your boyfriend a baptized Catholic, or is his previous spouse a baptized Catholic? If so, did they get a dispensation from canonical form (being married before a priest and two witnesses) in getting married…
September 29th, 2014
Jesus’ invitation to the kingdom of God is truly open to all – young and old, rich and poor, saints and sinners alike. The sad divisions that have arisen throughout history cannot change the fact that this invitation is given to all. The Vatican II document on ecumenism notes that “many of the significant elements… [which] give life to the Church itself,…
September 25th, 2014
Question: I am a registered nurse and an Extra-ordinary Minister of Holy Communion in my parish. I work with many young Catholic nurses and aides. Is it ok to bring Holy Communion to them at work? 
Communion services allow patients at health care facilities who cannot easily attend Mass at the parish to receive communion regularly, in a liturgical setting…
September 23rd, 2014
Question: Can a Catholic ever marry a divorced non-Catholic? From my understanding, anyone “divorced” would have to have their previous marriage determined invalid by a Church Tribunal, right? Does that mean a Catholic can’t date a “divorced” person unless the Catholic knows the “divorced” party would be…
September 22nd, 2014
Question: On Ash Wednesday this year, I went to a noon service and then came back to work. One of my co-workers then told me I “had dirt on my forehead,” referring to the ashes. This person obviously was not Catholic and I was so shocked that someone would be so blunt that I didn’t know what to say. I struggled to address the comment without explaining my whole…
September 21st, 2014
Q: If my father watches porn he catches me watching it what should i do? A: My initial reaction says that you should simply turn off the porn! And that is a good idea in general. Pornography, besides being addictive (especially online), does great harm to others, not merely objectifying them for your own sexual pleasure and limiting them to that, but pornography…
September 12th, 2014
According to the Bible, yes, Eve was Adam’s only wife. There is no other reference to Adam having an intimate relationship with another woman than Eve, the woman formed from his rib (Genesis 2:18-23). Many centuries after the Bible was written and compiled, a Jewish legend grew up about a woman named Lilith who was said to have been Adam’s first wife, created…
September 10th, 2014
Question: My brown (cloth) scapular breaks frequently. Is it “OK” to wear a medal scapular? Do I need to have each (new) scapular blessed? Yes, but some restrictions apply here. The scapular is generally blessed at an investiture ceremony, in other words, those who wear the scapular shouldn’t just initially buy it in a store and start wearing…
September 9th, 2014
Q: In spiritual law, men leave their mothers for their wife, when they marry. But if a man chooses to love and cherish the mother OVER the wife, isn’t this a conflict that God would not encourage? There is nothing in scripture that declares that a man should love or cherish his wife more than his mother, but it simply points to a change in the relationship that…
September 8th, 2014
Here’s the history of this practice: The 1917 Code of Canon Law specifies that women are obligated to cover their heads when approaching the altar and whenever in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. This tradition (as evidenced by St. Paul’s treatment of the topic) was part of the Christian Tradition since the earliest days of the Church. Now, here’s…
September 5th, 2014
No. Holy Water is a sacramental, a material object that is blessed and used to increase devotion and should not be thrown out into sewage systems. Holy Water can remain in receptacles for long periods of time if need be or if there is a need to clear out fonts or holy water receptacles, one should take the water and use it to water the earth outside a church or it can be…
September 4th, 2014
There is a distinction here between believing in the Bible and believing in the God that is revealed in the Bible through Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we affirm that the Bible contains sacred scripture which was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but that “in sacred scripture, God speaks through human beings in human fashion.” (Dei Verbum,…
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