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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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December 8th, 2009

Did Mary Have Labor Pains?

There’s lots of debate around this one.   After the Fall, in Genesis 3:16, God tells Eve, “I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children.”    The Genesis author thus portrays labor pains as the consequence of original sin.
Catholics, however, believe that Mary was conceived without…

December 7th, 2009

Question:  Why does Mary visit her cousin Elizabeth?  It doesn’t make sense to me for a pregnant woman to take such a long journey.…

Any woman who has traveled while pregnant can tell you that it isn’t fun.  For Mary, the trip would have been  especially grueling: she traveled to a town eighty miles away, likely on a donkey, without the comfort of

December 7th, 2009

Over the centuries, there have been thousands of reported Marian apparitions.  Very few have been officially approved by the Church.  Even those that are approved (including Guadalupe and Lourdes) are considered “private revelation.”  In other words, they aren’t a necessary component of a Catholic faith.
That said, Marian apparitions have…

December 4th, 2009

How does a book get to be in the Canon of Scripture?  Who decides?
Well, if you’re looking to get a book into the Bible, you’re too late!
The Canon of the Bible was closed in the first century of the Church.
Who made the decisions?  In the first century after Christ, rabbis in
Palestine gathered to form the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old
Testament).…

December 3rd, 2009

I teach religion in a secular college and have been asked to teach a course on Catholicism.  I’m obviously somewhat limited here so what should I cover over the course of the semester? …

Catholicism itself could cover hundreds of courses.  But, that being said, I understand that a secular setting might not be the most appropriate place to discuss doctrine. 

December 2nd, 2009

The tabernacle is the chamber where leftover Eucharist is reserved for the sick or dying or to be used at a later mass.
If the consecrated body and/or blood of Christ is present inside there is a lit candle above or beside it. Most Catholic churches and some Episcopalian/Anglican churches observe this. Catholics genuflect before the tabernacle as a sign of reverence.  …

December 1st, 2009

The letters refer to the different “orders” that the priest or sister belong to.   For example:
Fr James Martin, S.J. :   S.J. stands for Society of Jesus which is the formal name for the Jesuits.  So Fr Jim would be a Jesuit priest.
Fr David Dwyer, C.S.P.:  C.S.P. stands for Community of St Paul which is the formal name for the Paulists.  …

November 30th, 2009

As a mom myself, I’d love to know the answer to this one.  To me, it seems logical that the woman who gave birth to him should be the first one to see him after the Resurrection.    That said, God’s ways are not our ways; there was clearly some reason why other people got to see him first.  Short of asking Jesus himself, we can only speculate …perhaps he chose…

November 27th, 2009

What’s the deal with the book of Revelation?  It seems kinda demonic
more than something from God to me.
The Book of Revelation is one of the most misunderstood and abused books
of the Bible. It is easily misunderstood because it is filled with
symbolism whose meaning is often lost on today’s audience. It is abused
because some people take advantage…

November 26th, 2009

The two most popular Catholic prayers that surround food traditions are the simple “Grace Before Meals” and “Grace After Meals.”
One need not pray these prayers on Thanksgiving if you are Catholic, prayers from your own words are, of course, fine.
However, if you are looking for more structure in your prayer these two simple ones…

November 25th, 2009

Question: I was just wondering why does there seem to be a definite split between different religious orders (Franciscan, Jesuit, Benedictine, ect)?  I know that each was founded by different people of faith with different emphasizes.  I guess my question is why does there seem to be some negativeness between certain orders?  Is there a negative…

November 24th, 2009

Question: Should I avoid dating if I think I may want to be a priest?…
No.  Future priests have to develop as healthy, well-adjusted psycho-sexual persons in order to embrace the demands and discipline of celibacy (or marriage if the church ever calls married men to the priesthood–or for those in the newfound Anglican rite.).  Dating as a teen and young

November 23rd, 2009

Quesion:  How did Mary know that Jesus was God and could perform a miracle at Cana?


During the Annunciation, the angel tells Mary that her son will be the “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32).   From the beginning, then, Mary knew that her son was destined for greatness.  At the wedding at Cana, she brings a problem to him and is confident that he’ll be able

November 20th, 2009

Question:  Are all of St. Paul’s letters really written by him?  Someone told me that some may have been speeches or other people’s materials?…
Today, if someone writes a piece of literature and attributes it to
someone else, that’s considered a fraud. In biblical, times, however, it
was both common and acceptable to write something

November 19th, 2009

Christianity emerged from Judaism, which itself rejected figurative religious art as being too much like idol worship (see Ex 20:3).  But once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire under Constantine in the 4th century CE, it was not long before Roman practices of portraying and honoring the divine (their gods and emperors) would…

November 18th, 2009

My question: My Spiritual Director says that if I am in touch with Jesus and keep a regular and good relationship with Him (through personal prayer, Word of God, mass etc), I can receive all I need from Him i.e. all my needs can be satisfied from Him. However, I personally feel that there are some things that I cannot receive from Him. For example, sometimes when I…

November 17th, 2009

Question:  What is wrong with watching pornography?  I’m not really hurting anybody, isn’t it better than having sex with someone else?…
The porn industry does hurt many people, specifically the men, women and children chewed up and spit out by an unscrupulous, to say the least, worldwide sex industry.  The multi-billion dollar porn industry

November 16th, 2009

In June of 1981, six children and teenagers in the town of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) reported having visions of the Virgin Mary.   Over the years, they have allegedly received thousands of messages  from Mary; some of the original visionaries still report daily apparitions.  Medjugorje has grown into a large center of pilgrimage,…

November 13th, 2009

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls and what do they mean for Catholics
and biblical scholarship?
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a shepherd boy in 1947 in caves
surrounding the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. These ancient scrolls
turned out to be texts, written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, that
dated from the 1st and 2nd centuries before Christ. Among these…

November 12th, 2009

Question:  I am an African-American, and I was wondering whether it matters what race you are in order to be Catholic. Do you have to be a certain race in order to convert to Catholicism?…

Absolutely anyone may become a Catholic convert!  I am sure you have heard of the apostle Paul’s take on this (Galatians 3:28), so it is worth remembering that such differences

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