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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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September 11th, 2009

Poor Job really gets a raw deal, doesn’t he? And it seems that God is the instigator of all this cruelty. Upon closer examination, however, we find that Satan – the one who accuses those whom God favors – is in fact responsible for Job’s suffering. In Job 1:6-12, we find that God is conducting a dialogue in his heavenly court with his angels and that Satan…

September 10th, 2009

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 original sin: “[Mary]…

September 9th, 2009

Question: I am wondering about Jewish people, my son is marrying a Jewish girl soon, If Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God In the second person of the trinity, how will they get to Heaven?  I was taught that one must believe In Jesus as the mediator between God and us.
There is a lot of discussion and debate in the church today about the question…

September 8th, 2009

Question:  What is known about the use of Angel and Saints Oracle Cards? There appears to be “readers” who offer this as a spiritual guide. The cards suggest the use of saints like St. Francis, Mother Teresa and Padre Pio as spiritual guides. I doubt the Church would endorse such practices and a reader being paid to provide this service seems to …

September 6th, 2009

Over the past 200 years, the Catholic church has consistently held a favorable attitude toward labor unions and the rights of workers to organize. A key step in attaining this position was the action of an American Cardinal, James Gibbons of Baltimore, in pursuading Pope Leo XIII not to condemn the Knights of Labor in 1887. The Knights were an American attempt…

September 2nd, 2009

Question: What is the difference in belief between Roman Catholics and Episcopalians? I was once told, “All the ceremony and half the guilt” but there must be more to it than that.…
Indeed, there is more to it than that, though your pithy line has some validity to it as far as it goes. A large part of the Episcopal Church (its styles vary from the simple

September 1st, 2009

“For freedom Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1).  God loves us and God’s grace frees us.  That’s the foundational truth of our faith.  All else is understood in relation to that overwhelming reality: God loves us.  We can trust God to forgive us and wipe out all our past transgressions, sins, and failures (cf. Mk 2:5; Lk 7:47; Lk 15:11-32; Col 1:14;…

August 31st, 2009

We know that God chose Mary to be Christ’s mother.  We also know, however, that Mary was free to reject this call.  As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “’God sent forth his Son,’ but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free cooperation of a creature.  For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young…

August 29th, 2009

Your question is an interesting one and one we’ve talked about before.  While you have good intentions in trying to keep your Sunday obligation to God by listening to the podcast of mass, you’re missing one of the main elements that we have at mass which is the community.
Mass is not just about our own relationship between God and oursleves but also…

August 28th, 2009

Dan Brown created quite a stir with his book The Da Vinci Code… and the resulting movie in which he purports that the Church has been covering up the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene (as well as their offspring) in order to crush the “feminine divine.” Brown proposes that the basis for all of this is found in what he refers to as “numerous references” to

August 27th, 2009

Dreams are simply manifestations of one’s UNCONSCIOUS mind.  For sin to be considered sin we have to CONSCIOUSLY choose them.  So no, your sin in your dream is not something you need to confess.
However…(there’s always a however) you may be pushing down some of your innate desires and they are manifesting themselves in your dreams.  …

August 26th, 2009

As the question does not specify what kind of a non-Catholic wedding (e.g. Protestant or Orthodox Christian, or Hindu?), the answer must of necessity be broad as well.
Be a respectful observer. Participate to the extent your own faith tradition allows. Pray well for the couple being married. Do what Jesus did at the wedding feast of Cana: add joy to the occasion.…

August 25th, 2009

Consult professionals who deal with people who experience your condition.  It is only relatively recently in human history that we have discovered so much about our world (think of the advances in physics and biology these past 100 years) and ourselves (sexuality wasn’t even spoken about in very recent eras).  The reality of transgender people may be…

August 24th, 2009

Unfortunately, there’s no tidy answer to this.  The Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal text written around A.D. 150, tells an elaborate backstory of Mary’s childhood, portraying her as destined for holiness.  Of course, this text is not part of sacred Scripture, so it doesn’t offer a reliable answer.  It does, however, show that early Christians…

August 22nd, 2009

Burying the statue of St Joseph in your backyard offers no guarantee of the house actually being sold.  What it does offer is that St Joseph will pray for a successful sale of your home.
That sale may just take some time.  Perhaps he is looking for the right buyer, or the right time, or when the economy is better?  Who knows?  But suffice it to say that burying…

August 21st, 2009

Miracles require faith and faith has no proof. Catholic tradition holds that Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes (the only miracle told by all four Gospels: Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:32-44; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:1-13) was indeed a supernatural event, revealing Jesus as the Bread of Life. In the Old Testament, God fed the Israelites in the desert with “bread…

August 20th, 2009

Buddhism refers to a variety of traditions — Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana — whose source point was in Northern India 2,500 years ago. Buddhism, like Christianity, comes from the name of its founder, Buddha, or “awakened one,” as Siddhartha Gautama was called. A primary difference between the two religions is that the Buddha remained…

August 19th, 2009

This is more of a question of etiquette and personal taste than of religion or ethics!  Some people are more tethered to their techno-gadgets than others.  Some don’t want to be reachable every single moment.  And some are just unable to respond right away; maybe they’re actually busy, or on a plane, or in a dead zone.  Given the variety of ways people…

August 18th, 2009

No.  Chastity calls us to undertake the often difficult task of integrating sexuality into our relationships with others and with God (CCC #2337).  At the end of one’s life God is going to ask us how much we loved one another.  The teachings of the church guide us, but at the end of the day, we will have to look God in the eye and say, “This is what I did with the…

August 17th, 2009

The belief that a virgin could conceive a child is an unusual idea, to say the least.  You’re not alone in wondering whether it could really happen.
Both Matthew and Luke make a point of explicitly stating Mary’s virginity. Some writers get more graphic:  the early Christian text the Protoevangelium of James (around A.D. 150) includes a memorable scene…

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