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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
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
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…
November 11th, 2009
Question: Should we use every means medically possible to keep an ill person alive? What is the Catholic teaching on this question? I reviewed some of the general principles that Catholics apply to the question of using medical technology to sustain or prolong a person’s life. Such questions are in the realm of the discipline of bioethics, which explores…
November 10th, 2009
How can I prove to my atheist professor that God exists? Kill’em (Just Kidding!).  Short of your professor being convinced by the arguments of brilliant minds like St. Thomas Aquinas or Bernard Lonergan, S.J., there is little we can do.  (Personally I love the argument from contingent being [that which can not exist].  Such being must be kept in existence…
November 9th, 2009
Why did Jesus disobey his mother and leave her only to be found in the temple?  I thought Jesus didn’t sin and disobedience to one’s parents seems sinful to me! When discussing Bible stories, it’s always good to carefully re-read the text in question.  Fact is, the story doesn’t say for sure that Jesus was being disobedient.  Luke 2: 43-45 says that…
November 6th, 2009
Question:  If God made a covenant with Noah about the flood then why do we have floods and tsunamis, etc today? It’s important to remember that the story of Noah and the flood is a story of deliverance, not a story that explains weather conditions. In this story, God intends to purge the earth of sinfulness and deliver a just man and his family from the…
November 4th, 2009
Editor’s Note:  For an answer this week, BustedHalo® turns to America Magazine and Fr. James Martin for his take on Anglicans and Catholics:
November 3rd, 2009
Question:  If there is a God then why is there suffering in the world? I often preach that there are only two things of which I am absolutely sure: one, God loves us and, two, humans suffer.  No one has ever disagreed with the second assertion. This question of evil, known in theological circles as the theodicy question (impress your theology major friends throwing…
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