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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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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…

August 15th, 2009

Since Jesus has both divine and human natures the church has taught that Jesus is both “Son of God” and “Son of Mary.”  Your question as to how this could be was one that also puzzled Mary as she asks “How can this be since I do not know man?” (Luke 1:34)
The angel’s response tells us a bit of what an answer to your question…

August 13th, 2009

First of all, Hinduism is not a religion as we tend to think of a religion. It is a name given to a range of practices, attitudes, beliefs, schools of thought, and the social and political systems connected to these. There is in Hinduism the idea of an enduring divine reality that never changes: Brahman. And “God” is the personalized form or manifestation of…

August 12th, 2009

Not being God, it would be really arrogant to claim to know God’s mind.  That being said, we’re taught by the church that love of neighbor—even in difficult circumstances—is fundamental to community.  Those responsible for the crisis opted for love of self, whether out of greed or laziness.  They prized profit so much that they took undue, ignorant…

August 11th, 2009

Mortal sin means “deadly” sin, the choice to so reject God’s love that the life of grace “dies” in a person.  The meanings of masturbation range over a variety of acts and life situations.  An overly “act” centered approach to sexual morality, in my humble opinion, fails to take into account the multiplicity of meanings and complexities of…

August 10th, 2009

According to Church tradition, no.  Mary remained a virgin her entire life.
This belief is reflected in numerous early Church writings.  The Protoevangelium of James, written around A.D. 150, portrays Mary as a consecrated virgin who never had sex with Joseph.  Early Church Fathers, including Augustine and Jerome, spoke of Mary’s perpetual virginity. …

August 8th, 2009

They might not have been the ones carrying Jesus to full term but Catholic belief is that Joachim and Anne–the traditional names given to Mary’s parents–were holy people in their right.  (They are, by the way, the patron saints of grandparents.)   We don’t know much about them, if anything at all, other than they must have…

August 7th, 2009

According to Catholic Tradition, the answer is a resounding YES! In fact, Muslim teaching holds that Mary was a virgin as well, but that’s another story. The Bible teaches us that Mary conceived a child by the power of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18 says that she was “found with child through the Holy Spirit.” Luke 1:26:38 gives us a detailed account of Mary’s…

August 5th, 2009

The premise of a foreclosure auction is that you’re looking to purchase a home cheaply.  You get the low price due to the property repossessed for default then being resold to recoup whatever possible from the lender’s losses.  On one hand, you’re exercising good stewardship of your own resources.  On the other, the family moving out is clearly in…

August 1st, 2009

Every diocese has an exorcist on staff.  You can feel free to call your local diocese and ask for the exorcist’s office.  You can explain the situation to him and then he can conduct an investigation to see if there is anything to your claim with regard to demonic possession. There is an excellent book that you can read called “The Rite”…

July 31st, 2009

The story is true but not necessarily fact. Huh? Catholic Scripture scholars tell us that some parts of the Bible use figurative language to express God’s truth. Figurative language can express truth without relying on fact. We use figurative language all the time. For example, if it’s raining very hard, we say that it’s “raining cats and dogs.”…

July 30th, 2009

While we are looking for common ground with followers of other religions, it is also good  to be aware of and not gloss over the differences. The differences between us will not disappear. They make us who we are.  But so does what we share, and what we share is all important for the future of humanity.
Incarnation: The big difference is what Christian theology

July 28th, 2009

The teachings of the Church about sexuality come from the same sources that the church consults to develop teachings on other matters like economics or liturgy, i.e., scripture and tradition.  What the church teaches about sexuality is rooted in understandings of what it is to be a human person in relationship with oneself, others and God.  Ultimately what…

July 27th, 2009

Mary is human, not divine.  She doesn’t have the power to answer our prayers as God does.  That said, she’s seen as a valuable intercessor, …someone who prays for others.  If we ask her to pray on our behalf, Catholics believe that she will.
Because of her close relationship to her son, many believe that her intercession is particularly effective. This

July 24th, 2009

Usually, we read a book by starting on page one and continuing through to the last page. Makes sense, right? Although we may be tempted to read the Bible in the same way, that’s not necessarily the best approach to reading the Bible. Why? Because the Bible is no ordinary book. In fact, it’s not a book at all…it is a collection of books: 73 in all! Think of the Bible…

October 16th, 2008

What the texts of the Bible reveal is a gradual evolution toward an appreciation of the value of marriage as an equal and lifelong partnership between a man and a woman. Our understanding of marriage has evolved even within our own lifetime and over centuries it has evolved considerably.
The Old Testament indicates that the polygamy was practiced by Abraham,…

May 18th, 2008

Certainly God knows when we are sorry for our sins. And since God’s only relationship with us is one of unconditional love, whenever we turn to God with a sincere sorrow for sin and a desire to make a new beginning, God is there to meet us with forgiveness.
As human beings, however, we may need a more concrete way of experiencing God’s love for us. A person…

May 18th, 2008

I’m sure that God forgave you when you celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation many years ago. However, the fact that the act of taking money from another still bothers you after all these years indicates that there’s an additional step that you need to take before you can feel completely at peace. When we harm someone it’s important to…

May 18th, 2008

Yes, the saints are human just like ourselves. They are in no way gods or super-humans. In the early church, the word “saint” was used to describe anyone who was a member of the community that expressed faith in Christ. Christians believed that death did not end one’s membership in the family of faith. The bonds of faith and love continued between…

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