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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 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…

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”…

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