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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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May 18th, 2008

Catholic teaching holds that abortion is always immoral. This is a strongly held position and dates back to the earliest days of the Church. For example, the Didache, the earliest known book of basic instructions for Christians, contains a prohibition against abortion. One of the distinctive features of the earliest Christian community was its strong stance…

May 18th, 2008

You are correct in sensing that there is more unity than difference in the way Catholics and Lutherans understand and celebrate communion. In fact, since the Second Vatican Council there has been a “coming together” of these different Christian Churches with respect to communion. The Catholic Eucharist (Mass) is now celebrated in the language of the…

May 18th, 2008

I’ve found nothing in the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church indicating that Protestant spouses cannot be buried with their Catholic spouse in a Catholic cemetery. The only hitch would be if burial in a Catholic cemetery would have been contrary to the wishes of the spouse who has died. A Catholic priest or cemetery would want to respect his or her wishes…

May 18th, 2008

The Catholic Church recognizes the validity of other Christian baptisms if they involve water by immersion, pouring or sprinkling, and if they are done “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” If a Christian whose Baptism fulfilled these conditions seeks to become a Catholic, he or she does not need to be rebaptized, but must…

May 18th, 2008

The matter of women deacons is in a different state in the Catholic Church from that of women priests. Pope John Paul II stated that it was not possible for women to be ordained as priests. His argument was that Jesus had chosen only men for the 12 apostles, and that the apostles did the same when they chose who would succeed them in ministry. He also made use of the “in…

May 18th, 2008

The answer is: much later than we might think!
The early church seems to have avoided any titles for Christians, except for the egalitarian “brother” and “sister.” Matthew’s gospel, which is very concerned about the rules of conduct within a Christian community, records this teaching of Jesus: “Call no one on earth…

May 18th, 2008

I’m not sure I completely understand your question, but I can certainly understand the sadness and frustration in your experience of wanting to minister the Sacraments and not having your desire supported by the Church. it seems from what you’ve said that you’re not assuming a public role as a concelebrant but rather sitting with the congregation…

May 18th, 2008

When I was growing up, my mother didn’t belong to any church. When I was in high school, after a long period of seeking and questioning, she decided to become a Catholic. Her older sister, my favorite Aunt, had taken instructions and been baptized a Catholic some years before. So two adults in my immediate family had found meaning and joy through becoming…

May 18th, 2008

The practice of cardinals electing a new pope has its origins in the tradition of the early church for a local church to elect its own bishop. St. Ambrose, for example, was chosen as bishop of Milan by the Catholics of that area, even though he was still a catechumen. He had to be baptized before he could be ordained as bishop!
Gradually the right to elect a new bishop…

May 18th, 2008

The idea of the infallibility of the pope was defined at the first Vatican Council in 1869. The Council was trying to describe the teaching authority of the pope at a time when the pope’s temporal power over the papal states gave way to Italy’s desire for unification. Rome was the last preserve of the pope’s temporal power and this city fell…

May 18th, 2008

The word pope is an English adaptation of the Latin word “papa” (a child’s affectionate word for father). From the third to the fifth centuries words like papa or abba were used of bishops to describe their role as a spiritual father. By the third century the term “pope” began to be used as a title solely for the bishops of Rome.…

May 18th, 2008

Thank you for your question about the Creed.
Basically the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed came into being around the same time though the earliest forms of the Apostles Creed are in evidence around the year 100 with the final version that we now have being dated in the year 700. The difference is that the Nicene Creed was written in response to various heresies…

May 18th, 2008

One of the ten commandments is “remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then…in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus…

May 18th, 2008

Actually, a complete celebration of the Mass should engage the whole person–including the mind, the emotions, and the body. Even the simplest Masses, for example, involve a procession to and from the communion station, and a switch in posture from standing to sitting to kneeling. These gestures indicate that we participate not only with our minds but…

May 18th, 2008

It’s true that the Mass is a remembering of the death and resurrection of Christ. But it’s a particular kind of remembering that involves an encounter with past, present and future. In the acclamation of faith during Mass we proclaim that “Christ HAS died, Christ IS risen, Christ WILL come again.” The Greek word for this kind of remembering…

May 18th, 2008

To answer your question I have to provide a little history.
Up until 1965, Mass was celebrated everywhere in the Catholic church in Latin according to the “rite” (order or ritual or worship) determined at the Council of Trent and issued by Pope Pius V in 1568.
The Second Vatican Council wrote a “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” (1963)…

May 18th, 2008

Devotion to Mary goes back a long way in the Catholic church. But Catholics do not believe that Mary is divine and we don’t pray to Mary. God, made flesh in Jesus and present in the Holy Spirit, is the only One to whom we pray.
We do believe that Mary holds a special place among the saints of the church, and that the saints are part of a community of faith and love…

May 18th, 2008

The Immaculate Conception is a teaching of the church that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was preserved from original sin from the moment of her conception. This is not a teaching found in the New Testament, which contains no stories about the conception, birth or childhood of Mary. It developed in the Middle Ages, as a way of better understanding Mary’s special…

May 18th, 2008

Thank you for sending your question to “Ask Fr. Joe.”
First of all, let me say that there will be no problem with your getting your married “validated” in the Catholic Church. I’m assuming that neither of you has been married before in a valid Catholic marriage so no annulment would be necessary.
Catholics who marry in a civil…

May 18th, 2008

I’m assuming from your note that you were divorced and have remarried without receiving an annulment of your first marriage from the Church court. If so, your priest is following the practice of the Church of reserving communion for those who are “in communion” with Church teaching and practice. Church teaching holds that marriage is a…

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