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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

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…

May 18th, 2008

This is a question that many Catholics are asking after hearing the recent statement of Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs that he would refuse to give commununion to a political candidate whose views are not in line with church teaching against abortion. Archbishop Burke of St. Louis has established a similiar policy, as have two bishops in New Jersey, but…

May 18th, 2008

The short answer to your question is: you are taking the medication prescribed by your doctor in order to regulate your menstrual cycle and ease your discomfort. The medication is achieving this effect. Neither you or your doctor intends that this medication be used for the purpose of birth control. In your case the situation is made even clearer by the fact that…

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…

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