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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

This is a hard question to answer, and I appreciate the anquish with which you must ask it.
If you were married in a Catholic ceremony, you would promise to do all within your power to have your children baptized and raised as Catholics. Your non-Catholic husband would not be required to make any promise, but would need to be informed that you had made such a promise.…

May 18th, 2008

Yes, it’s true that Jesus’ own prayer was directed toward God as Father. The prayer which Jesus teaches his disciples in ths gospels of Matthew and Luke is addressed to “our Father” and does not mention Jesus at all! We still pray this as “The Lord’s Prayer” and regard it as a central Christian prayer.
Apart from…

May 18th, 2008

As Americans we have mixed emotions regarding the word king. The American Revolution was fought to free Americans from the tyranny of a kingly rule. Since then we’ve had little enthusiasm for hereditary, life-long reigns. Our political traditions mostly involve elected officials who serve a set term of office and then retire to private life. The U.S.…

May 18th, 2008

As Christians, this may be the most important question we can ask. Certainly St. Paul thought so. He once declared that if Christ did not rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain.
Yet the gospels give surprisingly few facts about such an significant and in fact essential event. There are no details about how God raised up Jesus. There were apparently no witnesses…

May 18th, 2008

I’m happy to assure you that the Catholic Church has never taught that unbaptized babies go to hell. In fact, such a belief was explicitly rejected by Pope Pius VI in 1794, in response to the severe teachings of an group in Italy called the Jansenists.
The fate of unbaptized babies after death has been, however, a topic of discussion in the Church since at…

May 18th, 2008

Thanks for your question.
First and foremost, the question of what happens to us after death leads us into a place of mystery. We don’t have a photograph or a road map. The most basic decision that Christians make in the face of death is to trust in the reality of a God who wills eternal life, not death for us. The first letter of Paul to Timothy speaks of “God…

May 18th, 2008

The earliest Scriptural reference to prayers for the dead comes in the second book of Maccabees. The books of Maccabees were among the latest written books found in the Old Testament. They recount the struggle of the Jewish people for freedom against the Seleucid Empire, around 100-200 years before the birth of Christ. They are written from an Orthodox Jewish…

May 18th, 2008

It’s no surprise that you find you can’t get a straight answer from anyone on this question, because everything about life after death is basically a mystery. We don’t have a blueprint, a map or a photograph of heaven. Life with God is beyond our human imagination’s ability to conceive. Our imagination is rooted in our earthly experience…

May 18th, 2008

From the quality and concern of your question, I would judge that you are a conscientious and compassionate person of faith.I wish that there were an easy and equally straightforward way to answer your question, but there isn’t.We have to consider many factors that don’t bump up easily against each other.
The Catholic church (in its official teaching)…

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

“Lectio” is the Latin word for reading. In Catholic language a lector is a reader and a lectionary is the book of scripture readings. So the Latin “Lectio Divina” translates into English as “Divine”, “holy” or “prayerful” reading.
To understand how this practice developed in the Church,…

May 18th, 2008

A good place to begin is with your own diocesan newspaper. Most dioceses publish a weekly or monthly newspaper and these often contain excellent movie reviews or an evaluation of current films with respect to their suitability for family viewing. A few years ago Paulist Productions developed an annual “Humanitas Prize” to acknowledge television…

May 18th, 2008

Opus Dei is what is known as a “personal prelature” of the Pope. This means that unlike a diocese or a parish, Opus Dei has their own Bishops and priests that aren’t connected with a geographical diocese.
At the basic level, Opus Dei is a Lay run organization of people committed to living a spiritual life in the everyday.
John Allen has the best…

May 18th, 2008

Attempts to contact or communicate with the spirits of the dead are warned against both in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Leviticus 19:31, I Samuel 28:8) and in the teaching of the Catholic Church (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 9-269). Some of the reasons given for this are: (a) a context of superstitious beliefs and practices, (b) the frequency of fraud and deception…

May 18th, 2008

You asked how adoration chapels came about. I found a link that should prove helpful which describes the history of Eucharistic adoration. It is from the old Catholic Encyclopedia:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01152a.htm
It seems that Eucharist adoration (and the designation of places for it to happen) gained popularity sometime in the 13th century.…

May 18th, 2008

Jesus is very clear in the gospels that we can and should ask God to help us with our needs and that we can depend on God to respond. In fact, there are two prayers in the gospels that Jesus himself prays — and both contain requests of God. “The Lord’s Prayer” asks God to “give us the bread for this day,” to “lead us not into…

May 18th, 2008

First of all, I’d like to encourage you in your desire to pray on a daily basis. Daily prayer is an important way of maintaining and fostering a relationship with God. You mentioned that your daily prayer consists of sitting in a chair and reciting a bible verse or prayer as a mantra. There are many different ways of praying, and prayer that is Scripture-centered…

May 18th, 2008

In the language of the Bible, a prophet is someone who speaks a message from God. Sometimes the message is addressed to the king or some prominent person. At other times it’s meant for the people as a whole. Prophets don’t appear among the people of Israel until there are kings. They function as an important counter-balance to the ancient belief that…

May 18th, 2008

I wish I could have sat in on your discussion. I might then be able to respond to your question more clearly. Revelation is not so much a set of propositions or a list of facts as it is God’s self-disclosure of love for us and God’s invitation to us to enter into a relationship of love with God. This is an invitation that is offered to the whole world, but…

May 18th, 2008

The rosary is not the most important Catholic prayer–that “honor” belongs to the Eucharist–but it has been a popular and widespread devotion among Catholics from the Middle Ages until the present day.
Jesus would not have prayed the Rosary, which is actually a collection of prayers. Only one of these, the Our Father or “Lord’s…

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