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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

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…

May 18th, 2008

Catholics believe that suicide is a serious evil in and of itself. It’s a sin against God, who is the author of all life, against the love of one’s own self as a creation of God, and against neighbor because it breaks the ties each person has with the human family. In Catholic teaching it is not permitted under any circumstances.
Even though suicide…

May 18th, 2008

Thanks for your question to Busted Halo. Whether you sinned or not depends on whether you intended to do evil or turn away from God by visiting a psychic. You don’t indicate that this was your reason, but only you know the answer to that question. The Church discourages participation in magical or superstitious practices that involve an attempt to control…

May 18th, 2008

The term used for lay ministers of the eucharist is not “exceptional” but “extraordinary.” “Ordinary” is the Church’s term for someone who is ordained. For example, a bishop is often called an “ordinary” because he is the ordained spiritual leader of a diocese. “Extraordinary”…

May 18th, 2008

Transubstantiation is a teaching of the Church that developed from the 10th the 13th century as a way of explaining how the bread and wine that we receive at Mass are no longer bread and wine but the real body and blood of Christ. No one uses the term “transubstantiation” before the 10th century but the belief that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist…

May 18th, 2008

All things being equal, the Church would prefer that Catholics marry Catholics. Shared religious beliefs and practices are important factors in establishing a closer union with another person. Catholics also see marriage between Catholics as an essential way of passing on the Catholic faith from one generation to the next.
America is, however, a society…

May 18th, 2008

Jesus and Paul provide some example here. Both seem to have been “law-abiding citizens” in most respects. Jesus made exceptions which involved common sense (the disciples picking and eating grain because they were hungry on the Sabbath) and human need (healing a disabled person on the Sabbath). Paul believed that Christians were now free from…

May 18th, 2008

The first big conflict in the Church was over whether to admit Gentiles to baptism, without binding them to practice all the laws of Moses, and whether Jewish Christians could then associate with them as brothers and sisters in Christ. On this issue two very prominent church leaders, St. Peter and St. Paul found themselves in disagreement. As Paul tells us in…

May 18th, 2008

Your question comes at a time when many people are asking about the appropriateness of tatoos. Parents, especially, are facing the increasing number of adolescents who want to have this form of “body art” displayed on their torsos. There is nothing inherently sinful about tatoos. I have researched the topic to find out what the Church’s…

May 18th, 2008

The first thing to note is that the Bible isn’t a source of science or history as we know it, but of religious truth. As John Paul II once observed, “the Bible does not show us how the heavens work, but how to get to heaven.”
This is particularly true of the stories in the book of Genesis, which deal with the very beginning of the world down to the time…

May 18th, 2008

These are great questions and I hope I can do them justice. The four gospels are important to us because they provide us with the first testimonies of faith. They share the story of Jesus from the perspectives of four quite different communities of Christians living in the first century. They were written between 40 and 70 years after the crucifixion of Jesus.…

May 18th, 2008

Thank you for your question. You ask: “What was the nature of Adam and Eve’s perfection? And is this the perfection we are trying to journey towards?”
The book of Genesis relates that “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). Adam and Eve are in the image…

May 18th, 2008

John’s gospel is different in many respects from Matthew, Mark and Luke, which are called “synoptic gospels” because they share so much in common. John’s gospel was probably written at a later date than the others and appears to be not a history but an extended theological and spiritual reflection on the meaning of Jesus within the…

May 18th, 2008

We have a great guide to reading the bible called Bible Boot Camp. You can find it by selecting Googling God in our top navigation, then clicking the Bible Boot Camp button.
I also think a good way to read the scripture is to read it along with the daily scripture offered at mass. One reading is usually from the old testament and the other is the gospel during weekdays.…

May 18th, 2008

Contemporary Catholic biblical scholars tell us that the stories found in the book of Genesis are not meant to be a source of historical or scientific fact as we understand those terms today. Rather, they are meant to convey religious truth. In the words of one Catholic spiritual leader, “the purpose of the Bible is not to tell us how the heavens go, but how…

May 18th, 2008

I’m not quite sure what you’re asking here but here’s my best shot–tell me if this makes sense.
God can be “summed up” (as best we can) in three ways, I think:
1. God is beyond “us.” We can’t really fathom what God is but we know that He is kinda beyond what we come to know as human or “some-thing.”…

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…

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