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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
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
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”…

July 31st, 2009

The story is true but not necessarily fact. Huh? Catholic Scripture scholars tell us that some parts of the Bible use figurative language to express God’s truth. Figurative language can express truth without relying on fact. We use figurative language all the time. For example, if it’s raining very hard, we say that it’s “raining cats and dogs.”…

July 30th, 2009

While we are looking for common ground with followers of other religions, it is also good  to be aware of and not gloss over the differences. The differences between us will not disappear. They make us who we are.  But so does what we share, and what we share is all important for the future of humanity.
Incarnation: The big difference is what Christian theology

July 28th, 2009

The teachings of the Church about sexuality come from the same sources that the church consults to develop teachings on other matters like economics or liturgy, i.e., scripture and tradition.  What the church teaches about sexuality is rooted in understandings of what it is to be a human person in relationship with oneself, others and God.  Ultimately what…

July 27th, 2009

Mary is human, not divine.  She doesn’t have the power to answer our prayers as God does.  That said, she’s seen as a valuable intercessor, …someone who prays for others.  If we ask her to pray on our behalf, Catholics believe that she will.
Because of her close relationship to her son, many believe that her intercession is particularly effective. This

July 24th, 2009

Usually, we read a book by starting on page one and continuing through to the last page. Makes sense, right? Although we may be tempted to read the Bible in the same way, that’s not necessarily the best approach to reading the Bible. Why? Because the Bible is no ordinary book. In fact, it’s not a book at all…it is a collection of books: 73 in all! Think of the Bible…

October 16th, 2008

What the texts of the Bible reveal is a gradual evolution toward an appreciation of the value of marriage as an equal and lifelong partnership between a man and a woman. Our understanding of marriage has evolved even within our own lifetime and over centuries it has evolved considerably.
The Old Testament indicates that the polygamy was practiced by Abraham,…

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…

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