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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

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…

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…

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