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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

“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…

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.…

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