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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

I’m not sure I completely understand your question, but I can certainly understand the sadness and frustration in your experience of wanting to minister the Sacraments and not having your desire supported by the Church. it seems from what you’ve said that you’re not assuming a public role as a concelebrant but rather sitting with the congregation…

May 18th, 2008

When I was growing up, my mother didn’t belong to any church. When I was in high school, after a long period of seeking and questioning, she decided to become a Catholic. Her older sister, my favorite Aunt, had taken instructions and been baptized a Catholic some years before. So two adults in my immediate family had found meaning and joy through becoming…

May 18th, 2008

The practice of cardinals electing a new pope has its origins in the tradition of the early church for a local church to elect its own bishop. St. Ambrose, for example, was chosen as bishop of Milan by the Catholics of that area, even though he was still a catechumen. He had to be baptized before he could be ordained as bishop!
Gradually the right to elect a new bishop…

May 18th, 2008

The idea of the infallibility of the pope was defined at the first Vatican Council in 1869. The Council was trying to describe the teaching authority of the pope at a time when the pope’s temporal power over the papal states gave way to Italy’s desire for unification. Rome was the last preserve of the pope’s temporal power and this city fell…

May 18th, 2008

The word pope is an English adaptation of the Latin word “papa” (a child’s affectionate word for father). From the third to the fifth centuries words like papa or abba were used of bishops to describe their role as a spiritual father. By the third century the term “pope” began to be used as a title solely for the bishops of Rome.…

May 18th, 2008

Thank you for your question about the Creed.
Basically the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed came into being around the same time though the earliest forms of the Apostles Creed are in evidence around the year 100 with the final version that we now have being dated in the year 700. The difference is that the Nicene Creed was written in response to various heresies…

May 18th, 2008

One of the ten commandments is “remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then…in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus…

May 18th, 2008

Actually, a complete celebration of the Mass should engage the whole person–including the mind, the emotions, and the body. Even the simplest Masses, for example, involve a procession to and from the communion station, and a switch in posture from standing to sitting to kneeling. These gestures indicate that we participate not only with our minds but…

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…

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