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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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January 2nd, 2014

I commit the same sins over and over and I feel bad going to confession when it is most likely I will commit the same sin. How do I say I will not sin again when I feel inside I will sin again? Am I using confession as a excuse to sin knowing I can confess and be forgiven?
All of us have weaknesses and our sins are consequences of that. No one is perfect, and usually many of our…

January 1st, 2014

My fiancé and I would like to get married in Italy through the church and are taking all the courses need to do so through the catholic church here in the U.S. Since we would be excluding many family members and friends by having a ceremony it Italy we wanted to come back to the U.S and a month later have a civil ceremony is that possible? The lady at our church said it…

December 2nd, 2013

Technically speaking, a priest or a deacon is only supposed to bless anything and certainly would be the only ones to use holy water in a formal blessing. However, informally we bless one another all the time. For instance, when someone sneezes the typical response is “God bless you.”
Many people have holy water fonts in their homes, usually on their…

November 29th, 2013

For millennia, humans have looked upon suffering or evil in the world and asked this question. If God is perfect, then how come our world isn’t perfect? Why is there evil and pain in this world? Did God make a mistake(s) in creating an imperfect world? Does God still make mistakes? Our Catholic teaching answers a resounding “no” to these questions.…

November 28th, 2013

I’m tempted to ask whether you mean for God or for us?
God hears all prayers and the intention of simply praying is enough for those prayers to be brought to God. The use of the word “heard” however, describes God as a type of divine “Santa Claus”.
Prayer is simply communication with God. However, prayer doesn’t change God…prayer…

November 27th, 2013

I have personally known 2 women now who chose to become nuns, but midway through their education, had a change of heart. Did God call them to these positions but decide they’d be better fit as mothers?
Who knows? Only God knows the human heart. Vocations are mysterious and often take people on paths unexpected and rarely straight.
People enter religious…

November 26th, 2013

I’m a catechist and volunteer at my parish, and I was asked to participate in something called a “mystagogy session.”  What is mystagogy?
The fourth stage of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is called “mystagogy,” from the Greek words meaning “to lead through the mysteries.” Traditionally mystagogy extends throughout the Easter…

November 25th, 2013

Question: I have a sister who recently converted to Mormonism. I have heard several different things about it and most things are not good. What is the church’s official stance on the matter and how do I approach the matter?…
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) is not considered an orthodox Christian church by the Catholic Church or by

November 22nd, 2013

Does God have everything already planned and is he completely omniscient? In Isaiah 38:5, God tells Hezekiah he is going to die very soon but Hezekiah begs to the Lord to live and the verse says the Lord changed his mind and added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life. So did he already know he was going to add 15 years to Hezekiah’s life? if so why did he tell Hezekiah…

November 21st, 2013

I assume you’re asking here how Jesus can be both divine and human. Well, that has been the question ever since the resurrection and before. A great old Jesuit theology professor ours, Brian Daley, S.J., once said the Mystery of the Trinity is “Three Whos in One What.” The Mystery of the Incarnation is “Two whats in One Who.”
Richard McBrien’s magisterial…

November 20th, 2013

God forgives all sins. So there’s no need to worry about that. The question might be whether this was even a sin. Your husband may have not had intended to kill the person in this encounter and instead acted if self-defense. For something to be sinful, one has to have intent to commit the act and have full knowledge that the act is sinful and then, has to actually…

November 19th, 2013

The theological bases for approaching followers of other religions with respect and esteem are found dispersed throughout the various documents of the Second Vatican Council. For example:

God wills the salvation of all.
The whole human race is united in its origin and destiny.
God is active in the hearts of human beings, drawing them to God’s self.
God…

November 18th, 2013

The liturgical celebrations of the Catholic Church – mass, morning and evening prayer, and other celebrations such as baptisms and weddings – are by definition communal celebrations. Thus they are always open to the community. Anyone who wishes may join us in prayer, whether or not he or she is Catholic or Christian.
As a newcomer, you are welcome to join…

November 15th, 2013

Since a rapture in the linguistic sense of “the carrying of a person(s) to another sphere of existence” has yet to happen to any human among us (disregarding the issue of Christ’s ascension here), perhaps your question is better phrased as “Will there be a rapture”?
If you ask this question of a fundamentalist Christian, the answer would most…

November 14th, 2013

Question: When one of your friend’s, who does not attend church on a regular basis, states that he feels he is being called by God, what do you say?
Why say anything? Just say a prayer and ask God to guide the person. God is running things. We don’t have to be overseeing the movements of God’s grace. The Holy Spirit blows where the Spirit will. God moves in…

November 13th, 2013

All of us who watch a loved one struggle with mental illness are confronted with the brutal suffering it creates, and your question brings to light one of its peculiar cruelties: the disease itself can make the sufferer push treatment out of reach. How should loved ones react? Can you force your brother to take his medication?
The reality is, you can’t. That’s…

November 12th, 2013

Question: I have family members who are very into the Latin form of the Mass. These family members, every time they get a chance, try to shove their beliefs on my husband and I. They try to show us how the Novus Ordo form of Mass is wrong and not legitimate and that we shouldn’t still be a part of it. My question is, do you have any suggestions as to how to just make…

November 11th, 2013

Q: Swearing is a part of everyday life for many people. How wrong is swearing in the eyes of the Church?
If you read through all the moral instruction in the bible, you’ll never find anything like, “Thou shalt not say #%$&.” Why? Because language changes over the centuries and across cultures. Words considered deeply offensive in one time and place…

November 8th, 2013

God loves us because God IS love — infinite and perfect love, greater than any love that we can imagine. Our human ability to love is finite and limited, and thus we have a tendency to put limitations on love itself. We think it makes sense to “earn” someone’s love or look for the reasons why another person loves us. But for God there is no earning of love…

November 7th, 2013

Q: Soldiers in war are technically killing other sons and daughters of God in an effort to protect our country. Will this affect their fate on Judgment Day? Is it wrong to thank them upon their return home even though they’ve sinned?…
Never hesitate to thank a returning soldier for his or her service to our country. (Thank you, veterans!) Military service cannot

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