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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 17th, 2013

Question: How can anyone really take the bible seriously? It was written soooooo long ago and has gone through one translation after another. If someone sat down today and pounded out a bunch of stories because “God spoke to them” and said we should obey everything within them, would we believe it?  
The Bible was written long ago, between two

May 15th, 2013

This varies considerably among Orthodox Jews. Some feel other branches are legitimate; others feel other branches are illegitimate. Still others feel other branches are “good training” for more traditional lifestyles which would be the goal. In all cases, Orthodox Jews accept Jewish people born of Jewish mothers as Jewish (that is, part of…

May 10th, 2013

Question: In spiritual law, men leave their mothers for their wife, when they marry. But if a man chooses to love and cherish the mother OVER the wife, isn’t this a conflict that God would not encourage?
There is nothing in scripture that declares that a man should love or cherish his wife more than his mother, but it simply points to a change in the relationship

May 8th, 2013

The answer is neither and both. Judaism strongly opposes the wanton destruction of a fetus and at the same time permits abortion in a range of circumstances and therefore champions the civil rights that allow the Jewish legal decision-making process to operate freely. It is for this reason that in the United States, Jewish leaders have favored leniency in the…

May 3rd, 2013

Question: How do you reconcile the commandment to “love thy neighbor” when he/she is not living in the image of God without becoming too judgmental so as to act like the elitist high priests that Jesus spoke out against?…

Recalling St. Augustine’s well-known axiom “hate the sin, but love the sinner,” may be helpful here. All people are deserving

May 2nd, 2013

This statement comes from the early part of Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. He believed that God calls us to:
“a complete indifference with regard to all created things, not preferring health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to humiliation, long life to a short one. We wish only for those conditions that will aid our pursuit of the goal for…

May 1st, 2013

Unlike in Catholicism, there is no head of the Jewish religion. There are chief rabbis of various countries, but they function more as spokespersons on behalf of the Jewish community, rather than as final legal authorities for the Jewish community (though sometimes they are final authorities for micro-communities).
When looking for advice on how to practice…

April 30th, 2013

“Stabat Mater” generally refers to a 13th century Latin hymn entitled Stabat Mater Dolorosa (the sorrowful mother stood) though it can also refer to another Latin hymn from the 15th century entitled Stabat Mater Speciosa (the beautiful mother stood). Stabat Mater Dolorosa, the more well-known and widely utilized of the two hymns, recounts the experience…

April 29th, 2013

Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person requires utmost respect for the human body. We do not have bodies, we are bodies, created in the image of God. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church warns against an attitude that “tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for its sake, [and] to idolize physical perfection” (CCC 2289).…

April 26th, 2013

Question: How many times a day is it permissible for a lay person to receive communion? I know canon law states “Can. 917 One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic celebration in which that person participates, without prejudice to the provision of can. 921 §2.” But I don’t know…

April 25th, 2013

Question:Why are we instructed to believe in a book that contains things we would view in today’s society as morally wrong? 
There is a distinction here between believing in the Bible and believing in the God that is revealed in the Bible through Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we affirm that the Bible contains sacred scripture, which was written under the

April 24th, 2013

Question: Do all Jews believe that the bible is literally true or is that the belief of Orthodox Jews only?
Most Orthodox, and some Conservative Jews believe the bible was dictated from the mouth of God, written down verbatim by the hand of Moshe (Moses) on Mount Sinai.
Other Conservative Jews and Reform and Reconstructionist Jews tend to understand the bible…

April 23rd, 2013

Great question and it sure did take some sleuthing! Pope Francis (formerly Cardinal- Archbishop Jose Mario Bergoglio) has written many beautiful homilies and addresses extolling the faithful to an ever greater love for and imitation of Mary. In a particularly moving lecture given in 2010 at the 49th International Eucharistic Conference, then-Cardinal…

April 22nd, 2013

Question: I believe a local hotel that I use often is associated with human trafficking. Should I boycott the hotel?
Human trafficking is a dirty little secret in many U.S. cities. According to the Polaris Project, a non-governmental organization working to fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery, there are more individuals in forced labor today

April 19th, 2013

Question: I often drive 5 MPH over the posted speed limit. Is this sinful and should I confess it?

When you get behind the wheel of a car, you have a lethal weapon in your hands. This awesome responsibility means that you must always drive with the utmost care and attention, both to the rules of the road and to your particular surroundings. If your excessive speed

April 18th, 2013

Question: I am 17 and sometimes at mass or adoration, I get teary – eyed. I asked a priest about it and he said it was the gift of years. He explained it a little bit, but I want to know why people experience it at different ages. I don’t feel like I’ve reached spiritual maturity to receive this.
I think you misheard your priest, I’m sure he…

April 17th, 2013

This varies widely from movement to movement.
The vast majority of Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis recognize same-sex unions as sacred under their interpretation of Jewish practice and values. Conservative rabbis have a range of responses to this issue. Most recognize same sex marriage as “righteous” (and as of 2006, Conservative rabbis can perform…

April 16th, 2013

The “Seven Sorrows of Mary” refers to the seven feats of “spiritual martyrdom” (suffering spiritually through experiences) endured by the Mother of God in loving solidarity with her Son. They are:
1) Mary’s sorrow at the prophecy of Simeon
2) The flight into Egypt
3) Having lost the Holy Child in Jerusalem
4) Meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary…

April 15th, 2013

There are a couple of primary differences between the KJV and the “Catholic” Bibles of today. I’ll use the New American Bible (NAB) as the point of comparison since it is the translation read in English speaking American Catholic churches today.
To begin with, most KJV Bibles have 39 books in the Old Testament, all originally written in Hebrew. However,…

April 12th, 2013

Question: I recently started listening to your podcast. I was wondering what the Church teaches on organ donation after death. I have to renew my health card soon (I live in Canada), and I got a form for organ donation. I know that it helps others, but I also know that the body is special and that it will be used for our resurrection. Hope you can help, thanks!…
The gift

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