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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
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
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.

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…

October 28th, 2013

It seems unlikely that the Church will add any new sacraments. Seven is a highly symbolic number now buoyed by centuries of tradition. And any new ritual would have to be of a truly universal character, in response to an emergent need of the global Church, not merely of a particular group or region. But this does not mean that the Church does not continue to respond…

October 25th, 2013

Editor’s Note: This is one of the winning questions asked by our readers during Busted Halo Summer School.
Q: Scientists are constantly trying to “prove” the existence of ghosts or departed spirits. What is the Catholic teaching on the presence of ghosts or spirits?…
Catholics believe that death is not the end of human existence. While our present,

October 21st, 2013

Q: How have the seven sacraments changed over time? Did they all start at the same time or were they added at different times of our history?
In ancient times the Latin word “sacramentum” referred to the Roman soldier’s sacred oath to the empire; after taking the oath he was branded with the insignia of his regiment and belonged to the empire until his death.…

October 15th, 2013

Q: In simple terms, when God made the covenant with Noah, he said he would not destroy everything he created, including animals, birds, etc., by flood again and gave us the signature of this covenant with a rainbow. The deaths due to floods today, is that just an act of nature and not God?
This is a question that commonly arises after natural calamities such as floods,…

October 14th, 2013

One way to your question is “yes.” Yes, it is better to pray to God the Father and yes, it is better to pray to Jesus. In fact, it is impossible to do one without the other. Because of Jesus’ complete identification with God the Father – especially developed in the gospel of John – we know that the Father and the Son are one. Together the Father, Son and Spirit…

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