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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
August 26th, 2013

Two spouses from different traditions of Christian faith have everything to gain by sharing their faith understanding and experience with one another. It’s about mutual enrichment. You have perhaps learned to pray and express your faith in different ways, but to the same Savior. Can you share those ways with one another and enrich each other’s ways of…

August 13th, 2013

Question: My family has always wondered about the case of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas. Over the years, we’ve known many atheists who decorate trees and exchange presents, either “just for fun” or so their kids don’t feel like they’re “missing out.” On one hand, I feel like Jesus would be happy that…

August 12th, 2013

Is foreplay against Catholic teaching?  Can I touch my girlfriend since her orgasm is not tied to fertility?…
Catholic teaching is set within a larger context, i.e., the invitation to form ourselves as the loving and generous persons God, and we, deeply desire ourselves to be.  These “is it against the church?” questions always make me want to challenge

August 9th, 2013

Why can’t people live together before marriage?…
Erma Bombeck once said “Living together is to marriage as babysitting is to being a parent.”  If living together before marriage was such a sure fire way to ensure a marriage’s success, divorce rates for those who cohabitate would be lower than those who don’t.  Actually the opposite is the case. 

August 7th, 2013

It is always better to root for someone than to root against someone. What you really hope for is your team’s success, not the opponent’s failure, even though the latter is a necessary consequence of the former. (An even better attitude would be to hope that the best team may win, but for many sports fans that’s too much to ask.) In any case, your…

August 6th, 2013

Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae… (On Human Life), clearly states there are at least “two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning” (HV #12). Certainly a husband and wife who cannot conceive a child are called to continue to express their love for one another (the unitive meaning). Sex is a gift and gifts

August 5th, 2013

Question: My son is planning a wedding next summer, he was raised Catholic but stopped attending Church after HS, his bride attended the Presbyterian Church, neither have attended Church in the past 5 years, they are planning to have a nondenominational minister officiate their wedding. I have been encouraging them to attend PreCanna classes, they are “too…

July 23rd, 2013

Question: I understand and agree with the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage. However, is it wrong to congratulate people or attend the wedding of a same-sex couple? Wouldn’t it be similar to going to a wedding of a different religion?
While the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is reserved to one man and one woman, this doesn’t preclude Catholics…

July 22nd, 2013

Question: Redemptive suffering: I accept my sufferings and offer them up for specific intentions. I get very lost and confused when I think about free will and suffering. We have a wonderful God that allows us free will. Free will — I can choose what would be God’s will or against — that being sin. I’m hoping I have a correct understanding thus…

July 19th, 2013

Question: Now that the pope has announced indulgences for World Youth Day, I’m having a hard time finding an easy-to-understand explanation for my youth group. Could you help?
Sure. Let’s take a more common example to explain a larger theological point. Let’s say your daughter took your car without permission. You would be angry as a parent,…

July 18th, 2013

Question: My husband and I have had an ongoing discussion. Occasionally we have friends who stay one or two nights with us. Our more ‘devout’ Catholic friends who are dating but not married have always stayed in separate rooms. But recently we had two lapsed Catholics stay with us and they shared one room (and one bed).
Our debate is, first, are we…

July 17th, 2013

Question: Is an arranged marriage still considered by the church a REAL marriage? My husband and I married as strangers (afraid if we didn’t comply we would be “damned”) in a mass wedding done in the Unification church (Rev. Moon). We were never “in love” but kept our marriage vows, and after leaving that group, still stayed married (for the sake…

July 16th, 2013

When we look at the genealogy of Jesus provided in the Gospel of Matthew, we find that it traces the lineage of Jesus from Abraham to Joseph…not Mary. Nowhere in the Gospels are we given an explicit account of Mary’s family tree. This being said, there are several issues to be taken into consideration. First, it was the usual custom that marriages take place…

July 15th, 2013

Question: Ignatian spirituality, Benedictine, Carmelite, Franciscan — I love them all. Love the thoughts, prayers; but how do I know which “way” fits me best? It feels peculiar to follow one “way” because then I feel as if I am veering from Jesus and “picking” St. Benedict’s way or St. Ignatius’ way, etc.

It sounds like you’re already…

July 12th, 2013

Question: Many scholars believe that the Jews were never slaves in Egypt. Is there reason to believe that there was some sort of Exodus and would a lack of Exodus be problematic for our faith?
Attempts to corroborate the historicity of the Exodus as told in the Bible have always been fraught with challenges. No other extra-biblical sources record this event,…

July 11th, 2013

Question: If priests stand “in persona Christi” does this mean that nuns stand “in persona Maria”? Or in English…do Nuns represent Mary as Priests represent Christ?

Not necessarily. Many women religious consider the imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary an integral part of their spiritualty… but the same could be said…

July 10th, 2013

Question: I’ve heard it said fairly often that if someone joins the Freemasons, they can be excommunicated from the Church. Is that true? Why is Freemasonry such a bad thing in the Church’s eyes? I am a Catholic, and I love the Church, but I’ve also thought about joining the Freemasons, until I heard this.
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization…

July 9th, 2013

Question: I’ve read/learned about consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary and have held off on doing this until I learn more and pray more about it. I just finished a novena to St. Maximillian Kobe and learned there is the Militia Immaculata which has a consecration. I knew about the consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the St. Louis de Monfort…

July 8th, 2013

Have you ever seen the movie Cast Away? When Tom Hanks’ character finally escapes the deserted island and is on a plane travelling home, he discovers that his friends and family — sure after so many years that he must have died at sea — have held his funeral and buried an empty casket to say goodbye to him. It’s kind of the same with the Tomb of the Blessed…

July 5th, 2013

There is a new non-invasive procedure (a blood test or urine sample from parents) that allows pregnant parents to reveal the child’s DNA map before birth. This could discover illnesses in the child and prepare new mothers for the challenges ahead. Is this procedure okay?

In the abstract there is nothing wrong with this procedure, and it could be a beneficial…

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