Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
August 10th, 2011

Busted Halo contributor Carolyn Martone goes on silent retreat. Find out what happens during the final days of her eight days in silence and reflection at Linwood Spiritual Center in Rhinebeck, N.Y. What happened days one through four? Read Part 1.
Day five
“Why don’t you go and rest by the pool?” my spiritual director Elizabeth Anne suggested. I was floored. The pool? Was it really okay to sit by a pool? This wasn’t spring break in Cancun or an episode of The Love Boat… after all. Ninety degree heat or not, this was a serious week of making a serious commitment to begin the very serious Spiritual Exercises.
Didn’t Ignatius suffer in the desert of Manresa for a month in order to grow worthy of hearing the voice

August 3rd, 2011

Ten years ago, if anyone told me I would attend a silent retreat to start the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, I would have thought it more likely that I run naked through the Mission in San Francisco, where I lived. Back then I was in my twenties, performing in theaters and comedy clubs. The opening line of my act was, “I was in a cult for 13 years; other people called it Catholic school.”… One word could describe my feeling about my Catholic upbringing: embarrassment. A life that centered on the philosophy of “finding God in all things” conflicted with my preference to find humor in all things.
I extricated myself from the church before it could extricate me.
An unexpected phone call from my father would change

July 18th, 2011
Meet Busted Halo’s new editor-in-chief

I remember my first post-college work experience, which took me from my hometown in rural Pennsylvania to Jackson, Mississippi. I was a full-time volunteer in a faith-based service learning and social justice program. Through that experience I began to encounter a new side to my faith, seeing distinct links between my personal spiritual growth and social justice, which turned into service and action.
Working at a community center, I did everything from coordinate volunteers to publish the donor newsletter to teach an after-school class of kindergarten and first graders. The community center was in a low-income neighborhood. Poverty and economic hardships were all around. I led an assistance program at…

July 14th, 2011

One of the things I notice whenever I spend time on retreat at a monastery (as I did a few weeks ago) is how much I enjoy the regular meal times, with some of the same food choices day after day. This is not… the way I live my life. Which makes me wonder: Why don’t I do the same thing at home?
At the monastery, breakfast is one hour after I wake up — 1 hard-boiled egg, 2 slices of toast with orange marmalade. Lunch is four hours later; dinner, five hours after that. The food for lunch and dinner varies, but it is what it is. You eat what you are offered.
Here’s how I eat at home a lot of days: I’m running late in the morning, so I leave the house without breakfast. Sometimes I eat a fruit and nut bar on the way to work,

July 13th, 2011

When I came into the Catholic Church nine years ago, the farthest thing from my mind was how its rituals and liturgy might mesh so stunningly with my random-thoughts-a-flying mind. I was just attracted to the beauty of the rituals, the reassuring repetition of ancient prayers, the words rising to the rafters of the great church, and the profound meaning in the Eucharist.
But when I look at the special accommodations that were made during elementary school for my two ADHD kids, I see how Catholicism is perfect for us folks. To wit: both my kids had “movement breaks” as part of their education plans. My daughter used to invent various ailments so she could march down the hall to visit the school nurse, thus…

June 10th, 2011
Why doesn't the Church sell this?

Trying to explain Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) to non-Catholics reminds me of that old cartoon by James Thurber where a woman is in the middle of a room, nervously expecting electricity to leak out of the sockets. She knows it’s there — she realizes it “works” — but she can’t explain it, and it is also a tad frightening.
Before my conversion I heard vague rumors about confessing with a priest. I wondered, “What an odd thing! What do they do? What do they say…?” (Those strange Catholic people…) I didn’t experience Reconciliation until just before the Easter Vigil on the year I was officially welcomed into the church.
All of my old sins

June 2nd, 2011
Reviving an abstinence tradition that never really went away

A few weeks ago, when the bishops of England and Wales decided to reestablish the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays, I had been thinking about the issue already after seeing friends struggle with the few Fridays of Lent. I have abstained from “meat” on Fridays since becoming Catholic. (I put meat in quotes because seafood is allowed.) Since Vatican II, this practice hasn’t been required — one well-meaning friend even suggested I was being disobedient by doing it — but when I discovered during my conversion that the tradition was not eliminated but just made non-mandatory, I said to myself, “I think I’d like to do that anyway.”

Meat-free Fridays were a given from at least the ninth century, but it seems that when things were loosened in the 1960s, Catholics said a collective sigh of, “Well, glad that nuisance is over,” and started eating meat seven days a week. The Church never removed the requirement that one do something penitential every Friday (abstinence being one option), but many Catholics I talk to don’t even know this. I’d like to join with the English and Welsh bishops in suggesting a return to the tradition of meat-free Fridays.

May 26th, 2011
Spending time outside is nurturing for you spiritually and physically

Making sure to fit nature into my life, and encouraging others to do to the same, is a passion of mine. As a writer, it’s easy enough to stay holed up indoors in a room in front of my computer all day, but my encounters with the divine in nature helped form — and, it would be the right word choice to say, nurture — my spiritual path. Nature continues to ground me in my connection to the spiritual dimension of reality.

The fact that I live in a city, without any outdoor space of my own — no backyard or balcony — doesn’t mean it’s difficult to make this happen. There are parks all around, and just a walk in the sun down city streets can be enriching. For example, after working in the office, I often go to a park and spent a little time birdwatching or just strolling.

And contrary to all the neo-Luddite moaning out there, technology is now making it easier to stay connected with the non-technological world. Many of the advances in recent years have focused on untethering people from their desks. I am writing this column on my iPad; not only can I write it but even file it while sitting on a log in the middle of the woods, or on the grass in a city park. (OK, well, as long as there’s an AT&T signal.)

May 5th, 2011
The construction of the Mormon temple in Rome and the role of temples in worship

There was tenderness and reverence in his voice as Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), said the Mormon temple being built in Rome, Italy, “uniquely, is being built in one of the most historic locations in the world, a city where the ancient apostles Peter and Paul preached the gospel of Christ and where each was martyred.”

Monson, considered a prophet by Mormons, addressed millions of members around the world in a biannual satellite broadcast in April. Recalling the Rome groundbreaking on an overcast day in October 2010, attended by Italian senator Lucio Malan and Rome’s vice-mayor Giuseppe Ciardi along with many Italian members of the LDS church, he said that as the choir sang, “one felt as though heaven and earth were joined in a glorious hymn of praise and gratitude to Almighty God. Tears could not be restrained.”

Why was this occasion so special in the heart of the Church’s leader? What is it about a temple — any Mormon temple and specifically the Rome temple — that causes Mormons from around the world to celebrate its construction?

May 4th, 2011
A look at the responses to bin Laden's death

I was going to stay quiet on the whole issue of the public reaction to bin Laden’s killing, but after an hour or so of Facebook chatter on Sunday night, I put up a post on my wall expressing my frustration that people were gloating and cheering, reminding them that the issue is not whether he deserved punishment — I had no doubt that he was an evil man who had done unspeakable harm to the world; I lived in lower Manhattan on 9/11 and saw the attack and inhaled the smoke for weeks and lived with its aftermath — I just asked people to reconsider cheering over a death, any death. I had intended that this brief remark be my only statement on the issue. But the reaction to my post and those of other friends caught me…

May 3rd, 2011
The man who plays St. Josemaria Escrivá in the upcoming There Be Dragons talks about forgiveness, Opus Dei and how playing a saint has affected him

When I talked last week with Charlie Cox about his role as St. Josemaria Escrivá in the movie There Be Dragons (written and directed by Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields and The Mission…), to be released this Friday, May 6), Osama bin Laden’s death and the public reaction to it had yet to occur, and while Blessed John Paul II’s beatification was on the calendar, it was not a topic in our interview. It’s interesting then that we spoke of the central role of forgiveness in Christianity. This should not be surprising however, since, as Charlie Cox said in referring to the film, forgiveness is “always going to be key when you’re talking about Christianity at all, especially if you’re

May 2nd, 2011
Young adults in St. Peter's Square

Busted Halo®‘s Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, was in Rome this past weekend for the beatification of Blessed John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica.  In addition to his live coverage of the event for The Busted Halo Show, Fr. Dave was able to speak with young adults on the streets of Vatican City to inquire what they feel the Church should be doing to connect better with young people, in light of JP2′s great success at doing so.
Take a look and share your own comments below regarding what you feel the Church should do to continue John Paul’s legacy.…

April 25th, 2011
Reflections from RCIA

There is perhaps nothing so inspiring as someone who has been called to join the Catholic Church as an adult, who in the midst of all the conflict and scandal sees the beauty and the power and the truth, and comes or returns to the Church wholeheartedly.
Every year, thousands of adults in America go through training in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). Some were never baptized, some were baptized into other traditions, and some were born into Catholic homes and baptized but never confirmed. Most of those who complete RCIA are welcomed into full communion with the Church (being baptized and confirmed, or just confirmed if they’re already baptized) as part of the Easter Vigil.
Every year, St. Ignatius…

April 21st, 2011
Busted Halo talks with Fr. Joseph Fessio about the pope's new book

When we sat down recently with Fr. Joseph Fessio, S. J., founder and editor of Ignatius Press, to discuss the YouCat, the new youth catechism, we took a little time to talk about the pope’s remarkable new book, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, which is also published by Ignatius Press. Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week is the second volume, following 2007′s Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration. Here is that discussion.

Phil Fox Rose: Let’s talk a little bit about the new book from Pope Benedict. It’s so — as was the previous volume — so engagingly written. Without theological jargon.
Fr. Joseph Fessio:… And, I think even less so in volume two. I think,

April 20th, 2011
An Easter meditation

I always go to the Easter Vigil. I don’t do it out of duty; I do it out of love. My own baptism happened at a vigil and my appreciation for the gift of life that was given to me brings me back every year. But more importantly, the vigil reminds me that renewal is not only for those being baptized — it is available to all of us, any time. Easter, among other things, is about what is often translated as being “reborn” or “born again,” but is more correctly rendered as being “born from above.” As Pope Benedict powerfully conveys in his new book, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week…, resurrection is not resuscitation, it’s “about breaking out into an entirely new form

April 18th, 2011
A Good Friday reflection

I am thinking about death. And ashes. Possibly this is because Easter is looming on the horizon, and if you have any truck with Jesus and think that what happened to him really happened, going through the Triduum is scary. Relentless. Deeply emotional, riveting, and scouring out of one’s emotional innards. Because in order to get from the Last Supper to the cool part where Jesus shares grilled fish on a beach with his disciples, you have to go through the crucifixion. And I so don’t want to do that.
I’ve been rereading Kate Braestrup’s amazing and emotional memoir, Here If You Need Me…, which chronicles the sudden and surprising death of her husband, Drew, a state trooper, as he chased a speeding

April 5th, 2011
A devastating church fire offers lessons in impermanence and perspective

At 5:30am Sunday someone driving up Route 9 saw our church on fire and called the fire department. Orange flames flew heavenward, taking with them everything that the 170-year-old building contained, including our prized grand piano which we’d fundraised for, parishioners buying individual keys of the 88 needed; our healing quilt that Annie Kner made for the auction of 2008, a quilt deemed too beautiful for any one person to own. We decided to purchase it for the church to act as our stained glass window. When a member of the congregation needed healing, we sent the quilt out to wrap that person in. Arnold Westwood, our beloved 88-year-old friend, died wrapped in the quilt.
I used to live in a 15-passenger…

February 25th, 2011
A look at the discussion about lying sparked by the Lila Rose videos

An interesting thing has happened because of the debate over Lila Rose’s tactics in going after Planned Parenthood. A serious discussion has erupted across the Catholic blogosphere about the morality of lying. As some of you will remember, I have written two columns here before about lying: “Radical Honesty” about two years ago and, last summer, “Are Affirmations Lying?“
I have enjoyed and been educated by the healthy debate among moral theologians and other deep thinkers, which was kicked up in part by the wonderful article here in Busted Halo…, “Building a Culture of Lie,” by Dawn Eden and William Doino Jr. I am not a theologian, but find the subject fascinating

February 10th, 2011
Helpful tool or digital distraction?

As Ginny Moyer’s recent article here on e-readers and the reader responses showed so eloquently, you’re either comfortable with digital replacements for technologies or you’re not. To me, while they have their limits, for sure, I love their benefits. For example, my iPhone and iPad are loaded with digital study bibles from Olive Tree and the iMissal app for daily readings and the hours. (I’ve also sung the praises of the amazing handwritten Saint John’s Bible and my home is filled with books.)
There’s a new iPhone app, Confession: A Roman Catholic App, from Little iApps, that’s been making quite a stir this week. Since I’m always looking for tools that might…

January 31st, 2011
A Muslim reflects on the old laws

Growing up as the token Muslim in my small Florida town, I was often the go-to person for all things related to Islam. Talk about pressure. Before 9/11 no one really bothered or had any reason to ask me questions, but after that day, curiosity piqued and I did my best to answer the questions of my peers. Most wanted to know if I believed in God, Jesus, Moses and the Bible, while others simply wanted to know why Muslims hated people in the West.
I’m no religious scholar by any means, but once I started explaining the basics of Islam to my peers, they shrugged and said, “Oh — I guess we’re more alike than we think.”
Ten years later, I still find that to be true.
Islam builds upon the foundations…

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