Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
April 4th, 2007
Holy Week in Haiti

So look, if the divine made flesh really did roll into town to adulating crowds only to be betrayed, tortured, killed and then, holy god, rise from the dead, shouldn’t we be dancing in the streets?
Easter. The birthday of the church. The most holy Catholic festival. A day for really dressing up.
But if we’re taking it seriously, if we’re really taking to heart this utterly insane story of a savior executed and miraculously raised from the dead, doesn’t it call for something more than a dry-cleaned spring dress and a rack of lamb?
Shake It
Last Palm Sunday I was in Haiti, part of a group of Americans visiting the Caribbean nation to learn about grassroots efforts at environmental preservation…

April 3rd, 2007
What does the life, death and resurrection of Jesus have to do with me? Young adult experiences of the Paschal Mystery

Beth didn’t get the job. She’d known it was competitive but she’d nailed the interview and was almost sure she’d get hired. It would mean rather than her own apartment and a life of her own after graduation, she’d be returning to her dysfunctional parents’ house in the small town where she was raised. She’d gone to school in a big city on purpose and she’d had every intention of getting away from her past for good. She felt like after four years of working like hell, if she was going to land right back where she started, where she didn’t want to be, it had all been for nothing.
Jason had known for a long time that his girlfriend was looking for something different.…

April 2nd, 2007
Was Jesus blindsided?

I envy those people who say that Jesus is their best friend.
I’ve never been able to understand how people are able to think of Him as My Buddy Jesus, confiding in Him like they would a best friend. I have no problem telling Him my innermost thoughts, but when it comes to receiving the satisfaction that one receives from sharing with a real best friend, I’m like the little girl who’s afraid of the dark. It’s not enough to know that God is watching over me; I need “God with skin on.”
Part of what was missing, I thought as I walked to the subway, was the feeling that Jesus could truly empathize with all my sufferings.
I knew He suffered more than anyone else ever has or will. Yet, it seemed…

March 23rd, 2007
Catholics in the Blogosphere

filmed and edited by Kevin Martz for Food4Thought.tv
As part of their Catholic Intellectual Series, Saint Joseph’s University’s Office of Mission & Identity organized a panel discussion entitled “Ecclesia Virtualis: Catholics in the Blogosphere”
The discussion focused on how the internet and blogs affect both the discourse on and the practice of Catholicism in America.
The panel, organized by Rev. Daniel Joyce, SJ, featured some of the leading voices on the Catholic Church in the blogosphere:
Amy Welborn :: Author of the blog “Open Book”
Rocco Palmo :: Author of the blog “Whispers in the Loggia”
Grant Gallicho :: Associate Editor Commonweal,…

March 22nd, 2007
How the history of Chile can help us

Imagine being tortured and raped, and then being forced to watch as the ‘evil-doers’ rape your daughter. All the while you know you do not have the information they want. You simply do not know where your son is, and these security forces want to find him.
No, this is not some plot out of a Stephen King novel. This atrocity actually happened in Chile in the early 1980s when the U.S supported, brutal Pinochet dictatorship was in power. As part of my formation as a Jesuit priest, I served in Chile from 1981-1984. Everyone was aware of the practice of torture in the country. The protest group Sebastian Acevedo regularly, and at great risk to themselves, publicly denounced the use of torture. The group was named…

March 20th, 2007
Madonna and feminist theology live on stage!

As we move deeper into Lent and Good Friday approaches, Christians devote special time to reflect on the Passion. We contemplate the meaning of Jesus, Christ crucified, perhaps even taking an afternoon to pray the Stations of the Cross.
I remember kneeling before the giant crucifix in the church from my childhood during Holy Week. As my mother prayed next to me, I would stare at this massive wooden Jesus, his face tilted downward and contorted with pain, the nails through his hands and feet so gruesome that the image is forever burned in my brain. While I knew to be sad for this man, he felt so other to me, an utter stranger to my world. Somewhere in my young mind I also knew he was God. As I grew older, this broken, unfamiliar…

March 17th, 2007

The excerpt below is from an article written by BustedHalo editor-in-chief, Bill McGarvey for the March 17 edition of The Tablet a venerable London-based magazine of “progressive, but responsible Catholic thinking.”
“Judas!” the voice cried out from somewhere in the darkened seating area of Free Trade Hall in Manchester. It was 17 May, 1966, and on stage, Bob Dylan was coming to the end of another concert on a turbulent tour. Audiences that had hailed him as a genius just a year earlier now chastised him for daring to go “electric” with a full band, and for moving beyond the topical protest songs that had made him the great young hope of the folk scene. It had been this way throughout…

March 16th, 2007
… and 12 completely unnecessary facts about the day celebrated in his honor

The Man……

March 17th marks St. Patrick’s Day, the Catholic feast day for the patron saint of Ireland, who died on that day in the 5th century.

Patrick was not Irish but was born in Wales in about AD 385 and for much of his youth did not practice the Catholic faith. He considered himself a pagan until the age of 16 when he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village and brought to Ireland. During his 6 year captivity, he became closer to God.

He did not remain in Ireland but instead escaped to Gaul (France) where he studied for the priesthood. In a dream he saw “all the children of Ireland from their mothers’ wombs stretching out their hands” to him. He understood

March 14th, 2007
Robert Siegel's All Will Be Revealed

Robert Anthony Siegel’s new novel All Will Be Revealed combines an engrossing plot with intricately drawn characters and a rich historical setting to create a book that is both entertaining and artistic in a way that literary novels so rarely are.
The book tells the story of Augustus Auerbach, a successful, wheelchair-bound pornographer living in late nineteenth century New York City and Verena Swann, a renowned spiritual medium and the widow of adventurer Captain Theodore Swann. The two meet when one of Auerbach’s models forces him to attend a séance at Swann’s home. At first skeptical, Auerbach becomes entranced by Swann who is able to summon her failing powers to channel Auerbach’s…

March 13th, 2007
Catholics in the Blogosphere

Saint Joseph’s University’s Office of Mission & Identity present the next installment in their Catholic Intellectual Series
Ecclesia Virtualis: Catholics in the Blogosphere
For the First Time Anywhere…
Join us for a panel discussion on how the internet and blogs affect both the discourse on and the practice of Catholicism in America. Our panel features some of the leading voices on the Catholic Church in the blogosphere:
Amy Welborn
Author of the blog “Open Book“
Rocco Palmo
Author of the blog “Whispers in the Loggia“
Grant Gallicho
Associate Editor, Commonweal

Panel Host:
Bill McGarvey
of BustedHalo.com
*While we are not yet certain if the event will…

March 6th, 2007
An exclusive excerpt from the soon-to-be-released novel, ALL WILL BE REVEALED, by a BustedHalo contributing editor

Verena Swann sat in her carriage, peeking through the curtain at the crowd of mourners filling the avenue. Derbies, bonnets, slick black umbrellas, here and there a pale, wet face like a camellia—pointed straight at her. They were waiting for her to open the door and get out, to become theirs—waiting for a woman who loved her husband so much she would not let him go, even in death.

Leopold, her brother-in-law, peered over her shoulder. “Look at this,” he whispered. “Thousands standing in the rain, for you.”

“For him,” she corrected. It was uncomfortable hearing the thought aloud. This was Theodore’s funeral, after all. They were here to honor him, to…

February 26th, 2007
A different kind of minority

The St. Vincent De Paul Catholic School elementary girls’ basketball team was winning.
Again.
The Nashville school was almost all black, and they were playing a mostly white Catholic school. The white girls showed frowns of frustration—even anger—as did their parents in the bleachers. After the buzzer sounded, the girls started leaving the court when a couple of white girls from the losing squad called the St. Vincent team “niggers.”
The event wasn’t a bad memory from the civil rights era, Crystal Shelton, 20, is now an African American basketball player at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, recalled the incident from her elementary school days as she tried…

February 21st, 2007
A brief checklist to make sure your resolutions make sense

As a child, Lent represented a springtime of denial leading up to the chocolate-filled celebration of Easter, but as an adult I now understand a bit more why Christians have traditionally embraced the threefold Lenten discipline of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Simply put, we are creatures of habit and Lent gives us a reason each year to look at our habits and to see which ones draw us closer to God and which ones drive us further away from Him.
Having had too many New Year’s resolutions derailed by trying to fix everything at once, I’ve developed a brief discernment process regarding Lenten resolutions that has borne fruit for me in years past. Typically, I start thinking about the whole topic in the…

February 16th, 2007
Our readers sound off on the defense of The Vagina Monologues

…Sr. Mary Eve responds…
The reader response to Sr. Mary Eve’s article on The Vagina Monologues has been nothing short of overwhelming. In one 24-hour period, more than 10,000 people read it—an all-time high for a single feature on BustedHalo.com—thanks in a part to the piece being picked up by a number of other web outlets like AndrewSullivan.com, New Oxford Review, spiritdaily and Whispers in the Loggia.
Below is a selection of letters that Sr. Mary Eve responds directly to. On subsequent pages we’ve published some of the emails we’ve received from readers.
Sr. Mary Eve responds
Virgin Birth
Among the responses generated by my article, the majority of them defended…

February 2nd, 2007
Reconsidering abortion

I can count the number of times I’ve cried over the past decade on one hand, so I was surprised when I found tears rolling down my face during Sunday Mass recently. It was the day before the annual March for Life and my priest was talking about the inherent dignity of every person, particularly unborn children. He called on all of us to pray and march for children who had been aborted and for their parents. And I just couldn’t hold it together.
I lost a sibling more than 20 years ago to an abortion.
Not a potential brother or sister. An actual brother or sister. This was the first time I’d really focused on my sibling’s loss, rather than me and my own loss.
Dynamite
A few years ago my mother told me that…

January 26th, 2007
Siblings Clare and Mary Byrne combine music and dance into something sacred

As the children of two academics who met while studying theology, growing up in the Byrne clan meant that religion was always about more than simply going to church on Sunday.
It still is. Now adults, Mary Byrne, a rock guitarist and Clare Byrne, a modern dancer, say Catholicism, the search for God and a sense of enacting holy rituals infuses their art. The rest of the family is similarly engaged with faith. One sister is a writer and comedian, their brother—who is also a musician—and father are starting an organic farm and intentional community in North Carolina. The oldest sister is the chair of Catholic Studies at Hofstra University.
Sense of Celebration
“We definitely grew up with a lot of…

January 23rd, 2007
Meditations for Finding Peace by Nicole Sotelo

“Your faith has made you well,” Jesus says to a woman who seeks out his healing presence. “Go in peace, and be healed…” (Mark 5:34). Many people who have suffered as a result of disease, divorce, death or other tragedies speak to faith’s capacity to heal and comfort. In her first book, Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace, Nicole Sotelo highlights resources from the Christian tradition with the hope that they may provide spiritual healing to women who have suffered from different forms of abuse, whether they be economic, emotional, physical, and/or sexual.
Sotelo—who also serves as a contributing editor for BustedHalo.com— reports…

January 17th, 2007
Revisiting the faith of my father

It was a cold day in October, and I was walking down a street on New York’s Lower East Side, toward a small wooden building with a flight of steps at the front. Built in 1820 as a synagogue, it had only recently been reconsecrated and put back into use as a place of worship. At the doorway stood members of the congregation, welcoming the small stream of worshipers climbing the stairs. “Come in, welcome, join us,” they said, and I could feel my heart beating faster. I was excited but frightened. It was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement—the holiest day of the Jewish calendar—and I was about to step into a synagogue for the first time in more than fifty years.
I am 72 years old, and though I was born…

January 12th, 2007
An American Saint

“The world is all messed up, the nation is sick, trouble is in the land, confusion all around.”
As the scourges of a never-ending war continue to dominate our national debate, division trumps common ground in the public square, and our leaders play political games while the marginalized continue to suffer in society’s shadows, it would be hard to find a truer sentiment than the one above to describe the American situation today.
In reality, though, these were the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., spoken in Memphis the night before he died nearly 40 years ago. But sickness, confusion and trouble, weren’t all he saw.
“But I know somehow,” Dr. King went on, “that only…

January 10th, 2007
An experienced capital defender makes the case against Saddam's execution

The morning Saddam Hussein was executed, my wife warned me not to go on the internet. Of course, I soon went online, but instantly knew I should have heeded her advice. Pictures of Saddam’s execution were everywhere. The images depressed and profoundly saddened me. The emotions were no surprise, but their depth and duration were. I have wondered since that morning why I remain so troubled by the execution of a man who unquestionably was a thug, a mass murderer and a war criminal.
I have spent the past sixteen years representing people on death row and teaching students about the death penalty. My opposition to the death penalty stems, in large part, from my Catholic belief in the sanctity of human life. Of course…

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