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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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April 15th, 2014

Consider that according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
“To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead into error someone who has the right to know the truth” (2483).
A classic thought experiment is that of a person concealing a Jew during the Holocaust. If the Gestapo knock on the door and ask if there are any Jews in the home, do they have…

March 27th, 2014

Q: I have a rather odd question regarding fasting during Lent while dealing with an eating disorder. Fasting (not eating) is very easy, yet could do me more harm than good. I want to practice according to the Church’s teaching, yet I want to stay healthy. What are your thoughts?
Fasting is a means of self-denial used as a penance for sins throughout the season…

March 25th, 2014

One principle that flows from Catholic teaching on sexuality is that a couple’s physical intimacy should never exceed their emotional and spiritual intimacy. Until two people commit their full selves to each other in marriage, they have not given their hearts and souls to each other in a way that allows them to fully give their bodies to each other. Without…

March 21st, 2014

Catholics abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during Lent not because of some rule in the Bible, but because of a tradition begun in the early church. Various books of the Bible encourage the spiritual practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
It wasn’t long until Church leaders began encouraging abstinence from meat on certain days…

March 17th, 2014

Prior to the arrival of Christianity in the 5th century, the Irish followed Celtic religious practices that had been in place for thousands of years. Like indigenous religious traditions in many parts of the world, they were focused on the forces of nature. Rituals sought to placate gods who could unleash nature’s destructive forces or ensure favorable…

March 11th, 2014

Q: 24 years ago I had artificial insemination with my husband’s sperm to get pregnant because I had “hostile cervix.” In Catholic teaching this was wrong, but how do I ask for forgiveness for this when the result was my beautiful daughter? What am I asking forgiveness for, the act or the results? I can’t in my mind figure out how to ask God to forgive this…

March 7th, 2014

There aren’t any specific scriptural passages about miscarried children, or even about the fate of infants who die before they are baptized. You may have heard of the hypothesis of “limbo” which developed a few hundred years after the life of Jesus. At that time, theologians were debating what happens to children who die before they have committed any…

March 4th, 2014

Q: Who makes the decision as to who can be the sponsors for a child making his confirmation? The rules are 1) church-goer in good standing 2) not divorced 3) Catholic. I don’t know anyone who qualifies for all three.
A sponsor for baptism or confirmation must be at least 16 years old and be a Catholic who has received confirmation and Eucharist and who “leads…

February 27th, 2014

Q: I have friends that are Catholic. They are divorced from each other but still live together, something about how they were able to get better insurance this way. Are they still able to receive communion?

Without further details, I’ll assume that your friends obtained a civil divorce but still consider themselves to be married in the Church (Absent annulment…

February 26th, 2014

Q: How do Catholics believe that non-Catholics who have been exposed to Catholic teaching but keep their own faith will be judged?
Catholics believe that non-Catholics will be judged in the light of how they’ve lived according to their conscience. Vatican II’s document “Dignitatis Humanae” acknowledges that we have the right…

February 25th, 2014

I’m so afraid to die. How can I overcome this fear?
Our natural fear of death can intensify if we have recently lost a loved one, suffer from a serious illness or are in some way immediately faced with our own mortality. In the light of this very normal fear, the gospel message insists, again and again: “Do not be afraid.” God’s plan for us does not end in death.…

February 21st, 2014

Q: If we believe and can prove the “Big Bang,” then what do we make of ideas that God created the seventh day for rest? Should we still rest?
The creation stories in the Old Testament weren’t written as science textbooks trying to explain the literal origin of the world. They were “etiological stories” written as a way to grapple with philosophical questions…

February 19th, 2014

Here are three possibilities:
1) You could simply ask someone on the parish staff what other Catholic churches are in your area.
2) Look up Catholic churches with a simple google search and then visit ones nearby.
3) Or you could call the diocesan chancery office (number obtainable from secretary at your campus ministry office) and ask for the names and telephone…

February 18th, 2014

Faith is not taught, it is caught. So while it is important to present your curriculum clearly and accurately, you must also offer an enthusiastic example of a life lived in faith. Can your students see that your own life is infused with joy and grace? Do they recognize that you are living in the peace and freedom that only God can give? While maintaining appropriate…

February 5th, 2014

Predestination, as commonly understood, implies that God designates each person for damnation or for salvation. Regardless of what one says or does throughout life, one’s eternal fate has already been decided by God. This idea has prompted major theological controversy throughout the history of Christianity and continues to hold sway with some communities…

February 4th, 2014

Question: In the Old Testament, God actually spoke or communicated with people. Why has he stopped?
The United Church of Christ has a campaign adamantly reminding anyone who will listen, “Never place a period where God has placed a comma. God is still speaking.” Given the lack of Old Testament prophets around to proclaim “Thus says the Lord your God…”…

January 20th, 2014

Let’s start with what “spirituality” essentially is. Spirituality is a growing intimacy with God experienced through the people, events, places, and things in each day’s living. And how will that happen? Through what you see, hear, taste, touch, smell. We are embodied spirits, and the doorways to our hearts and minds are our senses.…

January 15th, 2014

Prayer is a good place to start, but it’s by no means the only way you can constructively work with the situation both for your enrichment and for theirs. Keep the lines of communication open. Ask them, for example, what they find meaningful and energizing in the worship and life of the Protestant church they are now attending. You might go yourself a few…

January 10th, 2014

Who gave Jesus his halo — how did he have it in the first place? Do we just presume God?…
The halo is an artist’s rendering of holiness and nothing more. Halos often symbolize “sainthood” in Catholic circles, but in Ancient Greece they were drawn behind heroes as having more than natural light around them.
The first halo in Christian art

January 10th, 2014

As Catholic followers of Jesus, we are called to love one another. How to do that in situations where people need to migrate calls for bold discernment and communal discussion. Justiceforimmigrants.org is the official website of the U.S. Bishops teaching us how to respond to immigration issues. Having recently spent a week at Border Links and KINO Border Initiative…

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