Busted Halo
googling god
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
October 16th, 2014

Some Christian communities talk about the “assurance of salvation,” an absolute certainty that one will go to heaven upon one’s death, regardless of how someone lives their life. The proposal sometimes sounds transactional: if I do X, God will do Y. (Often X means giving assent to the doctrinal formula of some particular group.) This may be justified by a scripture passage such as Acts 16:31. (They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”)
But the Catholic understanding of salvation is more nuanced. Jesus proclaimed that the reign of God is at hand. It is already here in our midst and yet still to come; it is the free gift of God and yet calls for our willing collaboration.…

July 11th, 2014

This question was submitted to Busted Halo’s Summer School Contest.
Q: In some denominations, the primary function of missionaries is to attempt conversion of the unchurched or non-practicing members of another religion to Christianity. Is this type of direct evangelization a common practice in Catholicism? Parishes are often asked to support missionaries, but we are asked to support a mission of service, not conversion. Just wondering.…
In years prior to Vatican II, there was often a sense that if one died without being baptized in the Catholic Church they would be denied entrance into heaven. 16th century missionaries like Francis Xavier were greatly concerned with getting people baptized. Developments

July 2nd, 2014

Who knew that there was both an art and a science to church bells?  Fr. Larry gives us a Fact of Faith that involves the history, making, and variety of church bells.…

June 18th, 2014

Fr. Larry Rice and Fr. Dave discuss the obligation of keeping the Sabbath holy, especially when one is on a vacation.  Tips on how to find a church, how to contextualize differences in mass, and good Catholic etiquette are all included.  Perfect for the summer!
Originally published on June 15, 2010…

April 22nd, 2014

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP and Fr. Larry Rice, CSP explore the clouded origin of the English name for Easter. Many interesting facts are revealed along the way — including the origin of the Easter Bunny.…

April 18th, 2014

Technically speaking, Catholics are firstly required to fast on Good Friday, meaning to eat only one full meal for the day and then to merely sustain themselves for the rest of the day–meaning two smaller meals that do not equal the one large meal.
To your question, Catholics are also required to abstain from eating meat on both Good Friday and each Friday in Lent (as well as Ash Wednesday). Fish is used as a substitute for meat-based meals. But of course with vegetarian diets abound in today’s day and age there are many other solutions besides fish.
Historically, since about the second century of Christianity, Christians abstained from meat on Friday as a kind of sacrifice and reminder that acknowledged…

April 12th, 2013

Question: I recently started listening to your podcast. I was wondering what the Church teaches on organ donation after death. I have to renew my health card soon (I live in Canada), and I got a form for organ donation. I know that it helps others, but I also know that the body is special and that it will be used for our resurrection. Hope you can help, thanks!…
The gift of one’s organs is a precious gift given to another. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was himself an organ donor when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and often lauded the practice of organ donation as long as it “is done with full consent and not part of a business transaction.” Once he became Pope and passed a certain age the donor card became

March 5th, 2013

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, and Fr. Larry Rice, CSP, discuss the history and functions of the Pope’s secret service – The Swiss Guard. Also, find out what qualifications are needed to be a member of the Swiss Guard.
Originally posted in April 17, 2012…

December 20th, 2012

The Church teaches that the human body, a sacred gift from God, should always be treated with great respect, in life and in death. The way we treat the bodies of the dead is a sign of our hope in eternal life. For most of the Church’s history, this precluded cremation, which was understood as a pagan practice contrary to belief in the resurrection. However, this teaching was revised in 1963. The current Code of Canon Law states: “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine” (canon 1176, section 3). With permission of the diocesan bishop,…

September 20th, 2012

As a baptized Roman Catholic who is now a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, can I still receive communion in the Catholic Church without disrespecting the Church’s policy?
The sensitivity you express in the phrase “without disrespecting the (Catholic) Church’s policy” is admirable. As you have witnessed, the various denominations do have different policies. Why? Because they attach different significance/meanings to receiving Holy Communion.
For example, for Catholics as well as for Eastern Orthodox, sharing in the one bread and cup is an expression of unity in faith, worship, mission, and governance. For most Protestants, sharing the Eucharist with…

June 5th, 2012

Father Dave Dwyer, CSP and Father Larry Rice discuss the “vanilla” season of ordinary time and how this calmer part of the calendar calls us to be better disciples.…

May 3rd, 2012

The word “hex”, meaning a spell or curse, derives from a German word for practicing sorcery; the word “jinx”, meaning something that brings bad luck, may derive from the Latin name of a bird used in witchcraft in ancient times. Catholics do not believe in either, nor in the many similar superstitions abounding in popular culture. The idea of a supernatural being who can be called upon by a magic formula to bring harm to another belongs to a medieval world view. Today, we know that the mischief of Satan – the word means “adversary” or “accuser” – happens within. Human beings cause plenty of damage out of our own sinfulness without any outside help. Things like hexes and jinxes exist only on the pages…

April 30th, 2012

Fr. Dave Dwyer CSP and Father Larry Rice CSP discuss the secret archives of the Vatican. Find out what it takes to gain access to the archives and what type of famous works can be found there, such as the trial of Galileo.…

March 19th, 2012

Father Dave Dwyer, CSP and Fr. Larry Rice, CSP discuss famous Catholics ranging from classical composers to comic book superheroes. Also, find out which groundbreaking astronomer was a Catholic priest.…

March 14th, 2012

Question: It seems like Catholics and many mainline Protestant denominations are getting farther and farther apart on moral issues like abortion, the definition of marriage, and the ordination of active homosexual clergy. How does this affect ecumenical dialogue?
It is true that just about every mainline Protestant denomination is struggling internally with the very questions you mention. As a Catholic, it is not unlike watching your very good neighbors have a knock-down, drag out, fight right in their front yard. It can be a very uncomfortable feeling. Nevertheless, you don’t quit talking to your neighbors just because they are having internal relationship issues. If anything, you pray for them even…

March 8th, 2012

The Masons are a worldwide fraternal organization which originated in 18th century Europe. Membership includes ritual practice, charitable activity and adherence to a moral code; members seek to develop a broader sense of the self in relation to the divine. Masons must declare belief in a supreme being, but more specific views are not required. Hence Masons admit members of any religion, but many tenets of Masonry directly conflict with Church teaching. Masons hold a deistic rather than personal view of God, which precludes the Catholic understanding of God as Father, Son and Spirit. They also take a relativistic view of truth and religion, while Catholics believe that objective truth does exist and can be…

March 5th, 2012

#311-Are Catholics Christians? What does ‘consubstantial’ mean?  Recorded live on location at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, CA.  03-04-12.…

February 27th, 2012

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP and Fr. Larry Rice, CSP discuss the interesting connection between coffee, the papacy, and social justice. Find out how your cup of joe can support a good cause.…

February 16th, 2012

As Catholics participating in civic life we have the responsibility to inform ourselves about candidates and issues and to form ourselves with the teaching of the Church, rather than blindly (or lazily) following any kind of party line. Thus you should ask if the positions of the Tea Party are in keeping with the principles of your Catholic faith. The Tea Party, actually a coalition of local and national groups rather than a political party, promotes fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free market economics. A key principle of Catholic social teaching which can be instructive here is subsidiarity — the idea that decisions should be made at the most local level possible in…

January 26th, 2011

No, not true. Even better than true. What your friend is referring to is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification which was signed by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation on October 31, 1999. See: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html
The document represents the culmination of decades of ecumenical dialogue at the highest levels of our two traditions on the very doctrine that was the primary dispute which many say actually caused the Reformation in the first place. It’s important to read the document to appreciate the richness of the text, but in short, it says that…

Page 1 of 41234
powered by the Paulists