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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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August 17th, 2010

The priest’s stole is worn around the neck, like a yoke. The deacon’s stole is slung across one shoulder and the opposite hip. The stole is a “sign” or “badge” of office. The liturgical vestments (alb, stoles, chasubles) indicate the positions of service to the community provided by bishops, priests and deacons.
Many cultural realities have something…

August 16th, 2010

A Marian apparition is a supernatural appearance of Mary to a person (or group of people) on earth. Since the early centuries of the Church, there have been thousands of reported Marian apparitions. “Reported” is a key word here; just because someone says that they saw Mary doesn’t mean that they really did. The Church, under the guidance of the bishop…

August 13th, 2010

Every so often, a headline appears online or in newspapers about a research team that believes they have discovered evidence of Noah’s ark. Could it be that the ark that is described in the Book of Genesis factually existed? It’s possible. However, whether or not the story of Noah’s Ark is factual, Catholics embrace the story as true. That’s…

August 12th, 2010

The word “fatwa” comes from the Arabic root “fata,” meaning newness, clarification or explanation. It refers to a scholarly opinion or ruling on matters of Islamic law, known as Sharia. The scholar who issues the fatwa, known as a “mufti,” draws on his own wisdom and knowledge of Islamic sources to interpret Sharia and address questions not specifically…

August 11th, 2010

The strange answer to this question is Clare of Assisi. Why is is strange? Well, there was no TV in Clare’s time for one and two, Clare was in a secluded community of women’s religious modeled after St. Francis’ teachings. In fact, Clare and Francis were quite close and she cared for Francis at the end of his life when he was ill. So the patron saint…

August 10th, 2010

Question:… How do I get a Catholic hospital chaplain to visit my father in the hospital?  With the Hippa laws, they don’t send them over anymore.
Very easy. Every hospital I have ever been in has a pastoral care dept. or chaplains’ office. Ask your nurse for the number. Call them and tell them you would like your father to be visited by the priest or Eucharistic

August 9th, 2010

In the time of Jesus, a widow who had no close male relative to look after her faced a precarious existence. By entrusting Mary to the “beloved disciple” (commonly understood to be John), Jesus was showing love and concern for his mother, ensuring that she would be safe and cared for after his death.
Additionally, the Catholic Church has always seen this as…

August 6th, 2010

The Transfiguration is a Gospel event from the life of Jesus that is reported in three of the four gospels (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus went up a mountain with his disciples that overlooks Jerusalem and is seen with Elijah and Moses while he “transfigures”, meaning that the disciples see Jesus as He would appear after the resurrection.…

August 5th, 2010

The desert fathers (and mothers!) were the pioneers of monastic life in the Church. Beginning in the third century, some Christians began to flee the comforts and conflicts of pagan cities to seek a life of asceticism in the desert. They sought a simpler life, in imitation of Christ during his forty days in the wilderness, and dedicated themselves to solitude,…

August 4th, 2010

Indeed we have. From 1978 until 2001, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention held a series of very candid theological conversations. The official dialogue produced two reports.
The first, “To Understand Each Other,” produced in 1989, covered a variety of topics including Sacred Scripture, salvation,…

August 3rd, 2010

First, ask yourself who died and left you in charge of making such judgments of taste? Remember the old Latin phrase, “de gustibus non disputatem est” (there’s no accounting for taste). I would bet $100 that what you “don’t like” someone else in the congregation “does like.”
A story: One lady got mad at me once because I didn’t urge…

August 2nd, 2010

I don’t know about “hidden” symbols specifically, but there are many traditional symbols for the Mother of God. These include a heart pierced by a sword or swords (echoing the words of Simeon in Luke 2: 34-35) and the mirror, a symbol of her sinlessness. Mary has sometimes been represented by the image of an enclosed garden, symbolizing her purity (this…

July 30th, 2010

Today there are many resources available for Catholics to delve more deeply into the Word of God online. A good place to begin is simply by linking to the New American Bible online, provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here you can read the translation that Catholics hear at Mass in the United States while accessing all of the footnotes…

July 29th, 2010

What are hermits?  And do they have anything to do with Catholicism?
A hermit is someone who has withdrawn to a solitary place for a life of religious seclusion. The word comes from the Greek “eremos,” meaning desert – hence a hermit is a person who lives in the desert. The idea of pursuing a reclusive lifestyle for religious reasons exists in many spiritual…

July 28th, 2010

That depends on the denomination. The general rule in ecumenical circles is to let people define themselves. Thus, most Protestant denominations will consider each other as well as non-denominational congregations as “churches” in the broader sense of the word. We Catholics take our lead from the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium)…

July 27th, 2010

There’s an old Latin phrase, de gustibus non disputatem est (“there’s no accounting for taste”). Personally, I think visiting Cathedrals is always interesting. From The National Shrine in Washington, DC, to the Western flavor of the Cathedral in Salt Lake City to the flow of humanity I’ve observed in Cathedrals from Philadelphia to Seattle, I always am amazed at the reality of the church on display in these buildings and human meeting spaces.

July 23rd, 2010

Jesus makes the analogy so that people will understand that God cares for us as a parent cares for a child. Some might say that he knew what He was doing when he opted for using “Father” as opposed to “Mother.”
God is genderless, but there is a great absence felt by those who do not have the love of a Father, especially men, who have lost or…

July 22nd, 2010

St. Mary Magdalene was a close follower of Jesus and a supporter of his ministry. The gospel of Luke mentions Mary Magdalene, “from whom seven devils had gone out,” in a list of women disciples who followed Jesus and assisted him out of their means (Luke 8:1-3). According to the gospels, she remained with Jesus at the foot of the cross and witnessed his burial.…

July 21st, 2010

Welcome home. That sounds like quite a spiritual adventure. The quick answer to your questions is that no, you do not need to get “re-baptized” to come home to your Catholic faith. Usually all that is required is a good general confession. Depending on how long you have been away, I would highly encourage you to engage in a slow deliberative process of re-acquainting…

July 20th, 2010

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are the methods of prayer and ways of relating to God that Ignatius of Loyola developed in the years after his conversion to Christ. Ignatius realized God loves us and wants to deal personally with each of us. One way to let God be God in our lives is to pull back from the hustle of daily life and go on retreat.
The full Exercises…

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