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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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September 13th, 2013

Question: I’m an adult reading the Bible for the first time. The Old Testament contains a lot of violence, including the deaths of women and children in large numbers. How do I come to terms with this violence as opposed to the loving, fatherly God most people identify with?

Answer: Unfortunately, the Old Testament (and parts of the New Testament as well),

September 10th, 2013

Dave Fleming, S.J, transposed St. Ignatius’ Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises into 21st century language. “The Goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit.”
Faith is a gift given us. Faith is “the assurance of things hoped…

September 6th, 2013

Question: A Catholic born in the Church grows up, and during their lifetime, they want to start a Marriage Officiant business. Not interested in giving the sacraments, they decide to join a well known ministry that ordains non-denominational ministers. Our Catholic then creates a wedding business that does not incorporate the Eucharist since this is an Ordained…

September 4th, 2013

Question: In Luke 12:51 Jesus says “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law…

September 3rd, 2013

The great Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner said, “We know there is a heaven. We should be very humble in what we claim to know about it.” And quite comforting is St. Therese of Lisieux, who said “I believe in Hell, but I believe it is empty.” I Timothy 2:4 says,“God desires [that] everyone be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.”
The truth is that…

August 30th, 2013

Question: I love to fish, so perhaps my question(s) stems from that: It has to do with an image from Matthew 17. Yesterday, I was reading the Gospel for the day (August 12, 2013: Matthew 17:22-27), and it occurred to me that I found some of the details about the story a little peculiar, especially the fish with the coin in its mouth. Does that symbolize something?…

August 29th, 2013

If a marriage is unsustainable, or worse, violent, divorce is often the better option. No one should stay in an abusive situation. And I tell women, the first time he hits you, leave. Abusive, violent men rarely change. Our culture and our Church needs to do much more to teach men that physical violence against women is completely unacceptable. It’s not “wife…

August 28th, 2013

No. If that were the case all of our priests and religious women would be “bad.”
I sense that what you may be asking might fall under a few different categories:
1) A single person who wishes not to marry.
or
2) A married person who simply doesn’t want to have children.
The first part enables me to talk about the vocation to the single life. Some…

August 27th, 2013

Question: “Can I receive Communion even though I’m divorced? Why if you are Catholic and get divorced you can no longer attend the Church? Will that ever change? Is it better to stay in abusive marriages? I think not.
Answer: Spread this truth far and wide, because I hear too many who think divorced people cannot receive communion. You can… receive communion

August 26th, 2013

The Old Testament contains a vast amount of material about giving a portion of one’s harvest, properties, or ownings back to God. Many commandments in the Old Testament mandate giving of one’s “first fruits” i.e. the first of the fruit or grain harvest, or the first of the newborn livestock. The Hebrew word for this offering is translated as “tithe”…

August 26th, 2013

Two spouses from different traditions of Christian faith have everything to gain by sharing their faith understanding and experience with one another. It’s about mutual enrichment. You have perhaps learned to pray and express your faith in different ways, but to the same Savior. Can you share those ways with one another and enrich each other’s ways of…

August 19th, 2013

Question: As an animal lover and someone who has a deep connection to my pets, I’d like to know more about what the Bible says happens to our pets and other animals when they pass away. Does God have a place for them in heaven? Will we see them again?
As a dog lover myself, who is obsessed with my best friend, Haze the Dog, I always picture Haze bounding toward me…

August 13th, 2013

Question: My family has always wondered about the case of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas. Over the years, we’ve known many atheists who decorate trees and exchange presents, either “just for fun” or so their kids don’t feel like they’re “missing out.” On one hand, I feel like Jesus would be happy that…

August 12th, 2013

Is foreplay against Catholic teaching?  Can I touch my girlfriend since her orgasm is not tied to fertility?…
Catholic teaching is set within a larger context, i.e., the invitation to form ourselves as the loving and generous persons God, and we, deeply desire ourselves to be.  These “is it against the church?” questions always make me want to challenge

August 9th, 2013

Why can’t people live together before marriage?…
Erma Bombeck once said “Living together is to marriage as babysitting is to being a parent.”  If living together before marriage was such a sure fire way to ensure a marriage’s success, divorce rates for those who cohabitate would be lower than those who don’t.  Actually the opposite is the case. 

August 7th, 2013

It is always better to root for someone than to root against someone. What you really hope for is your team’s success, not the opponent’s failure, even though the latter is a necessary consequence of the former. (An even better attitude would be to hope that the best team may win, but for many sports fans that’s too much to ask.) In any case, your…

August 6th, 2013

Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae… (On Human Life), clearly states there are at least “two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning” (HV #12). Certainly a husband and wife who cannot conceive a child are called to continue to express their love for one another (the unitive meaning). Sex is a gift and gifts

August 5th, 2013

Question: My son is planning a wedding next summer, he was raised Catholic but stopped attending Church after HS, his bride attended the Presbyterian Church, neither have attended Church in the past 5 years, they are planning to have a nondenominational minister officiate their wedding. I have been encouraging them to attend PreCanna classes, they are “too…

July 27th, 2013

Question: I understand and agree with the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage. However, is it wrong to congratulate people or attend the wedding of a same-sex couple? Wouldn’t it be similar to going to a wedding of a different religion?
While the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is reserved to one man and one woman, this doesn’t preclude Catholics…

July 22nd, 2013

Question: Redemptive suffering: I accept my sufferings and offer them up for specific intentions. I get very lost and confused when I think about free will and suffering. We have a wonderful God that allows us free will. Free will — I can choose what would be God’s will or against — that being sin. I’m hoping I have a correct understanding thus…

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