Is it Wrong to Pray to Angels?

Angel Appearing to St. John the Revelator
Angel Appearing to St. John the Revelator, Escorial Beatus (10th c.)

Although this is a topic I’ve addressed before, it’s worth revisiting, because a Baptist preacher on the radio this morning claimed that the only person in the Bible to encourage praying to angels was Satan, when he tempted our Lord in the wilderness. This claim is wrong, but in a revealing way. First, let’s look at the verse being referenced, Luke 4:5-8:

And the devil took him [Jesus] up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

Note that Satan encourages worship of a demon (himself), and it’s a common Protestant error to confuse WORSHIP and PRAYER.

If you understand prayer more broadly, to include speaking to angels, you’ll see that there are several examples throughout Scripture, like Abraham, Lot, Zechariah, the Virgin Mary, St. John the Revelator, etc.

Let’s take just the first of those examples. We see Abraham praying to an angel in Heaven in Genesis 22. For example, in Gen. 22:11, “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’” So Abraham is speaking with an angel in Heaven. From a Protestant perspective, is that okay? It is from a Biblical perspective. God blesses Abraham through the angel (Gen. 22:15-18):

“And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.’”

So it seems to me that there are really only a couple of choices: either Protestants should condemn Abraham for praying to the angel (which would pit them against God, who blesses Abraham), or they should accept that praying to angels is okay, or they should come up with some reason it’s okay for Abraham and not us (and be able to prove that distinction from the Bible, so it’s not just special pleading).

Now let’s look at the last of the examples I mentioned. Revelation 22:8-9 shows the distinction between SPEAKING or PRAYING to angels (which is good!) and WORSHIPPING angels (which is evil!):

I John am he who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

From this passage, we can say three things:

  • First, that communicating with angels is clearly okay. The whole Book of Revelation is rooted in an angelic revelation: that’s what John means when he refers to this as “the angel who showed them [these things, the revelation] to me.” So if you can’t speak to angels, you can’t have the Book of Revelation.
  • Second, that worshipping angels is clearly forbidden. Worship is owed to God alone.
  • That “communicating with angels” and “worshipping angels” aren’t the same thing. Otherwise, you couldn’t permit the one and forbid the other.

This same parallel can be seen in Revelation 19:9-10. Getting revelation from an angel is good, trying to worship an angel is bad. Protestants often assume that every act of speaking to anyone in Heaven is worship, but that’s explicitly contrary to Scripture. John has spoken with this angel through Revelation, and it’s only when he falls down to worship that he is rebuked. So their mistake is to miss that crucial distinction.

So hopefully, this clarifies what Catholics mean: when we talk about praying to angels, we’re talking about communicating with them, honoring them, asking their prayers and intercession, but not worshiping them. But hopefully, this also shows the anti-Scriptural error of assuming that all discourse with heavenly beings is “worship.”

Update: A few of you, in the comments and on Facebook, have pointed out that the first of these angelic apparitions might actually be Jesus Christ Himself speaking to Abraham. That may well be. But for a Protestant to use that to get out of the logic of it being okay to angels, one would have to hold that:

(a) Every time a holy person is depicted praying to an angel, it’s Jesus Christ; AND

(b) The speakers themselves realized this.

In some cases, like the Angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary, we know quite clearly that the angel isn’t Christ. So maybe no every apparent instance of praying to angels is really to an angel, but as long as the Bible has at least some instances in which this happens, and is presented favorably, the Catholic case holds.

119 Comments

  1. Is God _everywhere_ in all times and places, as taught by Catholic doctrine?

    If yes, then God is everything, because the word “everywhere” equals there not being any place, however small, where God is not. If we travel from human scale, down to microscopic scale, to atomic scale, to quantum scale and beyond, at the very bottom of that journey in to the heart of reality is God, the fundamental essence of everything.

    If it’s true that God is everything, then it is revealed what we should worship.

    Everything.

    This seems an important insight for we of Catholic heritage particularly, for we tend to be “living in our heads” type people. And if we consider this carefully and honestly, we will come to see that what we are worshiping most of the time is our thoughts about God.

    Our thoughts about God are God too, but the real world beyond our minds contains another face of God which is far more spectacular than mere symbols in the human mind. And, that beyond the human mind is also beyond human contamination, corruption and confusion, which makes it an even more beautiful face of God.

    Why should we focus so much on our thoughts about God, when we can feel the light of God on our face, feel God blowing through our hair, and get drenched when God rains down upon us? A handful of dirt is saturated with God, just like everything else all around us every moment of our lives.

    God is not a fancy concept up in the sky somewhere that maybe we will see someday. God is everything everywhere in all times and places, right here right now. And so everything everywhere in all times and places right here right now merits our worship.

    Angels too of course!

    But not those darn Protestants! C’mon now, let’s not get all carried with this worship thing. 🙂

    1. Phil,

      I think it was St. Aquinas, quoting Aristotle, who said that a small error in the beginning of something leads to a large error at the end; your comment unfortunately provides a proof. Please, consider this. God is omnipresent, yes, but present in such a mode that He is causally active, sustaining the universe, aware of all things, etc., but not in a literalistic, material sense. It’s not like a one quart bottle has four times as much God as a one cup measure.

      This error has severe consequences; you’re blurring the distinction between the creature and the Creator, the very essence of idolatry. Where stop? Is Satan god? Are you God? This is the lie from the beginning presented again.

      I strongly urge you to reconsider where your reasoning has led you.

      1. Hi Greg, thanks for your reply.

        Again, my Catholic upbringing instructed me that God is everywhere in all times and places. You aren’t arguing with me here, but with that Catholic doctrine. All I’m doing is thinking this Catholic doctrine through to it’s logical conclusion and applying it in my daily life.

        If you’d like to argue against this Catholic doctrine, feel free, I don’t object. You might explain to us exactly where the boundary is between God and God’s creation. Be precise as you can please.

        If you should look closely at God’s creation, you will see there are no boundaries, but instead a single unified reality where everything interacts with everything else. As example, our bodies are literally made from elements created in supernova explosions many many light years from here.

        The divisions you perceive between creator and created etc are explained in a few posts at the bottom of the following linked page. It’s a tad long so I won’t repeat it here.

        http://shamelesspopery.com/is-salvation-our-doing-or-gods/

        The short version is that these _apparent_ divisions are an illusion introduced by the divisive nature of human thought.

        We don’t suffer from separation from God, but from the illusion of separation. This is actually very good news.

        1. Perhaps this example will help.

          Let’s consider waves on the ocean. We assign the noun “wave” to this phenomena which implies, as all nouns do, that a “wave” is something separate, distinct, divided from all else. And it looks that way, doesn’t it? We see a wave hump up on the horizon, we see it roll towards shore, we see it crash upon the beach. We see it’s birth, it’s life, it’s death. It seems very much like a “thing”.

          But the wave doesn’t actually exist as a separate object. We can’t catch a wave and put it in a box at the science museum. The wave has no independent existence of it’s own, but is instead just another face of the ocean. The wave and the ocean are one, a single thing, assigned different names by human beings.

          We (and everything else) are the wave.

          And God is the ocean.

          If one worships the wave, one is worshiping the ocean, for they are one.

          If one worships anything anywhere in reality, one is worshiping God, for they are one.

          1. Phil,
            “But the wave doesn’t actually exist as a separate object” = Physically incorrect. Every single drop of water in a wave can be separated from the ones not part of the wave, given the proper equipment, therefore the wave could be “put in a box”.
            “The wave and the ocean are one, a single thing, assigned different names by human beings” = oceanographically incorrect. Waves are components of the ocean, but they are not the same thing, no more than a tree is the same as the forest where it belongs.
            “The wave has no independent existence of it’s own, but is instead just another face of the ocean” = non sequitur. An “independent existence” is not the criteria used to define if an element can be considered independent from the whole to which it belongs (consider a tree and its leaves, for examples).
            “If one worships anything anywhere in reality, one is worshiping God, for they are one” = doctrinally incorrect. Considering the objective existence of evil, one could worship it, but he/she would not be worshiping God.

        2. Phil,
          “If you’d like to argue against this Catholic doctrine, feel free, I don’t object” = incorrect. GC is arguing against your “logical conclusion”, not its supposed Catholic originating point. Be precise as you can, please. Furthermore, please define your position, so that there is common understanding. Are you a Pantheist or Panentheist?

          1. LLC,

            I’ve asked where the boundary is between God and God’s creation. No one has detailed such a boundary.

            No one here has thought through what the teaching “God is everywhere” actually means. Members just memorize dogmas from the clergy and then repeat them back as if it was their own insight.

          2. Phil,
            “I’ve asked where the boundary is between God and God’s creation” = incorrect. In your first post, you’ve asked (verbatim): “Is God _everywhere_ in all times and places, as taught by Catholic doctrine?”. To this question, if you are referring to the concept of Omnipresence, the answer is yes. If you are referring to Pantheism or Panetheism, the answer is no.
            If you are asking where is the boundary is between God and His creation, you are then moving the discussion from Omnipresence to Pantheism, as a boundary presupposes a physical body, while God, an unchangeable, immaterial spirit who has an entirely incomposite nature (a nature containing no parts), lacks a body entirely.
            Doctrinally, separation from God it the result of sin and unrepentance. Please see Matthew 7:23 or Luke 13:27, for example. The Parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:26) also illustrates how can there be separation between us and God (“…between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us”).
            Again, be precise as you can, please.

    2. “Is God _everywhere_ in all times and places, as taught by Catholic doctrine?

      If yes, then God is everything”

      If god is every-thing, I am a thing, therefore, I am God.

      Good logic, anywhere?

      1. Yes, KO, good logic.

        However, the logic relies on the investigator being willing to expand their inquiry beyond examining the content of thought (this idea vs. that idea) to examining the nature of thought itself, that which all philosophies and philosophers are made of.

        This seems to be an impossible journey for any committed ideologist, consumed as they are by their “holy wars”. I put holy wars in quotes because atheist ideologists do the very same thing. They can think of nothing else but victory, just like theist ideologists.

        Catholic vs. Protestant, theist vs. atheist, hey, even Catholic vs. Catholic. Few people on any side of any holy war seem capable of tracing these divisions back to their source. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that few are willing, because the fantasy superiority provided by the holy wars can be a quite compelling ego inflation experience.

        I routinely bite off more than I can chew, and this is clearly one of those times. I’m simply not capable of explaining this to audiences determined not to hear it.

        Anyway, should a reader ever become curious where all these divisions come from, you can discover it for yourself. Once you do, you will see the illusory nature of the divisions that seem so real to us.

        Be warned though, once you get that peace can never arise from any ideology however well intended, that will change your relationship with all of philosophy.

        1. Phil, I’m really baffled by this. This has nothing to do with ideology or “holy wars”. I was just drawing the conclusion from logic alone. Not that from logic alone we could judge the conclusion as false per se.

          Pantheism is a valid philosophico-religious doctrine, as far as philosophy and secularism go. Materialist pantheism is even more logically acceptable, making polytheism all the more acceptable also (both are not really contradictory).

          I am clearly well beyond what you call “holy wars” (and perhaps so are you), except maybe against Islamic supremacism, which is indeed a civilizational/ideological war of some sort. Fighting for Odin is to fight against Islam.

    3. “And so everything everywhere in all times and places right here right now merits our worship.”

      So, this is to say that you worship Satan and legions of demons who drive people crazy with physical possession, the people who committed mass genocide in the Nazi concentration camps, the gun man who just slaughtered and injured 550 people in Las Vegas, the multitudes of rapists and torturers of this world who terrorize innocent women and children, the captains and crew of 18th century slave ships, packing people like sardines for months to be sold as merchandise, etc…

      So, you worship the evil spirit that leads people to do evil things as your God. This is what you are saying.

      This is why I keep saying that you are ‘anti-Christian’ in your doctrine, and commenting on a Christian blog site dedicated to delving deeply into the teachings and words Jesus Christ and His holy Church, that He established in the world 2017 years ago. But don’t worry, the world is filled with neo-pagan bohemians, antifa anarchists, porno enthusiasts and drug and alcohol addicted partiers/pleasure seekers with which you will undoubtably find many disciples.

      For me, I love Jesus, His holy mother, His apostles, His friends, His countless saints who imitated Him even unto death….Jesus who is the Light of the World, the Son of the eternally good Father, the Son who is Light From Light and True God from True God, Jesus who promises us an eternity in His companionship united to Him in the Holy Trinity, Jesus who frees us from Mortal sin, evil, death and the powers of satan…Jesus who calls us not servants and slaves…but “friends”. This is who I believe, love and follow. I only hope to follow Him closer in the future. So, thanks for reminding me to redouble my efforts.

      1. Al,

        According to widely agreed upon Catholic doctrine, God created all of reality, which includes all the horrible things you are dramatically referring to. Catholic doctrine Al, not Baba Phil’s wacky new age idea.

        Suppose God were to log in to this board and write a post. This would be “God’s creation” in terms of this website.

        Are you going to embrace and worship _all_ of God’s post, even the parts you don’t prefer? Or are you going to pick and choose the parts you like, while rejecting the rest?

        In my posts I’m arguing for embracing all of God’s creation, while you are arguing for picking and choosing.

        Get your head out of the books Al, and head back out in to nature. When you arrive there you will be reminded that God is both the gloriously beautiful giver of life, and the ruthless killer of the innocent. Facing the enormity of this and embracing it all is rather more interesting and rewarding than chanting the simplistic fairy tales you have memorized from the clergy.

        1. Whereas adoring the evil seems an abhorrent idea, the way out is to hate the idea of a god who people think created evil and at the same time hate the idea of the evil who people think created evil, and also abhor the idea that we should accept evil as it is (it is clearly natural, but being natural isn’t being acceptable).

          The only sane way out is out with superbeings controling and surveilling us all, be they good and bad, all good, or all bad.

          The idea of the existence of demons is as (or even more) preposterous as the idea of the existence of gods, but the idea that demons and gods are to be worshipped at the same time is clearly disgusting.

        2. Phil,
          “According to widely agreed upon Catholic doctrine, God created all of reality, which includes all the horrible things you are dramatically referring to” = doctrinally incorrect. The RCC teaches (and the vast majority of Christendom agrees) that everything God created was “good”, including Man and Woman (see Genesis 1:31). Free will is the prime cause of “all the horrible things”.
          “I’m arguing for embracing all of God’s creation” = since you are still posting, it is logical to assume that you have not yet “embraced” a grizzly. Good for you.
          “God is both the gloriously beautiful giver of life, and the ruthless killer of the innocent” = partially correct. God cannot be a “killer”, as He is the absolute owner of it all. A killer is an individual who takes someone else’s live without any right to do so.

  2. JH: We see Abraham praying to an angel in Heaven in Genesis 22.

    BB: Ummm…that was Jesus.

    JH: For example, in Gen. 22:11, “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’” So Abraham is speaking with an angel in Heaven.

    BB: Repeat above response.

    JH: From a Protestant perspective, is that okay?

    BB: Yes.

    JH: God blesses Abraham through the angel (Gen. 22:15-18): “And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, ***says the Lord***

    BB: The angel is identified as Jesus, who is the word of God, Christ the Lord. You must have missed it.

    JH: [the angel said] “you have obeyed my voice.’”

    BB: who identifies himself as…..see above.

    JH: So it seems to me that there are really only a couple of choices: either Protestants should condemn Abraham for praying to the angel

    BB: which we don’t, because the angel identifies himself as….see above.

    JH: which would pit them against God

    BB: A faulty foundation is sure to crack, as this appears to be crumbling rather quickly.

    JH: or they should accept that praying to angels is okay

    BB: It is not OK to pray to angels, but only to God alone (Phil 4:6-7, 1 Pet 5:7, Heb 15-16).

    JH: or they should come up with some reason it’s okay for Abraham and not us (and be able to prove that distinction from the Bible)

    BB: There’s just something…I can’t quite put my finger on it…but there’s just something annoying about Catholics always appealing to the Bible ***AND*** demanding that Protestants do likewise, yet….whenever they wish to prove their case about this that or the other thing, the Bible is systematically ignored in favor of their ever nebulous, unwritten and spooky “traditions”. Hmmm.
    In any case, the distinction you seek has not only been proved above, but also in vs. 12 & verses 15-17.

    12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from ***me*** your son, your only son.”

    15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear ***by myself declares the Lord*** that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 ***I*** will surely bless you.

    1. BB,
      “Ummm…that was Jesus” = From the Catholic Biblical Encyclopedia: “it will be seen that this ‘angel of the Lord’ often speaks and acts as Yahweh Himself and not as His messenger, and that there is no essential difference between the promises made by Yahweh Himself and those made by the angel of the Lord. Hence, many scholars maintain “mal’akh Yahweh” or “mal’akh Elohim” is used interchangeably with the divine name Yahweh and is so to be identified with God Himself.
      However, there are also many others who believe the angel of the Lord implies a heavenly spirit acting as God’s representative, legate, or ambassador.
      There are only a few scholars who regard the angel of the Lord as the Logos, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity” (Catholic Biblical Encyclopedia [New York: Joseph F. Wagner, 1956], I:70-71)”.
      Hence, while you are not incorrect, neither is Joe. The Angel of the Lord can be seen as a pre-incarnation of Jesus (although this seems to be opinion of a minority of biblical scholars) or as a direct representative (sort of a plenipotentiary) of the Lord. Regardless, since I had no knowledge of this, I thank you for pointing it out.

      1. LLC: Regardless, since I had no knowledge of this, I thank you for pointing it out.

        BB: “Learn of me” (Matt 11:29). That should be the main reason anyone is even here.

        1. …except, of course, you are not Jesus. Nor are you an authoritative representative (Catholic Doctor of Theology) of HIs Church. Just sayin’.

    2. BB: Ummm…that was Jesus.

      ME: No biblical proof thereof.

      BB: The angel is identified as Jesus

      ME: No biblical proof thereof.

      BB: There’s just something…I can’t quite put my finger on it…but there’s just something annoying about Catholics always appealing to the Bible ***AND*** demanding that Protestants do likewise, yet….whenever they wish to prove their case about this that or the other thing, the Bible is systematically ignored in favor of their ever nebulous, unwritten and spooky “traditions”. Hmmm.

      ME: There’s just something…I can’t quite put my finger on it…but there’s just something annoying about Protestants always appealing to the Bible ***AND*** demanding that Catholics do likewise, yet….whenever they wish to prove their case about this that or the other thing, the Bible is systematically ignored in favor of their ever nebulous, unwritten and spooky “traditions”. Hmmm.

  3. Imagine asking another human to pray for you??? Oh wait…people make such requests everyday from sinful humans but somehow asking a Saint or Angel to do that for us is wrong??? The reason Protestants don’t like the concept is it’s too Catholic.

    1. Being a former Protestant, it’s not necessarily that it’s too Catholic (Yes & no): it’s because they associate prayer with worship of God alone. It’s ok to pray with a fellow brother or even have them pray for you while on earth, but the perception of doing it with heavenly beings is on the level of worship to them, & as such, ist verboten. Many view it as idolatry, paganism, or necromancy. They draw no distinctions otherwise & will vehemently oppose it – some even going so far as to accuse Catholics demonstrating Scripturally to the contrary of manipulating Scripture (Been there & see regularly online – just saying).

      I grew up with this most of my life so I get it. Not saying it’s right, but trying to explain how our separated brethren view it.

    2. Also a convert from Protestantism (Calvinist Baptist) to Catholicism, and I can vouch for this as well. Most of the tension is moral, surrounding 3 core issues concerning the virtue of Religion (there may be more, these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head):

      1. How do we know given Saints are in heaven? (this seems to attribute God-like omniscience to the church)
      2. How do Saints hear/understand prayers? (this seems to attribute God-like powers/omniscience to the Saints)
      3. How do I invocate Saints without “taking time away” from God? (this seems to prefer saints to God in some way or another: by invocation at all — as God may require prayers be directed to Him alone on principle, by degree of Love, by amount of time, by number of invocations, etc.)

      While the “I can ask people on earth to pray for me, why not those in heaven” argument helps a lot, these three deeper issues and questions are always lurking in the background (and hence why Barry has been focusing his more reasonable attacks on these three lines).

        1. Sorry for stalling!

          Sure! This won’t be exhaustive (my memory won’t allow it), just a few highlights of a long, hard pilgrimage.

          1. How do we know given Saints are in heaven? (this seems to attribute God-like omniscience to the church)

          Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18 demonstrate that St. Peter and the Apostles in general (and their successors) have the authority to bind and loose on the consciences of believers. They have the authority to bind and loose in heaven, so they have the authority to bind and loose with regard to belief that a certain individual is in heaven as well. This isn’t giving them omniscience, but God-given authority.

          2. How do Saints hear/understand prayers? (this seems to attribute God-like powers/omniscience to the Saints)

          Hebrews 12:1 indicates that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. Witnesses, as in, like those spectating a running race (which is St. Paul’s metaphor here). The racers when they would finish in ancient Roman times would go to the audience and cheer the remaining runners on. Their vision of our life (as indicated in this passage) would be severely lacking if they were not given understanding by the Holy Ghost of our speech; much of a person’s life consists in what he says. Further, as Christians grow old, many pray more and more for others. It seems illogical and contrary to virtue for them to stop in heaven what they were doing increasingly on Earth. It would therefore seem that the Holy Ghost should give them power to hear and understand prayers. This works very nicely with the Scripture’s record of the Holy Ghost giving certain men interpretation of languages. If on Earth, why not in heaven? And what is on Earth always foreshadows greater glory in heaven (if that glory is, in fact, foreshadowed on Earth), so it is no stretch at all to believe that the Holy Ghost grants understanding of Languages to the Saints in Heaven. Each one of these seems a bit flimsy on their own, but when taken together and compounded with the fact that Christians have invocated the saints since the very beginning (I had no idea that was true), it’s not really possible to come to another conclusion (at least not for me).

          3. How do I invocate Saints without “taking time away” from God? (this seems to prefer saints to God in some way or another: by invocation at all — as God may require prayers be directed to Him alone on principle, by degree of Love, by amount of time, by number of invocations, etc.)

          With regard to taking time away from God, it took understanding the role of the Saints as fellow Christians who love us and desire that we grow closer to God. It is not taking time away from God to fellowship and share spiritual difficulties with other believers on Earth. On the contrary, it’s actually giving time to God to do that, and everyone admits this. Neither is it then to invocate the Saints. Coming to see the Saints as “brothers in Christ” truly helped me with this one a lot, and made it easy for me (except with the Blessed Virgin, because of predjudice, unfortunately).

          With regard to God requiring all prayers be directed to Him on principle, the Jews prayed to Angels, and some continue to do so to this day. I never knew that the Jews invocated angels, and since neither our Lord nor the Apostles condemned this practice, it is by inference, permissible. (except perhaps a veiled reference in one of the Epistles to worship of Angels, which doesn’t have significance to this issue, since not every invocation, even of God, is necessarily worshipful) In the Scriptures, Job 5:1, and to a lesser extent Revelation 5:8, prove by counter-example that there is no principle by which God simply demands all invocations whatsoever be directed to Him alone on principle.

          Degree of Love, amount of time, and number of invocations just took time and learning the distinction between Latria and Dulia is one of kind, not degree. It took me time to learn the difference, but the distinction between Latria and Dulia was not difficult for me to accept in theory. We honor individuals all the time in our society with magnificent statuary (such as the Lincoln memorial) and even have secular political rites (such as the Pledge of Allegiance). It seemed perfectly natural to me to distinguish between honor and worship.

          In the end, though, it really took the weight and force of Sacred tradition in the Church Fathers (that’s another topic on it’s own), the authority of the Church (another topic on it’s own), and the help of God, and only then after a long time. I’m definitely glad that I decided to persevere. It’s difficult to underestimate how much a difference it can make to accept the witness of the Church Fathers. These weren’t the only thoughts I had through my conversion (and I still feel I could organize my thoughts better on this), but these are the ones I can remember, and maybe they can help? I wish I was a good storyteller, or I would give you more of a story of how it went for me. Hopefully this long post isn’t entirely useless.

          Alex

        2. Just realized that the way I wrote about my journey being long and memory being bad seemed to imply that I was older. I am not. I am a young man…I’m just a scatterbrain… 😛

  4. CWD: but somehow asking a Saint or Angel to do that for us is wrong???

    BB: It most certainly is. The word “saint” is mentioned at least 50 times, and in each and every case it refers to believers who are living. Nowhere do we read that anyone has the authority to “beatify” or “canonize” those who have passed on. This is clearly the work of religious madmen sat around one day and supposed that it would be fun to “canonize” dead people, and then after passing around the whiskey, they decided it would be even better to let the public in on it, so they determined that the magisterium would not canonize anyone unless two different persons each prayed to a particular dead person and ask for a miracle, usually a physical healing…assuming without a speck of proof, that the person was even saved….(ummm….how do THEY know?!)….AND that God had granted that dead person the virtue of omniscience to actually HEAR that prayer.
    With that done and the saint officially “crowned” in heaven and on earth, saints can now be prayed to and the Creator of the universe pushed onto the back burner. If all that wasn’t bad enough, the big boys ordered another round of liquor and all of them with one accord, put their index fingers in-between their lips and rubbed it up and down, concocting a fairy tale about some nebulous “treasury of merit” somewhere out there in outer space where the prayers and EXCESS good works of Christ ***AND*** Mary and all the saints are stored. This “excess merit” is then ***imputed*** to the living believer’s account as an “indulgence” which cancels the debt of what they see as “temporal punishment” for sins not atoned for, and may be used for either themselves or a dead relative.
    All of this is complete nonsense, and it is also quite infuriating, in that for all the brahuha Catholics make about despising the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to our account for our SALVATION, they have no trouble sticking a rose in their mouth and tell us they have no trouble with the imputation of the R.O.C. to their account for an INDULGENCE!

    1. Someone has apparently never studied Catholicism. Standard rehashed anti-Catholic propaganda. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, my friend. It is advisable that you realize the extent of your ignorance of Catholicism and return for a more educated and graceful dialogue. 2 Tim 2:24-25

      PS. In every response you have made, you have continually failed to make a proper distinction between pray (old English, to request, ask, entreat) and worship (to reverence as a deity). Therefore, your arguments collapse on a basis of linguistic ignorance, much less theological ignorance. So here’s an dictionary.
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pray

      1. NAB: Someone has apparently never studied Catholicism.

        BB: Another brainless comment. I wonder if they will ever end?

        NAB: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, my friend.

        BB: Still yet ANOTHER brainless comment. I have said it over and over again. People like you just don’t like the fact that I’m very well informed, and seeing no way out of it, you decide to portray me as “proud”….which is beyond ridiculous and asinine to the maxx. Using your logic, every person who has ever studied and went to college must be “proud”. Sheesh!

        NAB: [We need more] graceful dialogue.

        BB: Perhaps in most other situations, but in theological warfare, it will not happen in every paragraph so you shouldn’t be so naive to expect it, just as you would not expect opposing parties on the battlefield to be blowing kisses to each other from behind their machine guns.

        NAB: In every response you have made, you have continually failed to make a proper distinction between pray (old English, to request, ask, entreat) and worship (to reverence as a deity). Therefore, your arguments collapse on a basis of linguistic ignorance

        BB: Your accusation is absurd and without warrant. By the very fact that I never once even brought up the issue of “worship”, I was not obligated to make any “distinction”, so your complaint is dismissed.
        But now that you mention it, I WILL say that the distinction the RCC tries to make between “latria” (worship given to God alone) and “dulla” (reverence given to Mary and the saints) is a complete failure simply because it does not play out in actual practice when Mary is “prayed to” as the divine aqueduct, gateway to heaven, ladder to paradise, and a hundred other gaudy titles. The distinction is also UNBIBLICAL in that
        1) no such distinction is ever made anywhere in the Text, and
        2) The catechism says that “the church’s devotion to the BVM is intrinsic to Christian WORSHIP” (971).
        Care to worm your way out of that one?
        No, I didn’t think so.
        3) Vatican 2 had the gall to come right out and contradict Christ… (who said that John the Baptist was the greatest of those born of women), yet those madmen at the council told us that Mary, “far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth” (Lumen Gentium 53).

        Catholicism, therefore, is a pack of lies, equivalent to brittle egg shells just begging to be stomped on.

        1. Barry Baritone wrote:

          ‘3) Vatican 2 had the gall to come right out and contradict Christ… (who said that John the Baptist was the greatest of those born of women), yet those madmen at the council told us that Mary, “far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth” (Lumen Gentium 53).’

          ‘Catholicism, therefore, is a pack of lies, equivalent to brittle egg shells just begging to be stomped on.’

          It’s even worse Barry. Catholicism holds not only that Mary is greater than John the Baptist, but another born of woman also has that distinction: Jesus. 😉

      2. I don’t recomend replying to Barry. He is knowledgeable, but has an awful attitude, and has shown that he seems to have the following intentions in mind being here (he can correct my impression if he wishes):

        1. Make the Catholic Faith look as bad and insane as humanly possible
        2. Argue with people who try to defend the Catholic Faith…or who say anything positive about the Catholic faith at all
        3. Win converts to the idea of Imputation-only Righteousness, justification by Faith Alone, and Calvinist Protestantism in general

        He synthesizes these principles into an idea he calls “Theological warfare”. He seems to honestly believe he has a moral obligation to behave this way. As such, as much as I’ve been tempted to the contrary, I’ve left the conversation.

        He doesn’t even use the better Calvinist arguments (I already know the better Calvinist arguments having been a Calvinist in the past) and instead uses other arguments that he has either made himself or gotten from some other unknown source…and the quality shows that. He’s knowledgeable, but not really willing to dialogue.

        1. I find the material irrational and boring. Thank God I no longer have motivation to read the posts. I’ll have another Mass said for his consideration.

          1. M: I find [Barry’s] material irrational and boring [but am unable to refute any of it].

            B: Which means I am speaking rationally after all.

            M: Thank God I no longer have motivation to read the posts.

            B: You really think God is at work in your heart suppressing the desire to read what I say? I suggest we ask him on Judgment and see whose correct.

            M: I’ll have another Mass said for his consideration.

            B: Even if Jesus did institute the Mass, he never once commanded
            it be offered as a “sacrifice”, let alone reserved for another day so the bread could be worshipped, carried about in parades, displayed in public, that it can take away our sins, or that we request that it be “performed” for the good of someone else, as you here indicate.
            Apparently, it just doesn’t bother you at all that everything you say is unbiblical, and who cares if Jesus said that we will be judged by his word alone (John 12:48), “the church told me so and that’s good enough for me”.

          2. “..“the church told me so and that’s good enough for me”.

            A damn site more credibility than “Parster Flounder tole’ me so……”

        2. I don’t see any meaningful difference between Barry’s posts and the most of the rest of us. “Not really willing to dialogue” describes pretty much every member of this blog. Same for contentious and argumentative, no real difference.

          1. Phil, agree. You and I included.

      3. Hi NaBrZHunter:

        Love your “re-hashing” of Scripture:

        James 4:6 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

        God bless.

  5. Why not honor and obey angels, even as Joseph and Mary did? Did the angels not aid them in the protection of Jesus, without whose cooperative help they might not have been able to escape from King Herod?

    And, furthermore, what about Lot, in the Book of Genesis, of whom it is written:

    ” And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of the city. And seeing them, he rose up and went to meet them: and worshipped prostrate to the ground,… ”

    And,

    “And when it was morning, the angels pressed him, saying: Arise, take thy wife, and the two daughters which thou hast: lest thou also perish in the wickedness of the city. And as he lingered, they took his hand, and the hand of his wife, and of his two daughters, because the Lord spared him. And they brought him forth, and set him without the city: and there they spoke to him, saying: Save thy life: look not back, neither stay thou in all the country about: but save thyself in the mountain, lest thou be also consumed.”

    Moreover, Jesus also says:

    “See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

    Therefore, if such angels are said by Christ to be our guardians, why not show our gratitude to God for them, and also to acknowledge their presence and concern, and moreover thank them for their love and protection?
    I would presume that God provides these angels for a serious and necessary reason, one of which is probably to protect us from the wiles and deceptions of the demons, who are ‘wandering through the world seeking the ruin of souls’. The good angels are the contrary. They are seen to be fighting the battle for the ‘salvation of souls’.

    If they are on our side…why not show our love and gratitude to them, even as we would for any other of our friends, family or other helpers who assist us in this life? Is this not just common gratitude? In all of this we trust in Jesus when He teaches us regarding the angels….the same type of angels that also ministered to Him in the desert according to this scripture:

    “Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.” (Matt. 4:10)

    Thank you, all of you holy angels that have aided me so much throughout my life. Thus far, I have not shown you near the attention, or gratitude, that you justly deserve!

    1. AWL: what about Lot, in the Book of Genesis, of whom it is written:

      ” And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of the city. And seeing them, he rose up and went to meet them: and worshipped prostrate to the ground,… ”

      BB: You tell us what 19:1 says, but you omit to tell us what 18:1 says:
      ” ***The Lord*** appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day…and three men were standing by him”.

      I’ll leave it at that.

      1. Am I really supposed to detail every angelic account in the Book of Genesis? I think my comments are actually long enough as they are. No?

        In the story of Lot, and Sodom, it explicitly details ‘angels’. If the author thought they were “God Himself” I think he would have said so. More likely, they were similar to the angel Raphael as is depicted in the story of Tobit. But I do agree, the scriptures mix terms a lot when describing angels, with the Book of Revelation just one example.

  6. Somehow I knew Barry would argue against the Church Triumphant/Communion of Saints.

    So now he rejects the Apostle’s Creed??? No stopping him folks.

  7. CWD: So now he rejects the Apostle’s Creed??? No stopping him folks.

    BB: Kindly don’t leave the impression that I am a one man army. When the creed is recited, no Prot on earth equates the “catholic” church with the “Roman” catholic church, as do you. Neither do we equate the “communion of saints” with the idea that there is a class of people called “saints” who have been “canonized” as a result of healing cancer or whatnot, and now have the right to be prayed to and whose “excess merits” we have access to upon demand.
    What you mean to say is, “There’s no stopping the RCC from writing one fairy tale after another”.

    1. We have about 88 separate Protestant groups/denominations in a population of about 210,000 where I live. All of them have their own theological teachings. Compare that to the 1 Billion+ Catholics on Earth who have a truly a ‘universal’ faith, which is proven by the publication of the Catholic Cataquism which details and interprets the Christian Faith, the Bible and theology for them, and as such, provides a unifying resource whereby true ‘catholicity’ might be maintained even throughout the world, and throughout the centuries also. Many of these other Protestant groups will disappear when their pastor dies and someone buys his street corner real estate to open a cafe or antique shop.

      And, I might add, that Catholics also have the other 3 qualities/characteristics mentioned in the Nicaean Creed: “One, Holy and Apostolic”, which are to be included with the term ‘Catholic”. Are these 88 Protestant denominations in my area “one” in beliefs and theology? Are they based on the faith that the Apostles taught and practiced, as is detailed I’n books such as ‘The Apostolic Constitutions’ and ‘The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus’ (found on-line)?

      The short answer too these questions is: No.

      1. This is unfortunately true.

        I’d once attended at a Fundamental Baptist church long ago where a cult of personalities between the senior pastor & the associate pastor eventually led to a church split – with VERY hard feelings. Eventually more scandal broke out with the associate pastor (Too much junk to name), & it was reported to me that at some point in time, said associate pastor died of cancer, leaving the church property in the hands of the only deacon who’d sided with him (More scandal between this married associate pastor & the deacon’s blind daughter, but we won’t go into that). I don’t specifically when it happened, but that former church is now a Hindu temple. I kid you not.

    2. “When the creed is recited, no Prot on earth equates the “catholic” church with the “Roman” catholic church”

      Why on earth would Protestants have anything to do with the Council of Nicaea I…as if they really believed in the canons that all of those priests throughout the ancient world were promulgating. Why not just be honest and say that the canons of Nicaea were heretical, instead of pretending that you honor and abide by them?

      For instance, do you believe these following canons? :

      Canon 16

      Neither priests, nor deacons, nor any others enrolled among the clergy, who, not having the fear of God before their eyes, nor regarding the ecclesiastical Canon, shall recklessly remove from their own church, ought by any means to be received by another church; but every constraint should be applied to restore them to their own parishes; and, if they will not go, they must be excommunicated. And if anyone shall dare surreptitiously to carry off and in his own Church ordain a man belonging to another, without the consent of his own proper bishop, from whom although he was enrolled in the clergy list he has seceded, let the ordination be void.

      Canon 18

      It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great Synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters, whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer. And this also has been made known, that certain deacons now touch the Eucharist even before the bishops. Let all such practices be utterly done away, and let the deacons remain within their own bounds, knowing that they are the ministers of the bishop and the inferiors of the presbyters. Let them receive the Eucharist according to their order, after the presbyters, and let either the bishop or the presbyter administer to them. Furthermore, let not the deacons sit among the presbyters, for that is contrary to canon and order. And if, after this decree, any one shall refuse to obey, let him be deposed from the diaconate.

      If I was a Protestant I would be ashamed to say I had anything to do with these canons of Nicaea I, as truly, I would be practicing something entirely different from what the priests and bishops of Nicaea were legislating on. Infact, ancient Protestants probably would not have even been allowed to enter the city of Nicaea, had they even existed at that time. They would probably have been exiled to some far away Island by Constantine as just another heretical band of gnostic enthusiasts seeking to destroy the unity of the Catholic faith in the Roman Empire at the time. But, then again, that never happened because there is no historical evidence of Protestants back then.

      1. AWL: Why on earth would Protestants have anything to do with the Council of Nicaea I…as if they really believed in the canons that all of those priests throughout the ancient world were promulgating.

        BB: I never claimed to sleep with the Nicea canons under my pillow. If someone wants to recite the creed, fine! It all depends on what level of spiritual maturity that person is on. A mature Christian who knows the facts, as I do, sights problems with the phrases “catholic”, “communion of saints” and the obnoxious thought that Jesus descended into hell. Did he bid farewell to the thief hanging next to him and say, “Worry not. I will see you in hell shortly” ???

        https://www.gotquestions.org/apostles-creed.html

        AWL: Why not just be honest and say that the canons of Nicaea were heretical, instead of pretending that you honor and abide by them?

        BB: Ummm…. Why not just be honest and say Canon 6 was heretical instead of pretending that you honor and abide by it?

        “Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, ***since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also.*** Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges.”

        This canon demonstrates that at this time there was no concept of a single universal head of the church with jurisdiction over everyone else, utterly refuting the claimed infallibility of Vatican 1, which stated that this was the case immediately following the Matt 16 episode.
        Again, by this very canon as historical evidence for all to see, Vatican 1 was in no way infallible, and as a result, every single RC claim falls right along with it like a string of dominoes. Indeed, you would need to get your head examined if you supposed that this council was bowing their knee to one individual, or church, as the final authority. The simple fact of the matter is, when the bishops gathered at Nicea they did not acknowledge the bishop of Rome as anything more than the leader of the most influential church in the West. Now wake up!

        AWL: If I was a Protestant I would be ashamed to say I had anything to do with these canons of Nicaea

        BB: If I was a Catholic, I would be ashamed to say I had anything to do with these canons of Nicaea.

        1. Except that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches still have ‘archiepiscopates’ that do indeed ecclesiastically manage/rule over these regions, and many other regions throughout the world. It’s pretty much the same model of government as it has always been, with the Bishop of Rome being merely the ‘first among equals’. You might not like that expression, but that is really what Peter was amongst his fellow apostles, the ‘first among equals’. And, as Jesus said “the first will be the last and the servant of all”, Peter was this also….which is why the pope is frequently referred to as : The servant of the servants of God.

          This model of bishops ruling their particle dioceses, and archbishops supervising the bishops/calling regional synods, etc… has ben around since before Nicaea I.

          But, where might we find the history of the Protestant model of Church Government before Nicaea I ?

          Easy answer: No where. Protestantism is a 16th century invention by a psychologically handicapped monk named Martin Luther. And all of you Protestants still defend and follow his self invented (one of which was inspired while seated on a toilet) theological doctrines.

        2. BB,
          From the same site you cite: “The communion of the saints refers to believers in the past, believers in the present, and believers in the years to come sharing a common salvation in our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ”. It includes, therefore, believers who have passed on from this World and are waiting in Jesus their reward. Hence, it is perfectly Biblical to ask “believers in the past” with whom we share “a common salvation in our Savior” to pray for us.

    3. Barry –

      So even plain language escapes you??? Not surprised. Only relativists/nominalists could try to change the definition of Catholic or Communion of Saints and remain woefully ignorant of the meaning of these words when the Apostles Creed was formulated. Of course, you probably think it was written in English.

      Just man up and reject it instead of the mental gymnastics in redefining words. Have some guts instead of piggy backing off of Catholicism.

  8. A great wise man once commented…

    “Compare that to the 1 Billion+ Catholics on Earth who have a truly a ‘universal’ faith, which is proven by the publication of the Catholic Cataquism which details and interprets the Christian Faith, the Bible and theology for them, and as such, provides a unifying resource whereby true ‘catholicity’ might be maintained even throughout the world, and throughout the centuries also.”

    In the real world, Catholicism is no more united than Protestantism. What you’re referring to are documents written by a _tiny_ percent of Catholics who have appointed themselves to leadership positions. And as you may have noticed, the clergy often don’t even agree among themselves.

    The billion+ Catholics you refer to each interpret the Catholic faith is whatever way works best for them. This is the reality of Catholicism, and all major religions. This is not a matter of debate, and is proven beyond all doubt by the endlessly divisive Catholic vs. Catholic arguments which rage across the Net, displaying deep divisions on almost every issue.

    You perhaps think there is unity in the Catholic community because you limit your involvement to places like this blog where all seven people who attend here regularly agree with you. This is what committed ideologists of any ideology do. They circle the wagons of the like minded and then chant together over and over and over again how special and superior they are. It’s a mutual validation society, an ego enterprise, which really has little to do with real spirituality.

    Real spirituality would involve opening oneself up to worshiping all of God’s creation, an enterprise a bit more interesting than throwing little spitballs at Protestants.

    1. I guess then… I’m wise enough to realize that all seven of us have heard your very same argument more or less 100 times before?

      At least the Catholic catechism is about 800 pages long, and covers a multitude of theological, cultural, social, liturgical and legal topics. Your doctrine is the same as you’ve preached over and over again with little variation , the same thesis of which can probably fit easily on about 5 pages. And, actually, I asked you before to do this very thing. It would be better for you to just compose a thesis paper on your exact understanding of life and theology, and then post a link of it for everyone here to read. The problem is, that you would need to gather your thoughts on the subject in a reasonable way, so as to make it actually understandable. And, from what you’ve posted so many times already, I don’t think you have the capabilities to do so.

      Maybe you can send all your thoughts to Joe so he can use his obvious talent to present them in a coherent way…if it’s even possible? But if you do so, you won’t need to waste time repeating the same thing over and over again. And people would actually be able to critique your thesis for better or for worse. At least it would be intelligible and not thrown around ‘piecemeal’ so-to-say. And, of course, his is why people actually write books.

      1. Al,

        You’ve heard the smallest fraction of my perspective, because that’s all you can manage. You can’t even handle that, as displayed by your largely non-responsive reply above.

        Yes, the Catholic catechism is about 800 pages long, but that informs us of the opinion of only the smallest fraction of Catholics. In the real world, few of the billion+ Catholics even know what those 800 pages say, let alone agree with it all.

        Catholicism is not just the clergy, but the totality of perspective and activity of all the billion+ Catholics. As example, America is not just the President and Congress, but something far larger and more diverse.

        1. I didn’t respond to your points because I’ver responded to them many times before. So, maybe someone else can a take a shot at them who isn’t familiar with them yet? You yourself already know that these ideas were discussed over and over again many times in the past year.

          Best to you.

          1. Nobody forces you to read my posts, so your application for fantasy victim status is hereby declined.

          2. Hi Phil,

            You fail to notice, month after month, that you are not on an ‘anti-Christian’ orientated site, but rather on a ‘Christian’ orientated site. Things here revolve around Jesus Christ, His teachings and His Church.

            For instance, look at this saying that Jesus taught: “If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard, is not mine; but the Father’s who sent me.”

            Most commenters here love Jesus, and so, consequently try too ‘keep His words’…that is, remember them and put them into practice.

            And Christ also taught:

            “..let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

            So here, Jesus also teaches us what NOT to do…if we love Him.

            These are only 2 small teachings of Christ, but you will see how what you preach, i.e.. about worshipping everything, completely contradicts teachings, because they are against the ‘Commandments of God’.

            So, maybe you should find some non-Christian site to preach on… maybe the Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Rastafari, Animist, etc… sites that doesn’t already have a ‘Messiah’, as Christians do.

            Moreover, if a baseball fanatic comes and starts commenting here on baseball statistics, people here will direct him to the proper internet blogs. And this goes for free climbers, surfers and any other sport or topic. So, don’t be surprised if some members here recommend the ‘cannabis experiential side effects blog’ for you, or maybe the ‘psychedelic bohemian squirrel care blog’?

            But here, we primarily talk about Jesus Christ, His teachings and the Church he founded.

            Pretty simple to understand.

            But if you actually want to support Jesus’ specific Gospel teachings, maybe people will listen? Who knows?

  9. Joe,
    Thanks again for a great article. Slashing through the fog of contradictions, you separate the forces. Then the matter sparkles with great clarity. Prayers for your continued good work.

  10. Really like the article Joe.

    Prayer cards have helped me understand how to pray to angels. Using phrases like, “grant us, we beseech Thee, to walk in the footsteps of thy Blessed Virgin Theresa…” or “through thy intercession”, or “obtain for us…” or “assist us”.

    Or praying to our guardian angel, “…ever this day be at my side to light and guard to rule and guide”.

    We may not fully know or understand how angels help us or how much they can or can’t help us, but it’s comforting to know we’re surrounded by them and that we can communicate with them.

  11. Joe, this article is a little weak IMHO. Most Protestants are aware that “The Angel of the Lord” is a Christophany, and that Angel is an appellation for “Messenger.” So, we really do not have Biblical examples of prayers to angels that are not Christophanies, though we certainly have conversations. Granted, the range of meaning for the word prayer allows for conversation (i.e. “I pray thee” in Shakespeare is not a prayer to a divinity as we would usually think it), but the Scriptures do not bear out such prayers.

    That being said, it may be argued that praying to one’s guardian angel is a good and necessary consequence of the Scriptures. For one, we know that we all have guardian angels (Matt 18) as does each local church (1 Cor 11, Rev 1). Second, we have conversations with angels in the Scriptures, so it is not immoral to ask an angel for something. So, praying to an angel is simply asking the angel for something when you cannot see him.

    One last note, pertaining to Christophanies. Reading the Fathers, I do not see them explaining Christophanies in this way, so perhaps you can correct me if it is out of sync. But, being that the Angel of the Lord is a Christophany, but He is preincarnate at the time, is it reasonable to conjecture that the Angel is in fact some sort of angelic stand-in (i.e. perhaps Michael the Archangel, as speculated by some fathers) who speaks for Christ–but the actual Person of Christ is not in the Angel of the Lord, but rather speaking through this Angel?

    I don’t know, I welcome correction on all of this.

    God bless,
    Craig

    1. Hi Craig,

      This is a small item, but I think the ‘angel’ described in Rev.1, is actually symbolic of the bishop of the particular Church’s written to. For instance, look at this text:

      “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: ….Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance, and do the first works. Or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance.”

      Clearly angels don’t do penance, and also, this is not a Christophany, so it is pretty obvious that the ‘angel’ is the ‘bishop’ of of Ephesus.

      Best to you.

      1. Al, perhaps, but the “angel” can simply be a messenger, or John is writing to the angel to convey to the church of Ephesus repent. i.e. there is a change in subject from the angel to the local church in question.

        I think you agree, being that God’s glory is shared by the saints in that they become God, it is possible that the angels in a similar fashion reflect this glory and acted as God’s stand in before His incarnation? Perhaps I am going too far.

        God bless,
        Craig

        1. I really don’t think that angels need to read anything. So, I still think they are only symbolically used in Rev.1. But in other areas of scripture they are more literal, such as with the angel Gabriel and the Blessed Virgin.

          But, I also think that seeing them as a theophany isn’t a problem, in various biblical passages, and that is as you say…because they are so united in their will with God, that there is really nothing much separating them. God’s will is their will. It is those who are still below that have the problem with following God’s will, not those who have attained blessedness, which is why a blessed angel can no more do anything but God’s will. So, for the early patriarchs to associate an angel with God isn’t a problem, as they are His perfect ambassadors.

          Yet, their is still a lot of mystery regarding all of this, which also isn’t a problem.

        2. Craig, my opinion is that John was using his authority that he received from Christ to reprimand these Church’s for their deficiencies. It is like a Theophany wherein St. John is representing Jesus due to his close knowledge of Him, and recalling also his past recollections. Basically, he is threatening to remove their candlesticks from them, which seems more or less equivalent to ‘excommunication’. These letters to the Churches are very personal, and involved actual sins, and so it seems that this was one way of communicating to them to start straightening things out. John, in this sense, was acting like an archbishop, even though he was in exile.

          A study of first 3 pages of Revs. reveal hints of this, for instance, when John notes that he was ‘in the spirit’, and also when he notes that he ‘looked behind’ him. ‘Looking behind’ could be a symbol for his own recollections with Jesus, both at the transfiguration and all of the other events.

          Then again, I really need to study these things deeper. It’s one of my favorite books due to the inherent mysteries in it. It’s a fun nut to try to crack…so to say. 🙂

          Best to you.

          1. Angels are difficult to understand because humans live in time and space with physical bodies. Moreover, there in not only one type of angel, but the following: Seraphim,
            Cherubim,Thrones,Dominions or Lordships,Virtues or Strongholds, Powers or Authorities, Principalities or Rulers, Archangels.

            Personally, I think scripture tries to teach this complicated subject/topic/reality with simple imagery and for simple people to be capable of understanding. But the reality is, that Divine Providence works many miracles (small though they might be) in the lives of people and even on a daily basis, (if one is sensitive to these occurrences). And, I believe He achieves this partially through the angels, and in all of the multitudes/choirs/orders of angels described above. We probably understand angels like our pets understand us.

            Best to you.

          2. Hi Craig and Al,

            Chapter One of J. Danielou’s book ‘The Angels and Their Mission’ is dedicated to angels and the law. Jewish tradition, literature, and OT (Daniel, Abraham in Genesis, Judges 23, 3 Kings 19, Daniel 10:13) all attest to angels helping Israel as recipients and keepers of God’s law and election.

            Danielou specifically cites the Greek translation of Deuteronomy 33:2 as:

            “At his right hand the angels accompanied Him” (rather than “from His right hand the angels accompanied Him.”)

            It’s a short read, well referenced, available from Sophia Institute Press, NH.

          3. It would help if I could quote properly! Sorry for confusion.

            “From his right hand there sprang forth rays of light.”

          4. Al – Absolutely appropriate analogy: Us understanding angels ~ Pets understanding us!

            We used to own a beagle. Sometimes when we spoke to him, he would turn his head to one direction or another, as if he hadn’t quite heard us correctly. He had the darndest quizzical look on that slanted sideways glance. Worth all his baying and barking and howling. He was great at letting us know someone or something was walking toward our door. He sensed them when we did not. Perhaps some people sense angels like most of us may not….

          5. That’s for sure. I once read of a saint (can’t remember which one though) who sent His guardian angel to bang on the door and awaken a companion monk who was care taking the bed ridden saint. Supposedly, he did this many time.

            Another saint was bi-located by an angel to help a man very far away at the hour of his death, and he assisted him. These are just stories, but for sure some holy people are more ‘in tune’ with the angels than others. And unfortunately, many people are also more ‘in tune’ with the bad angels/demons etc…

            Best to you.

  12. The angel of the Lord in Genesis 22 is God. Hagar calls that same angel of the Lord God in Genesis 16:7 and he does not rebuke her for it. Christophanies are common in the OT.

    1. “Hagar calls that same angel of the Lord God in Genesis 16:7”

      Haggar also adds a small detail regarding this angelic encounter. She says:

      “And she called the name of the Lord that spoke unto her: Thou the God who hast seen me. For she said: Verily here have I seen the HINDER PARTS of him that seeth me. Therefore she called that well, The well of him that liveth and seeth me.” (Douey Rheims Version)

      So, Haggar defines the ‘angel’ as the … “HINDER PARTS of him that sees me.” It seems here, that the angels are in such holy and perfect communion with God as to be considered in that unity…part of Him. The saints communion with Christ in Heaven (and on Earth also, to a lesser degree) might be considered in the same light, as they are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ, even as Jesus spoke to Saul:

      “…And falling on the ground, I heard a voice saying to me: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered: Who art thou, Lord? And he said to me: I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.” (Acts 22:7)

  13. Al, you’re doing your usual thing of trying to change the subject from the post to the poster, because you don’t have the chops to effectively challenge the ideas I’m contributing. No offense taken, but no credibility given either.

    BTW, I’m not anti-Christian. I’m anti the notion that you (and the Catholic clergy you worship) own Christianity and thus are entitled to define it for everybody everywhere in a universal authoritative manner. You and the clergy are human beings with opinions, just like me and everybody else.

    But anyway, enough of that. Try addressing my best posts in a thoughtful manner some time if you want to elevate the conversation beyond ego agendas.

    Catholic doctrine teaches that God is everywhere in all times and places. While you’re busy with the usual petty holy war with Protestants, I’ve been trying to explore the full implications of what this means.

    1. If you contradict Christ’s teachings in about 50%, or more, of what He teaches…yes, you are anti-Christian. And this has nothing to do with Catholicism. It has to do with what is written in the Gospels. But then again, you don’t even believe in the authenticity of the Gospel teachings in the first place….do you? …Nor in the witness of Christian history?? So, I can’t even see why you have any opinion on Christianity at all, much less the Catholic church, as you have nothing to base your beliefs /understanding of Christianity on in the first place (according to your past comments).

      1. More shifting the focus from the posts to the poster to hide that you have nothing too interesting to contribute to the points being discussed.

    2. A typical statement you might have heard from the Pharisees in Jesus’s time and what eventually put Jesus on the cross:

      “BTW, I’m not anti-Jewish. I’m anti the notion that you (Jesus) (and your appointed Apostles/clergy) own Judaism and thus are entitled to define it for everybody everywhere in a universal authoritative manner. You and the appointed Apostles/clergy are human beings with opinions, just like me and everybody else.”

      1. John, it was Jesus who said that he was not anti-Jewish, but he rejected the self appointed authority of the Jewish clergy, and would chart his own course.

        I’m not anti-Catholic, but reject the self appointed authority of the Catholic clergy, and am charting my own course. I reject clergy worship.

        1. Jesus didn’t reject those who sat in the seat of Moses, rather said do what they say, not what they do. The same principle applies as Jesus gave the keys to his leadership. The Church is full of sinful people including the clergy, and there has been and always will be some level of scandal, e.g. child abuse, that Church has to deal with and correct. The point is that Jesus is the ultimate source of authority and He selected, trained and passed that to His comissioned leadership (not everybody) with the promise of the Holy Spirit. That includes the process and authority for passing the training, tools and authority from generation to generation. He equipped His Church with the tools it needs to spread to the ends of the earth until the end of the age when He comes again. In the interim, it’s a continual battle with armies of Hell. We all are by nature weak and even the officers (clergy) get wounded. We all need the training and the sacramental healing tools Jesus gave the Church to get back up and into the fight as one army with the same goal. Ultimately, there’s only two choices, in His army or with the enemy. If you reject those He sent, you reject Him; and if you reject Him, you reject the One Who sent Him.

          1. Nice concise summary, John.

            Leaving the Church, for whatever reason, is often caused by this malady:

            “For the heart of this people is grown gross, and with their ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes they have shut: lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
            [Matthew 13:15]

        2. “I’m not against the American Republic, I just think the three branches of the Federal Government should be dissolved and replaced with an appointed committee of the Comintern.”

  14. Al, you don’t know what Jesus taught. All you know is what the clergy tells you he taught. As a clergy worshiper, you have hopelessly confused those two things.

    And again, all you have to contribute is a desperate attempt to shift the focus from the post to the poster, and that is because you know you don’t have the ability to address the points being made.

    1. Again, as I said, your points are ‘anti-Christian’… and ridiculous as well. all Christians know what the apostles taught, via the authority of Gospels that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John left to us. You are anti-Christian because you do not believe …. for what ever reason you choose. But Christ came to spread this Gospel through his Church ( …and which you obviously don’t believe), saying:

      “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15]

      The Church does this. And, He also said:

      “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

      What more can I say to you, except that you are currently very anti-Christian and continue to preach “anti-Christ” teachings here. What you preach is ‘Philonian philosophy’ as it is based on nothing but “Phil”. You don’t trust in anything but Philonian thoughts, because to believe in anything theological, or Christian, from anyone else might make you become a ‘clergy worshipper’. But, this concept is again anti-Christian, as Jesus said to His disciples:

      “Those who here you, hear me”.

      My advice to you is to meditate long and hard on this saying:

      “The people that sat in darkness, hath seen great light: and to them that sat in the region of the shadow of death, light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. “

    2. “Al, you don’t know what Jesus taught. All you know is what the clergy tells you he taught. As a clergy worshiper, you have hopelessly confused those two things.”

      Phil, you don’t know what Jesus taught. All you know is what the Bible tells you he taught. As a Bible worshiper, you have hopelessly confused those two things.

      1. Don’t worry K.O., Phil doesn’t believe in the Bible because it’s also written by ‘clergy’ of one type or another …probably the same type that he thinks that I am worshipping. 🙂

        1. Consider two conversations you could have about Catholicism.

          1) a Catholic conversation with a child

          2) a Catholic conversation with the Pope

          These would be very different conversations, but they would both be Catholic conversations.

          Any major religion is trying to serve vast numbers of human beings of many different ages and abilities etc. Thus, there are different levels of understanding within the message being offered, and different means of presenting the message. What you share with the child would be a small highly simplified subset of what you’d share with the Pope.

          What often happens is that those on a particular level of understanding assume that their level is the only level, a “one true way”, because they aren’t currently in a position to see any other level. People tend to cling to the level they know, because of the very human desire to have answers, and be superior to somebody else.

          The stories in the Bible were written thousands of years ago for an audience dominated by unsophisticated and uneducated sheep herders and fishermen struggling on the edge of survival etc. These are lowest common denominator stories intended for mass audiences, most of whom have a limited interest in the subject. These stories are not bad or wrong, but they are like the explanations you would offer a child, quite limited.

          Religion attempts to address the most fundamental nature of the human condition and existential situation. It contains within itself more depth than can be accessed by memorizing child-like stories from a book, and then attaching one’s ego to those stories in the very human quest for fantasy superiority.

  15. So I went ahead and added an update to address an objection that a couple of you have raised…

    A few of you, in the comments and on Facebook, have pointed out that the first of these angelic apparitions might actually be Jesus Christ Himself speaking to Abraham. That may well be. But for a Protestant to use that to get out of the logic of it being okay to angels, one would have to hold that:

    (a) Every time a holy person is depicted praying to an angel, it’s Jesus Christ; AND

    (b) The speakers themselves realized this.

    In some cases, like the Angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary, we know quite clearly that the angel isn’t Christ. So maybe no every apparent instance of praying to angels is really to an angel, but as long as the Bible has at least some instances in which this happens, and is presented favorably, the Catholic case holds.

    1. Hi Joe,

      It certainly seems to be the case that at least some recipients of the angel of the Lord get that this is… maybe not Christ specifically, but that it’s God: see, for instance, Hagar in Genesis 16, who says afterwards, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

      But it seems to me that there’s a larger problem here. You argued that Protestants unfairly conflate two terms: prayer and worship. Fair enough, I suppose, but let me return the comment: it seems to me that you’re conflating the terms conversation and prayer.

      So, for instance, you say

      In some cases, like the Angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary, we know quite clearly that the angel isn’t Christ.

      But we don’t actually see Mary pray to Gabriel. We don’t see that either in the sense in which it’s most often used today (i.e., communing with a spiritual being who is not visibly present), nor in the sense of its linguistic root of “to entreat” (i.e., Mary doesn’t ask Gabriel for anything beyond clarification of his message).

      So we don’t see Mary “honoring them, asking their prayers and intercession.” But we do see Mary’s prayer in verses 46-55, and the object of her prayer – like that of every other faithful prayer in Scripture, so far as has been demonstrated thus far – is God alone.

      I guess this comes back to: do you have any biblical examples where prayer to angels – not verbal conversation with a being standing right in front of you, but prayer in its more typical sense – is demonstrated or encouraged? Because it seems like that’s necessary to counter the objection Alexander references above, i.e., that everything else aside, there’s no particular reason to believe Gabriel hears my prayers.

      1. Hi Irked,

        This site may help distinguish conversation, prayer, worship, etc. The idea is developing relationship. http://www.fathersforgood.org/ffg/en/topics/prayer/

        We communicate with friends and family (cell phones or e-mail) without a sensible physical presence. To prove that our spiritual family of angels, saints, God himself can hear our prayer or are actually there? Longer proof than I have time or inclination now. Isn’t that what faith is for?

        Best,

        What is Prayer?
        1. Prayer means standing before God and raising up our mind and heart to him with reverent attention and devotion.
        2. Prayer is the devout offering of our entire self in the Holy Spirit to the Father through Jesus Christ.
        Related Articles
        To answer the question “What is prayer,” we must realize that our search leads, not to an activity, but to a way of being. Prayer is less a function and more a disposition. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) tells us, prayer is “a vital and personal relationship with the living God … the living relationship of the children of God with their Father” (2558, 2565).
        To understand the meaning of prayer, we must first believe that God exists, and that he is a personal being, a person who can be addressed and who responds. We must believe that God knows us, cares for us and loves us – even more than we love ourselves.
        In fact, some describe prayer as “talking and listening with God.” Others call it “love letters” to God.
        Since prayer engages and expresses our relationship with God, the essence of prayer is communication.
        For the way that persons in love deepen their bond of charity with each other is through the sharing of their interior lives in an authentic and generous exchange of words, gestures, and feelings. The conversation of prayer deepens our intimacy with God by drawing us into the communication with him that leads to ultimate communion. In the process, prayer conforms us to the Lord we love so that, as Saint Teresa of Avila says, “the will becomes united in some way with the will of God.”
        Prayer takes five basic forms:
        • Adoration
        • Petition
        • Intercession
        • Thanksgiving
        • Praise
        Adoration exalts the greatness of God, the Creator and Sustainer, in the spirit of humility and homage. The gracious generosity of God compels us to bless the One who remains the source of every blessing in our life.
        The prayer of petition acknowledges our dependence on God the Father, especially as it prompts us to turn back to him in a spirit of repentance and contrition, asking for forgiveness.
        Through the prayer of intercession we entrust ourselves to God’s mercy, especially by placing before the Father the concerns of others in need.
        The prayer of thanksgiving gives voice to the gratitude that befits every mature and honest person, especially as it calls to mind the redeeming deeds of Jesus that save us and set us free.

        Finally, as the Catechism explains, the prayer of praise “lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because he is” (2639).
        In short, these five different forms of prayer enable us to love God for what he has created, to love God for his compassionate mercy, to love God for his presence and assistance in our lives, to love God for his redemptive tenderness, and to love God for himself.
        This article is excerpted from the booklet A Life of Prayer: A Guide for Men by Father John Peter Cameron, O.P. Order a copy

        1. Hi Margo,

          I feel like your article is kind of proving my point: it defines prayer only in reference to our relationship with God. I agree with that – it’s how I’d use the term, and it’s how I see Scripture use it, as well – but it doesn’t fit with Joe’s usage here.

          To prove that our spiritual family of angels, saints, God himself can hear our prayer or are actually there? Longer proof than I have time or inclination now. Isn’t that what faith is for?

          But we want to have faith in things that are true, right? I could, for instance, have faith that my (quite alive!) wife can hear my prayers, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen – that would be faith in an unjustified belief. We believe that God hears prayer because the Scriptures plainly teach it, and provide copious examples of it; where is it taught that other, lesser beings are guaranteed to hear our spiritual communion? Where is there any positive example presented of anything beyond face-to-face verbal conversation? Where is there any positive example, even in ordinary verbal communication, of the kind of praise and request for intercession Joe describes being directed at an angel?

          If the answer is, “The RCC says these things are so, and that should settle the matter” – fair enough! But let’s be up-front in that case that there is effectively no biblical support for the position.

          1. Irked,
            You suggest “…there is effectively no biblical support for the position.” [of the RCC]. Do you truly hold such a diminished view of the RCC?

            Daniel 9:20-27 – And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

            The angel Gabriel answered Mary’s question. Luke.

            Do you believe in the existence of angels? What characteristics do you believe they have? Preternatural intelligence? If they see the face of God (as Scripture says), why should they not know what we are up to? Doesn’t God know? Scripture suggests that angels are God’s creation, that there are some who chose to serve Him and others who chose to rebel. Do you believe these things?

            Paul clearly says that angels see us. Why ought they not hear us too?

            1 Corinthians 4:9 9 – For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.

            Satan spoke to Jesus and to Eve. They both spoke to him and he answered. Is Satan not an angel? Do you believe in him?

          2. Hi Margo,

            Daniel 9:20-27

            Daniel 9 says that, when Daniel began praying, God commanded Gabriel to bring him a message (“a word went out, which I have come to tell you”). There’s no indication here that Gabriel himself was generally aware of prayers, except as a function of the Lord commanding him in response to them – and in any event, the passage is pretty explicit that the prayers are not directed to Gabriel!

            The angel Gabriel answered Mary’s question. Luke.

            Sure, but we aren’t debating whether an angel can hear you in a face-to-face conversation.

            Do you believe in the existence of angels?

            Yes.

            What characteristics do you believe they have? Preternatural intelligence?

            I don’t think we’re told much about the nature of angels, and I don’t think it’s productive to speculate on things God has not chosen to reveal.

            If they see the face of God (as Scripture says), why should they not know what we are up to?

            I’m not asserting they don’t; for all I know, they may! But I don’t think the one attribute implies the other; I could as easily say, “If they see the face of God, why should they not be able to independently forgive sins?” – there’s just no logical dependence there.

            Scripture suggests that angels are God’s creation, that there are some who chose to serve Him and others who chose to rebel. Do you believe these things?

            Yes. As you note, Scripture says them.

            Paul clearly says that angels see us. Why ought they not hear us too?

            Well, so look at the juxtaposition there: the apostles are a spectacle “to angels as well as human beings.” Is the passage meant to imply that human beings are all-seeing, or supernaturally aware of the apostles at all times? Surely not! Why, then, would we read it as implying anything different for angels? It suffices that the angels are able to observe the apostles in the same way as humans do: while passing by, while in the area.

            There may be more than that – again, I’m not asserting that angels don’t have greater perceptions. I’m just saying we don’t know.

            Satan spoke to Jesus and to Eve. They both spoke to him and he answered. Is Satan not an angel? Do you believe in him?

            Yes. But again, we’re not debating whether an angel can hear you in a face-to-face conversation. As I argued upthread, it’s exactly that merging of “talked to, in person” and “prayed to, at a distance” that’s a problem in Joe’s original argument.

          3. Hi Irked,

            You say: “I don’t think we’re told much about the nature of angels, and I don’t think it’s productive to speculate on things God has not chosen to reveal” and you say: “we cannot know if angels have perceptions”.

            Scripture does tell us that angels and men converse. So whether we call the ability of angels to converse “perception ” or “intelligence” is not relevant. It is productive to discuss what God has revealed. God has revealed the capability within the nature of both angels and men to converse with one another, and He shows through Scripture that both good and evil angels can and have done so.

            You say: “I could as easily say, “If they see the face of God, why should they not be able to independently forgive sins?” – there’s just no logical dependence there.”

            Since God forgives sins, God may gift his angels likewise. Abraham was not without sin yet angels spoke to him. This has everything to do with “logical dependence.”

            You say: “…that “merging of “talked to, in person” and “prayed to, at a distance” that’s a problem in Joe’s original argument.”

            Why is that a problem? Let’s backtrack and ask whether Satan is literally a serpent. If so in Eden, why does not Scripture describe him as a serpent in the desert with Jesus? Also, how physically close did Satan come to Eve and to Jesus? Scripture does not say! So why must we assume some perception or some sense of physical closeness? Finally, is it possible that Satan or good angels may converse through words unspoken? Does science know how thoughts arise within our minds to definitively say this can or cannot be possible? Scripture does not tell us what the voices of angels sound like. Perhaps they are not voices in any substantial sense.

            Does man need a physical incentive to act on love or its obverse? I say no. I don’t need to see an angel nearby in order to talk to him, just as I don’t need to say, “I love you, darling,” even though my spouse may be halfway across the world.

            I don’t perceptually sense or see God yet I talk to Him. I talk more the farther away he appears to be.

          4. Edit please! Thanks.

            I don’t need to see an angel in order to talk to him. Similarly, I don’t need my spouse physically present to address some words to him!

          5. Hi Margo,

            You say: “I don’t think we’re told much about the nature of angels, and I don’t think it’s productive to speculate on things God has not chosen to reveal” and you say: “we cannot know if angels have perceptions”.

            I pretty pointedly do not say the second of those. We can’t know if they perceive prayer; that’s not the same thing.

            Scripture does tell us that angels and men converse.

            Yes, and conversation, again, is not the topic of debate.

            Since God forgives sins, God may gift his angels likewise.

            Perhaps, but that’s pure speculation – and that’s my point. We don’t know that it’s true, and saying it could be is not enough.

            Why is that a problem?

            Because “I can hear you when we talk face to face” and “I can hear you when you think at me” are not equivalent claims, and using the one as evidence of the other is poor form.

            So why must we assume some perception or some sense of physical closeness?

            Perhaps they are not voices in any substantial sense.

            The burden of biblical proof here is on demonstrating that angelic beings do have some kind of supernatural prayer perception, not on demonstrating that they don’t. We can’t argue that by saying, “Maybe that happens here, and it just isn’t mentioned.”

            I don’t need to see an angel nearby in order to talk to him, just as I don’t need to say, “I love you, darling,” even though my spouse may be halfway across the world.

            Perhaps not. But we’d agree that, in general, your spouse is not aware when you do the latter – that it has no effect on him. Are we in agreement that prayer to angels may likewise not be efficacious?

            Because, again, that’s different from this…

            I don’t perceptually sense or see God yet I talk to Him. I talk more the farther away he appears to be.

            … because prayer to God is efficacious: we know, because we are told, that God is aware of it.

            I keep coming back to the questions I ask: is there any actual positive evidence of prayer-based communion with angels in Scripture? Is there any example where someone unambiguously prays to an angel, and that angel hears him? Any example where Scripture speaks positively of someone praying to an angel?

            Or is Scripture silent on this subject?

          6. Irked,
            “I keep coming back to the questions I ask: is there any actual positive evidence of prayer-based communion with angels in Scripture? Is there any example where someone unambiguously prays to an angel, and that angel hears him? Any example where Scripture speaks positively of someone praying to an angel?” = see Tobit 12:12-15 (which parallels Luke 1:19 and Revelation 8:2): “Tobit, when you and Sarah prayed to the Lord, I was the one who brought your prayers into his glorious presence”. Another example is in Genesis 19:18-21, where Lot talks directly to the angels sent to destroy Sodom and Gomorra, and makes a direct request to them, which they grant.

          7. Hi LLC,

            So Tobit is a fair answer from a Catholic perspective; obviously I reject it as Scripture, but I won’t contest that, for a person who accepted it, that would be an argument for perception of prayers.

            I don’t think Lot’s (again, in-person) request fits the category I asked for, though – “Look, since we’re all here, can you just spare that little town?” is a little different from a prayer of “Please intercede for me before God.”

  16. Joe,

    Just curious, why do you care so much about the minutia of doctrinal differences between various denominations?

    Instead of constantly trying to start nitpicking little battles with Protestants, why not focus on what all Christians (and many others too) can agree on, such as service to the needy? Catholic Charities is already in place, already doing a great job, and there’s plenty more work to do. Why does pretty much nobody on the Catholic web want to talk about CC, let alone try to use their blog to raise money for it?

    Do you really think that when we pass on to the other side Jesus is really going to care so much about our stance on Policy #352b? Isn’t your focus on legalistic hairsplitting pretty much the very thing Jesus rejected in the Jewish clergy of his day?

    1. Phil, you said: “Do you really think that when we pass on to the other side Jesus is really going to care so much about our stance….”

      How can you claim to know how Jesus is going to think… or even if there IS an “other side” that we are going to “pass on to” if you don’t trust what was written about Jesus 2000 years ago (the Gospels), and passed down to us by His disciples (His Church) throughout the centuries?

      Do you really know what Jesus thinks… or, are you merely using His Name and person (Jesus) as a facade, or ‘side kick’, to support your own mystical musings and teachings regarding your own personal musings and experiences? Where, really, does Jesus fit into any of your theology, and if He doesn’t then why use Him as an example as if you actually know what He taught and what He thinks?

      You also seem to assume that there is no mystical element in the practice of Catholicism today, and that you alone are the ‘awakened one’, who really knows what Jesus thinks, and how greatly He prefers ‘corporal works of charity’ and ‘serving others’ over prayer, teaching and discussing His doctrines with others (As we do on this blog). But o you really know what Catholics mystically experience when they follow what Christ taught, for instance, when He said :

      “But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee.” ?

      Do you think that true Christians don’t experience ‘mystical communion’ with God when they pray and meditate, such as Jesus says above….and, rather… that YOU, Phil, are the only one out there that really knows what Jesus’ opinions are…even thought you don’t trust sacred scripture, or the Church, or Church history, or anything else theological…when they teach about Jesus?

      And, if talking about God is of such little value, as you always insinuate it is, then why did Jesus Himself talk and preach so much to others? Will you complain that He, Himself, should have restricted His mission on Earth to the performing of miracles, multiplying bread, raising the dead, healing cripples…and forget about preaching, or, ‘talking the talk’…as you might say?

      And, Jesus Himself proves your assumption wrong about preaching, discussing and teaching the faith to others…when He teaches on Martha and Mary…if you have never taken the time to meditate on it before (…and I presume by your attitude that you haven’t). So, I recommend that you listen very carefully to this gospel teaching of Christ on the subject, regarding the value of both ‘corporal’ works and ‘spiritual’ works:

      “Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord’s feet, heard his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38)

      Moreover, Phil, if you know better then what the other commenters here think and know about Jesus, His likes and dislikes for instance, as you assume to know, then, why don’t you prove it by using some of the very words and example of Jesus Himself and not just ‘guessing’ what He thinks? That is, if indeed you ‘really’ know what His opinions are as you claim, above?

      1. Changing the topic from the post to the poster, to hide that you have nothing too interesting to say on the actual topic.

        1. Phil,

          Why don’t you just Google ‘New Testament Gospels’ and actually read them through at least once. THEN, maybe, you will actually have something substantially Christian to base your comments on. But, your argument right now is sort of like a 1960’s Beatnick trying to explain his Love Fest ‘psychedelic self awareness awakening experience’ to others, even as Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd fame tried to explain it to his fellow band members. His… “lips move but they cannot hear what he’s saying'”, so-to-say. These types of self awareness thoughts are only the beginning of religious understanding, where as you seem to point to them as the ultimate or ONLY experience in religion. True religion is not like this, it is ‘communal’ in nature, and involves both truth and love for both God and neighbor. This is why the Church is depicted typologically as a ‘flock’ of sheep, and not a an solitary animal such as a pit viper.

          You might want to Google the ‘Little Flowers of St. Francis” at the same time. You’ll then understand how Christians can actually put the Gospel message into practice, and live it out (…something I know you are concerned about), as is shown to be very possible by St. Francis and his many brothers.

          And… don’t forget to say ‘hi’ to the squirrels for me when you see them. 🙂

  17. Revelation 22:8+9

    For me the answer is clear. Yes it is wrong, even the angel knew their place.
    I will pray to only God the Father & Jesus the son.

    1. Guess you haven’t been following the conversation.

      Note the active verb…”worship.”

      There’s quite (irony alert) a difference between intercessory prayer and worship.

      No Catholics worship angels…nor their dead grandfathers….nor The Blessed Mother…but we do pray for their support and intercession with the Trinitarian God…..

      There…fixed it for you. Call your nearest Catholic parish and get scheduled for RCIA. You’ll be glad you did 😊 😇

  18. AK – I just don’t see or feel the need to pray to them when I can pray straight to GOD or Jesus
    1 Timothy 2:5 – For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

    1. OK, so when you pray to Jesus, you’re right.

      When I, in prayer, ask help from the Blessed Mother or the saints, I am right.

      Difference between us, I am not judging and you are. There’s some Scripture on that somewhere….

  19. Now this is a story all about how
    My life got flipped turned upside down
    And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there
    I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air

    In West Philadelphia, born and raised
    On the playground is where I spent most of my days
    Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool
    And all shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school
    When a couple of guys who were up to no good
    Started makin’ trouble in my neighborhood
    I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
    And said “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air”

    I whistled for a cab and when it came near
    The license plate said ‘Fresh’ and it had dice in the mirror
    If anything I could say that this cab was rare
    But I thought “Nah, forget it, yo holmes, to Bel-Air!”

    I pulled up to the house about 7 or 8
    And I yelled to the cabbie “Yo holmes, smell ya later”
    Looked at my kingdom, I was finally there
    To sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel-Air

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