Catholic Corner

by Fr. John Patrick Bertolucci

The Catholic Corner is a new section in our magazine dedicated to specific issues regarding Catholic teachings and traditions. It is in response to the numerous letters from you, our readers, concerning diverse topics you inquire about.

In this issue, we give you the teachings of the Church concerning angels.

Question: Are angels real?

Answer: Angels do exist.
The Catholic Church teaches that God created invisible spirits called angels before the creation of the visible world. Angels are personal beings possessing understanding and free will. According to St. Gregory the Great, the word "angel" "denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have always been spirits, but they can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels, while those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels."

Angels play a big role in many familiar Bible stories. By one count, they appear explicitly 148 times in the Old Testament and 74 in the New Testament. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael are the only three angels called by name in Scripture.

The doctrine that each person has an angel assigned to watch over and intercede for him or her, a "guardian" angel, is a longstanding tradition in the Church, but it has never been defined as an article of faith.

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