Beware of Phony Angels

This week saw the Catholic world celebrate two great angelic feasts – the Feasts of St. Michael and the Archangels and our Guardian Angels – but Christians need to be aware that the New Age has made the existence of these awesome beings into a very dangerous cottage industry.

For those who may not be aware, angels have been the darling of the New Age for a very long time. Ever since the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, angels have been portrayed as everything from garden fairies to glorified self-help gurus who allegedly guide us through all the challenges of life. Even more dangerous is the fact that these various New Age creations often go by very Catholic sounding names like Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael which can make them dangerous lures away from the truth for those who are not well-versed on this subject.

But this is not surprising. New Agers are notoriously inclined to put their own spin on the beliefs of others. This is because one of the primary goals of the New Age movement is to create a “New World Religion” that is a kind of “hodge-podge” of beliefs from a variety of religions – just enough to keep us all satisfied.

Angels is no exception. While Scripture refers to these beings as “messengers” of God who exist to carry out His will and serve Him in all things, the New Age variety has a much different purpose. Their angels are usually focused on “empowering” people to achieve their highest potential, to rid themselves of anxieties and troubles, to rake in all kinds of money while being enormously successful, etc. They’re easy to spot because behind the euphemisms about how these angels “help to make the world a better place” it’s really all about the self-empowerment of the individual.

St. Michael is a favorite of these phony angels, which I sometimes refer to as “Santa Claus” angels. For example, a woman named Dr. Joy Pedersen claims on her website that St. Michael announced himself to her in 2004 and told her that she was him incarnate. Michael allegedly asked her to work with him in a healing practice and to write a book entitled, Wisdom of the Guardian: Treasures from Archangel Michael to Change Your Life. Pedersen claims that Michael is coming now because it’s time to “heal the rift between him and Lucifer.” (Not exactly a message from God!)

Then there’s Ronna Herman who calls herself a messenger for Archangel Michael. Her “Wisdom Teachings of Archangel Michael” offer to help people “claim self-mastery” and “attain soul-awareness and God-consciousness.”

However, Michael isn’t the only one singled out for a New Age do-over. Gabriel and Raphael also have their share of counterfeits along with other more fancifully named angels such as Asaliah and Yehuiah. Some of these are considered to be “romance angels” who supposedly help us find our soul mate. Others are alleged to have the ability to answer all of our questions about life.

Some New Age angel practitioners claim to know the names of all seven angels even though only three are revealed in Scripture – Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. The other names, such as Uriel, Jehudiel, Sealtiel and Barachiel, are either made up or are taken from a non-canonical source known as the Book of Enoch with derivatives found in other apocryphal sources.

In addition to hundreds of websites dedicated to these phony angels, there are also clever angel schemes that have taken many of the faithful by surprise.

For example, a popular email scheme, known as The Gift, involves inviting three “angels” (some say five) into one’s life for five days. The Gift comes from a German medium named Irma who claims they were channeled to her after she watched the movie, “Pay It Forward.” Irma apparently decided that sending occult spirits – which she believed were angels – to her friends would make the world a better place.

According to the email that one of our readers sent to us, these angels can help recipients “take part in raising the consciousness of the planet by beginning with your innermost sacred desires.” They call themselves the “wash maidens of the earth” who claim to be non-judgmental spirits who are only interested in helping people. “So enjoy and relax. Take in our love. Do not be afraid of any piles of dust in the corners of your house, your psyche or your soul. We will lovingly help you clean them up.”

Then there is the burgeoning business of angel intuitives who claim that they can contact the angelic realm to help guide a person’s life decisions. They use a variety of occult techniques to glean these “readings” such as channeling and employing psychic abilities or using “angel cards” which are used in ways that are similar to tarot cards Angel boards, which are essentially Ouija boards with a picture of an angel on it, are also touted as vehicles to accessing one’s “angel.”

It’s important to note that these cards and boards are just as dangerous as their formally named counterparts, perhaps even more so because they have the same purpose as a Ouija board or tarot cards – contacting “spirits” – only they pretend to be summoning guardian angels to make them seem less dangerous.

These ideas have lured many a soul into direct contact with demons. This is because there is no such thing as a helping angel who responds to the turn of a playing card or planchette on an angel board. Nor will we ever find an angel of God who is permitted to be at the beck and call of a medium. The good angels are at the command of God alone, the same God who explicitly condemned mediumship in Scripture (see Deuteronomy 18:10).

Angels are a gift from God that are to be respected and revered, not made into good-luck charms or self-help gurus. They are beloved guardians of the people of God. We’re told in the Catechism that “From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and protection. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” (CCC #336)

It’s also important to note that the Vatican does not approve of the veneration of any of the “rogue” angels who are named on these New Age sites.

In addition, in this 300-page Directory of Public Piety which was published in 2001 by the Congregation for Divine Worship, the faithful are also discouraged from “assigning names to the Holy Angels . . . except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael.”

During this week when we celebrate the great gift of the angels, let us thank God for the angelic choirs. And, because of the confusing times in which we life, let us ask our guardian angels to intercede for us before God that He might grant us the gift of greater discernment.

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