Beware of Emails from St. Benedict’s Prayer Wall

CF writes: “I started getting these emails and they seemed ok until I got this email from them. Since I was unfamiliar with the “Archangel Asrael, I looked it up and this archangel is the angel of death in Islam. I also found a disclaimer that was odd, claiming they were sending these daily messages for “entertainment only.” I have since unsubscribed. Just wanted your take on this as I think they want to send these to people who are true prayer warriors.”

Our thanks to CF for alerting us to this outfit.

The email she received from St. Benedict’s Prayer Wall contains a daily message from an Archangel known as Asrael. This angel is known as the angel of death in Islam, and is responsible for taking the soul away from the body at the time of death. It is one of the four major archangels in Islam along with Jibrail, Mikhail and Israfil.

As this site explains: “It’s the responsibility of Archangel Azrael to help the departing soul detach from the physical body and cross over to their next phase of life in the hereafter. He comforts dying souls and assists them through seven heavenly halls. The journey through these seven planetary spheres allows the deceased to review their life. Souls going through this process get a chance to reflect on the actions they took when they lived in the physical form; heal their wounds and prepare for their next chapter. Archangel Azrael is also responsible for keeping track of all the departing souls and monitoring their reincarnation.”

Obviously, none of this is in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, nor does the church recognize the Angel Azrael. Although we believe there are seven archangels, only three are named in the Bible – Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. As recently as 2002, in response to the many New Age and occult movements that are flinging around various names of alleged archangels, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a new Directory of Public Piety which clearly stated that “the practice of giving particular names to angels, with the exception of Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael is to be disapproved of.”

This directive follows a precedent set more than 1200 years ago in Rome. Pope St. Zachary took up the subject of angels in 745 AD after a priest in Germany was found to be spreading devotion to eight angels, only one of which was mentioned in the bible. The council ultimately condemned the prayer as sacrilegious, stating that the “seven non-biblical names were of demons, and declaring that the only angelic names Christian should use are the three in the Bible.”

Does this mean that the email inviting people to read a daily message from the Archangel Asrael is actually an invitation for people to open their hearts and minds to messages from a demon? It certainly looks that way!

But this isn’t the only problem with St. Benedict’s Prayer Wall. The site also invites people to read messages that are allegedly from the saints. Some of them have very strong New Age themes such as when St. Peter allegedly tells us that “when you radiate with positivity, the same energy will flow back to you.”

Aside from ads on the site inviting folks to partake in tarot card readings, it also features ads for books written by David C. Pack of the Restored Church of God (RCG). Pack considers himself to be an apostle and claims his church was commissioned by Jesus Himself. The church does not believe in the Trinity, and is founded upon select teachings from the Old Testament such as the Ten Commandments, dietary laws and tithing. Celebrations of high Sabbaths are compulsory along with certain feast days, but Easter and Christmas celebrations are not permitted.

There are many problems with St. Benedict’s Prayer Wall, not least of which is how they use very Catholic-sounding language and images to lure Catholics into the site. Those who lack sufficient catechetical formation may not be able to discern the warning signs described above and could easily be led astray.

If you’re looking for solid Catholic sites that offer prayers for your intentions, click here to send a request to EWTN which has been praying for people’s intentions for 40 years.

America’s first cathedral, the historic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore, Maryland also accepts prayer requests and promises to place these requests before the Blessed Sacrament. Click here to send in a request.

You can click here to submit prayer requests to the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee.

The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement have prayed a novena to St. Anthony for the last 100 years for anyone who submits a prayer intention. Click here to give it a try!

You can also submit prayer requests to the Rosary Shrine of St. Jude by clicking here.

As you can see, there are plenty of solid Catholic sites that accept prayer intentions so the next time you get an email from St. Benedict’s Prayer Wall, just hit the delete button and submit your requests to true prayer warriors instead!

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