Dear Father Angelo,
I’m very embarrassed and worried about a self-proclaimed (secular) theologist who spreads heresies on social networks.
A friend of mine invited me to join a Facebook group called “Angels without wings” and even if I was uncertain, I did it anyway.
I won’t tell you the load of nonsense I had to read, from silly New Age fantasies to actual openings to spiritism.
I’m cCatholic and I follow the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium, so whenever I came across these lies I countered them with the Word of Jesus, but I always got answered with bland justifications which aimed to sell as theologically valid every stupid thing that was affirmed. After many imaginative statements about the angels’ nature and their names (a thing that left me quite a bit shocked), I’ve had enough and I unsubscribed from the group.
Despite this , I later received the following message and I don’t know if and how to answer:
Hi, young angel. I’d like to ask you a question. The Church has been formed by Jesus Christ. The pope is his vicar and the Church’s human chief. If a person wants to become a priest he has to follow the established path and be ordained by a bishop. The question is this: Can Jesus ordain a person with His Spirit or should He ask for the Church’s permission? I’m sorry about the request but an online friend of mine asked me the same question because he claims he has been ordained as a priest by Christ Himself. What should he do? Is it true or is it a fantasy? How does the Church recognize if a person is full of Spirit? Thanks and sorry again for my strange message. May the peace be with you.
I think it’s clear that this person (I suspect anyway that the “friend” he is talking about is actually himself) doesn’t know what he says.
Since I meet a lot of people like him – the so-called Messiah of the last times – and since we as Christians and Catholics have to testify the Truth wherever it’s needed, how can I answer a statement of such gravity that left me speechless?
How can you even think to call yourself a “priest” without having ever received the ordination from any ecclesiastical authority?
I am tempted not to answer at all, but I need advice from you.
May the Lord always bless You for all the Good you do by guiding and supporting us with Your work of Mercy.
The priest replies.
Dear Maria Cristina,
1. Jesus certainly doesn’t have to ask for the Church’s permission to operate.
The point is that Jesus Christ gave to the Church full power to proclaim the Gospel and wanted to bind himself to the voice of the Church, as much to say: “In truth I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 18:18).
2. It follows that if the Church declares invalid an ordination without a bishop, without the imposition of hands and that is the result of one’s own imagination, the Lord declares it invalid too.
Jesus wanted to provide us this certainty so that no sick mind can say this or that in his name.
3. The Lord himself requires us to discern before accepting a charism: “My dear friends, not every spirit is to be trusted, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets are at large in the world” (1 Jn 4.1).
4. The Lord established as well that within the Church some have the power to make this discernment: “‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the guardians, to feed the Church of God which he bought with the blood of his own Son.” (Acts 20:28).
5. Peter, in particular, received this task when Jesus told him: “So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it. 19. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16, 18:19).
And also when he said to him: “Feed my lambs” and “Look after my sheeps” (Jn 21,15:17).
6. This is what is called the “power of the keys”.
St. Ambrose comments: “The Lord wants his disciples to have the widest powers; he wants his servants to do in his name what he himself did when he was on earth”(De poenitentia 1,34).
And St. John Chrysostom: “The priests have received a power that God neither gave to angels nor to archangels …
What the priests do down here, God confirms up there” (De sacerdotio 3,5).
It’s up to you to answer him.
I wish you the best, I will remember you in my prayer and I bless you.