In the movies, paratroopers loudly shout "Geronimo!" as they leap into the night sky. Before that dramatic moment, however, it seems likely that Catholic troopers mutter a little prayer to invoke the protection of "St. Michael," patron saint of paratroopers, police, mariners grocers and those suffering from sickness.
St. Michael is known to Christians as Michael, the archangel who led angels loyal to God in the heavenly war of Lucifer's insurrection. Though Lucifer has been cast out of Heaven, he and his band of rebel angels apparently still have access (cf. Job 1:6; 2:1) and a state of war exists even now (cf. Rev. 12:4; cf. Dan. 10:13; Jude 9). Some unspecified event is going to trigger a mighty angelic battle (Rev. 12:7) and Michael, whose name signifies "Who is like God?," will lead the Lord's host to victory.
The Bible refers to Michael as "archangel" and "one of the chief princes," but the early Greek fathers and others consider him the most senior of all the angels, or "Prince of the Seraphim."
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, tradition assigns four offices to Michael:
To fight against Satan
To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.
To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament
To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment
In the imagery of Catholicism, Michael usually is depicted as a fully armed warrior standing over the body of a slain dragon. Often, he is shown to be holding a pair of scales (to weigh the souls of the dead) or the Book of Life (to indicate that he participates in the judgment).
Michael is a created being, yet how many of the responsibilities and offices ascribed to him by tradition intrude upon the authority of the Christ and the Holy Spirit?
He is a created being and, as such, not to be worshipped:
"I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" - (Exodus 20:2-5)
NOT TO BE WORSHIPPED, yet Catholicism indeed does render worship to St. Michael and to other angels. In fact, until the custom died a couple of hundred years ago, the Saint's Day of Michael (Sept. 29) was a holy day of obligation, requiring the Catholic faithful to attend Mass in his honor. When the warlike Germans embraced Catholicism, the church morphed Wotan, chief of their pagan gods, into Michael, the chief of the warrior angels. Another easy adaptation of pagan beliefs and practices into Romish orthodoxy. Now, throughout the lands once walked by the German hordes we see not the ancient hilltop temples of Wotan, but hilltop churches and shrines dedicated to angel Michael.
Every Catholic saint worth his salt can claim a string of miracles, preferably miraculous deliveries, and the best of them make the occasional earthly visitation. Those who venerate Michael can point to both:
According to an (apocryphal?) legend of the tenth century he appeared over the Moles Hadriani (Castel di S. Angelo), in 950, during the procession which St. Gregory held against the pestilence, putting an end to the plague. Boniface IV (608-15) built on the Moles Hadriani in honour of him, a church, which was styled St. Michaelis inter nubes (in summitate circi).
Well known is the apparition of St. Michael (a. 494 or 530-40), as related in the Roman Breviary, 8 May, at his renowned sanctuary on Monte Gargano, where his original glory as patron in war was restored to him. To his intercession the Lombards of Sipontum (Manfredonia) attributed their victory over the Greek Neapolitans, 8 May, 663. In commemoration of this victory the church of Sipontum instituted a special feast in honour of the archangel, on 8 May, which has spread over the entire Latin Church and is now called (since the time of Pius V) "Apparitio S. Michaelis", although it originally did not commemorate the apparition, but the victory.--Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1996 by New Advent, Inc.
How did Michael the archangel, one of the "chief princes" of God's angelic host (Dan. 10:13), become St. Michael, patron of paratroopers and police? There are those who would suggest the process was nothing more than apotheosis, or god-making, so well known to the ancients and to those who today makes deities of sports figures, matinee idols and rock stars. Rome, of course, denies such an idea, claiming instead that those she canonizes are nothing more than friends and servants of God whose holy lives merit His special love:
The true origin of canonization and beatification must be sought in the Catholic doctrine of the worship (cultus), invocation, and intercession of the saints. As was taught by St. Augustine (Quaest. in Heptateuch., lib. II, n. 94; Contra Faustum, lib. XX, xxi), Catholics, while giving to God alone adoration strictly so-called, honour the saints because of the Divine supernatural gifts which have earned them eternal life, and through which they reign with God in the heavenly fatherland as His chosen friends and faithful servants. In other words, Catholics honour God in His saints as the loving distributor of supernatural gifts. The worship of latria (latreia), or strict adoration, is given to God alone; the worship of dulia (douleia), or honour and humble reverence, is paid the saints; the worship of hyperdulia (hyperdouleia), a higher form of dulia, belongs, on account of her greater excellence, to the Blessed Virgin Mary.–Catholic Encyclopedia, Op. Cit.
Did you catch that? "The true origin of canonization and beatification must be sought in the Catholic doctrine of the worship (cultus), invocation, and intercession of the saints." Was the author of this article acknowledging that Catholics WORSHIP the demigods the RCC calls saints? Certainly, that is what Augustine of Hippo wrote in the citation quoted above. Let's look at that word in parentheses behind "worship." One Catholic dictionary offers this definition:
CULT, CULTUS, in a general sense it is equivalent to worship, adoration, veneration. But it is generally used with particular reference to the hyperdulia accorded to our Lady, the dulia given to the saints and the relative dulia to their relics, to pictures, etc... – Donald Attwater, Ed., A Catholic Dictionary, ©1931 The MacMillan Company
Another respected Catholic dictionary provides a typically vague RCC definition that thoroughly obfuscates the issue:
Cult (L. cultus) A great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea or thing. Strictly speaking, it is either a religious practice or worship, embracing all the acts of adoration, direct or indirect, by which honor is given to God. – Albert J. Nevins, Ed., The Maryknoll Catholic Dictionary, © 1965, Grosset & Dunlap
DULIA, HYPERDULIA, LATRIA. Call it what you will, worship is worship and worship is to be rendered to the Creator, not created things or beings. Playing word games and inventing new meanings for what is represented by the practice of kneeling before an image, praying and sacrificing to a created being and holding special rites to honor such beings is idolatry, clear and simple. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck -–it is a duck!! When it comes to worshipping created beings and things – you can call it dulia or hyperdulia, but it still is idolatry.
Scripture particularly warns us against being beguiled into worshipping angels.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,--Colossians 2:18
Angel worship was becoming a big thing in the area around Colosse, where the practice continued for centuries. In it's worship (dulia) of Michael, Gabriel, etc., Roman Catholicism is in clear violation of God's commandment against idolatry. The proscription against worshipping (or rendering obsequious honors to) angels may be seen also in Matthew 4:10, Revelation 19:10 and Revelation 22:8,9.
There are similarities between the teachings and practice of the Roman church as concerns angels and those of the heretics who were proselytizing angelic worship in Paul's time. The Colossian heretics based their teaching on visions and revelations they claimed to have received. This of course, sounds a lot like the apparitions and "developing" traditions of the Roman church. These false teachers claimed to have secret wisdom and transcendent knowledge which only is available to the spiritually elite, similar to the Roman Magisterium. Like those of the Magisterium, their claims are false. The Scriptures are clear: Jesus Christ is God's final and complete revelation to man (Hebrews 1:1,2)
In writing to the Colossians, Paul stressed that all the truth necessary for salvation, sanctification and glorification is available in Christ, who is God revealed. (See also: John 1:14; Rom. 11:33-36; 1 Cor. 1:24, 2:6-8; Eph. 1:8-9, 3:8-9)
In the first two chapters of his letter to the Colossians, Paul stressed Christ's deity and his sufficiency to save believers and to bring them to spiritual maturity. There is no reason to worship or seek the assistance of Michael or any other created being. Christ is enough!
The Catholic Encyclopedia provides an alternate point of view:
It is objected that the invocation of saints is opposed to the unique mediatorship of Christ Jesus. There is indeed "one mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus". But He is our mediator in His quality of our common Redeemer; He is not our sole intercessor nor advocate, nor our sole mediator by way of supplication. - Catholic Encyclopedia, Op. cit. [Emphasis not in the original]
Is it God who promotes angels and selected dead people to the status of sainthood? Not at all. It is the pope, the Vicarius Filii Dei, who determines just who are the particular friends of God who merit His special love. And, by golly, he does so infallibly. At least, that is the consensus of a lot of the good ole boys who, in their fantasies, determined the Pontifex Maximus to have such powers.
Is the pope infallible in issuing a decree of canonization? Most theologians answer in the affirmative. It is the opinion of St. Antoninus, Melchior Cano, Suarez, Bellarmine, Bañez, Vasquez, and, among the canonists, of Gonzales Tellez, Fagnanus, Schmalzgrüber, Barbosa, Reiffenstül, Covarruvias (Variar. resol., I, x, no 13), Albitius (De Inconstantiâ in fide, xi, no 205), Petra (Comm. in Const. Apost., I, in notes to Const. I, Alex., III, no 17 sqq.), Joannes a S. Thomâ (on II-II, Q. I, disp. 9, a. 2), Silvester (Summa, s. v. Canonizatio), Del Bene (De Officio Inquisit. II, dub. 253), and many others. In Quodlib. IX, a. 16, St. Thomas says: "Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error." These words of St. Thomas, as is evident from the authorities just cited, all favouring a positive infallibility, have been interpreted by his school in favour of papal infallibility in the matter of canonization, and this interpretation is supported by several other passages in the same Quodlibet. This infallibility, however according to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief. Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Suarez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church.-- Catholic Encyclopedia, Op. cit.
Did you know there is a Chaplet to St. Michael? According to one Antonia d'Arsonac, the archangel visited her one day and taught her about the chaplet. He promised her that anyone who recited this chaplet before receiving communion would be escorted to the communion rail by a corps of nine angels, one from each of the nine angel choirs. To make things even better, Michael promised that those who recited his chaplet every day could count on his help and that of all the angels for so long as he lived. Sigh!
To give the reader some idea of what this chaplet involves, in addition to the usual multiplied Hail Marys and occasional Our Fathers, here are a couple of the chaplet's concluding prayers:
O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.
Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.
For a truly enlightening understanding of just how heretical this chaplet is, I invite readers to trip on over to this website to read the "salutations' to the nine choirs of angels pleading for their intercession before the Lord. Notice that the principalities, which even Catholics acknowledge to be hostile to Jesus Christ, are included in the list of angelic hosts prayed to:
A Catholic website offers this information concerning principalities:
In the New Testament Principalities refers to one type of spiritual (metaphysical) being which are now quite hostile to God and human beings. (Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:10, 15) Along with the principalities are the powers (Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 1 Pt 3:22; 2 Thes 1:7); and cosmological powers (1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 3:10; Col 2:15);Dominions (Eph 1:21; Col 1:16) and thrones (Col1:16). The clarity of the New Testament witness helps see that these beings were created through Christ and for Him (Col 1:16). Given their hostility to God and humans due to sin, Christ's ultimate rule over them (ibid) expresses the reign of the Lord over all in the cosmos. This is the Lordship of Christ, which reveals God's tremendous salvation in conquering sin and death at the cross, and now takes place in the Church. (Eph 3:10). -Saints and Angels, Copyright © 2007 Catholic Online
Am I the only one who sees a particularly egregious heresy in praying to beings hostile to Jesus Christ?
This is the law of the Roman Catholic Church:
Can. 1186 To foster the sanctification of the people of God, the Church commends to the special and filial veneration of Christ's faithful the Blessed Mary ever-Virgin, the Mother of God, whom Christ constituted the Mother of all. The Church also promotes the true and authentic cult of the other Saints, by whose example the faithful are edified and by whose intercession they are supported.
Can. 1187 Only those servants of God may be venerated by public cult who have been numbered by ecclesiastical authority among the Saints or the Blessed.
Can. 1188 The practice of exposing sacred images in churches for the veneration of the faithful is to be retained. However, these images are to be displayed in moderate numbers and in suitable fashion, so that the christian (sic) people are not disturbed, nor is occasion given for less than appropriate devotion.--Code of Canon Law
This is the Law of God:
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;--Exodus 20:2-5
When the time comes for the sheep to be separated from the goats, do YOU want to stand before the Great White Throne and try to explain to the Perfect Judge that when you were praying to one of His angels, or to Mary or some other dead person, you were not really worshipping with latria – merely dulia or hyperdulia? Do you honestly believe that Christ's judgment will be based upon Roman Catholic dogma and doctrine?
Think about it. Get right with the Lord while you still have breath.