September 29th is the Feast of the Archangels, a day when Catholics are called to remember and venerate these special creatures used by God in salvation history.
But Catholics should beware: there are only three angels we should venerate by name. Any other names of angels you’ve heard – such as Uriel, Chamuel, Zadkiel, or others – should not be used.
First off, notice that the official name of the Feast of the Archangels is “Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels.” Notice that only three names are listed.
Though there are certainly many more angels than these three, these are the only angels that are named in the Bible. Michael is mentioned in Daniel, Jude, and Revelation and is the leader of the Lord’s angelic armies. Gabriel is mentioned in Daniel and Luke and is the angel who announced to Mary that she would conceive Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Rafael is the name of the angel in Tobit.
All other names of angels you may have heard come from non-canonical books or legends, and these names should not be used.
This issue was actually taken up many centuries ago by a local council in Rome in A.D. 745, led by Pope St. Zachary. The council was responding to a priest in Germany who was spreading a prayer to 8 angels, 7 of which are not mentioned in the Bible. The council condemned the prayer as sacrilegious, said that the 7 non-biblical names were of demons, and declared that the only angelic names Christian should use are the three in the Bible.
Aside from another local council that took place 40 years later and basically reaffirmed the teachings of the Roman council, the Church has had little to say on the matter – until recently.
Unfortunately, various New Age and occult movements have revived the use of these other angelic names. So in 2002, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a new Directory of Public Piety which stated “the practice of giving particular names to angels, with the exception of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, is to be disapproved of.”
Venerating angels as God’s good servants is a good and holy Catholic practice – but stick with Ss. Michael, Gabriel, and Rafael.
Holy Archangels, please lead us closer to Jesus!
I’ve seen this article posted on FB before and feel compelled to make a point: While the aforementioned content is not necessarily factually incorrect, it should really emphasize that this is primarily the view of the Latin Church, and NOT representative of all Catholic faith traditions. Byzantine Catholics and others who follow Eastern Rite traditions (churches in full communion with Rome, it should be mentioned) venerate the Archangel Uriel and consider II Esdras (Esdras IV in the Vulgate) to be deuterocanonical or apocryphal, even if most Western and Protestant churches do not acknowledge them as such. Thus, the rationale used to reject their validity (and by extension the angels such as Uriel noted within the texts) really differs very little from that used by most Protestant traditions in their rejection of the Book of Tobit (and hence Archangel St. Raphael — my patron saint.) And while it’s true that New Age movements have indeed in many ways “hijacked” angelology toward their own purposes and ends, Eastern Churches (both Orthodox and those in communion with Rome, not to mention Rabbinic Judaism) have recognized and honored some of these angelic entities for many centuries, long before contemporary occultism ever existed. So again — while this argument may appear factually sound from a Latin perspective, it treads a very slippery slope in unequivocally declaring ALL Catholics should conform to its position. As Francis Bacon observes, let us allow our minds to be enlarged to the grandeur of God’s mysteries, and not contract His mysteries to the narrowness of the mind.
It’s sad some people feel this way about the other angels. But I don’t need to be occult, New Age etc to believe in other angels, other than Michael, Gabriel & Raphael. The Lord has his own entourage of an entire Heavenly host of court of Angels & Archangels. The day after the Feast of the 3 Archangels, is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. How can we denounce all these lovely, divine beings who are also welcome to assist us, as they help us worship God, just because only 3 are doctrinal in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel, & Raphael? That is unfairly limiting & academically narrow-minded! When we die & go to Heaven, we will be with all of them!