Vatican Issues Note on Opus Angelorum

Alerts Local Ordinaries About Wayward Members

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 5, 2010 ( The doctrinal congregation of the Church is warning local ordinaries about wayward members of Opus Angelorum, who are spreading false teachings about the angels.

In a note sent to bishops and archbishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted that while Opus Angelorum (work of the angels) is currently an association in good standing as a faithful entity of the Church, several ex-members are disobeying Church directives.

The letter, dated Oct. 2 and signed by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the congregation, was published Thursday by L’Osservatore Romano.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, published an explanatory note the same day in which he recalled the 1983 letter of the doctrinal dicastry that stated that members of the association should stick to Catholic teaching on angels and not spread the teachings of Gabriele Bitterlich, who claims to have received private revelations. He added that they were advised to “abide by all the liturgical norms in force, in particular those relating to the Eucharist.”

In 1992, a decree of the congregation, which was approved by Pope John Paul II, issued the same directives, in addition to a few other norms, and appointed a delegate to carry out their execution.

The Pope named Dominican Father Benoit Duroux, as the delegate. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith praised Father Duroux for “successfully complet[ing] the work entrusted to him.” Due to advanced age, he was replaced last March by Dominican Father Daniel Ols.

In good standing

Father Lombardi said that today, Opus Angelorum, “lives loyally and serenely in conformity with the doctrine of the Church and of the liturgical and canonical norms and constitutes a ‘public association of the Church.'”

He also affirmed the good standing of the Order of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross — an ancient order that dates back to the 12th century and was restored in 1977 by Opus Angelorum — and the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

The Vatican press director noted, however, that “a certain number of members of members, […] and in particular some priests who have left or been expelled from the Order of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, in past years have not accepted the norms given by the authority of the Church, and continue trying to restore a movement that practices what has been prohibited.”

“Because of this,” he added, “the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exhorts the ordinaries to be vigilant with regard to such initiatives.”

In the letter issued by the doctrinal dicastery, particular issues of concern include using “the ‘names’ of angels derived from the alleged private revelations attributed to Gabriele Bitterlich,” and the diffusion of “theories originating from these alleged revelations.”

“The congregation has learned that very discrete propaganda in favor of this wayward movement, which is outside of any ecclesiastical control, is taking place, aimed at presenting it as if it were in full communion with the Catholic Church,” the letter continued.

The note then concludes by asking local ordinaries “to be vigilant with regard to such activities, disruptive as they are of ecclesial communion, and to forbid them if they are present within their dioceses.”

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