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Vol. IV, July 1998

 

Opus Angelorum Update

Dear Brothers in the Priesthood!

The Church receives charisms "with thanksgiving and consolation" (LG 12). How well this could be witnessed this past Pentecost, when at the invitation of the Holy See a host of new spiritual movements gathered in Rome and celebrated the feast together with the Holy Father – The mass of the faithful extended far beyond St. Peter’s Square, cutting off the traffic around the Vatican. The ecclesial spirit was wonderful. As one of the leaders expressed it: "Without ‘Peter’ we can do nothing!" Yes, the gifts, the charisms come from the Holy Spirit, yet it is the duty of "those who have care over the Church [to] judge the genuineness and proper use of these gifts, through their office not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good (cf. Th 5,12. 19-21)" (LG 12).

Guided by this intention the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith examined the charismatic impulse of the Work of the Holy Angels and its practical consequences back in the early 80’s and again in the early 90’s. We shared the latter "Decree" with all the members of the OA in the Circular Letter of the Summer of 1992. The Church considered the Work of the Holy Angels as an charismatic impulse worthy to be sustained; therefore she appointed "a delegate with special faculties" in order to direct the recognized good into the right path of ecclesial development and service. At the same time, it was declared that the alleged charismatic knowledge about the world of the Angels or "the angelology peculiar to Opus Angelorum and certain practices arising from it were foreign to Sacred Scripture and Tradition". To be ‘foreign’ or ‘extraneous’ does not mean per se that they be false; rather it simply means they cannot be verified by comparing them with the ‘depositum fidei’ handed down by the apostles.

Now, since every spiritual movement and society in the Church must be solidly built upon this foundation, the Work of the Holy Angels was instructed to teach the doctrine on the Holy Angels on the basis of Holy Scripture, Tradition and the Doctors of the Church. This has proved an immense challenge: to bring forth the traditional angelology, materially in collections of writings on angelology and formally in theological-scientific explications of its message. Subsequently, on this basis we hope to determine the specific message of the OA spirituality apart from the "foreign theories" that it might help live more fully Christ’s definitive Revelation in this period of history (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 67).

Finally, the Congregation of the Faith was most solicitous to ordain that all the religious rites and practices be carried out according to the norms of the competent authority of the Church. That has been a gradual school for the members of the Work of the Holy Angels, and we want to continue to exhort all our members to celebrate the liturgy of the Church conscientiously and as reverently as possible. A well prepared, God-centered liturgy is certainly one of our best sermons.

These orientations were intended to help towards a fruitful incorporation of the charisms of the Work of the Holy Angels in the Church. It is a legitimate and understandable desire of many members in the OA to be informed about the present state of the OA. The first several years of service by the Delegate were dedicated to the interior organization and structure of the community; extremely important labors, but whose fruits are not so visible on the outside. Recently we were able to publish the "Supplication to the Holy Angels". And more recently, the papal delegate authorized the publication of the enclosed Infomation Letter in order to clarify the true ecclesial status of the Opus Angelorum. This we want to share with you.

Fr. Titus Kieninger, ORC and Fr. William Wagner, ORC