Catholics vs. Protestants: What Do They Believe About Angels?

Do all Christians agree on the same ideas and beliefs regarding God's messengers?

BY: William D. Webber


Find Out:

What is the difference between what Protestants believe about angels and what Roman Catholics believe?
- roscott

How do Catholics and Protestants differ in their beliefs about angels? Surprisingly, this is not an easy question to answer. Both Protestants and Catholics agree on basic beliefs about angels, but there is no “official”list of beliefs about angels. Both believe what the Bible says, but there is still a difference between the Bible used by Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic Bible includes apocryphal books not included in the Protestant Bible. Apocryphal books include the Book of Tobit which mentions the Archangel Raphael. While Protestants accept only what is found in the Bible, the Catholic Church also accepts church traditions and teachings about angels.

The following is what I understand to be the generally accepted Catholic and Protestant views on angels.

Guardian Angels

The term "guardian angel" is not found anywhere in the Bible, but the popular belief for both Protestants and Catholics is that each person has a guardian angel to lead, guard, and guide. Generally, Catholics believe that guardian angels are given at conception, but most Protestants give little thought as to when guardian angels are assigned. Because the Bible gives so few details, some Protestant and Catholic theologians believe that, instead of God assigning one angel to a person for life, God assigns different angels to a person at different times. There may even be times when a person has more than one angel.

Role of Angels in Daily Life

During childhood, Catholics are encouraged to recognize the unseen presence of angels in their lives. A common prayer recited by Catholic children is, “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.” In some parochial schools, children save a place on their chairs for their angels.

While Protestants agree that angels are always with us, many place little emphasis on being aware of their presence. Recognized or not, angels are always present and active, although those who take angels for granted are less likely to be aware of the ministry of angels in their lives.

Angel Names in the Bible

Even though only Michael, Gabriel, and the fallen angel Satan (Lucifer) are mentioned by name in the Bible, the Catholic Apocrypha also mentions Raphael. In addition, the Catholic Church has recognized several other angels by name.

Protestants note only Michael, Gabriel, and the fallen angel Satan (Lucifer) are the angels with names in the Bible. Some Protestants also believe Michael is the only archangel mentioned by name (Jude 9).

More Info: Read about archangels.

Continued on page 2: Do Catholics and Protestants pray to angels? »

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