RELIGION
10/02/2014 12:55 pm ET Updated Oct 02, 2014

Pope Francis: I Believe In Guardian Angels

Karlheinz Oster/Fuse via Getty Images

Hark, the herald angels speak!

Guardian angels are real, Pope Francis announced during his daily mass at the Vatican. And they’re always ready for a chat.

The pontiff reassured Catholics celebrating the Feast of the Guardian Angels on October 2 that the celestial beings do indeed exist and help believers make good decisions.

“The doctrine on angels is not fantasist. No, it’s reality,” the pope said. “According to church tradition we all have an angel with us, who protects us and helps us understand things.”

In fact, Francis said that angels give Catholics’ conscience a voice.

“How often have we heard ‘I should do this, I should not do this, that’s not right, be careful ...’. So often! It is the voice of our traveling companion,” the pope said.

He encouraged believers to examine their relationship with these angels, to say good morning to them and ask for protection at night.

“No one journeys alone and no one should think that they are alone,” he said.

It’s a sentiment that resonates with Lorna Byrne, a devout Catholic from Ireland whose books about angels have become international bestsellers. Byrne claims she’s been seeing and speaking with angels since childhood.

“I think [Catholics] who find it hard to believe in guardian angels were just looking for confirmation,” Byrne told the Huffington Post. “They’ve got that now from Pope Francis.”

The Feast of the Guardian Angels has a long history in the Catholic Church. Tradition suggests that God assigns everyone an angel at birth. The companion then carries the believer through the hardships of life and is constantly present to give advice. Pope Paul V added the Feast to the Roman calendar back in 1615.

Nevertheless, Byrne said she’s met hundreds of Catholics who have refused to believe in angels. They demand hard evidence and ask how heavenly beings could exist if there is still so much suffering in the world.

If people listened to their guardian angels more regularly, Byrne said, there would be less evil in the world.

"Angels are a gift from God," she said. "But we doubt the guidance that’s been given to us all the time."

Byrne said she’s “delighted” that Francis has spoken candidly about the ancient tradition.

“It’s important because it gives people something to believe in again,” Byrne said.

HuffPost

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