In 1986, in the conclusion to an otherwise good survey of angels in the Bible and their role in God’s plan, John Paul II said:
Therefore the Church confesses her faith in the guardian angels, venerating them in the liturgy with an appropriate feast and recommending recourse to their protection by frequent prayer, as in the invocation “Angel of God.” This prayer seems to draw on the treasure of the beautiful words of St. Basil: “Every one of the faithful has beside him an angel as tutor and pastor, to lead him to life”.
Angels Participate in the History of Salvation
The Angel of God prayer he refers to 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, Rule and guide. Amen.
John Paul II encourages the faithful to pray to angels.
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul warned against people who worshiped angels.
Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Colossians 2:18-20 (NIV)
Paul says that God is the way to Salvation. The worship of angels, some thinking they had to or could go through angels, is not the way to Salvation.
The visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary announcing to her that by the Holy Spirit she would conceive Jesus, is the most prominent mention of angels in the Bible. Mary’s response to Gabriel, knowing that he was relaying a message from God was:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38 (NIV)
Mary adhered to the will of God. Later while visiting her cousin Elizabeth, Mary praises God. Mary does not thank Gabriel, worship Gabriel, or later pray to Gabriel. She acknowledges Gabriel as an angel of the Lord, a messenger from heaven.
John Paul II thought it was great idea to pray to angels, and others, along side Jesus. One theory I have heard is that praying to others in Heaven gets them closer to Jesus. That’s like saying a husband can get closer to his wife by ignoring her and only talking to her nephew!
Mary, the mother of Jesus, only prayed to God, she loved God as the Bible makes clear – why would she have prayed to anyone else. She knew there was only one way to Heaven. She is a great example.
(John Paul II did do a lot of good things during his papacy, including having some influence in the fall of the Iron Curtain, establishing dialogue with other Christians and other faiths, and getting most cloistered nuns out of the convent and into the community. I accept he was a great man. But like all of us, he had flaws.)