Perhaps it is because we live in the transition period between the second and the third millennium, with all the alarmist charge every changing of the eras has implied, or because in a world in which everything is relative (Benedict XVI docet) there is more and more need of points of reference, or because evil is attacking the heart of Christianity, whichever the case, the point is that we have been witnessing for a long time now a true “invasion” of pseudo-mystics, visionaries and so on.
Apparitions occur, revelations become more evident, and many people are fascinated by it to the point of entrusting themselves totally to the so-called “anointed by the Lord”, even if the theories the latter promote are contrary to the official doctrine, even if they ignore the centrality of the Pope’s role and the authority of the Church’s magisterium.
There are controversial cases, where even inside the Church itself an unanimous position is missing. Discernment is a long process, and in the meantime, opinions swing between ferocious criticisms and a charismatic image of the character. This is Cataldo Elijah’s case, better known as fra Elia (even if he has never received priestly ordination nor does he belong to any order of friars; he merely did a few years of novitiate), the last of 8 children, born in 1962. According to his official biographer, Fiorella Turolli, as a little child he claims to have had visions of saints and angels; among them there was also his guardian angel, Lechitel.
This is when problems begin, because Christian literature does not know this name, which instead is well known in magic and esoteric circles (mentioned, for instance, in The Green Book, White Magic). The description of the world of angels he comes up with is very questionable: it mentions certain elements that take care of us as children and which are later substituted by other elements during our adulthood. It is evident that this is not the concept of guardian angel taught in the Christian tradition.
Moreover, according to Fra Elia’s words, he is a supernatural being himself, an embodied angel, superior even to the saints who are humble human beings, tools in the hands of God. And even here, there is something wrong with respect to the teachings of the Church. Ultimately, in fact, this approach is very similar to the peculiarities of New Age, where some people become “avatars”, i.e. divine embodiments who have the task of spreading messages of salvation. Fra Elia claims to have received the stigmata and the gift of healing through his alleged ability to channel energy as a healer.
Yet both some representatives of the clergy and some professors – although those doctrines have obvious references to the gnostic doctrines of the first century after Christ, adopted by theosophical esotericism and put forward again by New Age – have given body to his theses. “Fra Elia of God’s apostles” was created as a secular foundation which, by many people, however, is wrongly perceived as a religious order, also because its seat was placed in a former monastery bought with the money of a mysterious (in the sense that nobody ever knew who s/he was) benefactor.
In the meantime a lot of people have followed Fra Elia, compared even to Padre Pio.
A great reputation which increased when Cesare Prandelli, about to become the coach of the football team of Rome (and who later became a national football coach) thanked him for making his wife, who had a tumor, feel better. On November 26, 2006, however, Prandelli’s wife passes away.
Fra Elia – as reported in the book Private Revelations and Extraordinary Phenomena – preaches during mass, and even consecrates hosts, while not being ordered. A contradiction which many people do not grasp, since he presents himself as a friar, but that cannot be accepted by the clergy; as well as his activity as an exorcist, made illegally and with rituals that do not belong to the Church. This is why in Italy several bishops have officially forbidden him to hold prayer meetings in their own dioceses.
In short, many contradictions that place the figure of Fra Elia out of the Catholic field, although they talk about angels and God. On the other hand, magic rituals, in particular in that kind of popular magic soaked in superstition, often make use of accessories such as candles and holy water, incense and Christian prayers, yet they depart from catholic liturgical rites, as in this case.
Two more “weird” things. It speaks of incredible astral travels where the personal aura travels together with the guardian angel into boundless worlds while “someone” takes possession of the dormant body on Earth. Among Fra Elia’s revelations, there is one concerning Mary Magdalene, that in a vision revealed that her body is buried under the Louvre museum. Practically, the plot of Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. At this point, it would be enough to build a pyramid, and descend into the bowels of the Parisian museum to learn the truth. But real life is not a movie.