I have a friend who has recently found his way back to the Church. While this makes me very happy, he has started hanging out with someone in our community who claims to be his “spiritual advisor.” I find this very suspect and strange. As a Catholic all of my life, with ups and downs regarding my faith, I never once have needed the help of a layperson. When I have questions of faith, I come here or talk to a priest. What is your view on this?
Lay Catholics may be spiritual advisors/directors. While a layperson cannot offer the sacrament of confession, which is why spiritual directors traditionally have been priests, knowledgeable and trained laity can offer spiritual direction. As a young man, John Paul II was greatly influenced by Jan Tyranowski, a layman who introduced him to Carmelite mysticism and who formed local Polish youth into what was called a “living rosary.”