Mark Shea discusses the historic lies that keep arising about the Church.
It’s hard for me to keep up with our rapidly changing world.
For instance, one can find the reasons that the Catholic Church is evil are constantly changing in a kaleidoscopic whirl.
The Church, I discover, is not merely wrong and evil. It is wrong and evil for so very many different reasons. It is preternaturally wrong and evil; wrong and evil in ways that mere mortals don’t manage to be wrong and evil. It is wrong and evil for both denying and promoting the teaching of the Bible, for tolerating and muzzling apostate scholars, for being a sinkhole of superstitious belief in miracles and a rationalistic, linear, logic-chopping fortress of mere human wisdom totally closed to the reality of the supernatural God of Israel.
The Church is cruelly restrictive of Christian liberty, yet stupidly supportive of the notion of human free will. She is perpetually changing her tune and making up new doctrines, yet hidebound and retrograde, refusing to change with the times. She is austere and ascetic, yet luxurious and wasteful, filled with the threat of hell, yet stupidly pollyanna about a pink-and-fluffy heaven. The Church is too materialistic and too spiritual, too red, too green, too round, too square, too fat, too thin, too tall and too short.
The most recent manifestation of this peculiar Catholic genius for being overwhelmingly wrong and evil is borne out by Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code.
Brown’s basic message: Jesus was all agog for something called “the sacred feminine.” His girlfriend, Mary Magdalene, was the true “holy grail” since she bore the “blood of Christ” in the form of his descendants. All this was hushed up by the pagan emperor Constantine, who consolidated his power by ransacking paganism for all its ideas and suddenly declaring Jesus God in order to control the stupid herd and stamp out the sacred feminine that had hitherto been the balancing force to the sacred masculine in paganism.
Because of Brown’s novel, everybody is now running around, deeply concerned about the Catholic conspiracy to suppress the sacred feminine for 2,000 years.
However, a historical memory greater than that of a fruit fly’s would reveal that the Catholic Church’s wrongness and evilness goes even deeper than that. Because, up until 2003, the principal problem with the Catholic Church was that it was a fanatical supporter of the sacred feminine over and against the true biblical Gospel.
Carl Olson has the scoop, as he describes the insights into the depths of the Romanist Conspiracy afforded us by Left Behind authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.
Claiming that the Roman emperor Constantine’s “profession of faith” was a sham, LaHaye and Jenkins detail the kinds of “corruption” that eventually entered the once-pure early Church: “prayers for the dead, making the Sign of the Cross, worship of saints and angels, instituting the Mass, and worship of Mary — which in the Church of Rome was followed by prayers directed to Mary, leading to the 1950 doctrine of her assumption into heaven and in 1965 to the proclamation that Mary was ‘the Mother of the Church.’”
St. Augustine is glibly described as a “Greek humanist” whose introduction of “man’s wisdom” further “paved the way for more pagan thought and practice.”
Furthermore, St. Augustine’s “spiritualizing of Scripture eventually removed the Bible as the sole source of authority for correct doctrine. At the same time, the Scriptures were locked up in monasteries and museums, leaving Christians defenseless against the invasion of pagan and humanistic thought and practices. Consequently, the Dark Ages prevailed, and the Church of Rome became more pagan than Christian.”
Just as Dan Brown did, LaHaye reveals Constantine as the locus of evil in Western religious history. Just as in The Da Vinci Code, LaHaye discovers that Constantine paganized Christianity.
In a curiously happy concord, LaHaye and Brown are in perfect agreement about one thing: The Catholic Church is a giant conspiracy against Truth and it’s all Constantine’s fault.
Only one itty-bitty blank space remains to be filled, and that’s what “truth” is.
Are Constantine and the Catholic Church wrong and evil because they suppressed the worship of the sacred feminine and invented the worship of Jesus, as Dan Brown says? Or are they wrong and evil because they suppressed the worship of Jesus and invented the worship of the sacred feminine in the person of Mary, as Tim LaHaye says?
No matter, just so long as we accept without question that the Church is wrong and evil.
Of course, some Catholic dunces will note, with their typical dead white male-inspired rationalism, that Brown and LaHaye flatly contradict each other, just as the many other complaints against the Church listed above also have that peculiar quality. Such apologists for the Church may even note that every new discovery of a “real Jesus” reveals far more about us than about him.
With their tiresome insistence on so-called “facts,” such people may note that each generation tends to find a latest real Jesus that looks … just like what that generation wants him to be.
They will say that this is why the prosperous 1920s found a Jesus who was the “the founder of modern business” while Nazism discovered a Jesus who was really an Aryan, communism discovered a Jesus who was really a Marxist, the ’60s found a Jesus who was really a flower child, the ’70s found a Jesus who was really a superstar, the ’80s discovered a Jesus who would get you rich and heal your inner child, and the ’90s discovered he was homosexual.
These dull apologists for “the same old thing” will note that the readers of both LaHaye and Brown recapitulate this pattern precisely and that, in fact, the same old thing — that is, the Catholic Faith — is the truth while both Brown and LaHaye are telling baseless and historically illiterate lies.
But that can’t be true.
It just can’t be.
Mark Shea is co-author of The Da Vinci Deception:
100 Questions about the Fact and Fiction
of The Da Vinci Code (Ascension Press).