When I was first married, we used to get a lot of Mormon missionaries. My husband and I always invited them in and talked to them. Not so much to try to convert them – we realized that was a lost cause. But we figured we could at least give them some lemonade and kindness, and let them see that Catholics were normal people. (Many of these kids had never met an actual Catholic before, and had all sorts of funny ideas about how we lived and what we believed.)
Anyway, one day a pair of them tried to use the formula “Well, Catholics believe x, and that’s not what the Bible teaches!” (I forget the exact argument – too many years and children have intervened.)
I said “No we don’t.”
They argued that we DID believe that. So I pulled out the Catechism and showed them what we actually believe. The guys were floored. They couldn’t believe we had this book that contained the essence of Catholic teaching. They asked if they could have it. I had to tell them ‘no’ (It was the copy my husband got for his confirmation and had sentimental value). I told them that if they went in to Borders they could pick up the paperback for 6.95. Or they could borrow it from the library.
They couldn’t believe that the Church would make our teachings available to anyone, even non-Catholics. They were shocked that everything we believe was out there, in bookstores and online, for anyone who cared. Mormonism has secret teachings. The Church doesn’t.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, I keep hearing that I can’t really understand RC/LC, because I’ve never been on the inside. And ex-members have blogged about secret books (some plagiarized!), books only available to members, books that were supposed to be kept hidden in back bedrooms or at retreat centers.
THIS IS NOT CATHOLICISM. We don’t have ‘secret teachings.’ There are no ‘secret books of the Benedictines.’ Heck, even the ‘secret archives’ of the Vatican aren’t really secret—they’re just poorly catalogued and you have to make an appointment to work with them (like most archives). Heck, even the ‘secret’ parts of the Mass aren’t secret. Anyone can get a Sacramentary and see the parts the priest is supposed to say silently.
Our Church is from Christ, and we’re without guile. We don’t have secrets. We tell everyone the Truth about ourselves. We don’t hide our light under a bushel basket. We’re not Gnostics.
So… where does that leave the Legion, with its secret knowledge?