Many of you have probably seen the movie Stigmata. It’s a good ole fashioned anti-Catholic love story between a priest who puts aside his vows for some sexual experiences with a young atheist who is having Stigmata. Besides being a bad movie from an entertainment perspective, it is really just plain wrong in its assertions about what the Catholic Church “hides” from public knowledge.
The thing to know about the movie Stigmata is that it comes at the Catholic Church from an ancient paradigm. Gnosticism was an early heretical movement within Christianity. The basic premise of Gnosticism is that some people who are born of the “Spirit” have a secret knowledge of God’s will – all other people are just dumb. From that basic premise comes all sorts of crazy delineations, like everything material is evil, and some people are better gnostics because they are directly descended from Jesus. A lot of modernists, in an attempt to find some sort of purpose in their lives, have recycled Gnosticism because of recent documents that have been discovered and made available to the public.
The movie Stigmata claims that the Catholic Church kept the Gnostic Gospels of Mary, Thomas, etc “secret”. The fact of the matter is you can google them and find them in about 2 minutes. They are not secret, but they are dangerous because people ACTUALLY BELIEVE THEY ARE AUTHENTIC AND TRULY WRITTEN BY JESUS’ DISCIPLES. Of course, this is not true. That’s not to say there isn’t some authentic material in those Gospels, but most of those documents have been seized by ancient Gnostic sects and interpolated with their own material. Sad. I’d be happy to get into the weeds about this, but it’s pretty technical.
This goes into a modern trend that I see/hear a lot from Protestants, but it also has been catching on with the WEIRDS (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic and Secular; kudos to 20committee blogger for, as the kids say, “nailing it”). Their heart longs for a sinless, pure community (whose doesn’t?), so they seek it among the various “non-denominational churches (read Baptist)” that speckles the plains of these US of A. When they don’t find their sinless community there, they go back to a time where “certainly existed a sinless community”, and lo and behold, they discover this “terribly oppressed community by the powerful Roman Catholic Church” the Gnostics.
Needless to say, there is no perfect, sinless community, so their search is in vain. But there IS a Church founded by Jesus Himself, and I’ll give you one guess which Church that is, but that Church isn’t the secretive Gnostic Church, which is why it died out nearly 1000 years ago, in contradiction to Christ’s promise that “I will build a Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”