The Catholic Thing
The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science Group dealing with paranoia about Catholicism.
My family had creepy stuff: manuals carefully transcribed on onion-skin, with articles by Bicknell Young and other sources. They describe Jesuits secretly devoting their lives to the destruction of Christian Science, and ‘mental malpractice’ in general. They warn against even being near a Catholic, since they are ‘unwitting transmitters of animal magnetism’. It was paranoid! Funny how it wasn’t even theologically consistent— wasn’t everything supposed to be good in Christian Science?
I used to have a Catholic friend who accused us of ‘worshipping’ Mary Baker Eddy, and I was so offended. Now I realize he was right.
I am curious if this aspect of my Christian Science upbringing was unique, or was it also experienced by others: that is, the way I was taught to view the Catholic church as something very dark, evil, and negative, to be avoided at all costs. I was taught that ‘the other churches, they are just ignorant—but the Catholic church, they are the ones actively using Error to try to bring down Christian Science.’ I was told that Catholic leaders pray for the downfall of Christian Science and even that they pray ‘the anti- Scientific Statement of Being,’ i.e., that they pray “There IS life, truth, intelligence and substance in matter…” etc., and I was taught that it’s one of the things a Christian Scientist should pray about every day, that ‘there is no power in the Catholic church.’ I was taught that the ‘spiritual wickedness in high places’ passage in the Bible was a reference to the Catholic Pope. I was taught that no Christian Scientist should ever have a close personal friendship with any Catholic, because Error could use that relationship as a way for the Catholic church to attack Christian Science. My grandmother learned this deep fear of Catholicism from her own Christian Science Teacher.
As for the Christian Science antipathy toward Catholicism, I was quite unaware of it until, as the chairman—and, in our small church, the sole member—of the music committee, I hired a Catholic friend to be the soloist. It was common for the soloists hired to not be Christian Scientists. She did admirably at the first service and, as innocent as I, she revealed her Catholic faith while chatting with church members. Imagine my chagrin and deep embarrassment when I was required to tell her that she would not be allowed to sing at my church again.
I was wondering: did anyone else have the experience of being lectured about the dangers of Catholics? That was another thing that was constantly drilled into me. I really believed that all Catholics were practicing malicious animal magnetism towards Christian Scientists and I should stay away from them.