The human heart loves mysteries. By mystery, I mean hidden knowledge that requires a sleuth to uncover the truth. We love the idea of discovering lost secrets that upend our entire understanding of our world. Think of space aliens and the secret Area 51 in New Mexico. Think of movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark where the “true purpose” of the Ark of the Covenant is revealed or National Treasure, which divulges the “real” mission behind the Knights Templar and features the discovery of an ancient, buried treasure. There are even “mysteries” about the Catholic Church found in books like The Da Vinci Code, which “promised” to tell readers the machinations of the Vatican’s puppet masters, Opus Dei, and their effort to keep hidden forbidden knowledge that would expose the “true,” scandalous origins of Christianity!
Conspiracy theories make for interesting novels and entertaining movies, but, to the dismay of many, they are nothing more than conjecture designed to lead people away from the much more mundane truth of reality. Most of the time, what is obvious and clear is the truth: we haven’t found aliens, the Ark is not the ultimate weapon, and who the Church is and what she believes has been public since its founding by Christ and does not require a detective to find it. This aspect of the Church is what we call “catholic.”