By Ann Marie, guest columnist and former Catholic nun
The Catholic Church puts the traditions of men ahead of what the Bible clearly teaches. As a result, many of its teachings and practices are contrary to Scripture. It took me years to learn this, and it was heartbreaking because I loved and trusted the priests I knew, and I believed whatever they taught me. I used to be a very faithful Catholic, but Jesus and was my primary focus, and I loved to read the Bible. And eventually God opened my eyes.
Ecumenism seems plausible because Catholics use words in a way that outsiders don’t understand. For example, for Catholics, “grace” is something that can be “merited” (i.e., earned by doing good works). And it can be given to objects such as holy water, in addition to being given to people. Because Protestants don’t understand what Catholics really mean, they think that they have a lot of things in common, when in reality they don’t.
Pope Francis seems to be trying to pull Protestants into the Catholic Church. He also seems to be attempting to influence Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and people of other religions with his inter-faith outreach. In addition, he claims that Christians, Jews, and Muslims worship the same God. We do not! Christians and Jews worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Muslims worship a very different “god.”
When listening to Pope Francis or reading his statements, please remember that he is a Jesuit, and Jesuits believe that it is morally right to engage in “mental reservations.” This is the practice of saying something with the deliberate intention of deceiving people, but doing it in a way that avoids technically being a lie.
The Jesuits also practice a form of mind control. It violates a person’s ability to think independently and to follow their own conscience. In addition, it can be used to pressure people to obey orders to do bad things. This approach can be seen in the following three rules from the “Spiritual Exercises” of Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.  The “Spiritual Exercises” are divided into sections of four “weeks,” followed by sections of four kinds of rules.
These are from the last section of rules, which is titled “Rules for Thinking with the Church.” [emphasis mine] Ignatius Loyola taught his followers:
“(1) Putting aside all private judgment, we should keep our minds prepared and ready to obey promptly and in all things the true spouse of Christ our Lord, our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.”
“(9) Finally, to praise all the precepts of the Church, holding ourselves ready at all times to find reasons for their defense, and never offending against them.”
(“13”) If we wish to be sure that we are right in all things, we should always be ready to accept this principle: I will believe that the white that I see is black, if the hierarchical Church so defines it. For, I believe that between the Bridegroom, Christ our Lord, and the Bride, His Church, there is but one spirit, which governs and directs us for the salvation of our souls, for the same Spirit and Lord, who gave us the Ten Commandments, guides and governs our Holy Mother Church.”
In addition to these Jesuit teachings, the Catholic Church itself promotes mind control. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the idea of freedom of religion is wrong. Religious belief is said to be “outside the realm of free private judgment,” which means that people are not supposed to use their own personal judgment to determine their religious beliefs.
According to Canon Law (the official laws governing the Roman Catholic Church), Catholics are required to submit their minds and wills to any declaration concerning faith or morals which is made by the Pope or by a church council. They are also required to avoid anything that disagrees with such declarations.
The Catholic Church teaches that only the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (the Pope and the bishops in communion with him) has the right to interpret Scripture. People are not allowed to interpret Scripture for themselves. They are supposed to rely entirely on Catholic Church authorities. Catholics are supposed to “receive with docility” any directives given to them by Catholic Church authorities.
My Experience with Mind Control
I understand such things because I used to be a nun a convent where we were subjected to some forms of mind control. Our personal identities were taken away from us and we were given new names. We were cut off from our families. We were not allowed to have any kind of emotional attachment to any person or even to an animal. We had to keep silence, which prevented us from communicating with the other nuns.
We had no free time. Everything was scheduled. We had several services a day to sing the Divine Office (Vespers etc.). Plus we went to Mass every day. We had scheduled prayer time in the evening, when there was a strict code of silence. All of our other time was spent doing chores.
We owned absolutely nothing. I wore my eyeglasses, but they could have taken them if they wanted to.
Christians are supposed to put on the mind of Christ. We do that through prayer and reading the Bible. In contrast, in the convent, we were taught to put on the mind of the Pope and of the founder of our religious order, and also of our mother superior. They were our guides, rather than the Bible. We were led by them instead of being led by the Holy Spirit.
In effect, our superiors were our conscience and our brains. We were not allowed to think independently, or have our own opinions about things, much less communicate about any questions we might have. We were not to ask questions—just obey.
When I left the convent, the nun responsible for getting me out of there whisked me away in such a fashion that the other nuns never saw me leave. I recall noticing that nuns would disappear from time to time, but didn’t understand what that meant until it happened to me.
She took me to the bus station and got me a ticket to go back home, which was in another state. While she was at the bus station, she called my parents. Thank God my parents were home. They weren’t out of town, or away visiting friends. I didn’t have enough money to take a cab from the bus station to the house, and I didn’t have a key to the house. If Mom and Dad had not been there, then I would have landed helplessly at the mercy of strangers.
When I got home, it was strange talking to people again. It took me a while to get used to it. It was strange hugging my family because I wasn’t used to touching people.
For months, I always kept my head covered. I always wore a scarf. In the convent, we always kept our heads covered, except when we went to bed at night. It took me months to be able to have my head uncovered without feeling guilty about it. After that, it took many more months before I was able to put on lipstick, and when I did it, I felt guilty.
I got a job as a temporary secretary. I had been a secretary before going into the convent. A man called my boss on the phone, and my boss asked me who it was. I told him that I didn’t know, so he told me to ask the caller who he was. I wasn’t able to do that. For years, as a secretary, I had routinely asked callers who they were, but being in the convent, I could not be assertive enough to ask a question like that. Therefore, my boss had to teach me how to do it.
I have some friends who are former nuns. They also went through strange things while making the adjustment to normal life. One of them had a woman mentor her. The woman taught her how to ride a bus, how to shop, how to handle money, how to fix her hair, and how to do other things that people take for granted. She had lost all of those skills while she was in the convent.
I have a friend who is a former nun who was trained to whip herself. It took a lot of training to get her to think that it was the right thing to do. But because she trusted and obeyed her superiors, she came to believe that it was a good thing. She didn’t actually whip herself, because then Vatican II came along, and the convent changed its policy, but she had been trained for it, and she was prepared to do it.
After I left the convent, eventually I left the Catholic Church and became an Evangelical Christian. It took me a long time to do that, with a lot of Bible study and prayer. Even after I was fully persuaded that Catholicism taught things that are contrary to Scripture, it was difficult to leave, because of the degree of mind control to which I had been subjected.
I was called “Sister Ann Marie” when I was in the convent. I am using that name for this article because I want to avoid being harassed.
- John A. Hardon, Pocket Catholic Dictionary, page 295 (“merit”). Hardon is a Catholic priest with a doctorate in theology.
- The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume 1, pages 394-407. Quoted in James G. McCarthy, The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and the Word of God (Harvest House Publishers, 1995), page 22.
- “Mental Reservation,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, 1911. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10195b.htm
- The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, translated by Anthony Mottola, Ph.D., introduction by Robert W. Gleason, S.J. (New York, NY: Image Books, 2014), pages 139-141.
- “Inquisition,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, 1910. The statement opposing freedom of religion is in the second paragraph of the article.http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm
- Code of Canon Law, Canons 752, 1311-1312 (Latin English edition, New English Translation) (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), pages 247, 409. The 1983 Code of Canon Law was translated into English in 1988.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 85, 100, 891, 2051. The Catechism summarizes the essential and basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It comes in numerous editions and languages. Because it has numbered paragraphs, statements can be accurately located in spite of the variety of editions.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 87, 1310, 2037.