5 Shocking Secrets of Religious Establishments
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5 Shocking Secrets of Religious Establishments

VOICE OVER: Derek Allen
These secrets about religious institutions will shock you! For this list, we'll be looking at the most shocking secrets of prominent religious organizations. Our countdown includes Vatican Apostolic Archives, Mount Athos, Endless Levels of Scientology, and more!
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5 Shocking Secrets of Religious Establishments



Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the 5 Shocking Secrets of Religious Establishments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most shocking secrets of prominent religious organizations.

Which of these secrets surprises you the most? Let us know in the comments.



#5: Vatican Apostolic Archives


The Catholic Church has existed for thousands of years and is the biggest religious denomination in the world. During this time, they’ve accumulated more than their share of documents. These are held in the Vatican Apostolic Archives, previously known as “the Vatican Secret Archives.” While the majority of these records are available to the public, some remain off-limits. It was Pope Leo XIII who opened scholarly access to these records. If you’re hoping to unlock some kind of massive conspiracy through these archives, good luck. You can only get access as a scholar, and that's a very limited level. Oh, and you have to be at least 75 years old. Good things come to those who wait.


#4: Mount Athos


The Greek peninsula of Mount Athos is one of the most beautiful and fascinating parts of the Mediterranean region. Although a part of Greece, Mount Athos has an autonomous government, not to mention their own set of very specific rules. It’s long been inhabited by monks from the Greek Orthodox Church and around the world, with visitor access available on a limited level. How limited? Women are completely forbidden from visiting, a law rooted in tradition and religious interpretation. It’s not just female humans who are banned, either. Any animals you bring to Mount Athos need to be male. Safe to say that there won’t be any “Ladies Nights” at Mount Athos anytime soon.


#3: Chief Exorcist of the Vatican


You might not believe in demonic possession, but exorcists are real. Gabriele Amorth was a priest for more than 60 years and claimed to have performed as many as 160,000 exorcisms, though he said only around 100 of these cases were actual possessions. And he wasn’t exactly shy about expressing where he thought evil might be lurking. He expressed his belief that both yoga and “Harry Potter” were satanic. And surely he thought “The Exorcist” was a blatant misrepresentation, right? Actually, that was his favorite movie, citing its importance for educating the public on his work. This is one man who made a career out of his passion.



#2: Endless Levels of Scientology


It’s satisfying to play a video game and make your way through the various levels, right? It wouldn’t nearly be as enjoyable if it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and seemingly never ended. The Church of Scientology has members spend exorbitant sums to be a part of their faith. A goal for Scientology followers is to reach the top of the metaphorical “Bridge to Total Freedom.” But once you’re there, you’re not done. As actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini explained, you still have to keep going and spend more money. By the time someone realizes what’s going on, they might have already spent their life savings and then some.


#1: Tribunal of Conscience


Sin and crime are not necessarily one in the same, but the Tribunal of Conscience can certainly blur the line. Established in 1179 by Pope Alexander I, this court is centered around conscience-based sins. Also known as the “Apostolic Penitentiary,” this court handles sins that require the forgiveness of the Holy See. An example of such a sin would be desecrating a communion wafer. And absolution requires the submitting of an anonymous petition, as well as the approval of the court's head, the Major Penitentiary. This court was kept secret to the public until 2009. If you’re Catholic and want to make sure your conscience is clear, here’s your chance.
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