All the stuff about Christ-Mary Magdalene, or secret alchemical processes, esoteric rites, etc. was just part and parcel of the need to keep things confused and huggermugger so that real scientists, scholars, mathematicians, philosophers, bankers, and rich people could stay alive. Some made it and some didn't. Some of the church's hunting and soldiery even caused wars, the worst being the Thirty Years War caused by their targeting of Frederick King of Bohemia.
What's so ironic about this is that these societies have been co opted by rightwing conservatives and Christian fundies in America, George Bush and the neocons being primary examples of the way that these societies are now protecting the rich and the fundies and seem to be antithetical to good, secular science.... What a turn of events!