To my mind, the best evidence of the Catholic Church's divine origins are these two facts:
1) The Church has never changed her teaching on masturbation
2) The Church has never definitively declared what happens to the souls of babies who die without baptism
Knowing what we know about human nature, there is simply no way at all that these two teachings would stand for twenty centuries, for two thousand years, if human beings were the ones making the rules and calling the shots.
Put on your thinking caps, and let's examine the facts.
The Church has always taught that masturbation is intrinsically immoral. Sex is not meant to be a solitary act. Our sexual faculties and reproductive systems are, by design, all about complementary, total union with another. To use sex selfishly, to "have sex with oneself", so to speak, is beneath the dignity of a human being.
Yet, in a fallen world, masturbation is an incredibly common sin.
So here we have a Church headed by unmarried men for century after century after century after century after century. We have had a succession of 266 popes. Not one single male in the long stretch of 266 has changed the teaching of the Church on masturbation. Not one of those men has said, "You know what? Let's loosen up on that one! Let's make life a little easier for all of us. Heck, it would even make us popular, especially among the young! We'd bring 'em in by droves if we said that masturbating was good and holy!"
Knowing what we know about human nature, and thinking of probabilities, how on earth is the teaching about masturbation's sinfulness still in place?
The skeptic might chide me by saying, "But you said that the Church can't change the teachings, that's why!"
And I'd answer with, "Yes, that's true, she can't; the Church can't change her doctrinal teachings precisely because she's of God. However, dear skeptic, that's not what you believe. Your belief, your conviction, is that the Church is a merely human institution. And you firmly believe, as do most skeptics, dissenters, and non-believers, that the Church can and should change her teaching on a number of issues (and you believe she will -- you are just waiting for that 'someday'). So, from your perspective, how on earth is the teaching about masturbation still in place?"
In human terms, of course, the teaching on masturbation should have and would have been changed almost right out of the gate. Or at least later, by one of the depraved, lusty, sinful popes, or the power-hungry popes, or the popes who could be bought, or maybe the popes who were weak and wanted to please.
All it would have taken is one bad apple who jumped at the chance to allow masturbation for himself and everyone else, guilt- and consequence-free!
And yet it's never happened.
If we are honest, we know that there's not any earthly, human reason for this teaching to be standing. Human beings are too weak, fickle, and sinful for this to be anything other than divine protection of Church teaching.
Babies who die without baptism
The second "proof" that the Church is not merely a human institution is the unanswered question of what happens to the souls of babies who die without baptism.
There are few things more heart wrenching than a mother who has lost her child. The agony of a mother or father after a child's death cannot be overstated. Throughout Christendom, from the first century until today, millions upon millions of anguished parents have appealed to the Church, asking the question, desperate for the assurance that their child is in Heaven. What human being with breath in his body and a beating heart in his chest would not want to do everything in his power to calm the mind and comfort the soul of a grieving parent?
If the Catholic Church operated on human desires alone, there would have been a rush to declare that all unbaptized children go straight to Heaven when they die. Imagine two thousand years' worth of popes witnessing countless instances of profound grief! Most, if not all, would be moved to make a definitive statement about the fate of the littlest souls. In a merely human institution, there would be nothing to stop them from making such a happy, welcome declaration.
And yet, the Church says today what she has said from the beginning: We just don't know definitively what happens to the souls of unbaptized babies. Theologians have debated the issue for centuries, have come up with constructs and theories such as "Limbo" (a place of perfect natural happiness, but minus the beatific vision), and have met and discussed this issue even recently at an international theological commission. But still, the teaching authority of the Church has not pronounced on it. Why? Because Jesus did not reveal it. The Deposit of Faith contains only that which has been revealed by Christ, and the Church has no power to go further than what she has received from God.
The very Church that loves providing answers to the world is being honest when she says that we just don't know. It is exactly because the popes have no power to change what Christ revealed that you will see nothing more definitive on this issue than what we read in the Catechism:
1261: As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,' allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.We humans want answers, and God doesn't always provide them. Many things are to remain a mystery to us this side of Heaven.
If you are frustrated by this, then imagine how frustrated a human pope is when he, as the head of the Church on earth, is unable to provide an answer to his beloved and often greatly suffering flock!
What merely earthly, human reason would stand in the way of 266 popes giving the answer we all want to hear? I can't think of one.
From what we know of human nature, if these two teachings don't provide enough reason for us to believe that the Church is of divine origin, then dare I say that even a man rising from the dead would not convince us.
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