The hypocrisy of Catholics is a very strong argument for the infallibility of the Church - Peter Kreeft
This is the conclusion of a Calvinist thinker who turned Catholic after a wide search for one mistake that would prove the Catholic Church false. Peter Kreeft knew about G.K. Chesterton's witty reply when asked about the strongest argument against Christianity: Christians.
A Jew who visited the corrupt Vatican
So when his Calvinist friends found out that he was reading about Catholics, they recommended that he read the books of anti-clericals. The book he read contained a story that led him to the Catholic faith. There was a Jewish businessman who was thinking of becoming Catholic, but had to go to Rome to do business with the Vatican during the time of some of the most corrupt Popes in history, the Borgias. The bishop that the Jew was talking with tried to dissuade him to go, for fear he will change his mind. But the businessman, a practical Jew, said that for him business was first, and the pleasure of converting was second.
Six months later, the Jew returns asking for baptism into the Church, even after seeing the hypocrisy of the Pope and the cardinals. "I am a practical Jewish businessman. One thing I know for sure: no earthly business that stupid and corrupt could possibly survive 14 weeks. Yours has lasted 14 centuries. It is a miracle.”
Kreeft explains: The hypocrisy of Catholics is a very strong argument for the infallibility of the Church. When Popes were assassinating each other, they never added a doctrine that said now you can assassinate the Pope. When they had 13 mistresses they never said that it is okay for Popes to have mistresses. The doctrine remained absolutely pure even though the practice was never very good and sometimes was horrible. That was very impressive.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told the same story and he quotes the Jewish businessman as saying: "It is because of all these that I have become a Catholic. For if the Church continues to exist in spite of it all, then truly there must be someone upholding her."
Napoleon wanted to destroy the Church
Ratzinger continues: "And there is another story, to the effect that Napoleon once declared that he would destroy the Church. Immediately, one of the cardinals replied, 'Not even we have managed that!'
I believe that we see something important in these paradoxical tales. There have in fact always been plenty of human monstrosities in the Catholic Church. That she still holds together, even if she groans and creaks, that she is still in existence, that she produces great martyrs and great believers, people who put their whole lives at her service, as missionaries, as nurses, as teachers, that really does show that there is someone there upholding her."
Napoleon died in prison, while the Pope he persecuted and imprisoned, returned to Rome and took care of his family. While Napoleon was in prison, this same Pope requested the British jailers of the exiled emperor to be kind to him.
Despite many attempts of powerful rulers and influential theological rebels to destroy it, the Catholic Church is presently acknowledged even by secular science as the largest non-governmental provider of education and medical care in the world. And serious secular historians have discovered that Catholic priests and laity have been at the foundation of humanly beneficial things such as modern science, university education, economics, hospitals, international law, human rights and Western art. These works reflect, in the eyes of theologians, the identity of the Catholic God: Logos (Reason), Truth, Love, Justice, and Beauty.
Misplacing the blame
When people say they don't believe the Church because of the hypocrisy of pedophile priests and bad Popes, they are "misplacing the blame," says Catholic Answers. "If a preacher, religious, or layman fails to live up to the standards he is preaching, the blame lies with him and not with the message he preaches. His actions say much about himself but not about the teachings of Christ. ... By way of analogy, if it were proven tomorrow that Albert Einstein was a child molester, that would not disprove the theory of relativity." In fact, the Catholic Church does not have more child abuse cases than other institution, such as the family, Boy Scouts, Protestant groups, public school teachers. And the Church has done more than any other institution to address this problem of today's society.
Despite the sins of its children, the Church is called holy because Jesus has decided to forever unite himself to it as his body, giving it his powers of sanctifying. Jesus gave his Church the power to forgive sins in Confession (Jn 20:23) and to celebrate his saving sacrifice (Mk 14; 1 Cor 5). It is individual Christians who back away from Christ's sanctifying power and cause scandal that make it difficult for people to see Christ in the Church. But Christ is there, because when he was on earth he loved to be with sinners, and he continues to be with us precisely because we need him.
Download the one-page leaflet version of this article here.
24 hours after posting, this article was viewed 54,274 times. After another 24 hours, it reached around 122K views.
A must read: Ten Reasons the Catholic Church is the One True Church of Jesus or A Most Intelligent Choice: Brief but strong arguments for the truth of God, Christ and the Catholic Church.
Important for change of life and tranquility of mind: Confession: Simple Reasons, Simple Steps
Note: These free one-page leaflets have started going viral around the world. Leaflets were posted in the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster in London ("The Mother Church of England") and in the Corpus Christi Parish in Canada, in Kenya and in Macau. To get the full collection, please see this: One Page Leaflets for New Evangelization Starting to Go Viral! The leaflets are easily multipliable for mass distribution in schools, communities, etc. They can also be sold with or without profit.