Another look at Catholic/Islamic statement: “diversity of religions … are willed by God in His wisdom”

What about that joint document of Francis and the Imam?

Francis signed something that very strongly suggested that God wills, in his active/positive will, a diversity of religions.  This is impossible.   The only way to interpret that in a Christian sense is to say that by God’s permissive will there is a plurality/diversity of religions.   I wrote about that before in an attempt to make what was signed not be male sonans… at least.

At the end of my post I wrote that I didn’t know what the writers of the document had in mind.  We only have the text of what was signed.

People are still talking about it.  I had originally thought that – since tens of people had read it, it would vanish into the big cabinet into which ecumenical documents vanish.   No so.  People are still on it.

For example, over at Rorate a smart fellow, Dr. John R. T. Lamont (a Canadian philosopher and theologian), wrote about it referencing me and disagreeing with what I wrote.  He agreed with me too, in that he wrote, regarding my examination of the English Francis/Imam text:

“Applying the distinction between God’s active will and God’s permissive will to Pope Francis’s words, and interpreting the words as asserting that the plurality of religions is the object of God’s permissive will rather than of His active will, is the only way of understanding them in a Christian sense.”

Then he went on to explain how we can’t interpret the bad phrase from the point of view of God’s permissive will.   I was not wholly convinced, but he had a strong case.   One point I found that was good, that contradicted what I wrote, was something I had planned to include in my own piece… but I left it out lest my post be too complicated.  He wrote:

“The context makes it clear that Pope Francis’s words state that God does will religious pluralism itself. Religious pluralism is classed together with other differences such as colour, sex, race, and language that are not evil in themselves, and that are positively willed by God.”

I actually had worked on a post that dealt with whether or not these other things – race, language, etc. – were willed by God positively or they were permitted in His permissive will.  But… life took over and I didn’t finish it.

Taken by itself, taking the claim only about religions, we can more easily apply God’s permissive will as an interpretive lens.  Taken with the other items, that gets really hard.

I would add another angle.

We also have translations in several languages of the text that was signed.  I don’t know what language was the language of authorship.  Which language did the Imam’s people and Francis’ people use?  Perhaps English or Portuguese… there were Portuguese and English influences in the UAE.  Who knows?

Are there differences in the texts?  Let’s look!

ENGLISH

Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept;

  • The pluralism and the diversity of religions, … are willed by God in His wisdom

ITALIAN

La libertà è un diritto di ogni persona: ciascuno gode della libertà di credo, di pensiero, di espressione e di azione. Il pluralismo e le diversità di religione, di colore, di sesso, di razza e di lingua sono una sapiente volontà divina, con la quale Dio ha creato gli esseri umani. Questa Sapienza divina è l’origine da cui deriva il diritto alla libertà di credo e alla libertà di essere diversi. Per questo si condanna il fatto di costringere la gente ad aderire a una certa religione o a una certa cultura, come pure di imporre uno stile di civiltà che gli altri non accettano.

  • Il pluralismo e le diversità di religione, … sono una sapiente volontà divina,
  • The pluralism and diversity of religions… are one divine will

FRENCH

La liberté est un droit de toute personne: chacune jouit de la liberté de croyance, de pensée, d’expression et d’action. Le pluralisme et les diversités de religion, de couleur, de sexe, de race et de langue sont une sage volonté divine, par laquelle Dieu a créé les êtres humains. Cette Sagesse divine est l’origine dont découle le droit à la liberté de croyance et à la liberté d’être différents. C’est pourquoi on condamne le fait de contraindre les gens à adhérer à une certaine religion ou à une certaine culture, comme aussi le fait d’imposer un style de civilisation que les autres n’acceptent pas.

  • Le pluralisme et les diversités de religion, … sont une sage volonté divine,
  • The pluralism and diversity of religions… are one divine will

GERMAN

Die Freiheit ist ein Recht jedes Menschen: ein jeder genießt Bekenntnis-, Gedanken-, Meinungs-, und Handlungsfreiheit. Der Pluralismus und die Verschiedenheit in Bezug auf Religion, Hautfarbe, Geschlecht, Ethnie und Sprache entsprechen einem weisen göttlichen Willen, mit dem Gott die Menschen erschaffen hat. Diese göttliche Weisheit ist der Ursprung, aus dem sich das Recht auf Bekenntnisfreiheit und auf die Freiheit, anders zu sein, ableitet. Deshalb wird der Umstand verurteilt, Menschen zu zwingen, eine bestimmte Religion oder eine gewisse Kultur anzunehmen wie auch einen kulturellen Lebensstil aufzuerlegen, den die anderen nicht akzeptieren.

  • Der Pluralismus und die Verschiedenheit in Bezug auf Religion, … entsprechen einem weisen göttlichen Willen,
  • The pluralism and diversity of religion… corresponds to a wise divine will

SPANISH

La libertad es un derecho de toda persona: todos disfrutan de la libertad de credo, de pensamiento, de expresión y de acción. El pluralismo y la diversidad de religión, color, sexo, raza y lengua son expresión de una sabia voluntad divina, con la que Dios creó a los seres humanos. Esta Sabiduría Divina es la fuente de la que proviene el derecho a la libertad de credo y a la libertad de ser diferente. Por esto se condena el hecho de que se obligue a la gente a adherir a una religión o cultura determinada, como también de que se imponga un estilo de civilización que los demás no aceptan.

  • El pluralismo y la diversidad de religión, … son expresión de una sabia voluntad divina
  • The pluralism and diversity of religion, … are expressions of a wise divine will

PORTUGUESE

A liberdade é um direito de toda a pessoa: cada um goza da liberdade de credo, de pensamento, de expressão e de ação. O pluralismo e as diversidades de religião, de cor, de sexo, de raça e de língua fazem parte daquele sábio desígnio divino com que Deus criou os seres humanos. Esta Sabedoria divina é a origem donde deriva o direito à liberdade de credo e à liberdade de ser diferente. Por isso, condena-se o facto de forçar as pessoas a aderir a uma determinada religião ou a uma certa cultura, bem como de impor um estilo de civilização que os outros não aceitam.

  • O pluralismo e as diversidades de religião, …fazem parte daquele sábio desígnio divino
  • Pluralism and diversities of religion, … are part of that wise divine design

Interesting, no?

So, in English it is far easier to think in terms of God’s permissive will.

When you get out of English… it isn’t so easy to find permissive will.  The statement sounds very much like the pluralism of religions (and other things) is a result of God’s active and positive will.   Until we have a clear statement from the Holy See about the meaning of this phrase, it is very hard indeed – all the translations considered – to apply permissive will.  It is not impossible to include permissive will, because the whole paragraph is about human freedom.  After the statement in question, the text goes on about things that people do to other people.

Again, I don’t know what the writers intended.  And yet, there are signatures on it.

We sure need Latin, don’t we.

When we hear or read something strange, we should try to apply the best interpretation and not automatically go to the worst interpretation.  At the same time, it doesn’t do any good to ignore the obvious.  I don’t think that it is entirely obvious what is meant in that document.  Not entirely.  But it doesn’t look good.  And I think teachers in the Church are obliged to bring clarity rather than confusion.

But with documents these days… it’s as if they don’t want us to know what they really mean.

BTW… in case you are wondering about that phrase I used above, male sonans, this is a category of the theological censures.  These censures were applied to protect the integrity of the Faith and to prevent people from being mislead (in the case of falsehood) and confused (in the case of fuzziness).  One of the labels was male sonans… evil-sounding.    Anyway, here are the categories in descending order of gravity

  • hæretica (heretical)
  • erronea (erroneous)
  • hæresi proxima (next to heresy)
  • errori proxima (next to error)
  • temeratia (rash)
  • ambigua (ambiguous)
  • captiosa (captious)
  • male sonans (evil-sounding)
  • piarum aurium offensiva (offensive to pious ears)

Male sonans and piarum aurium offensiva were low on the list of censures, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t taken seriously.

The badly worded phrase in that document are at the very least piarum aurium offensiva and even male sonans.  Note that there is also ambigua.

Salvo meliori iudicio!

I’ve turned on the moderation queue for the sake of helpful comments, well-considered.

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26 Responses to Another look at Catholic/Islamic statement: “diversity of religions … are willed by God in His wisdom”

  1. Mark says:

    Maybe this is a rabbit hole you don’t want to go down, but if the writers of the document DID intend it to mean that God actively willed a plurality of religions, and Pope Francis signed it, would that be considered heretical, and would he therefore no longer be the Pope?

    [Those are huge leaps.]

  2. Fallibilissimo says:

    I actually found the ones in Italian and French more open to the idea of permissive will: they use the adjective “wise” to qualify the noun “will” and so it gives me the sense that His will is being qualified for a purpose. That purpose makes sense in terms of the reason God may allow evil. Coupled with the context of religious freedom, I find the permissive will explanation rather appropriate in those languages. But that’s just my impression.

    There is yet another option which I find especially relevant in the modern academic context of religious studies. Many religious studies academics don’t have a clear definition of what religion really is. Some argue the term is completely meaningless. In that sense, and I really don’t think it’s a stretch as some might think, it could be the Pope (or whoever actually wrote the thing…who knows if the Holy Father even read it) meant something different by religion. Since it’s in the context of race, language etc, it would be strange that an intellectual category (or something that requires some type of assent of intellect and/or will) like faith or religion should be mixed in there. So I think it could be at least possible, that we are dealing with the plurality of legitimate and personal religious expressions/customs towards God. That would include, one may suppose, different habits of thanksgiving (assuming they are at least in line with Natural Law), languages of prayer etc. Or, even for polytheists, their religious impulse is willed by God.

    So, maybe the Pope meant it in terms of the plurality of some type of expression of what Don Luigi Giussani called the “religious sense” (again, only legitimate ones).

    Anyway, for some my explanation is ridiculous, I get that too. But I really wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what’s meant or if tomorrow he would say such a thing as the above.

    Actually, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if someone on Vatican hill, the Holy Father included, just gave a clarification and ended this unending descent into speculations. Please? Per favore? Maybe? That would be nice? Just two lines? Maybe even three?

    As an aside, whenever I read a text on religious freedom I keep a line from Dignitatis Humanae in mind, so as to better understand what our leaders actually mean. I genuinely think they often do have these thoughts in the back of their minds, but they just don’t find it useful to add them as asterisks to what they say:
    “Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

    Also, expressions from HD like “within due limits” and “Provided the just demands of public order are observed” are good to keep in mind as unspoken but real qualifiers.

  3. Robert_Caritas says:

    I wonder how deep the perfect and permissive will distinction really goes. In effect, God only has one will. What we call “perfect” is God’s original plan. What we call “permissive” is God’s reactions to the evil in the world. But they are both still one and the same will. I feel that Pope Francis, 1) not being much of a scholastic (which in itself is no problem at all, Benedict is not a scholastic either), and 2) writing a document in common with a *Muslim*, would not think of making the fine grained distinction. I feel that Pope Francis’ response to this quibble would be “well obviously God’s plan is for everyone to worship Him in communion together, but until then he has willed the plurality of religions.”

    Any thoughts ?

  4. WVC says:

    Language, color, and race I can see the case being made that it could be God’s permissive will – the whole Tower of Babylon thing was not God’s idea, and the result of that incident one might be able to argue was more permissive vice active on God’s part (had there been no tower of Babel, perhaps there would never have been the multiplication of language . . . etc.)

    Sex, though? It’s pretty clear that God made them man and woman from the beginning. That was clearly a part of the original plan.

    I don’t lose sleep over this (it will take a lot more than Pope Francis to make me question the Catholic Faith), but one question I have is how much the comprehension of the author/writer/signer factors into the validity of a statement. I know folks from Argentina. I am fond of them. However, something they seem to share as a cultural trait, and something I notice from Pope Francis, is the ability to talk and talk and talk without really thinking about what one is saying. You can explain a great number of papal plane mishaps by this principle – question was asked, and an unprepared, random, very much not-thought-out reply is made in rambling fashion with a desire to give the impression of being compassionate but without really comprehending the ideas being exchanged. The most famous example being the Lutheran woman asking him about receiving the Eucharist and the answer was basically, “yes — no — I don’t know — why don’t you go figure it out.”

    What if this trend occurs also in writing and reading and signing? If we assume Pope Francis wrote this statement or at least read it through before signing it, what if he just grazed through it with the same amount of depth and consideration as he does a papal plane interview. I get a very strong sense that, even today, Pope Francis is often not fully aware of the weight of his words and actions as the Vicar of Christ and not just Jorge Bergoglio (often but not always).

    What if the idea or concept of God’s active or permissive will didn’t even enter his mind? What if he gave it about as much thought as a five year old – “God loves people, He loves everything about people, He wants them to be happy, yeah, yeah, yeah.” I’m not saying it makes the statement any less objectively problematic – I’m just saying that this rush to say “Ah! He is publicly proclaiming heresy and is therefore not Pope!” is a little misguided.

    You can’t have a battle of wits with an opponent who is unarmed. Perhaps you can’t be accused of knowingly rejecting a post-baptismal article of Catholic Faith if you’re not actually paying any attention?

  5. haydn seeker says:

    A question in ignorance: what would an observant Muslim think of this document? Surely the foundation of Islam is that there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet. If I thought that, my head would fall off if an Imam signed a document saying God willed a variety of religions.

  6. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    In re what observant Moslems would think about God (or, rather, “Allah”) willing a multiplicity of religions: that’s straightforward. Allah’s principal characteristic is his will. He can will anything, good or evil (or, rather, that “good” is “in accordance with Allah’s will” and “evil” is “not in accordance…”), and he can change his will, arbitrarily. He has already willed certain souls (mostly female) to be damned, and the existence of religions other than Islam is in perfect accordance with his will – the adherents of these religions are there precisely to be lorded over by the Moslems in this life and to be condemned to sempiternal torment in the next.

  7. Sawyer says:

    I remember the controversy over Pope John Paul II praying “with” leaders of non-Christian and non-theistic religions at Assisi in 1986. I think the consonance of that event with Catholic Faith was “preserved” by making the distinction that the Pope was praying “with” (in same location as) but not “with” (together to the same deity) those non-Christians. Still many questions remained about its propriety and meaningfulness. Best for popes to avoid situations and statements in which it depends on what the meaning of the word is is. Clarity and consistency in upholding the deposit of faith is important from popes.

  8. LeoWong says:

    “We sure need Latin, don’t we.” Is there an Arabic version?

  9. LeoWong says:

    “Willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.” The association with creation rules out “permissive will”. “And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good.”

  10. anj says:

    There is a fundamental law of non contradiction that must be obeyed. Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. To say that both are actively willed by God is an insult first to God.

    What these two parties seem to want is to lay a foundation of peaceful coexistence between the two religions. Never mind it is heresy to both religions.

    This path leads to atheism for honest people.

  11. originalsolitude says:

    A little thought.
    Perhaps the wording is deliberately ambiguous because there can be no common ground between Catholicism and Islam in the matter of God’s will, the reason being that for Islam God is absolute will, and everything is God’s will. If something happens, that’s God’s will. And God can will anything even the absurd. If God wills that adultery is good then adultery is good. That’s God’s will. And by the way, God wills as a master, not a father, since God is not father but master.

  12. Jann says:

    I think the undefined conception of freedom as offered in the document as well as the ideal of promoting a “culture of tolerance” is just as troubling (especially after stating that everyone has the right to freedom of belief and action without any criteria) as what it says of the plurality and diversity of religions being God’s will for humankind. So, we are to tolerate whatever anyone does, e.g. abortion and infanticide, or believes, e.g. demonic cults? “It’s all good.” And God seeing all this, says “It’s all good.” I don’t think so.

  13. cajunpower says:

    So, at best we have a terribly ambiguous statement that adds to the confusion of the faithful who are constantly fed the universalist/relativist line from sources both outside and inside of the Church.

    Even assuming that this declaration was entered into with the noblest and most orthodox of intentions, one question remains: Why? Why do it? For peace? Maybe. But do these types of things really lead to peace? Or, by hiding from the actual differences between religions behind vapid banality, do we foment the very radicalism that we seek to discourage?

    Any Muslim or Catholic who is aware of the history of his religion from before ten minutes ago understands the absurdity of a declaration that contradictory religions have been willed by God in His wisdom. Is it not unlikely that he will eventually tire of the saccharine insipidity and search for authenticity? And doesn’t history indicate that such authenticity is likely to be found outside of institutional structures, unrefined and extreme?

    People are always going to search for authenticity, and they know this ain’t it. Unfortunately, authenticity of belief is not necessarily authentic Truth. And it’s often misguided, if not authentically evil.

  14. VP says:

    To Haydn – el-Tayeb is practicing taqiyyah at the highest level. Francis is either dishonest or out of his depth.

  15. Gab says:

    Call me cynical (but don’t call me late for Coda alla vaccinara) what is written in that document sails perilously close to “all religions are the same”.

  16. DonL says:

    “But with documents these days… it’s as if they don’t want us to know what they really mean.'”
    If there is one constant coming from “Rome” it is ambiguity and confusing. Clarity is all too easy as well as the consistent ignoring of that reality.
    I am convinced that Pius VI’s autorum fidei hits the nail on the head when it describes the deliberate use of ambiguity in the Church “…to allow for error…” which will return from time to time.

  17. Unwilling says:

    In some way, every existing thing is willed by God. There was a Christian group/movement travelling to the Middle-East, seeking face-to-face encounters with Muslims, and also confident that their “outreach” was the will of God, using the motto: DEUS VULT! God wills and provides us opportunities to be closer to Him and to grow in grace. God wills each moment; but what will we each do with it?

  18. jltuttle says:

    Race, and therefore color, arguably stem from language, as humanity might not have scattered were it not for the fall of Babel. The confusion of languages is actively willed by God as punishment for man’s overreach. Genesis 11:7. And clearly God actively willed to make Man male and female. And no one uses the verb will when speaking of the permissive will; they say “allow.” The document was written and translated in modern languages, relying on modern usage.

    America’s forefathers revolted over a tax on their breakfast beverage, but we in modern times are too flaccid to rise up against socialism. We, the Church, are doing a marvelous job of conforming to the modern world.

    Enough already.

  19. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    If I understand correctly what has been said, then a Muslim Imam can make such a statement as “God wills a diversity of religion” as part of a tactic, a “strategic lie”, or something like that. If the god of Islam is the father of lies, then this is internally consistent. On the other hand, the Holy Father, successor of the one who said “You have the words of Eternal Life”….. asserting that one religion is just as good as another, or that God willed a diversity of religions in His positive will is, it seems to me, directly contradicting revelation and the constant magisterium. It is a kind of false witness. To speak ambiguously on so simple and straightforward a point (or to need ambiguity to avoid heresy) is difficult to swallow, since it confuses the faithful (do I follow this current pope’s personal restoration or what the Church has always taught, which includes the teaching that the pope can’t teach error) and sets up the abandonment of the faith.

    We’re taught that we may never do evil in the hope that good may come from it. An ambiguous statement like the one in this communique seems to be the committing of an evil (denying that God established one true church) in the hope that good may come from it (i.e., peace with the religion of peace?)

  20. BrionyB says:

    “el-Tayeb is practicing taqiyyah at the highest level. Francis is either dishonest or out of his depth.”

    Quite possibly the latter. It reminds me a little of the well-meaning Anglican bishop who was duped by a Muslim woman (who no doubt seemed like a nice, polite young lady who shared his enthusiasm for dialogue and tolerance) he allowed to read from the Koran during a cathedral service.

    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/why-the-cathedral-quran-reading-deserved-its-rebuke/103902.htm

  21. Lurker 59 says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for discussing this topic. Personally, as a convert to the Faith, things that undermine the Missionary Mandate of the Church are items that are not quickly dropped.

    From the bottom of the document, the working languages for the document are Italian and Arabic [00199-EN.01] [Original text: Italian and Arab].

    When we look at any document, difficulties in interpretation arise when one attempts to apply a hermeneutical lens that is foreign to the document. Might it be suggested that attempting to apply a Ratzingerian “hermeneutic of continuity” to the document is going to achieve as frustrating of results as trying to interpret the document using a wholly foreign lens such as Taoist philosophy? How does our interpretation of the document change when we utilize a “hermeneutic of rupture”/”Spirit of Vatican II hermeneutic”?

    Leaving that aside, the document is a joint document by Catholic and Sunni Muslims. How the document is to be interpreted by that Islamic school of thought is no small thing. (X)MCCLXIII above correctly points out that the understanding of Allah being pure will has no problem for the Muslim to say that the non-Muslim religions are willed by Allah in an active sense — for they are so willed for the perdition of the practitioners and so that the Muslim might engage in the holy struggle against them (which need not be interpreted violently but has been historically and in practice).

    However, a Muslim would have a problem with understanding religions as being passively willed, for religions includes all, and no Muslim Imam would say that “Allah has passively willed Islam”.

    Is it to be considered then that the Catholic authors intend something completely different than what the Islamic authors intend? No, that does not make sense for a joint document where the whole purpose of the document is in stating an agreed upon worldview and plan of co-operation. What is meant simply is that the diversity of religions is something that God [actively] wants in His divine wisdom.

    The “why” of the diversity of religions, as well as colour, sex, race and language, is left aside and can have different reasons in Catholic and Islamic thought.

    THAT SAID, it appears to me that the conflict over “willed by God” here overlooks a much deeper problem in this paragraph.

    “Freedom is a right of every person: …. divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. ” Basically, that individuals have a right to persist in their religion because that religion exists because of the divine wisdom stemming from the divine will.

    This position grows from one of the thesis condemned in Dominus Iesus (cf. 4, 9, 13, 19, 22). I’d quote the document but it would be good for people to reread this document. One cannot believe in the universality and unity of the salvific mission of Christ and yet hold that individuals have a right to persist in their belief due to the wisdom of God stemming from God’s will. Either God wills salvation through Christ alone by baptism into Christ’s Mystical Body, or God wills the plurality of religions and vouchsafes man’s right to persist in his religion. The latter is a direct denial of the Missionary Mandate of the Church. God doesnt want there to be many religions, God wants all to be united in One Religion, the One that He created. That is the creed — One God, One Faith, One Baptism, One Church.

    Which is why also Muslims should be offended at this document as it is likewise the denial of “the struggle” — of the missionary mandate in Islam. The Quran doesn’t allow the non-Muslim a right to persist in their religion, only a toleration under certain conditions, such as paying “the tax”.

    No believer (Christian nor Muslim) looks at the other in love and says, “You are fine where you are.” If you love the other you want the other to have what you have…for them to gain true belief and relationship with God.

  22. The original Mr. X says:

    The thing that stood out for me reading the various translations was that only English has “religions” in the plural; all the others say “diversity of religion”. Maybe I’m putting too much weight on the distinction here, but it seems to me that “diversity of religion” doesn’t have to mean the variety of different religions, but could simply refer to the different ways people have of living out their faith. For example, the situation in the Catholic Church, with (on the one hand) extremely intellectual Neoscholasticism, and (on the other) various pieces of popular piety, and pretty much everything in between, could be reasonably described as an example of “diversity of religion”, if that term is understood to mean “diversity of religious practices” as opposed to “diversity of religious beliefs”.

  23. PTK_70 says:

    Good insight I think from The original Mr. X.

    Here’s what I might add to the discussion. Did not God actively will – by bringing into existence at different points in time – at least two distinct religions: Mosaic Judaism and Catholicism? And should we not say that He positively countenanced at least one more: the religion of the priest Melchizedek?

    Someone will say that Catholicism is the fulfillment of Judaism so they’re not two entirely different things. Fair enough, but they are distinct and one was valid when the other had yet to be dreamt of. Anyway, looked at over the span of human history, which encompasses time and space, a Christian can surely be at peace with the notion that God has positively countenanced a plurality of religious expressions.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you, Father, for being the voice of reason in a media world of emotional responses to this document. We all need more measured responses, even though, as Damian Thompson said in exasperation on EWTN, that some journalists and commentators are tired of trying to re-interpret the Pope’s many statements in the light of orthodoxy.

    My view is that we need less input from the Pope and his advisors. However, if this document helps bring about religious freedom for the many Christians in the Middle East to worship, attend Mass and so on, that is a good coming out of this confusion. However, any smack of stating that all religions are the same is, of course, heretical. Like so many others, I conclude that this pope is not malicious in intent (how would we know anyway) but confused himself on certain issues. This is possible, given that he is the first pope with post Vatican II seminary training–not to blame it all on Vat II, either, as the rot set in much earlier with the Modernist controversies.

  25. KateD says:

    The desire for peace when Christians are suffering so much at the hands of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram is understandable, but God did not will Islam. One does not arrive at peace through the denial of Truth.

    Consider that Islam came at a time AFTER Christ established His Church, was transmitted to its founder in a cave by a jinn who dictated it daily with beatings as a memory aid and then was forcibly spread by violence with a threat of “convert or die” in areas where Christianity and Judaism was already firmly rooted. God did not will His priests murdered and that the then known world should be deprived all access to the faith He established. It is absolutely wrong to make such a pronouncement.

    Has there ever been a mentally infirmed Pope? If so how is it addressed?

  26. dallenl says:

    Islam is more a cult than a religion. A good relationship in a non-hostile manner is desirable but it is unnecessary to issue statement that have little meaning and are quite confusing to many.