When Francis signed that troubling document with the Imam in the UAE, a lot of people were confused and upset by an affirmation that seemed to say that God willed a diversity of religions. Sensing that there was going to be a kerfuffle – giving the statement the benefit of the doubt – I explained that statement with the only way that it could be understood in a Catholic sense without it being heretical.
All sort of people came down on me for suggesting that we had to apply the distinction of God’s active will and God’s permissive will. Since a diversity of religions is evil, God cannot have actively willed it. However, God permits things to happen that are evil so that greater good can emerge. He has an active will and a permissive will.
I also stated clearly that I didn’t know what the true intent of the writer of the document was. I said that that is the way to parse it to keep it from being heretical regardless of the intent of the writer. For what I wrote – HERE and HERE
Now comes this from LifeSite and Diane Montagna (who sort of threw me under the bus in that debate by engaging an “anonymous Dominican” etc. etc.).
The bishops of Kazakhstan were in Rome for their ad limina visit. The great Bp. Athanasius Schneider – bless him – scored some answers from Francis!
At the March 1 meeting, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, also obtained from Pope Francis a clarification that God only permits but does not positively will a “diversity of religions.”
In an exclusive interview with LifeSite, Bishop Schneider said the concerns raised during the two hour meeting with the Holy Father included “Communion for divorced and civilly ‘remarried’ Catholics, the issue of Communion for Protestant spouses in mixed marriages, and the issue of the practical spread of homosexuality in the Church.”
In a direct exchange between Pope Francis and Bishop Schneider, the claim that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God” was also discussed. The expression, contained in a joint statement that Pope Francis signed last month with a Grand Imam in Abu Dhabi, has incited considerable controversy.
The Pope explicitly stated that Bishop Schneider could share the contents of their exchange on this point. “You can say that the phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God,” he told the assembled bishops, who come from predominantly Muslim regions.
So, that doesn’t change the text of that dreadful statement, but it brings a little more clarity to the situation. Of course, what else was Francis supposed to say? The only way out of that quicksand was the rope of “permissive will”.
The whole interview is at LifeSite. Read it.
I enjoyed this in particular.
LIFESITE: You mentioned the statistic that 80 percent of victims were post-pubescent males. How do you respond to Cardinal Blase Cupich and others who point to the John Jay report and other studies as evidence there is no causal relationship between homosexuality and clerical sex abuse?
SCHNEIDER: It’s a denial of reality. How can I speak with a man who denies reality? This is only explainable as an ideological position.
In any event, do read the interview. Montagna asked good questions and got great answers from Bp. Schneider.
And say a prayer for Bp. Schneider. He is a treasure in these times of dross and confusion.
For more from Bp. Schneider…