God wills a diversity of religions

According to the Document on Human Fraternity for world peace and living together: “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.”
Does this then mean that God wills the existence of heretical religions? It is difficult to understand why God would not will that everyone belong to the true religion.

All prophets were sent by God so As Faith all prophets preached same main requirements: believing in God, prophets, revelations from God, life to come, judgement day. That is faith. Religion is the way to live and perform faith. So there should be many ways because the eras, geography, times, understandings are different. And all ways could go God.


Sounds like the Masons.


Does God will the existence of schism or of heresy and heretical religions?
For example, does God will that the Eastern Orthodox Church be separate from the Roman Catholic Church and did He will the schism that occurred in 1054? Or would it be better for there to be full communion between the two churches, East and West?

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My instinct and training through the decades scream, “NO!” over and over. But, I know that Christ told us to love one another, and I haven’t access to the reams of information that guide the Pope. I also know that two opposing sides will work together with fewer flare-ups after they establish the ways in which they think similarly.

Is this among the first steps for greater love among divergent peoples? I don’t know. Is it ecumenical gobbledygook? I don’t know. Is it a watering down of the beliefs in the Catholic Church? I don’t know. Such answers are way above my pay grade. I trust the Pope to take the initiative in spreading the faith to other nations while maintaining and protecting our Church.

We must keep our faith in Jesus, in His Catholic Church, and in Pope Francis, His current emissary here on earth.

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No - this has been queried and answered: the distinction being between God’s permissive and positive will.


As has been mentioned, despite it being lumped in with forms of diversity God positively wills (like the sexes), Pope Francis supposedly privately clarified to an auxiliary bishop from a diocese in Kazakhstan that he meant it as permissive will.

Here’s what the Church actually teaches with regard to God’s positive will in this regard:

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

Unfortunately, to add to the false understanding, on the very same trip that Pope Francis signed that problematic document, he said the following:

Pope Francis

According to the biblical account, in order to preserve humanity from destruction, God asked Noah to enter the ark along with his family. Today, we too in the name of God, in order to safeguard peace, need to enter together as one family into an ark which can sail the stormy seas of the world: the ark of fraternity.

Compare the ark he proposes to what the Church proposes as that ark. It’s good to acknowledge the unity of the human family with reference to our common origin and fraternity is a good thing, but we cannot fail to acknowledge that common destiny that God wills for us all too–it is an even greater fraternity that is found only in that sole ark that can survive the storms and floods of this world, the ark of salvation where only the true religion subsists.


It’s God’s will that man be allowed to do this. Man’s freedom to do so is part of God’s intended will.

I wonder what Christianity would be like today if there had been no Reformation, or if there were no Islam. Only God knows.

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Lots of responses on this thread:

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Yes, that was a good thread which I think covered the topic well.

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No. God cannot will anything but the fullness of Truth in the Catholic faith. That is how He has chosen to reveal Himself to the world. Period.

The plurality of religions is a consequence of the fall. It is a consequence of sin. God does not will any consequence of sin, He permits it.


Thanks for that. I missed that thread. Sorry.

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I don’t think God wills heresies and false religions. In fact: Sacred Scripture warns against those teaching false doctrines.

What I believe is that God allows heresies and false religions to happen.

I also believe that other religions can possess some kernels of useful things in them; often as psychological insights and cognitive techniques.

Beyond these insights and techniques, the Church possesses all the fullness and truth necessary for our salvation.

The others only offer, at best; limited chances at salvation.

“Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? Why should the living complain when punished for their sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” - Lamentations 3:74-40

Catholics are the Church a Militant. Much like in society, those in the military have more responsibility than civilians do. Thus as we hear in the messages from heaven in Marian apparitions, we are called to pray, mortify, sacrifice and offer reparation for the sins of the world and for the conversion of sinners. That was the point of Mary showing the children the reality of hell.

In the gospels Jesus made it clear how everyone will be judged, and it is not on religion, but rather on how much we loved and served God through our neighbor. Jesus also said that to those to whom much was given, much more will be required. As Catholics, we are uniquely given all the treasures of the true faith, and the fountains of sanctifying grace in overflowing measures through the sacraments, in order to be transformed and be the light and love of Christ in the world. Here is Archbishop Fulton J Sheen speaking about the role of the Christian laity in the non-Christian world. Listen carefully to how he speaks about the greatest untapped reservoir:

The diversity of religions is a reflection of us being created with free will. A reflection that the true faith is not forced on anyone.

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The only God-willed religion is the Catholic Church. The Church HE founded.

God permits other religions to exist as a matter of free will. But He doesn’t will it.

At the end of the day, the only true God-willed religion is the one holy, apostolic, Catholic Church.


Thanks for the clarification. Was going to say that if God wills any universal, it is that mankind seeks truth. Truth is either readily available, or it is mysterious, arcane or unknowable. Revealed truth - which is far from all truth, is neither arcane nor unknowable, but remains mysterious to creatures filled with mystery.

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No worries, it’s not very recent. That’s why I wanted to make sure you saw it.

The permissive will of God and His desire are two different things.


74 God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”:29 that is, of Christ Jesus.30 …

1743 “God willed that man should be left in the hand of his own counsel (cf. Sir 15:14), so that he might of his own accord seek his creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him” ( GS 17 § 1).

Gaudium et spes

17. Only in freedom can man direct himself toward goodness. Our contemporaries make much of this freedom and pursue it eagerly; and rightly to be sure. Often however they foster it perversely as a license for doing whatever pleases them, even if it is evil. For its part, authentic freedom is an exceptional sign of the divine image within man. For God has willed that man remain “under the control of his own decisions,”(12) so that he can seek his Creator spontaneously, and come freely to utter and blissful perfection through loyalty to Him. Hence man’s dignity demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice that is personally motivated and prompted from within, not under blind internal impulse nor by mere external pressure. Man achieves such dignity when, emancipating himself from all captivity to passion, he pursues his goal in a spontaneous choice of what is good, and procures for himself through effective and skilful action, apt helps to that end. Since man’s freedom has been damaged by sin, only by the aid of God’s grace can he bring such a relationship with God into full flower. Before the judgement seat of God each man must render an account of his own life, whether he has done good or evil.(13)

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