Pope Francis : "God willed the plurality of religions"


“This Declaration, setting out from a profound consideration of our contemporary reality, valuing its successes and in solidarity with its suffering, disasters and calamities, believes firmly that among the most important causes of the crises of the modern world are a desensitized human conscience, a distancing from religious values and a prevailing individualism accompanied by materialistic philosophies that deify the human person and introduce worldly and material values in place of supreme and transcendental principles.
While recognizing the positive steps taken by our modern civilization in the fields of science, technology, medicine, industry and welfare, especially in developed countries, we wish to emphasize that, associated with such historic advancements, great and valued as they are, there exists both a moral deterioration that influences international action and a weakening of spiritual values and responsibility. All this contributes to a general feeling of frustration, isolation and desperation leading many to fall either into a vortex of atheistic, agnostic or religious extremism, or into blind and fanatic extremism, which ultimately encourage forms of dependency and individual or collective self-destruction.”


The document is correct to say that it is wrong to coerce someone into being Catholic (or anything else). The document is wrong to justify this truth by saying God wills religious pluralism. That’s not why it’s wrong to coerce someone into belief. He wills religious unity–that’s why Jesus gave the Church the great commission and sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost–but He wills that men be joined in this unity by faith. Coercion is incompatible with the act of faith (which by definition is a submission of the intellect to God the revealer, based solely on His authority, who neither deceives nor can be deceived). According to God’s will, we seek this unity by preaching and by charity, not force.

Along the same lines, God does not will sin, even though sin is in the world a great deal. He reprobates it, but He tolerates it (for now) to bring about a greater good. The same is the case for errors that are contrary to what He has revealed, especially in the person of His Son, the Word Incarnate.


Yeah, I know I’m just a stupid bear but I’m not seeing the problem either. Nor am I seeing some giant conflict between Pius XI and Francis here.

Seems like this is mostly just going to be another bone to gnaw on for people who pick over everything Pope Francis says, looking for things to get bothered about.



The question here is are you using your definition of the pluralism and diversity of religions, or that of the Vatican?

If you are using that of the Vatican, are you using the classical pre Vat II or that of the recognition of diversity of religion in different cultures and it’s right to respect?

The commentaries will start flooding the internet, here is a nice one.


I need to apologize humbly . I have a hard time with different beliefs and God knows their hearts and minds . Their intentions may be sweet. I am not prejudiced in a usual way , different churches offend me . I need to be respectful , this I will work on. God may in his wisdom see what I do not see. His ways are mysterious. Please pray about that. The atheists need prayer , God may want them too. See ? I might say things making things worse , when God wants them closer . He died for sinners.


There was a time in history when it was given the church to forcibly enforce the will of Christ in the matters of family, faith and state. That time has passed and we are in time when you must choose. The devil has been unleashed. Everyone will end up on the side of good or the side of evil. Everyone who is drawn to do the loving will of Christ will be drawn together and those who want to deify the human person over communion with a holy creator will be separated from them.


And if the “heretics” in many cases had afforded the Christians/ Catholics the same treatment, our world would also be different today.

I probably wouldn’t be writing this from USA for starters, and I’m not sure that would be an improvement.


I don’t know that much about the technical aspects of religion-does this mean that the Pope is sanctioning other religions in some way?


I read recently that much is made of the negative differences in the religions that share Abraham. Very little is spoken of the shared positives.


I cannot come to grips with what you are saying. To use force to make people “Christians” is not what I see Jesus proposing at all.


Agreed, it was never ‘given’ to any Christian Church or group to impose their faith on others. Rather at points, Protestants, Catholics and other Churches and groups took this right and claimed it was God-given. Resulting in joy for all…


I think his main point is that, like what was said by someone else, you can’t force someone to convert and that you can be holy to a degree in different religions.


It’s the Pope’s evolved spiritual wisdom

Not everyone can accept Christianity

Gandhi couldn’t accept Christianity after seeing Christianity in action in his own experience with Christians…

Ask yourself, why do we have different religions ?

Does the Holy Spirit give revelations of truth to those who seek it, or just keep it for Christians alone ?

Today, Christianity is harder for many to accept as the media portrays Christians as narrow minded dolts and young people have accepted it.

The sexual abuse scandal by priests has rocked the Church and it’s going to take generations to recover, unless there is Divine Intervention real soon.

We live in difficult times to be a Christian, but we’ll only move forward by recognizing that their is truth in other religions as well.



God willed plurality of religion in the sense that he ALLOWED the plurality of religion due to people going their own way. But doesn’t God will all to be Catholic? I assume yes! Otherwise we would evangelize in vain.


God’s will is summed up in Jesus two commandments, Love the Lord God with all of your soul, all of your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

Note, love your neighbor as yourself doesn’t mean, love your neighbor like you love yourself, but it’s a command to love yourself.

Dualistic minds created the divisions and hatred between religions, not God.



No, God does not will all to be Catholic, if your evangelization efforts are to make people Catholics then it is in vain. If your efforts are to help people see their need to become a new creation in Christ then you are centered in God’s will that all will become believers.


I will the people I evangelize to be Catholic. How could that be wrong?


God has given us free will, through which we may express charity with the potential of fulfilling our image and likeness of god.


302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created “in a state of journeying” ( in statu viae ) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. …

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. …


There is zero incompatibility between holding these two beliefs:

  1. Ancient Christianity (Catholic and Orthodox) are the privileged routes to salvation that contain the fullest degrees of truth, goodness and beauty


  1. There are other routes of salvation, including other religions that God does not resist because God “desires that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4)


Right, God does not RESIST, but doesn’t he will the best for people, the best meaning that they be Catholics!?!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.