According to this article: Pope Francis signed a document stating:

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,

The article says:

theologian says it must be read in the proper context

The context is:

Catholics, Muslims and all who believe in God must work together to build a culture of love, peace and human fraternity

My question is how does the Catholic Church understand it within the context of the first commandment? Is this the teaching of the Catholic Church that diversity of religion is the will of God?

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.3 It is written: "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."4 Catechism

  • The article contains a certain amount of explanation. What is it that you are asking about? Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 19:48
  • 2
    For a Catholic interpretation of the quoted statement, one must understand "willed by God" to refer to His permissive will --- the same way that, for example, my sins are "willed by God" --- He permits these things to occur even though, in His omnipotene, He could prevent them. If one understands (as unfortunately many people will) "willed by God" to refer to His positive will, then the statement is heretical. Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 1:08
  • @AndreasBlass That might be worth editing into the question to clarify the Pope's remarks. Thanks for bringing that up. Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 4:50
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    Notice the declaration by the Pope was not infallible.
    – luchonacho
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 11:17
  • @luchonacho according to your link, he did speak ex cathedra.
    – Grasper
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 13:17

5 Answers 5


No, the diversity of sects is due to the sin of man.

2 Peter 2:1
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be among you lying teachers who shall bring in sects of perdition (αιρέσεις απωλείας) [lit. "heresies of perdition", false religions] and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

All false religions begin with false teachings. For example: Judaism denies Christ is the Messias. Islam denies Christ's divinity and thus also the Trinity. Protestantism denies the visibility of the Church, the ministerial priesthood, the transubstantiation, and that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is truly a propitiatory sacrifice.

God does not will that believers mingle with non-believers:

2 Cor 6:14-16
Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God: as God saith: I will dwell in them and walk among them. And I will be their God: and they shall be my people.

See also "The Church's Constant Teaching on our dealings with Non-Catholics."

Religious indifferentism and liberty of conscience is a heresy. Bl. Pope Pius IX condemned the following proposition in his Syllabus of Errors:

  1. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 16:00
  • I think that this answer could be improved by addressing the Catholic stance on ecumenicalism. IIRC there’s been official statements that Protestants are also saved.
    – nick012000
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 0:36
  • @nick012000 If a Protestant is saved, it is in spite of his Protestantism and because of the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation.
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 2:44
  • @Geremia "Catholic Church" isn't necessarily equal to the Roman Catholic Church, in this context, and I'm pretty sure that there have been official statements on Protestants being saved.
    – nick012000
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 11:28
  • @nick012000 Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis §27: "the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing" (original Latin: "corpus Christi mysticum et Ecclesiam Catholicam Romanam unum idemque esse").
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 19:48

He says; religions, race colour, sex, and languages. This gives a definitely heretical meaning, as false religions lead souls to hell and are a work of darkness, but race, colour and sex are explicitly willed by God from the beginning, and beautify the human race. The multiplicity of languages is the consequence of sin - a punishment which God inflicted at the tower of Babel, but it doesn't directly produce evil like false religions, and since that time, and particularly in the N.T. era, it has become associated with cultural diversity which can be the vehicle for beauty and much good. But false religions all come from hell, the demons waiting to find just the right man for the particular concoction of falsehood and perversion which they have prepared, which is why all the men who found false religions, are always perverse evildoers. False religions bring darkness and spiritual death to the world, entrenching perverse practices among those who fall for them, degrading and corrupting them. False religions lie about God and the truth of supernatural things, leading people into errors which kill their souls; leading them away from Christ who is the only door to salvation. Bergoglio is a heretic, and no heretic can be a Catholic, as all heretics are outside the church. No one outside the church can hold any office within her.


This is short and to the point, no:-

NWT Ephesians 4:5, 6 " . . .one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father . . ."

Note "ONE" not many!


Muslims, believe in the 1 God, the God of Abraham. It is true that their understanding of that one God is different now than what is was then, different than that of the Israelites who received revelation after their captivity in Egypt and the Catholic revelation of God as 3 separate and distinct persons of the Holy Trinity. Different even than those of the Ishmaelite’s from whom the Prophet Mohammed according to Islam was divinely given the Quran and formed the Muslim Religion. Or different of some Protestant sects today who claim that God condemns people to hell by his predestination while all the while imagining and presuming the rewards of heaven for themselves without first enduring and persevering to the end.

The Ishmaelite’s have played a role in Gods Plan for salvation and for Salvation history it would seem, God still has a plan, for it is Gods will that all come to him, especially those who are farthest from him.

As to the 1st commandment, Muslims, strictly speaking, are more literal in the understanding of that commandment then any Christian sects or Jewish for that matter. They believe in 1 God, monotheism with no iconography, statues or pictures. They are truly faith fully to their religion, with rigorous prayer rituals which modern day Christians rarely compare to.

The Pope, in his understanding of the difficulties in sharing the Gospel message, understands that conversion to Christ and especially full conversion to the Catholic Faith, takes time, especially when it comes to those who, by reason of custom and ethnicity and society taboos, are not free to explore the Catholic Faith, who have been indoctrinated into other non-Catholic denominations or simply have not had the opportunity to know of Gods Grace through his son. It is by the example of Christ living in us, his body working in Charity and Love that we may show those who might otherwise not have the Truth, what the gospel of Christ is. By being an example of Christ, patiently, lovingly and with Charity and faith, being an example of Christ’s teaching we have an opportunity to spread the Gospel more abundantly.

A culture of Love Peace and human fraternity is better than dropping bombs, suicide bombers, or killing in the name of God. It allows for dialog with those men and woman outside the Church.

It is most important to note, that it is not us (Catholic Christians) against them (Muslims) but simply “us”, souls that we should all want to join with us in Heaven.

For God so love the WORLD that he gave his only Son.

One of my favorite sayings of Pope Francis was this, and I paraphrase. To an atheist,

"You don't believe in God, but you believe in Charity for your fellow man, I will meet you there"

  • So there is no need to spread the gospel as long as there is peace?
    – Grasper
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 13:35
  • 1
    @Grasper it is through peace, not the barrel of a gun, that you evangelize, a concept missing in the world today especially from radical fundamentalist either Muslim or Christian.
    – Marc
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 13:39
  • Non of the religions believes in using violence to spread their truth. Them, who raise the barrel of guns are the extremists. And extremists are not part of the equation here. It's as if a protestant representative meet with a catholic one signing a document not to worship statues, hinting the catholics worship them. Nonsense.
    – Grasper
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 13:56
  • @Grasper A Catholic would not hesitate to sign a document as you mention. The Grace and Mercy the Church is offering is no different than that offered to Separated brethren in hopes the will be lead to the Truth. It seems in every generation there is a new group, new race, new religion or ideology that we vilify, today it is the Muslim people. In order to understand this better, you have to take pride, nationalism, hatred and prejudice it of the equation. Insert Christ who desires all men to be saved.
    – Marc
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 14:15
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    Inserting statements I have not made.
    – Marc
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 15:38

In 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (NIV), it is written:

In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.

Yes, God wills that there be different factions among Christians, and by extension, different religions. It is His will that the different beliefs, manifesting themselves in different outcomes, shine a light on the path leading to the truth. False belief leads to ungodly behavior, disunity, violence, and death. True beliefs lead to the fruit of the Spirit, to godliness, unity, peace and life.

  • 1
    The KJV translates : For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. Your own quote expresses an entirely different meaning. May I ask what it is that you are quoting ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 19:27
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    Is this from a Catholic point of view? If so, could you cite some references. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 19:49
  • There is a difference between allowing and willing. The differences between Christians is something God allows because of our free will but not wills it!
    – Grasper
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 21:00
  • @NigelJ - I quoted the NIV. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 21:43

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