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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? – DJClayworth Feb 6 at 19:48
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    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. – Andreas Blass Feb 7 at 1:08
  • @AndreasBlass That might be worth editing into the question to clarify the Pope's remarks. Thanks for bringing that up. – KorvinStarmast Feb 8 at 4:50
  • Notice the declaration by the Pope was not infallible. – luchonacho Feb 15 at 11:17
  • @luchonacho according to your link, he did speak ex cathedra. – Grasper Feb 15 at 13:17
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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.
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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.

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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!

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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 Feb 7 at 13:35
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    @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 Feb 7 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 Feb 7 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 Feb 7 at 14:15
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    Inserting statements I have not made. – Marc Feb 7 at 15:38
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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,

Pope Francis is echoing the teaching inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Vatican II Council on Ecumenism with other Christian faith and non-Christians.

An excerpt of the article below stating that one of theme of Vatican II is "reconcilliation".

O'Malley says a theme of the documents was reconciliation. In keeping, they allowed for Catholics to pray with other Christian denominations, encouraged friendship with other non-Christian faiths, and opened the door for languages besides Latin to be used during Mass. Other new positions concerned education, the media and divine revelation.(Rev. John W. O'Malley)

Other statement from the article reitierated St.John Paul II focus on the importance of "dialogue" among our brothers to promote peace in the whole world.

"Prior to this time, the church had been almost seen as a fortress, very much concerned about its own internal stability and integrity and engaging the world in terms of missionary activity," Huff says. "Pope John wanted to reinforce that missionary mandate, but he also wanted to create an environment of dialogue, where the church would engage in all the forces of the modern world." https://www.npr.org/2012/10/10/162573716/why-is-vatican-ii-so-important

To addressed your question directly; 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?

First Commandment as you reference it below and lets compare it with Pope Francis statement if there's a contradiction with article link you provided.

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

Pope Francis stated in the article link as follows;

Catholics, Muslims and all who believe in God must work together to build a culture of love, peace and human fraternity, Pope Francis said in a joint statement he signed with Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi.

The articles described the signing of the documents fraternity promoting peace and love between Catholic and Muslim rooted in the love of One Creator which is the common faith that unites us as brothers and sisters.

Catholics, Muslims and all who believe in God must work together to build a culture of love, peace and human fraternity, Pope Francis said in a joint statement he signed with Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi.

The document, entitled “A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” invited “all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters.”

The signing took place February 4 during Pope Francis’ visit to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, a trip intended to promote interreligious dialogue and give support to the country’s Christian minority. Francis is the first Pope ever to visit the Arabian peninsula.

The document discussed the importance of religion in building a peaceful and free society and the challenges of an increasingly secular world. It condemned all practices and policies detrimental to human life and freedom.

Also stated in the article that the documents signed between Pope Francis and Grand Imam of al-Azha is in harmony with the Church Teaching and Doctrines.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks about the Church’s relationship with the Muslims: “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

Note : (this was taken from your article link on Pope Francis).

In closing, the First Commandment written in the Old Testament can be better understood in the words of Jesus in the New Testament.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

So, by Pope Francis continuing the Holy Spirit inspiration on the Vatican II Teachings on Ecumenism promoting and building "a culture of love, peace and human fraternity" is fulfilling the all the laws of God in scriptures.

As the scriptures attested that although faith,hope & love in Jesus Christ is needed but in the end when we face God in our judgement the greatest of all this is love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love. (1Corinthian13:13)

Also, the Gospel reminded us the very first gift that Jesus give to the Apostles & Disciples when He first appear after His resurrection is PEACE.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[b] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”(John20:19-21)

But the most important thing that Jesus gave to them is the Holy Spirit to empower them to forgive those who committed wrong to them. That's why Pope Francis although the world had known or look up Muslims as enemies had chosen to witness the Gospel of forgiveness in embracing our fellow brother Muslims.

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”(John20:22-23)

This is the fulfillment of Jesus promised to the Apostles before He offered His life on the Cross.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.(John14:27)

Let us embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit inspires in Vatican II Teaching on Ecumenism.

May the PEACE and LOVE of Jesus Christ that reign in the heart of Pope Francis may also reign in the hearts of all men especially us.

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    So there is no need for conversion as long as there is peace? Is this the goal? – Grasper Feb 7 at 13:34
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    This answer would be vastly improved by a relevant quote from the documents of Vatican II. Hint: there aren't any. – Andrew Leach Feb 7 at 21:48
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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.

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    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 Feb 6 at 19:27
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    Is this from a Catholic point of view? If so, could you cite some references. – DJClayworth Feb 6 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 Feb 6 at 21:00
  • @NigelJ - I quoted the NIV. – Paul Chernoch Feb 6 at 21:43

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