Life Site | William Kilpatrick | October 4, 2019
October 4, 2019 (Turning Point Project) — “Is the pope Catholic?” used to be a punch line. Now, sometimes, you almost have to wonder. Of course, I’m not suggesting that Pope Francis is a secret apostate or a Masonic agent. It’s just that he seems dissatisfied with certain Church teachings.
What apparently rankles him most are Catholic claims to exclusivity. For example, the belief that all men are saved through Christ can be looked upon as an impediment to interreligious harmony. Francis, for whom interreligious harmony is a top priority, seems to see it that way. Many of his statements seem to suggest he has abandoned the idea that Catholics should seek to convert others to the Faith. On one occasion, for example, he referred to proselytism as “solemn nonsense.”
Francis appears to believe that each religion provides its own path to heaven. If that’s so, then people are best served by going deeper into whatever faith they already belong to. Thus, Francis once advised a group of Muslim migrants to read the Koran in order to find direction in their lives.
As he wrote in Evangelii Gaudium, Francis believes that all religions have “shared beliefs.” Where those beliefs don’t overlap so neatly, he seems perfectly happy to blur the lines. A good example is the Abu Dhabi Declaration on “Human Fraternity” signed by Pope Francis and Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, in February.
Of particular concern is the statement that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions … are willed by God.” That’s quite a concession for Francis to make, as it contradicts Christ’s claim that “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (Jn. 14:6). As Swiss bishop Marian Eleganti puts it, “the unique and universal mediation of Jesus Christ is eclipsed in the Abu Dhabi Declaration.”