The Holy Father offers an explanation that calls on a distinction made by the Scholastics
Pope Francis on Wednesday recapped his weekend trip to Morocco, taking up some of the questions that such a trip might bring.
One might ask: But why does the Pope go to Muslims and not only to Catholics? Why are there so many religions; how come there are so many religions?
The Holy Father began his answer by noting that with Muslims (as well as with Jews), Catholics share a common tradition. “With Muslims, we are descendants of the same Father, Abraham.”
Still, he continued, “Why does God permit there to be so many religions?”
Francis then took up a classic distinction made in the understanding of God’s will: The difference between what God permits and what he would want for us, his permissive will versus his ordaining will. For example, God permits us to sin, but he doesn’t want us to. And God permits us to suffer, but he doesn’t wish that for us. The many and multi-faceted consequences of sin in our world are all part of God’s permissive will, but not his original plan for us.
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