“pluralism and diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language willed by God” paragraph in the Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity is straight from the Enlightenment
The following paragraph in Pope Francis’ [w/Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb] Document on Human Fraternity has generated a lot of criticism and controversy:
Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. 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. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept[.]
– Francis > Travels > 2019 > Apostolic Voyages outside Italy [TO THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (3-5 FEBRUARY 2019)] > A DOCUMENT ON HUMAN FRATERNITY FOR WORLD PEACE AND LIVING TOGETHER
Those criticisms have so far failed to see the connection to the Enlightenment Philosophy which has one of its basic principles as:
The “natural rights” of individuals (including the right to self government)[i]
In the United States of America
The U.S. Bill of Rights
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
– EEOC Home > Laws, Regulations & Guidance > Statutes > Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(Emphases all mine)
Attempted walk back by the Pope?
However, some might ask: why does the Pope go to the Muslims and not just to Catholics? Why are there so many religions, and why ever are there so many religions? With the Muslims we are descendants of the same Father, Abraham: why does God permit so many religions? God willed to permit this: the theologians of Scholasticism referred to God’s permissive voluntas. He willed to permit this reality: there are so many religions; some are born of the culture, but always looking to Heaven, looking at God. However, what God wills is fraternity among us in a special way — here is the reason for this trip — with our brothers, children of Abraham like us, the Muslims. We must not be scared by the difference: God has permitted this. We must be scared if we don’t act with fraternity, to walk together in life.
Cf. General Audience: Pope Recalls Highlights of Morocco Visit (Full Text) | APRIL 03, 2019 15:11 | VIRGINIA FORRESTER | ZENIT and Pope Francis: God merely ‘permits’ Islam | Wed Apr 3, 2019 – 7:44 am EST | Diane Montagna | LifeSiteNews
Pope Francis has offered some informal explanations of this statement, but none of these explanations offers an unambiguous interpretation that is compatible with the Catholic faith. Any such interpretation would have to specify that God positively wills the existence only of the Christian religion. Since the statement is a joint statement with the Grand Imam, it cannot be interpreted in a sense that the Grand Imam would reject. Since the Grand Imam rejects the position that God positively wills only the existence of the Christian religion, it is not possible to give an orthodox interpretation to the statement. We therefore understand this statement in its natural sense as a denial of a truth of the Catholic faith.
– Scholar [Prof. Claudio Pierantoni] defends letter accusing Pope of heresy: Church is facing ‘most serious crisis’ in history | Diane Montagna, Tue May 7, 2019 – 4:12 am EST | LifeSiteNews
[i] “God and my Right.”