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by Sharon Grant
Earlier this week, Francis met with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad el-Tayeb and signed a joint declaration with him. Included in that declaration was the statement that “The pluralism and the diversity of religions … are willed by God in His wisdom.” As usual with Francis, people are trying hard to explain how, if you turn the page, hold it up to the light, and read that claim from just the right angle, you will find a way to say, “I suppose, in a way, that’s true.” The best spin it can be given is that the existence of religious beliefs in all societies through all the ages speaks to the fact that people want to know the Truth. They want to know God.
But God doesn’t want us to know only some truth, or to know it in a twisted fashion. That’s why He sent His Son, so that we could know the truth and by it be set free. If God allows many religions it is only because some people, for whatever reason, do not know the fullness of truth yet, but God allows them to see glimpses of it. God sent His Son, Truth itself, to give us the fullness of truth, and that fullness of truth is only available in the Church Jesus Christ Himself founded. It is our job, through the witness of our lives, to bring to all people the truth of the Catholic Faith. Because one day, one way or another, every knee must bend and every tongue must proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. And at that very moment, we will also acknowledge that Mary is His Mother and that she is, indeed, the Queen of Heaven and Earth.
There is not a Muslim neighborhood in heaven, no district where Jesus is told that He is really only a prophet somewhat below Muhammed. There is no Protestant neighborhood in heaven where people are allowed to ignore the Blessed Mother or deny that the Eucharist is Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and that we were clearly instructed to receive Him in the sixth chapter of John. There is not a Hindu, or Buddhist, or Zoroastrian, or agnostic, or atheistic neighborhood in heaven. What the Catholic Church has perennially taught is true, and if you do not acknowledge that reality now or at your death, you will not get into heaven. That’s the bottom line. That’s the truth that the Catholic Church owes to every person alive right now, and it’s the truth that is being suppressed even by most of the Catholic hierarchy. And besides failing to instruct all people of this truth, the Church in this dereliction of duty is denying many, many graces to men of good will who truly want to know the truth, now, not just at their deaths. They are denying the graces that can only come through the Sacraments of the Church, graces that people could benefit from now and take with them into eternity, if only we would stop pretending that it doesn’t matter whether they know the truth now or not.
In the Great Commission, Our Lord instructed the apostles, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” He never said, instead, to flatter them by telling them that whatever they believe is good enough, that God doesn’t really care whether we’re baptized and whether we obey His Son, or that God desires a world with many erroneous beliefs. Enough of that, Catholic Church. You are failing this entire generation with your cowardice and your failure to bring the Good News, and all of the Good News, to a world that desperately needs to hear it.
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