At the beginning of the video, a minute-and-a-half long, the Pope cites the fact that the majority of the earth’s inhabitants profess some sort of religious belief.
This, he said, “should lead to a dialogue among religions. We should not stop praying for it and collaborating with those who think differently.”
The video goes on to feature representatives of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, who proclaim their respective beliefs in God, Jesus Christ, Allah and Buddha.Some people are upset that Pope Francis recently taught yet another truth of the Catholic Faith: all religions ultimately lead to God. Many Catholics mistakenly believe this is an error. It is not.
Keep in mind that Jesus Christ is THE path to God - no one can come to the Father except through Christ. Likewise, the only way to fully know Christ is through the Catholic Church. But the point the Pope wanted to stress was simple: all roads lead to Rome.
Every pursuit of truth, no matter where it starts, if followed deeply enough, leads to Catholic Faith.
When I taught RCIA, I used the example of math to show how this worked.
When we are first learning math, we begin with arithmetic and progress through algebra, geometry, trig, calculus.
So, let us keep that in our hands as we recall some basic truths:
- All creation was made for, by and through Christ,
- The heavens, in fact, all created things, are telling the glory of God.
- Thus, anyone who starts to believe in God as a result of observing the natural world (as pagans do), has come to believe in God through the evidence provided by Jesus Christ.
- Nature - the heavens are telling the glory of Christ.
- The prophets - Adam, Abraham, Moses, etc.,
- Christ Himself.
Prophets are persons, so they explain Who God is much more thoroughly, but like a matchmaker describing the Bridegroom to the Bride, even the prophets cannot explain all of it.
Ultimately, the Bride can only know the Bridegroom, through meeting Him. Only Christ Himself reveals the fullness of Himself.
Theology is formal science just like math. Since we have now laid out the basic truths, we can marry these truths to the formal science of math and see how all of it ties together:
- Pagans only understand the theological equivalent of arithmetic, and nothing beyond it.
- Islam is a haphazard conglomeration of Judaism, Christianity and paganism. It can get to theological algebra. It knows that God is All-Merciful, All-Compassionate. It knows that Mary is a sinless virgin mother. It knows Christ is sinless and the Judge on the Last Day. Islam knows that we are to submit ourselves totally to God, become a "slave of Christ" as Paul says, although Muslims would say "Allah" instead of Christ. But beyond these basics, Muslims cannot go.
- The Jews understand geometry, they first gave us the theological measure of the universe. They know God is the Lawgiver, that God does not deceive, that He wants us to choose life, so that we and our descendants might live. Through the Jews, God revealed the importance of liturgy, even though the Jewish liturgy was just "practice" and has no real effect. They taught us the central truth that is monotheism.
- Non-liturgical Christians, like the Protestants, can do trigonometry. They know God is three Persons in one divine Substance, but they don't get any farther. They have two sacraments,baptism and marriage, but they don't understand very much about either of them. They don't understand liturgy at all. So, we can say they know a lot about triangles, but they don't know much about other geometric shapes or how everything fits together.
- Liturgical Christians, such as the Eastern Orthodox and the Coptics, have access to the full spectrum of liturgical and sacramental life. Through the power of the seven sacraments, they plumb the measure of the infinite Godhead, doing the equivalent of single-variable calculus. That is, they understand how the Son works (to teach us), how the Spirit works (to sanctify us), but they don't fully understand how the Father works (to govern us).
- Only Catholics can plumb the divine infinity to its depth, only Catholics have mastered not only calculus but all the other branches of the theological spectrum as well. We understand, as fully as men can, the relations between the Father, Son and Spirit, we understand the full spectrum of how He has always intended to govern us (Father), to teach us (Son) and to sanctify us (Holy Spirit).
All religions, pursued deeply enough, lead to Catholic Faith.
The study of truth always leads to Truth.
Every ladder we climb, every road we walk, leads us to Rome.
That's why the Pope wants dialogue among religions. He wants the various peoples to help each other forward on the journey to Rome. We are supposed to help him get that done.