A kind reader – who thinks that on this matter I am too rigid and nit-picking – has written to defend Francis’s position in the Cairo manifesto. God, he says, wills a diversity of religions, in the sense that he acknowledges that, however imperfectly, all are seeking after Him.
He is, of course, right about God. But that is not, I think, what Francis was trying to say.
The Cairo statement makes no sense unless he intended to assert the equivalence of all religions. Francis was voicing, in a rather portentous way, a familiar cliché of the post-Christian West (that ‘we’re all going to the same place in the end’).
He was virtue-signalling to secular relativists.