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jhnsn May 20, '04 7:18 am

Invincible Ignorance
 
Here's some background on the people I’m dealing with.

First – I’m in conversation with a woman who follows a Methodist tradition of some kind and she mentioned that she had heard of Scott Hahn and would like to read something from him. I let her borrow “Father who keeps his promises”. After a couple of weeks she returns it to me quickly and said
“ I was raised very conservatively and I am not open to this” I said something like
“Well, at lest you learned something” and she said “Yes”
Now a couple of months have passed and we talked about seeing the “Passion” and at first I thought she was open to seeing it but after I saw it and I was giving my review she said
“I’m not going to see it because it is bible based” From that, I gathered she is not open to other interpretations of the bible.
She plays the flute and is very active in her church. She mentioned that she knows a Catholic who claims she is an atheist. I said she sound like a ‘hypocratic’ atheist. she laughed. This lead us to a discussion on how to help her friend realize there is a God. I brought up C.S. Lewis and she mentioned the she would be interested in reading his books. So I let her borrow “The Great Divorce” and “The Screwtape Letters” I didn’t have “Mere Christianity” available but as soon as I get my copy back I was going to suggest this book as well.

Second - He was raised Irish Catholic ( in Philly) (his cousin is a priest, sounds very Orthodox) but left during his teenage years ( sounds like his father was not a very good christian). He has become very anti-catholic. He doesn’t believe in the Trinity and believes that Luther was inspired. He loves Christian songs and hates liturgical prayer. While I’ve made the point that just because you don’t like something that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. He was open to read a book so I gave him Jeff Cavins book “My life on the Rock ..” he agreed he made some good points but he isn’t a bible scholar. Then he shut the door and said I’m not interested in any more books.

He is adamant that the church is the whore of Babylon and while he doesn’t think the current Pope is the anti-Christ he knows that one day the pope will be the anti-Christ . So it seems no matter what logical argument I can come up with that shows the Catholic Church is the true church it would be trumped by the thought that the anti-Christ is going to a future pope.

Any help would be appreciated.

_Christopher_ May 20, '04 7:36 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

He is adamant that the church is the whore of Babylon and while he doesn’t think the current Pope is the anti-Christ he knows that one day the pope will be the anti-Christ . So it seems no matter what logical argument I can come up with that shows the Catholic Church is the true church it would be trumped by the thought that the anti-Christ is going to a future pope.
What are his "reasons" for that?

beng May 20, '04 9:21 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Give him the REAL Luther


See his quotes here


And ask him whether ANY of the Church father EVER taught Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide.



Appeal to the Early Fathers. Give him William Jurgen book on The Faith of The Early Fathers. The small one, not the three complete series. Let him read teh Fathers and come to his own conclusion.



And you mihgt want to give him Surprised by Truth (by Patrick Madrid). Stories of Converts

Pere i Pau May 20, '04 9:24 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Are you asking if he is invincibly ignorant? If so, I would think not.

Shibboleth May 20, '04 9:33 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by beng
Give him the REAL Luther


See his quotes here

I will say this once again and probably many more times. Although Luther was inspired, he was not infallible. He said many, many things that the Lutheran church does not abide by and find down right against scripture.

Luther is not a measure of the Lutheran church. Luther was subject to some of the beliefs of the time just as any other man, Catholics you can exclude the Pope from this statement if you wish. He said many venomous things about Ana-Baptists, the Jewish, and others – in very earthy language nonetheless, but these things are generally disregarded by the Lutheran faith.

beng May 20, '04 9:35 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Shibboleth
I will say this once again and probably many more times. Although Luther was inspired, he was not infallible. He said many, many things that the Lutheran church does not abide by and find down right against scripture.

Luther is not a measure of the Lutheran church. Luther was subject to some of the beliefs of the time just as any other man, Catholics you can exclude the Pope from this statement if you wish. He said many venomous things about Ana-Baptists, the Jewish, and others – in very earthy language nonetheless, but these things are generally disregarded by the Lutheran faith.

But he (the friend) believes that Luther was inspired. Those quotes surely put him to the test.

Pere i Pau May 20, '04 9:45 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Shibboleth
I will say this once again and probably many more times. Although Luther was inspired, he was not infallible. He said many, many things that the Lutheran church does not abide by and find down right against scripture.

Luther is not a measure of the Lutheran church. Luther was subject to some of the beliefs of the time just as any other man, Catholics you can exclude the Pope from this statement if you wish. He said many venomous things about Ana-Baptists, the Jewish, and others – in very earthy language nonetheless, but these things are generally disregarded by the Lutheran faith.

Are we talking about the same man who claimed to be divinely inspired to leave the Church and post the 95 theses? You mean his credibility when it comes to the basis for the Protestant revolt is not important?

So I assume the legitimacy of the revolt does not lie in the fate of the character of this man?

The reason there are authors that write books like "The Gospel of Thomas" or "DaVinci Code" is an attempt to discredit the character of those who give witness. Why? Because in doing so, if someone can prove them to be fraudulent, then Christianity is a scam.

Please don't take it my questions in any other way then they are intended my brother.

RJS May 20, '04 9:46 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
On defending the papacy against the anti-Christ arguments I would get yourself a copy of Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid. This discuses a lot of the arguments against the papacy very well. You can also listen to some of the arguments from ewtn (# 6 talks directly about what you are dealing with)

jhnsn May 20, '04 9:53 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
I believe both people ar invincible in their ignorance. They are not open to the information I present them.
Referencing the second person, we have basically "agreed to disagree".
He looks at me like I would look at a Mormon or a JW, I'm a nice gut but totally deceived.

Thanks for the input and links.

Pere i Pau May 20, '04 9:57 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
I disagree with that conclusion. If that be the case, everyone not a Catholic would be invincibly ignorant.

Shibboleth May 20, '04 9:59 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pere i Pau
Are we talking about the same man who claimed to be divinely inspired to leave the Church and post the 95 theses? You mean his credibility when it comes to the basis for the Protestant revolt is not important?

So I assume the legitimacy of the revolt does not lie in the fate of the character of this man?

The reason there are authors that write books like "The Gospel of Thomas" or "DaVinci Code" is an attempt to discredit the character of those who give witness. Why? Because in doing so, if someone can prove them to be fraudulent, then Christianity is a scam.

Please don't take it my questions in any other way then they are intended my brother.

One of his basic premises of Lutheran teachings is that we all are by nature sinners and will sin. Luther was no different. His credibility is very important, but he did say things that are not considered acceptable by the Lutheran church but he did say some intelligent and insightful things in the process.

The legitimacy of the revolt relies on the credibility of the principles on which they were revolting not on the credibility of a man.

Pere i Pau May 20, '04 10:11 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
And intent.

Amie May 20, '04 10:20 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
For your methodist friend, why not give her Scott Hahn's "Rome Sweet Home" book first to document his conversion. It's more story-like and sounds a bit "Protestant" because it's his testimony. This may snag her into wanting to read something else of his and being open to RC again. Pray for her.

As for your other friend, he sounds disillusioned and hurt. Although you may try to come at him with reason, he is obviously beyond that and is throwing out, "whore of babylon" to get you off his back. I would first pray for him, and stop coming at him with logical arguments. It's not working. You can lead a horse to water, etc. Instead, ask him if he is open to allowing you to pray a novena to Our Lady for healing. And if he says yes, do it. Only God can open hearts. Once you've prayed for him for a while, invite him to mass. The mass is powerful, and if he recalls the faith of his youth, it may be what he needs to start the journey home.

Keep the faith, and God bless,
-Amy

jhnsn May 20, '04 11:23 am

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pere i Pau
I disagree with that conclusion. If that be the case, everyone not a Catholic would be invincibly ignorant.

I guess that's what I'm saying. You must be able to claim perfect ignorance that the Catholic Church is not the true church of christ to be invincibly ignorant. Even the slightest doubt would cause you to loose your invincibility.
For example -you could have no knowledge of the truth (Native American Indians before Columbus) or imperfect knowledge (Ghandi). in both cases they are invincibily ignorant. Let me clarify this by saying I am not their judge.
Jesus will judge their invincibility on the last day.
That is why I picked this title of the thread, to explore this topic.

Ichthus May 20, '04 4:21 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pere i Pau
Are you asking if he is invincibly ignorant? If so, I would think not.

We are forbidden by the Church to make judgments on who is invicibly ignorant of their moral obligation to elicit the Faith

Ichthus May 20, '04 4:27 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jhnsn
I guess that's what I'm saying. You must be able to claim perfect ignorance that the Catholic Church is not the true church of christ to be invincibly ignorant. Even the slightest doubt would cause you to loose your invincibility.
For example -you could have no knowledge of the truth (Native American Indians before Columbus) or imperfect knowledge (Ghandi). in both cases they are invincibily ignorant. Let me clarify this by saying I am not their judge.
Jesus will judge their invincibility on the last day.
That is why I picked this title of the thread, to explore this topic.

We are forbidden into inquiring who is and isn't invincibly ignorant.

And what would Ghandi be invincibly ignorant of? The moral obligation to elicit the Faith is imposed by baptism. Baptism is necessary as both a precept and a means. Invincible ignorance excuses from the guilt of not fulfilling a precept, but it doesn't provide for the baptism lacking (baptism of desire/blood being another matter)

I alkso don't think you know what is meant by invincible ignorance. It is a basic moral law, which refers to all moral matters. For something to be mortally sinful requires knowledge of the gravity. However lack of such knowledge (ignorance) means one failed to inform their conscience, and is a sin itself. Invincible ignorance is that which cannot be overcome, and thus the fault of the ignorance is not incurred.

IOW invincible ignorance means you had no way of knowing, so you cannot be held gulty of the sin of ignorance. A mentally retarded man, as a little child fare great examples.

Quote:

I answer that, Ignorance differs from nescience, in that nescience denotes mere absence of knowledge; wherefore whoever lacks knowledge about anything, can be said to be nescient about it: in which sense Dionysius puts nescience in the angels (Coel. Hier. vii). On the other hand, ignorance denotes privation of knowledge, i.e. lack of knowledge of those things that one has a natural aptitude to know. Some of these we are under an obligation to know, those, to wit, without the knowledge of which we are unable to accomplish a due act rightly. Wherefore all are bound in common to know the articles of faith, and the universal principles of right, and each individual is bound to know matters regarding his duty or state. Meanwhile there are other things which a man may have a natural aptitude to know, yet he is not bound to know them, such as the geometrical theorems, and contingent particulars, except in some individual case. Now it is evident that whoever neglects to have or do what he ought to have or do, commits a sin of omission. Wherefore through negligence, ignorance of what one is bound to know, is a sin; whereas it is not imputed as a sin to man, if he fails to know what he is unable to know. Consequently ignorance of such like things is called "invincible," because it cannot be overcome by study. For this reason such like ignorance, not being voluntary, since it is not in our power to be rid of it, is not a sin: wherefore it is evident that no invincible ignorance is a sin. On the other hand, vincible ignorance is a sin, if it be about matters one is bound to know; but not, if it be about things one is not bound to know.
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/207602.htm

jhnsn May 20, '04 8:53 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Thanks for the reply. But if the person is satisfied that their belief is true and you have not been convinced otherwise their ignorance is complete. They are not bound to know it because it makes no sense (nonsense) to them. They have no need to study a nonsensical idea.
Could one make the argument that if Ghandi formed his conscience following whatever "grace" he was given, then he had the best formed conscience he could achieve even though he was never baptized (water,desire etc..). Therefore he was bound to only know what he believed to be the truth because the "real truth" presented to him made no sense.

Ichthus May 21, '04 5:44 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jhnsn
Thanks for the reply. But if the person is satisfied that their belief is true and you have not been convinced otherwise their ignorance is complete. They are not bound to know it because it makes no sense (nonsense) to them. They have no need to study a nonsensical idea.
Could one make the argument that if Ghandi formed his conscience following whatever "grace" he was given, then he had the best formed conscience he could achieve even though he was never baptized (water,desire etc..). Therefore he was bound to only know what he believed to be the truth because the "real truth" presented to him made no sense.

That has nothing to do with whether the ignorance was vincible or invincible. Invincible is that which cannot be overcome.

Also ignorance is a nothing. It doesn't save. Baptism, since the promulgation of the Gospel, is not just a necessity of precept but also of means for salvation.

So if not bapised and not in votum, there is not possibility of salvation. Baptism of desire suffices, surely, but no baptism of desir/blood and no phytsical sacraments= no salvation.

All who die in Original Sin will descend into Hell. It is that simple. I cannot judge Ghandi, who knows what happened with God's grace even as the bullet ewntered his brain, he could have acheive baptism in voto, or no.

But see ignorance is a nothing, and indeed takes the nature of a punishment. Invincible onle exuses from being punished for the sin in which one is invincibly ignorant. It oesn't excuse other sins. It doesn't bestowal justifying grace, which only baptism does. And without justifying grace there is no salvation

If they are obstinate that doesn't make it invincible, since they still have the natrual apitutde to know. And besides one cannot earn salvation anyways. I don't care what good they do. With God's grace, especially that of baptism, one cannot attain salvation

jccurtis May 21, '04 6:48 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Some good suggestions have been made. I would add a reminder to evangelize with your actions, not just your words.

Peace and grace,
Josh

jhnsn May 22, '04 2:19 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
I highlighted the paragraphs in the Catechism that I'm trying to understand. I thought the phrase "through no fault of their own" and "seeks the truth and does the will of God ..." refer to invincible ignorance.
Even if he is as dense as a white dwarf. If he seeks the truth his ignorance of the truth is invincible because he sees real truth as meaningless. Why would I study the book "The Aeordynamics of Pig Flight" if its totally ridiculous to me.


Paragraph 846 of the CCC states:
Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."
Paragraph 1260 of the CCC states:
Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

Ichthus May 22, '04 5:30 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jhnsn
I highlighted the paragraphs in the Catechism that I'm trying to understand. I thought the phrase "through no fault of their own" and "seeks the truth and does the will of God ..." refer to invincible ignorance.
Even if he is as dense as a white dwarf. If he seeks the truth his ignorance of the truth is invincible because he sees real truth as meaningless. Why would I study the book "The Aeordynamics of Pig Flight" if its totally ridiculous to me.


Yes, but it is only through no fault if they are invinibly ignorant which means just that "cannot be overcome"

Further more we are commanded by the Church not to delve into nquiry on whether someone is invincibly ignorance of if they aren't. We simply aren't allowed to jusge that.

Furthermore you cannot just rip sections from the Catechism or the pope without understanding the context. Baptism of desire, for example, requires perfect contrition, not just an implicit desire as described above.

If he doesn't seek the truth that doesn't make him invinciblly ignorant. It means that he has failed to perform a moral duty. If culpable for not seeking the truth, doesn't matter his reasons, he is damned for it. Vincible ignorance, that which we are culpable for, assumes that he didn't seek the truth he could have had. Doesn't matter if he sees it as meaningless. It is only invincible if he had no way of overcoming it, and even then that doesn't provide for the defect of faith.

Also can and may be saved are a different matter than are saved. They can be, if they receive baptism, even extra sacramentally through baptismus flaminus (baptism of desire) which entails for more than just an implicit desire, such as JPII describes above. It entails perfect contrition as well.

Furthermore, as God never commands what is impossible, He must make it possible for all to do what He commands. This is what God's antecedent will to save all entails. Moreover, one would think that God knows His elect (those He consequently wills to salvation) and will infallibly ensure that they be saved. No man can saved himself. Salvation is utterly gratuitious on God's predilection.

Also pargraphy 846 says that God may lead them to that Faith. So they may be lead to the Faith, which is the Catholic Faith.

Perhaps the problem is that one must see invincible ignorance as a basic moral principle. Here what is being dicussed is either the moral obligation to elicit the faith imposed by baptism, or the necessity of precept to be baptised. But baptism is also a necessity of means, so without it one cannot be saved even if invincibly ignorant. But invincible ignorance applies to morality in general. Now it isn't about how much you studied about the Catholic Faith, necessarily. It is about informing one's conscience. We are bound to inform our conscience, as a general moral obligation. Now you know that for a sin to be mortal it must be

1. grave matter or believed to be so

2. Done willingly

3. And done with knowledge of its wrongness

Now if one is ignorant of it being wrong, they aren't guilty of that sin. Nevertheless, they were bound to inform their conscience and thus to know it is wrong. Vincible ignorance here merely means they had the natrural aptitude to know. Invincible means they did not. It has nothing to do with their motives in not informing their conscince, but their potential ability to do so. Hence a chiold below the age of reason or a mentally retard person might be invincibly ignorant because they lack the capacity to know. An islander isolated might be invincibly ignorant of certain moral obligations (though obviously not those naturally apparent). Etc. Invincible ignorance does not mean, however, that the simple lack of a motive to investigate excuses.

http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/...fm?recnum=1203

Quote:

Moral theology divides ignorance into a number of categories. The two I will consider here are invincible and vincible. Ignorance is invincible if a person could not remove it by applying reasonable diligence in determining the answer. Ignorance is vincible if a person could remove it by applying reasonable diligence. Reasonable diligence, in turn, is that diligence that a conscientious person would display in seeking the correct answer to a question given (a) the gravity of the question and (b) his particular resources.

jhnsn May 22, '04 7:02 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
Thanks for the help. I think its sinking in. I'll listen more closely to their reasoning and not just assume their invincibly ignorant if they don't seem interested.

Ruthie Jun 16, '05 6:51 pm

Re: Invincible Ignorance
 
You are slightly off, in your definition of mortal sin.

"CCC 1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: 'Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.' "

"Grave matter" is defined by the Ten Commandments and Mk 10:19. (CCC 1858)

"CCC 1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase the voluntary character of a sin."

(italics in original)

You said, "1. grave matter or believed to be so"

Believing something is a mortal sin doesn't make it so. Such a belief could come from scrupulosity, or from ignorance.

"2. Done willingly"

One can do things willingly without having making a deliberate, personal choice. For instance, my husband just asked me to cook dinner, and, since I was hunglry too, I cooked. That's not deliberate. It would have been, had I sat down and examined my conscience about a wife's duty to her husband.

"3. And done with knowledge of its wrongness"

Mere knowledge doesn't qualify; "full knowledge" is specified. For instance, I used birth control for years. (I'm a recent convert.) After marrying my husband, I decided to let God decide whether or not we'd have children. I did not see birth control as wrong. In essence, I did the right thing without full knowledge that using BC is a sin.

You say, "We are bound to inform our conscience, as a general moral obligation."

How is a person supposed to know that, without being taught?

And, where does it stop? Am I supposed to spend 20 hours a day, reading the Bible, the Catechism, and other documents, looking for sins to inform my conscience about?

"Now if one is ignorant of it being wrong, they aren't guilty of that sin. Nevertheless, they were bound to inform their conscience and thus to know it is wrong."

Now, there's a "catch-22" if I've ever seen one.

Please, cite your source for "not informing your conscience" being a sin. I'd like to read it. Thank you.


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