This makes me wonder, does God listen to us? If I were to say “I am not Catholic”, would God respect that opinion and accept by my own admission that I were not Catholic and judge me accordingly? (By my own mouth).
Or would He instead look at me and say “You don’t know it, you reject it, but nevertheless in my eyes you are Catholic”. (By His mouth).
I guess I am asking the same question in a different way. To me the question really hinges on how much God permits us to express our own position, how much He validates our own opinion, before His Throne.
From Scripture I can see leanings both ways, but often there is an intervention which forces proposition 2 (By His mouth).
20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21* that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
While God gives us free will, and we make choices based on our free will, He wills perfect unity. His Church is the Catholic Church. He gave his Church all His promises. When anyone chooses division from His Church over unity in His Church, then scripture and Tradition, shows us the bad consequences that follow that choice.
Here is a key phrase that applies to everything we must believe
“after receiving the knowledge of the truth,” [Heb 10:26]
Therefore, once someone knows the truth, they can no longer plead ignorance. They are no longer innocently ignorant. They are required to follow that truth or they are culpable of the wrong they do.