Can someone explain invincible ignorance and salvation?


#1

Hello everyone! I am having a hard time understanding invincible ignorance. I have a few questions to ask:

  1. People who willingly reject the Catholic Church and don’t repent do go to hell,right?

  2. Do people who want to be part of the Catholic Church, but can’t for whatever reason, go to heaven by baptism of desire?

  3. Do people who have never heard of the Catholic Church, but reason there is a God and tries to worship him, go to heaven?

  4. Do people who have never heard of the Catholic Church, so leads a life of sin(since there is no one telling that person what is right or wrong), go to heaven but by purgatory first?

  5. In baptism of blood, does one have to vow to go to proper baptism, or can he just be martyred in the defense of the Catholic faith, even if he wasn’t planning on getting baptized?

Thank you all for your help and please cite infallible documents if you can for your explanation.


#2
  1. "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter. Those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. With the Orthodox churches, this communion is so profound that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist. " Catechism 838. The Catholic Church accepts that baptized non-Catholics can get to Heaven.

2-5 Don’t know the official position.


#3

Ok. Thank you for your answer.


#4

Yes.

  1. Do people who want to be part of the Catholic Church, but can’t for whatever reason, go to heaven by baptism of desire?

Provided that desire for baptism is animated by perfect contrition, yes.

  1. Do people who have never heard of the Catholic Church, but reason there is a God and tries to worship him, go to heaven?

This is a common error Catholics make. The answer is yes, as many would say, but may Catholics would say “he tried his best, and God wouldn’t condemn him for that”. That’s a grave view of God. It should be stated first off that just reasoning that there’s one true and good God is not enough for salvation. One must believe in Him - “without faith it is impossible to believe in God” (Heb. 11:6). There is a difference between thinking that God exists and believing in God. The correct answer to this question is, that, such a person would be saved, provided he perservered in state of grace to the end - but not without faith in Christ. God would, in His wisdom, make a way for this person to come to know the necessary truths for salvation - namely, that there is only one God (knowable by unaided reason, but with difficulty; God would enligthen Him in grace), that He judges and rewards the good and punishes the evil (knowable from the testimony of conscience), that in this one God, there are three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each fully God, and in the Jesus Christ, the God-Man, the Redeemer, who resurrected from the dead, and will resurrect us from the dead to. Those are the basic truths proclaimed in the Creed. It is necessary for all who are truly able (who have the faculties) to believe these truths for salvation. “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how can they call upon Him whom they have not heard, and how can they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:4).

So, in short, the answer is yes, because God would find some way to ensure that such a person came to believe in the necessary truths.

  1. Do people who have never heard of the Catholic Church, so leads a life of sin (since there is no one telling that person what is right or wrong), go to heaven but by purgatory first?

No. It is not possible to commit only venial sin. Without an explicit act of charity, original sin remains on the soul - and original sin alone is damnable (see Cantate Domino from the Council of Florence, 1439; note that this is not saying anything about whether unbaptized infants go to Limbo, it is dogmatic only in saying that a soul in original sin alone would be condemned to hell, which most would say in this case would be Limbo. Whether the desire of parents or the Church suffices to clean the souls of those in original sin only is not decided). The testimony of conscience suffices to tell a man that he is wrong, at least initally. True, conscience can be hardened, but this does not necessarily excuse a man. Even if he were raised this way, it is somewhat doubtful as to whether or not this can be excused, since “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to destruction” (Prov. 14:15).

  1. In baptism of blood, does one have to vow to go to proper baptism, or can he just be martyred in the defense of the Catholic faith, even if he wasn’t planning on getting baptized?

It is necessary to desire at least implicitly to join the Catholic Church, and one does so by baptism. Hence, one cannot not wish to be baptized and at the same time join the Church. A person who did not plan getting baptized would be someone who is not really seeking forgiveness. Hence, they would be lost.

Thank you all for your help and please cite infallible documents if you can for your explanation.

No problem. I hope this was helpful.

Benedicat Deus,
Latinitas


#5

From the Catechism:

“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

Please read this section as I think it will help answer your questions:

scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p3.htm

And further on baptism:

“1281 Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, can be saved even if they have not been baptized.”

You should also note this fascinating quote from the Catechism regarding the necessity of baptism:

“God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.”

So, any black and white answers you receive may not be correct.

Please also consider this from the Papal encyclical Redemptoris Missio:

“The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the Gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.”


#6

Here is an excellent article from apologist Jimmy Akin describing ignorance, and especially as it may relate to salvation:

catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=1203


#7

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