Invinvible Ignorance in relation to Infalliable condemnation

Hello all!

I’ve a queary that I’m not really quite sure how to answer, perhaps one of you could shed some light on it for me :slight_smile:

Concerning the Doctrine of invincible ignorance as propagated by the CCC, we are told that those, who for whatever reason are ignorant of the Gospel or the fullness of Church teaching not of their own free will, simply never having a chance to learn it will also find salvation.

An admirable and fair assessment I would agree, but I was browsing a few statements from the Council of Trent today and I found a few things like this…

**CANON 11: **If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

This might not be the best example (just the one I have on my desktop at present) but there are a number of movements that are singled out in Papal encyclicals for special condemnation; from this we might assume that Bible alone Christians are to be condemned, even if they don’t know better. Take the new age movement which has been dubbed Satanic, are those who take part in Wicca also covered by Invincible Ignorance or are there faiths or denominations who are not covered by this doctrine?

Thank you.

We are taught that baptism is salvific, but there is water baptism, baptism of desire, and baptism of blood (martyrdom). All three are “poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost” as Trent rightly states in Canon 11. It is to the “exclusion of grace and charity” that the anethema is correctly directed.

If a person is truly invincibly ignorant, but strives to live according to his conscience and follow God as they understand Him, they receive baptism of desire, which is able to save them. The Church recognizes and teaches this possibility. And yes, bible alone Christians, if they are baptized and also follow God to the best of their ability with the grace they have been given, they are included.

Not so sure about Wicca and New Age. Let’s leave that judgment up to God.

No one knows who it applies to but God, he will judge us all according to the truth of our individual situations. It will be an absolutely honest judgment. So it would never do to presume, we must make an honest effort to learn what the Church teaches and do our best to live up to it.


Praise God, who does not leave us orphaned. As I prayed Evening Prayer tonight from the Liturgy of the Hours, this was the reading tonight:

The Spirit himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God. But if we are children, we are heirs as well: heirs of God, heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so as to be glorified with him. Rom. 8:14-17

And it reminded me of Jesus’s words in John 14:21,
"Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

As we consider that those who are invincibly ignorant of our Faith, yet “keeps the commandments,” can there be any doubt that Jesus will love them and show Himself to them? And where Jesus is, there also is the Spirit, bearing witness interiorly that they are God’s children.

Yes, it is imperfect faith, but nevertheless able to bring salvation, and some day, perhaps, they may be led to fuller belief and faith by that same Spirit, as was Cornelius in Acts 10. The Church exhorts us to continue our mission activity to bring all into one fold with one Shepherd.

Actually, that’s nothing like what we are told. We are told that it is POSSIBLE to attain salvation apart from baptism. The Church has NO IDEA how it works. The Church does not know if it is “easy” or “hard,” or if only a few have ever done it, or if anyone has ever done it.

That’s why it is so important to spread the Gospel and get people Baptized - which works 100% of the time. Baptism is a guarantee, but there’s nothing guaranteed about invincible ignorance.

First of all, the Church does not judge souls. An anathema is a form of excommunication, not damnation. Therefore, there is no connection between a particular belief or teaching being anathematized and the possibility that someone might hold that belief in invincible ignorance.


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