I do not presently have the CCC in front of me, so please excuse me if this question is a bit jumbled as a result of being based off a poor paraphrase. In the section on other religions in the CCC, I recall reading a phrase to the effect of:
…nevertheless he could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded by God through Christ, refused either to remain in it or to enter into it.
(Boy, I hope that paraphrase gets the gist of the idea.) I was once dialoguing with a very prominent Evangelical author, and he made the comment that it’s not the person who ‘knows’ that the Catholic Church is God’s Church and then rejects it who is condemned. He said that all one has to do is to hear and understand the teachings of the Catholic Church and then reject them and he will be condemned as a result. It seems to me though that he was in error. If the Catechism does actually advocate an epistemic qualification (that is, the person actually does have to know that the Catholic Church was founded by God and not just understand the claims of the Church), this would seem to entail that there would be an issue of conscience and awareness. That is, if it’s the person who knows that the CC was founded by God through Christ and then rejects it, this seems to be more than merely hearing the claims and understanding them. It seems to be a recognition of the truth of the claims themselves.
What do you all think? Am I missing the boat here, or have I got it right? Is there an epistemic (i.e., knowledge) qualification that must be met before one could be condemned? That is, any given person actually has to “know” that the CC is God’s Church (and still reject it) before he could be in danger of condemnation. What I’m basically getting at is this. It seems that one must hear and understand the claims of the Church *and then recognize in some sense the truth of those claims *before he could be condemned, rather than condemnation coming as a result of rejecting the CC after merely hearing and understanding Her claims.
Thanks for any thoughts you might have to share.