What about those who have never heard the Word?

I’m talking about people like those who live within lost tribes in the Congo or the Amazon. What is the Church’s position on the souls of those who have never heard the Word of God or have never heard of Jesus Christ?

The Church teaches that God gives sufficient grace to save to everyone. Regarding those who are invincibly ignorant of Christ and his Church, the Church teaches:

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. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 847)

Todd quoted the doctrine of invincible ignorance. I would just add that it is still very important to evangelize the world. It’s POSSIBLE to be saved apart from Christian Baptism, but the Church cannot say if anyone has actually done so, or exactly how it works. On the other hand, Christian Baptism offers a 100% guarantee.

A guarantee is better than a possibility.

Just to add to Todd977’s post, this is achieved by God leading them to faith, because without faith it is impossible to please God.

“*n 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.”(see CCC 848, Vatican II Ad gentes, etc.).

Here’s how St. Robert Bellarmine explained how this happens, arguing against the heretics who said God does not provide for the salvation of all men and the fact that some don’t receive the Gospel is proof of that:

[quote=St. Robert Bellarmine, De Gratis et Libero Arbitrio, lib. 2, cap. 8] This argument only proves that not all people receive the help they need to believe and be converted immediately. It does not, however, prove that some people are deprived, absolutely speaking, of sufficient help for salvation. For the pagans to whom the Gospel has not yet been preached, can know from His creatures that God exists; then they can be stimulated by God, through His preventing grace, to believe in God, that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him: and from such faith, they can be inspired, under the guidance and help of God, to pray and give alms and in this way obtain from God a still greater light of faith, which God will communicate to them, either by Himself or through angels or through men.
[/quote]

Assuming you die in a state of grace. Baptism in itself is not sufficient for salvation unless you die immediately after being baptised.

Are you saying that we will invariably fall into mortal sin in the very instant AFTER being Baptized?

Can you cite that?

Can we assume, by extension, that you feel that any Christian who has committed mortal sin, but has confessed and been absolved of it, is damned if he does not happen to die immediately after his Confession?

It’s the same thing, you know. And it is the heresy of albigensianism.

Where did I say that? You are now fabricating comments I did not make. Please be careful!!

If you are asking if I believe that someone who is baptised is likely to go their whole life without committing a mortal sin then I would say it is possible but highly improbable. Personally, all the Catholics I have met, family, friends and others have all been to Confession to confess mortal sins.
Would I like to meet an adult who has never committed a mortal sin. Yes, but I doubt if that will ever happen.

To be saved you must die in a state of grace.

To answer your other point I believe that anyone who dies immediately after receiving absolution (assuming their Confession was genuine and sincere) will be saved. That is totally different from believing a person is damned if they don’t immediately die after absolution. I am strongly offended by your implying I said that.

Please stop trying to put fabricated words into my mouth!

People under this circumstance so far removed that have never heard the gospel PR never known about the church without a doubt would fall under invincible ignorance.

There is more to life than just merely being saved. St. Paul said that the eye has not seen nor ear heard, the things that God has prepared for those who love him.

Man can love God in his nature to a degree, but to know the love of Jesus is something else. And so Jesus wanted us to tell the whole world about his love for them and be an intimate part of his salvation, which is a part of him. A lot missing and maybe a lot of pain for those who don’t know him. And the happiness of those who have found him is related over and over. No small thing to experience that kind of love.

Praise be to Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

You said,

Baptism in itself is not sufficient for salvation unless you die immediately after being baptised.

I think a plain reading of that statement says that if you die an hour (or a day, or a week) after Baptism then you will invariably commit mortal sin. You did, after all, use the word “immediately” - the word means

without lapse of time; without delay; instantly; at once. [dictionary.com]

Presumably, if it applies to Baptism, it applies to Confession as well, since both impart the same Grace (Baptismal Grace). If we will invariably loose our Baptismal Grace an hour after getting wet, we would loose it again an hour after Confession.

You might not have intended to say it (and you walked it back), but you DID say it. So lay off the self-righteous indignation.

To be saved you must die in a state of grace.

That’s all I have ever said. According to the Church, there are exactly two ways of receiving Baptismal Grace: Baptism and Confession. Nothing else whatsoever imparts saving Grace.

I think you need glasses. I did not say the things you fabricated.

I stated that if you die immediately after baptism you are saved.
I stated if you die immediately after absolution at Confession you are saved.
You are the one who brought up the silly nonsense about people invariably committing mortal sins after baptism.
You are the one who brought up the silly nonsense implying I said that if you do not die immediately after Confession you are damned.

I would like an apology otherwise I will report you to the moderators.

***Off topic posts have been removed. Please return to and remain on the topic of “those who have never heard the Word?”


That would be the same as for those who did not hear Jesus when He walked the Earth in the flesh, or those who had lived before The Incarnation.

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