Ignorance saves no one. Having faith in what God has revealed and living according to this faith does save. The fact that not everyone have been blessed with the oppurtunity to hear the gospel does not mean that they have rejected Christ. They may have a real relationship with him through their obedience to the graces they have been offered. After all, Christ is more than a historical person. He is the divine logos, the second person of the blessed Trinity. “The true light that gives light to every man” (John 1 9), not just to those who have heard of the historical person, Jesus the Christ…
A person who has rejected what little grace he or she has been given is likely also to reject the greater grace of coming to faith in Christ. A person who has accepted it will also accept the greater grace. As john 3 says
- 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, scripture says, and then it is plainly seen that what he has done in the past has been done through God. So it is possible to live by the truth prior to coming to the light (Jesus). It is also possible to please God prior to becoming a Christian.
Paul says in Romans 2
*14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) *
Clearly then, the argument that we must not preach the gospel because people who might otherwise be saved, will be damned if they reject it, does not apply. If they have accepted the little light they have been given, they will accept more. But if they have made a habit of rejecting light, more light will surely not attract them.
*Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." *(Mark 4 25)
As a Christian I have the responsibility to preach the gospel. Not doing so when I have the oppurtunity could be very serious. God says in Ezekiel 3
- 18 When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for] his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and** I will hold you accountable for his blood**. 21 But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”*
Finally, I do not presume to know the state of the soul of any man or woman I present the gospel to. But if the person is wicked, the grace of hearing the gospel might move the person to turn from his or her ways and become a Christian.
If the person is not wicked but have accepted the graces God have allready offered, God still wants the person to have all graces available. The fullness of these graces are distributed in the Catholic Church through the sacraments. My task is not to speculate on whether or not someone who is not a Catholic is in a state of grace, but to make every effort to help the person receive the fullness of the faith.