With Invincible Ignorance, why evangelize at all?

If Moslems, Protestants, etc. can get to Heaven without being Catholic, what’s the point of trying to convert them?

If people separated from the rest of the world living on remote islands have invincible ignorance, why risk their damnation by relieving them of their ignorance of the faith?

My understanding of this issue is that they are already at great risk of damnation because they can still commit mortal sin. The natural law obliges all and grave offenses against it are worthy of hell. Only the Gospel can save them if they ever commit mortal sin.

Does that make sense?

Also, I think the Church freely admits that it doesn’t understand how God works through invincible ignorance, and the Catechism says that to presume upon His mercy without converting is to commit the sin of presumption: scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2092.htm.

Because all men deserve to have opportunity to receive all of what Jesus died to give to all men. The Catholic Church has been entrusted with all that God has chosen to reveal to mankind, of divine truth.

A similar sort of question in the realm of natural life is, “Why should anyone seek to fulfill the potential that they have in them for happiness and fulfillment? Why not stay in childhood, and live with mom and dad forever?”

No, people deserve to grow, to mature, to become fully themselves - to be the person that God created and gifted them to be.

Because Christ told us to baptize all nations.

Ditto. We evangelize because this is what Jesus told us to do. I admit up front that I am not the best at evangelizing–it’s hard for me and I am never sure how effective I am. None the less Jesus told us to do our best at it. Certainly we believe that some non-Catholics will still make it to heaven–an example I use is Billy Graham. I certainly don’t know that he’ll make it to heaven, but if I were a betting woman, I’d just bet he would. Having said that, it’s far more difficult to make it to haven outside the Catholic church and without the Eucharist, Penance and other sacraments which Jesus gave us for precisely this point–to assist us in life to attain heaven when we die. Jesus gave us the Sacraments of the Catholic church precisely to make it easier to win our eternal salvation.

As for muslims, I don’t know. It would probably increase their odds if they quit murdering people, trying to annihilate the Jews and all the rest of us infidels and mutilating their women’s genitalia. Just saying.:thumbsup:


The best explaination I have read explaining how the dogmas that there is no salvation outside the Church and that those in invincible ignorance of the Gospel who follow the natural law carefully can be saved is that of Bishop George Hay. I believe the Church teaches that it is not possible for fallen man to remain free from mortal sin for long without the sacraments, so that means non-Catholics are in mortal sin. In order to be saved they must convert. If they seek to do God’s will by following the natural law and striving to know the truth then they will be guided into the Church by God’s graces and providence. We cannot be sure that someone who appears to have died outside the Church has done because we do not know what passed between that person’s soul and God in the moments before death, but if they did die as they lived then they are in hell. Those who do die as Protestants etc. do go to hell and that is why we must convert them.

If anyone decides to look up Bishop Hay’s work, be careful, because one of the websites containing it is run by sedevacantists.


Hmmm this makes sense to me, thanks.

Interesting. So in your humble opinion, Billy Graham who has dedicated his entire life to serving God, albeit as a non Catholic but who is so chaste that he wouldn’t even get on an elevator alone with a woman, is going to hell in a hand basket? Also, all Jews are going to hell as well?

Nobody said that, only that it seems like a dangerously likely thing.

Sounds–how should I say this–dangerously pompous to me.

There’s a mistaken understanding of salvation…a getting over the goal line…as if the only important thing is the hereafter.

In one sense it’s true…but in a bigger, fuller sense, there is much more. Our goal is holiness in this life as well…being the best we can be in this world…to make the lives of others more pleasant in this world. To be less selfish, and to begin our heaven now. This means holiness now, a bit more each day, going out of our way to help others discover God here and now.

No, it’s prudent. To assume people who aren’t Catholic right now will end up in Heaven is dangerously close to presumption. I don’t think it’s pompous at all to assume non-Catholics desperately need to be converted to the truth faith.

Jesus suggested that we judge not that we be not judged. The Fatima prayer we say with each decade of the Rosary asks God to save us from the fires of hell and to help all sinners, especially those most in need of His mercy. My husband was raised First Christian as were his parents before him. My mother in law was one of the saintliest women I know. I admit I don’t know God’s mind–and moreover, I feel privileged to be Catholic. But I do NOT buy into the idea that only Catholics go to heaven.

I’m sorry but I’m pretty certain only Catholics go to Heaven.

I’m not saying God doesn’t miraculously give people a last chance to convert to Catholicism at the last second of their death, but it’d be presumptuous to assume he does in every instance.

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