1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.
1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.
The Church teaches that there is no salvation outside of Her. The phrase dates back to Origen, but he was describing something understood within Church teaching-because Christ is the Way the Truth and the Life and He established His Church to be that Way. But God is Merciful and anyway, rather sensible and there has always been an understanding that those who are not fully members of the Church through no fault of their own can still obtain salvation. They do this through the 'baptism of desire' which essentially means that the person desires God, but in this life was not offered the fullest opportunity to find Him in His Church. This would be 'invincible ignorance'.
Now I grew up in confused and confusing times. On the one had I was taught a somewhat Feenyistic view that said that anyone who could not see the Catholic Faith was the One True Faith was just stupid and deserved damnation-and on the other side that there were many paths up the mountain and who really cared which one you chose?
As a result of this I spent many years in the pic'n'mix section of Catholic Cafeteria, trying to find God and meaning in the bizarre mush mash of stuff around me.
I think if I had dropped dead back then, I would still have had a chance of heaven.
But then God in His mercy began to offer me opportunities to really find Him.
I got into MARYVALE under some rather unusual circumstances and from there I found access to all sorts of information about the Faith.
The first thing I learned there was just how much I didn't know! I realised I had access to a whole new world, the pearl of great price was mine for the asking. What an amazing and wonderful thing to find.
I spent all I had on books and tapes and spent hours on the Internet looking a Catholic sites and praying for discernment.
There is so much available these days including EWTN and Catholic radio that simply was not around only a few years ago.
God surely offers the chance to truly know Him and understand Him and His Church if we ask, and it's not so hard to find the truth any longer.
So I wonder sometimes how invincible is a lot of people's ignorance? Surely those who phone Catholic Answers challenging the catholic faith HEAR the answer-then what?
When offered the chance to know the Truth we must not turn away-test it yes, and keep searching. Those who seek WILL find-Jesus promised.
For more on this go HERE and HERE.