OBJECTION- What about Invincible Ignorance?
2 Corinthians 4:3: “And if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.”
Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 6 on Justification, Chap. 15: “…it must be maintained that the grace of justification, although received, is lost not only by infidelity, whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin, although faith be not lost, thereby defending the doctrine of the divine law which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelievers, but also the faithful who are ‘fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liers with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners’ [1 Cor. 6:9], and all others who commit deadly sins…”
The dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation has been solemnly defined at least seven times by popes speaking from the Chair of St. Peter. Never once were any exceptions mentioned about “invincible ignorance.” In fact, it is just the opposite: all exceptions were always excluded.
Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: “There is indeed one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved, in which Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice.”
Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra:
“With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this Church outside of which there is no salvation nor remission of sin… Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by absolute necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, Decree # 30, 1311-1312, ex cathedra:” Since however there is for both regulars and seculars, for superiors and subjects, for exempt and non-exempt, one universal Church, outside of which there is no salvation, for all of whom there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism…”
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439:
“Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.”
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra:
“The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”
Pope Leo X, Fifth Lateran Council, Session 11, Dec. 19, 1516, ex cathedra: “For, regulars and seculars, prelates and subjects, exempt and non-exempt, belong to the one universal Church, outside of which no one at all is saved, and they all have one Lord and one faith.”
Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Iniunctum nobis, Nov. 13, 1565, ex cathedra: “This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved… I now profess and truly hold…”
Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: “This faith of the Catholic Church, without which no one can be saved, and which of my own accord I now profess and truly hold…”
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, Session 2, Profession of Faith, 1870, ex cathedra: “This true Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess and truly hold…”
The Catholic Church is infallible; Her dogmatic definitions are infallible; popes speaking from the Chair of Peter are infallible. Thus, it is very simple: If it were true that so-called “invincibly ignorant” non-Catholics could be saved, then GOD WOULD NEVER HAVE ALLOWED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO DEFINE THE DOGMA THAT NO ONE AT ALL CAN BE SAVED OUTSIDE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! But God did allow His infallible Church to define this truth, WHICH SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES FROM SALVATION EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT DIE A CATHOLIC.
Thus, the idea that a non-Catholic who is ignorant of the Faith can be saved is heretical; it is contrary to the dogma that “no one,” (Pope Pius IV; Benedict XIV; Pius IX) “nobody at all,” (Innocent III) “nobody, even if he shed his blood in the name of Christ” (Eugene IV) can be saved as a non-Catholic. It is a denial of the dogma that “every human creature” (Boniface VIII) must be a Catholic, and that “only those” (Eugene IV) inside the bosom and unity of the Church can achieve salvation.
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832:
“Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”
Those who insist that “invincible ignorance” can possibly save a person who dies as a non-Catholic simply depart from and deny the dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church.
 Denzinger 808.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 230; Denzinger 430.
 Denzinger 468-469.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 386.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, pp. 550-553; Denzinger 39-40.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 578; Denzinger 714.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 646.
 Denzinger 1000.
 Denzinger 1473.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 2, p. 803.
 The Papal Encyclicals, Vol. 1 (1740-1878), p. 229.
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