[quote:2j0m3tpd]The CCC talks about unintentional ignorance, which means their is intentional ignorance. People can choose to be ignorant.[/quote:2j0m3tpd]
The old term, (and my the ones I prefer) are Vincible and Invincible Ignorance. Examples of someone with Invincible Ignorance are…
1. Aboriginal People who have not had the Gospel preached to them.
2. People who have been brought up in an enviornment that is so
anti-Catholic that they cannot hear the rationality of the Truth as
given to us by Christ to the Apostles and from them handed down
through the centuries in the Church.
3. People with Mental Disorders or those with Developmental Disabilites
who cannot understand the Truth.
4. Catholics who have been improperly catechised and lose the faith
by members of number 2 or other false religions.
These God will deal with based on what they knew, (God has shown himself through creation and men know through the Natural Law sometimes called natural theology, the basics of proper behavior) theologians have speculated that they will either be given the truth when they die, and will be allowed the choice of accepting God or Rejecting Him, or that they will be judged based on what they know. God has not revealed that to us, and we must trust in His mercy. What we do know is that it is not their false beliefs that will save them but the Merits of Christ distributed through the Church in the Treasury of Graces that our Lord earned for the world through His Incarnation, Passion, Death and Rising from the dead.
An example of Vincible Ignorance would be someone who has all the opportunities to learn about the Faith, has rejected the truth through his own sloth and lack of interest in learning and practicing the Faith.
Now we may not know just what category someone is in. The devil himself may have used the bad example of a person professing to be a Catholic who harmed a soul and psyche of a person so deeply that without prayer (from all of us) and themselves to seek out the truth and their willingness to be open to the truth they may not be able to come to or come back to the faith. We don’t know if it is pride. There was a man who wrote a book called the People’s Padre, (Emmett McLoughin) a Franciscan priest who after years of good work as a priest fell in love with a woman, left the Church and was able to support himself by writing and selling books against Clerical Celebacy among other allegations against the Church. What most people don’t know is near the end of his life, he realized that his hormones where more important to him than his soul, and he went to confession and died in the embrace of Christ and His Church. I was very fortunate to speak with the priest who recieved him back, (and while of course he was unable to reveal what he confessed, Fr. Martin assured me that Emmet had made his peace with Christ, confessed and was able to recieve Extreme Unction and the Viaticum.) So one never knows the disposition of someone’s soul nor can we judge them. Had Fr. Martin not been able to go to Emmet’s bedside, Emmet could have made an act of perfect contrition and still died in the graces of communion with the Chruch.
Human pride is another factor, someone may be so angry at the Church, or be dependent on their livelyhood by speaking against the Church and have made statements so brash that they would feel like a fool if they admitted that what they yelled so loud from the rooftops was true and they “knew it for sure” was false, that they may be afraid to admit that what they said against the Church was false and not have the humility to come back home. There may be psychological factors too. Some people are so invested in being the only one who knows what is right that they just can’t admit when they have been duped and go along even fooling themselves.
What can we do as Catholics? First pray for them. Second pray for ourselves that we may remain faithful and not just learn our Faith, but live our Faith, following the spiritual path toward perfection. (our Lord bid us to be perfect as His Father in heaven is perfect.) A tall order, and one we may not accomplish until we are in heaven, but a goal to aim for each day. We can remember to practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Trust in God and all He has revealed to us, by reading the Sacred Scriptures, the Lives and writings of the Saints, which while not Scripture serve as examples of those (spiritual family members) who trusted in God. In reading about the saints we find those who lived a life of grace from infancy and early childhood, to those who rejected God and sought after the world before their conversion. Examples for everyone. This is just the tip of the iceberg (so to speak)