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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Tragic Divide

After finishing Martin's book Will Many Be Saved?, I had a brief discussion with two people on inculpable ignorance. Of course, there is a difference between those who have never heard the Gospel and those who have and rejected it.

The tragic difference may be objectively defined in four areas of belief and unbelief.

The first are those who have never heard the Gospel. I met young people from the old Soviet Union who had never seen Bible or heard of Jesus Christ. They are among those who were not responsible for ignorance, and, therefore, not culpable. I met these youth in the 1990s.

Martin refers to an author who thinks there are lights given to each human to choose for or against God. However, there is, according to some, the moment when a young person chooses the route of the moral life, and persists in that road. creating a "primary orientation to his moral life."  Of course, grace is offered over and over by God.

However, modern technology and the high media coverage of Catholicism has ended that, even in the old Soviet areas.

Secondly, those who have access to information and have heard about Christ and His Church, and for whatever reason turn away from this knowledge, or do not respond because of sloth or other sins, are culpable.  God keeps calling these people over and over, until God lets them go on their own way via their own free will. Tragically, many people in our Western World fall into the category of the "practical atheists", those who do not believe that their actions determine eternal life.

Thirdly, there are those who choose evil, who choose to not follow God's ways on purpose, knowing exactly what they do. These are the Satanists, the witches, Masons and so on. Most of them know what they are doing for power, for status, for prosperity.

The fourth group is the one which many people refuse to consider as culpable-the lapsed Catholics.

The way God sees lapsed Catholics is entirely different from the way He sees those in the other three groups.

The baptized Catholic who has fallen away is under Canon Law-the others are not.
The baptized Catholic who has fallen away is judged by a higher standard than those who have never been given grace. The rules for marriage for lapsed Catholics are different from those who have never been Catholic, which many people do not understand. The real tragedy of the lapsed Catholic is that those who have fallen away have traded the most precious gift they ever had, faith in the Catholic Church, for what?

This last group is the hardest to bring back "home". I know from personal experience that the lapsed Catholic is sometimes the person most against the Catholic Church.

The new evangelization demands that we understand the differences in those who have never heard the Gospel, to those who ignore the Gospel, to those who hate the Gospel and to those who had the truth but gave it up.

Pray that you can understand to whom you are speaking and their real needs. And, pray for those who refuse graces, which God gives over and over and over, until He decides to let a person go their own way.

He respects and loves us too much to force us or manipulate us to love Him.

Here is a good article which should give us all hope.