-by Hans Memling (around 1433–1494), The Last Judgment, triptych, from about 1466 to about 1473, oil on board,length: 2355 cm, height: 223.5 cm, width: 72.5 cm, National Museum in Gdańsk, Poland, please click on the image for greater detail
“Invincible ignorance cannot apply to all things as a possibility because of the principle of Synderesis. Synderesis is a scholastic term that states definitively and deductively that man has an innate moral knowledge, not of all things, but at the most basic level to avoid evil and to pursue the good. This as a result excludes indifference towards the good and what opposes it as evil in both natural and divine ways.
This is one of the reasons why Pope St. Paul VI said that those who do not evangelize, cannot be saved. Indifference towards the proclamation of the Gospel is indifference towards the good. Indifferentism, to St. Maximillian Kolbe was the “sin of [his] time.” But it hasn’t been corrected, and simply gotten worse since.
Understanding this through the lens of a relationship can help; as is the case when we neglect another. Parents can legally lose the right to parent their children, and even go to jail for neglect. It is a big deal. Their children are good and are owed justice, love, nurturing, and a safe environment that isn’t toxic, in order to grow. How much more is this true for the Divine-Good of the faith. To be indifferent towards the divine-good, is to be indifferent to our own end, and the ultimate good of others. Most importantly it’s indifference to the One who is owed more than anyone else.
Synderesis gives us no excuse towards a disposition of being closed toward the Divine Good. Thus, Romans teaches “there is no excuse.” There is a lot left unnuanced, but I suppose my main point is that we cannot presume innocent ignorance in man’s fallen state, and while it is a possibility, the fallen state we inherit through original sin makes it difficult to cooperate with our innate nature to pursue the Divine Good and avoid evil.
If you are pulled over for driving incorrectly and claim, “I didn’t know” you are guilty for your ignorance because you were responsible to know the law of the road prior to driving upon it. Likewise, if it be in man that his disposition is to seek the highest good, and avoid all evil, and he dies in a state not truly open to the Highest Good, then this is where Vatican II along with the entire history of the Church would say there can be no hope for salvation. Why? I suppose one reason would simply be that Salvation is you finding healing in your relationship with God, becoming fully alive as a result of being united to Him. But to not even be united to the most primordial disposition within yourself in integrity, is to will one’s own destruction. This is a radical possibility, whereas invincible ignorance about God I would think, today, as when the Letter to the Roman’s was written is less radical of a possibility.
None of this is to elate ourselves in being in the know – since to know is not sufficient for salvation, but rather to know and to love the Divine Good. And many who even know this, may not be saved, since the knowledge was not that of faith, but something that died. Faith is not the adherence to mere content, but the assent of the whole person to God in the context of a relationship. This is what salvation is: a repaired relationship with the Divine Good.
This is what as Christians we would will for others, since to love is to will the good for the other for their own sake.”
Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force, because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one, but only proposes, invites and counsels." –St. Angela Merici, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "We cannot always have access to a spiritual Father for counsel in our actions and in our doubts, but reading will abundantly supply his place by giving us directions to escape the illusions of the devil and of our own self-love, and at the same time to submit to the divine will.” —St. Alphonsus Ligouri, "The harm that comes to souls from the lack of reading holy books makes me shudder . . . What power spiritual reading has to lead to a change of course, and to make even worldly people enter into the way of perfection." –St. Padre Pio, "Screens may grab our attention, but books change our lives!" – Word on Fire, "Reading has made many saints!" -St Josemaría Escrivá, "Do you pray? You speak to the Bridegroom. Do you read? He speaks to you." —St. Jerome, from his Letter 22 to Eustochium, "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, "God here speaks to souls through…good books“ – St Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, "You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine, "Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls." —St. Alphonsus Liguori "Never read books you aren't sure about. . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?" -St. John Bosco " To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer." —St. Thomas Aquinas, OP. "Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading." –St. Isidore of Seville “The aid of spiritual books is for you a necessity.… You, who are in the midst of battle, must protect yourself with the buckler of holy thoughts drawn from good books.” -St. John Chrysostom