It's a hard saying but it's true. Invincible ignorance CAN save, but only if the person dies completely free of mortal sin. Without confession, how likely is that?
From Mundabor's Blog
Everyone who works in the UK and, likely, in big cities of the US knows the situation: more and more people, at work, are infidels or heathens.
The more and more noticeable presence of people of other religions engenders, I think, a big mistake in many who are only superficially “Christian”. Insofar as they think of whether these infidels and heathen will be saved, they likely reflect that all those who “have their heart in the right place” will likely be saved, because hey, it’s not their fault they are Hindus, or Muslims, or Jews and they can, obviously (or so the thinking goes) not reasonably conceive becoming Christians.
Well, there’s a big problem right there. And yes, let me give you a spoiler: it is very reasonable to assume that the vast (as in: vast) majority of your colleagues, walking around the corridors with their own exotic and difficult-to-remember names will, actually, spend eternity in hell. Yes, I am talking of the same people who talk to you about their hopes for their children, the way they are planning to redo the garden, or the other cares and worries that everybody else has. Yep, they are all nice people; still, niceness does not save.
The religion of niceness sees (nice) heathens all around us and automatically welcomes them into the fantasy of almost universal salvation. Even those few who (used to) go to church are, nowadays, bombarded with homilies which never say, but constantly imply, that baptism of desire is just like Covid and will, sooner or later, get pretty much everybody. Possibly even worse, we live in times where even Bishops tell us that they “dare” to hope this and that (say: that hell is empty), thus signalling that it is good to dare to hope something that, in fact, Christianity never said. In short, it’s as if the “encounter with Christ” would be something that only serial killers and North Korean dictators manage to somewhat avoid.
It is not so.
Firstly, invincible ignorance must be invincible. It seems to me that pretty much nobody, and I mean pretty much nobody, who lives in the West and is constantly exposed to signs of Christian life can claim such invincibility. You might conceive an exception for the 72 years old grandma who came here to the UK in tow of some son or nephew working as a programmer, or fake refugee, refuses to even learn the language, and lives all day in isolation in her council house waiting to die, but I think it ends there. For all others (that is: for the vast, vast majority of those living in the West), there can be no invincible ignorance with churches still scattered everywhere. Therefore, the vast majority of your colleagues lose, unless they convert, for this reason alone.
Secondly, this invincible ignorance, in itself, does not save. It’s not that everybody who never could know the Church will be fine. If it were so, it would be better to be born, live and die as a heathen in the Amazonian forest rather than living with the desire to know, serve and love God in a Christian Country.
Grandma Nitiya in her Indian village may not even know how a church looks like, or that Christians exist. But being a heathen, she will most likely die with a multitude of mortal sins on her conscience. Granted, an extremely small minority of such grandmas (or grandpas) will have, by God’s grace, the necessary knowledge engraved in their hearts (this must include that there is only one God), and will be provided with such a goodness of heart as to not die in mortal sin; but you can see for yourself how high this bar is, and how few are those who live and die in such a way.
This is not Mundabor having a bad day. This is what Christianity has always taught. This is, also, why infant baptism exists. A world that forgets Christ readily forgets the importance of being baptised because hey, everybody with his “heart in the right place” is baptised by desire, surely?
It is important to remind ourselves of the harsh truths of God. It does not mean that we will plant ourselves on the corner of a street and cry: “Repent!!” to the passers-by, as some virtue-signalling Protestants do. We are Catholics, and we don’t go around talking to those who don’t want to listen. But what it means is that we need to be vigilant, use the virtue of Prudence and use every occasion we have to try to warn the infidels and heathens around us of what it is that the Church teaches about their eternal destiny.