EWTN Catholic Q&A
Fallen Away Catholics...but
Question from Joshua on 06-21-2017:

Good day, I know fallen away Catholics who say they love the Lord (even in my family). The profess the Holy Name and His Help with great confidence. They offer rationalization that they indeed are serving the Lord but reject God's Holy Church. I have had opportunities where I 're-witnessed' the faith, but all have likewise rejected for one reason or another. Being so, I have left the clear boundaries and continued to show love and continue to lift them up in prayer for conversion. I just read a document found on ewtn quoting Pope Pious XI 'Outside the Church there is No Salvation', but it appears that invincible ignorance may not apply for baptized-fallen away Catholics. Is it possible for such people, if they die, to avoid Hell if they do not mend with Holy Mother?

Answer by David Gregson on 12-20-2017:

Baptized fallen away Catholics may still be subject to invincible ignorance. Take the case of Catholics who are misled by non-Catholic teaching. If they never really understood the teaching of the Catholic Church, what they hear from a non-Catholic source may make sense to them. In that case, they may believe they are serving the Lord even outside the Church. Of course, they make their salvation less secure, but they may still be saved.

I would continue to pray for them, and witness to them by your example. The Holy Father teaches that we can bring about more conversions by attracting others to the Faith than by arguing for it.

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