16 Jan '06 18:46>
Pius IX proposed again a conviction consolidated for centuries in Christian theology: There are men and women who, for various reasons, whether because of cultural conditionings, or because of an experience or a negative contact with the Christian faith, are unable to consent to the faith.
Although it might seem that these people consciously reject Christ, one cannot make an unquestionable judgment on this rejection.
Invincible ignorance indicates precisely a condition of lack of knowledge in regard to Christ, the Church, the faith, a lack of knowledge that, for the time being, cannot be overcome with an act of will.
The person is blocked, as though unable to express a "yes" to faith.
As we see every day among our acquaintances, the reasons why many people say no to Christ are many: disappointment, betrayal, poor catechesis, cultural and social conditioning.
Pius IX himself admitted the difficulty of delimiting the cases of invincible ignorance, stating: "Who will arrogate to himself the power to determine the limits of that ignorance according to the character and variety of peoples, of regions, of spirits and of so many other elements?"
Pius IX taught us therefore a great prudence and great respect for those who do not have the gift of faith in Christ.
We are not able to understand altogether the reasons for a rejection of faith, nor can we know with certainty that someone who seems to have no faith, in fact has a very imperfect form of faith.