The freedom of faith
To be human, “man’s response to God by faith must be
free, and . . . therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith
against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act.”
“God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently
they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced. . . . This fact
received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus.”
invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them.
“For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose
it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom . . . grows by the love
with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself.”
The necessity of faith
Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for
our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.
‘without faith it is impossible to please [God]’ and to attain to the
fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever
attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘but he
who endures to the end.’”
Perseverance in faith
Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can
lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage
the goodwarfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting
conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.”
To live, grow, and persevere in the faith until the end we must
nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase
it must be “working through charity,” abounding in
hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.
10; cf. CIC, can. 748 § 2.
3:36; 6:40 et al.
3: DS 3012; cf.
10:22; 24:13 and
11:6; Council of Trent: DS