2518 believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe. ‘36

159 Faith and science: ‘Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the


light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor

can truth ever contradict truth.’37 ‘Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can


never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and

the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.’~8

The freedom of faith

i6o To be human, ‘man’s response to God by faith must be free, and... therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith

1738, 2106

against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act.’39

‘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.’4° Indeed, Christ 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

i6i Believing inJesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our 432, 1257 salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 ‘Since “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”.’43