CCC 160 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.”1 “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.”2 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.”3
CCC 217 God is also truthful when he reveals himself – the teaching that comes from God is “true instruction”.4 When he sends his Son into the world it will be “to bear witness to the truth”:5 “We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true.”6
CCC 549 By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death,7 Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below,8 but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God’s sons and causes all forms of human bondage.9
CCC 559 How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of “his father David”.10 Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”), the “King of glory” enters his City “riding on an ass”.11 Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth.12 And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God’s poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds.13 Their acclamation, “Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord”,14 is taken up by the Church in the “Sanctus” of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord’s Passover.
CCC 600 To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace: “In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”15 For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.16
CCC 2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.”17 The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.”18 In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men.”19
1 DH 10; cf. CIC, can. 748 # 2.
2 DH 11.
3 DH 11; cf. Jn 18:37; 12:32.
4 Mal 2:6.
5 Jn 18:37.
6 I Jn 5:20; cf. Jn 17:3.
7 Cf. Jn 6:5-15; Lk 19:8; Mt 11:5.
8 Cf. Lk 12 13-14; Jn 18:36.
9 Cf. Jn 8:34-36.
10 Lk 1:32; cf. Mt 21:1-11; Jn 6:15.
11 Ps 24:7-10; Zech 9:9.
12 Cf. Jn 18:37.
13 Cf. Mt 21:15-16; cf. Ps 8:3; Lk 19:38; 2:14.
14 Cf. Ps 118:26.
15 Acts 4:27-28; cf. Ps 2:1-2.
16 Cf. Mt 26:54; Jn 18:36; 19:11; Acts 3:17-18.
17 Jn 18:37.
18 2 Tim 1:8.
19 Acts 24:16.