This bothers me- I’ve heard some people say that the Catholic Church stresses to much on fearing God. “If you don’t do this, you’re gonna be punished!”

Now, I know there’s a balance. A Catholic should have heatlhy fear and respect of God just as a child does for his parents authority. But so many people llve there loves with this belief that God is soooo loving that you shouldn’t fear him.

“Fear of the Lord” is an old term that doesn’t really mean to be afraid of God. Rather, it means to have a deep respect and awe for God. God is not some mean old man waiting to catch us doing wrong so He can punish us. He is also not some celestial teddy bear. But at the same time, because He is God, He deserves our greatest respect and love, and when we love someone, we don’t want to offend them.


If I teach my child, don’t touch the stove, it’s hot, you will be burned. do not run in the street, you might get hit by a car, don’t eat a snack it’s almost dinnertime, and you won’t be hungry for the healthy food I am giving you–am I teaching him by fear? What kind of a parent does not warn their child about dangers inherent in certain actions and behaviors? That would be criminal neglect. God is a loving Father to His children, and teaches them that the consequences of their actions can be deadly.

The Church has the responsibility to accurately and completely hand on the teachings of Jesus and God’s commandments. If they fail to speak the truth and fail to warn us about the consequences of our sinful actions, that would be deceit of the worst kind.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.